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Argentina's UNSC Month Has Latin Groups, May Have Congo But No CAR?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 2 -- The first thing people noticed about Ambassador Marķa Cristina Perceval's UN press conference Friday on the Security Council's program of work for her month as president was that she spoke entirely in Spanish.

  Of course, Spanish is not only one of the six official languages of the United Nations -- it is also the second most active language among tweeting diplomats, far outpacing French which France still claims is the language of diplomacy.

  The second thing people noticed, beyond some long impassioned answers about Argentina's history, was that Marķa Cristina Perceval was classy. Before and after Inner City Press asked about the Malvinas or Falkland Islands and the UN's ultimatum in the Congo, nearly all of the questions were about Syria, and all pointing one way.

  When another journalist dared ask about the UN taking sides, in Iraq ten years ago and Libya more recently, many "correspondents" tried to shout the questions down. Marķa Cristina Perceval on the other hand was classy, only asking that the question be "a bit shorter," making a small space between her thumb and forefinger.

  Inner City Press, after thanking Perceval on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access (in Spanish) and expressing hope that she do many question and answer stakeouts during the month, asked her if the MONUSCO mission checked with the Council before issuing its 48 hour ultimatum for groups to disarm between Goma and Sake in Eastern Congo.

  The answer appears to be no: Perceval said the Security Council sets the mandate, then it is up to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to implement it.

  But, we note, when DPKO is handed over to a single country four times in a row, as with France, and has culminated in a person who represented France in the Security Council during the Rwanda genocide and argued for the escape of genocidaires into Eastern Congo, isn't this an invitation for problems?

Marķa Cristina Perceval said the Council may meet on the topic in August; for now it is only in the footnotes. Yes, an invitation for problems.

Inner City Press had wanted to asked Perceval about its exclusive report of August 1, that France because of vacations says it will NOT be drafting a Central African Republic resolution this month. Given other officials' statements, for example the EU's Kristalina Georgieva, talking and writing about the plight of CAR, can one country's mission's vacations stall action? We'll see.

Inner City Press ask Perceval about another topic it reported on yesterday: the August 6 debate on cooperation with regional and subregional organizations. Would Cuba's foreign minister be coming, to represent CELAC? Yes.

  What about the Malvinas or Falkland Islands, which at least one Permanent Member of the Council told Inner City Press will be a topic on August 6? Perceval was diplomatic, saying that is an issue in the Special Committee on De-Colonization.

  As her press conference stretched past one hour, Perceval was asked about Edward Snowden -- by Voice of America, a media run by the US State Department, with John Kerry on the its Broadcasting Board of Governors -- and about migrants dying trying to get to Europe. This last question invoked the Argentinian Pope Francis; Perceval said she listened to him, not only because he's from Argentina, but for that reason too.

Footnote: we conclude with this because we must: Permanent Representative Marķa Cristina Perceval after being asked for stakeouts by the Free UN Coalition for Access, responded that its co-founder Inner City Press is "most present" in covering the Security Council.

  Why then did the Department of Public Information and its partners, its UN Censorship Alliance, conspire to make a rule purporting to ban media workspace at the Security Council stakeout, most glaringly by prohibiting the work table present at the stakeout before and during the relocation?

   When Inner City Press bought and brought its own table, at the beginning of the UK's month in June, DPI came and took it away. This issue must be solved. Watch this site.


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