RMI Opposition Still Wants Answers Over UNESCO Nomination

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Normal procedures allegedly not followed

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 19, 2014) – The Marshall Islands opposition says the government still has not explained why normal procedures were not followed in the nomination to UNESCO of a Lebanese official.

Yesterday the government defeated a no confidence motion over last December's selection of Jamil el-Sayed, to be the country's UNESCO representative.

Last month the government withdrew its nomination when a French newspaper broke a story that el-Sayed had alleged ties to Hezbollah.

The senator John Silk says the constitution clearly states only a Marshallese citizen can take up such a role and an appointment cannot be made without parliament's approval.

He says the foreign minister Phillip Muller knows this.

"He had been a foreign minister before and before he became a foreign minister he was also an ambassador to the United Nations and he knows the procedure, he himself when he was made ambassador had to go through the Nitijela (Legislature) process before he got to his post, so he should have known."

Marshall Islands senator John Silk

Phillip Muller says no final decision had been made on the nomination but John Silk says a copy of the letter of appointment contradicts that.

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