- Cambodia, UNSC Defers to ASEAN's Natalegawa, UN Replacement?
February 8 -- Despite a
request from Cambodia's prime minister Hun Sen for a UN Security
Council meeting on the fighting with Thailand, the Council on
Monday did not schedule a meeting,
deferring instead to the mediation of Indonesia's foreign minister
Marty Natalegawa, for ASEAN.
Inner City Press, which reported
before the Council's consultations on the matter that two countries
wanted to hold a meeting, is now told that in the consultations,
Russia spoke in favor of having a meeting, saying this is what the
Council is for.
Russian Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin left the Council on
Monday, Inner City Press asked him about the Council having a meeting
on Cambodia's request. We are
not against it, he replied.
then asked the Council's president Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti if Hun
public request that the UN establish a buffer zone around the Preah
answered, that request had not been made to
the Council. Meanwhile, Thailand's prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva
has said he will call UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday.
previously Indonesia's permanent representative to the UN, and knows
the system well. His successor on January 31 told Inner City Press
that ASEAN led by Indonesia is trying to get Western sanctions on
Myanmar lifted, while getting Myanmar to agree to an ASEAN envoy to
Natalegawa to be able to keep the Thai - Cambodia issue off of the
Council's formal agenda, by the withdrawal of Cambodia's request just
as a similar request was withdrawn in 2008, when Viet Nam was
president of the Council. But for now the fighting has continued.
UN's Ban & Marty
Natalegawa: UN replacement?
buzz at the UN
this week concerns the open dissatisfaction with Ban by several
countries, including veto-wielding Security Council member Russia. If
Ban were denied a second term, as the US denied one to
Boutros-Boutros Ghali, the next five or ten years would be seen as
belonging to the Asia group, just as Kofi Annan replaced Boutros for
the African group.
profile and more adept replacement could there be from the Asia
group, some say, than Natalegawa? Watch this site.
* * *
on Thai - Cambodia, 2 Council Members Said to Want Meeting, Not ASEAN
Russell Lee, Exclusive
February 7 -- After Cambodia's prime minister Hun Sen wrote
Sunday to the President of the UN Security Council, Brazil's
Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, she made 14 calls to Council
members and the Secretary
General's office about the border skirmishes with Thailand.
Sunday, Inner City Press is told by sources, was to have ASEAN deal
with the conflict in the first instance, with Indonesia's foreign
minister (and former UN ambassador) taking the lead.
however, something change. With the issue set to be discussed in
closed door consultations under Any Other Business, two countries are
said to want there to be a formal meeting on Cambodia's requests,
which now include a request for UN peacekeepers and a buffer zone.
Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, calls and responses not shown
on Monday morning at the UN was the last time this border
and temple dispute came to the Council, in 2008. Then, with fellow
ASEAN member Viet Nam holding the Council presidency, pressure was
brought to bear to keep the dispute at the national and regional
Permanent Representative told Inner City Press, “Letter
withdrawn.... problem disappear.” But will that happen this time?
Perhaps not. Watch this site.
- Cambodia Fighting Escalates, UN & Its Council
February 6 -- As fighting escalates between Thailand and
Cambodia, the UN and its Security Council presidency did
not answer questions on the matter, even after Cambodia's prime
minister Hun Sen wrote to demand an urgent meeting of the Council.
which had asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesmen about the
dispute starting February 4, asked the top two listed contacts at the
UN Mission of Brazil, this month's Council president, to confirm the
receipt and circulation to members of Cambodia's requests. More than
12 hours later, there was no response. Nor to detailed questions to
Ban's two two spokesmen.
expect the UN to be more responsive, perhaps this disinterest is
related to the last time this border and temple dispute came to the
Council, in 2008. Then, with fellow ASEAN member Viet Nam holding the
Council presidency, pressure was brought to bear to keep the dispute
at the national and regional level.
UN's Ban & Hun Sen, human rights forgotten
Permanent Representative told Inner City Press, “Letter
withdrawn.... problem disappear.” Will that happen this time?
on the morning of February 6 were asked this:
Ki-moon agree that this UN affiliated process has increased
tension and should be suspended? [Thai PM] “Abhisit said Thailand
was attacked first so it had to respond. The country also viewed the
areas around the Preah Vihear Temple as "very sensitive",
therefore nothing should be done to increase the tensions between the
countries. 'That means the World Heritage registration procedures
[with regard to areas surrounding the ancient Hindu temple] should
now be suspended. We have been warning the World Heritage Committee
for quite some time,' Abhisit said.”
there was no response. Watch this site.
* * *
Whole Lot of Nothing Predicted: No Egypt or Gbagbo Sanctions,
No Vote on Settlements or DPRK Report
1 -- As protests spread from Egypt to Sudan and
even Albania, February's UN Security Council president Brazil
undertook Tuesday to meet with each of the Council's members about
the month's program of work.
chamber, Inner City Press asked Ambassadors questions as they
emerged, starting with whether Egypt might be considered in the
Council, at least in the “horizon” or big-picture briefing by the
Department of Political Affairs.
Ambassadors said that it would not be considered. “It'll be
talked about, but not here around the horseshoe table,” India's
Permanent Representative Hardeep Singh Puri said on his way out.
his way in, when Inner City Press asked about the month's “hot
topics,” he said that the hot topics would not be dealt with in the
Security Council. Some wonder: then why want so badly to be on the
with Bosnia, January's president, passing the torch to Brazil -- or
the “hot potato,” as Bosnia's Ivan Barbalic put it to Inner City
with its usual troika of Vitaly Churkin, Konstantin Dolgov and the
ubiquitous Vladimir. Asked about the truth of the US pushing
additional Cote d'Ivoire sanctions in the Council, Churkin said no,
given the African mediation efforts, no new sanctions would be
next in line, agreed that additional sanctions would not
proceed in light of the African mediation -- which includes Chadian
president Idriss Deby. Inner City Press asked Araud -- and UK Deputy
Permanent Representative Philip Parham -- about Sudan international
justice issues, which will be the subject of a separate story.
Brazil's Perm Rep casting biggest vote to date: Egypt not shown
Puri said, of Sudan, that there might be one meeting instead of
the planned two about the Southern Sudan referendum, and that
Brazil's Permanent Representative Ribeiro Viotti-- he called her by
her first name Maria Luiza -- would consult, “as a mature member,”
envisioned the draft resolution on settlements by Israel being
considered, he said on the record that he did not, that leaving it
“in blue” for an extended period of time would not be a problem.
are saying this as well, noting that the US under Barack
Obama is under pressure to veto the resolution, and that “would not
Ambassadors spoke, among other things, about the new report on North
Korea: when would the 1718 Committee consider it? It has been
circulated, was the response, and will follow the normal procedure.
Inner City Press asked for a response to the cynic's view that China
will not want the report to proceed anytime soon. “That's a cynic's
view,” was the response.
wild card for
the month will be the Department of Political Affairs briefing. Inner
City Press asked if it would include reference to Egypt and Tunisia,
even Jordan and Yemen. “Probably not,” came the response. “That
is too big picture.” And so it goes in the UN Security Council.
* * *
Talk of Egypt and Culture Wars on Lesbian Rights, of Muslim
Peacekeepers and Decay under Ban
1 -- Amid protests by Egyptians in Cairo, New York
and elsewhere, the UN Security Council held its end of presidency
reception Monday night, hosted by Bosnia in a rooftop space a half
dozen blocks from the UN.
big world news but not present in the Security Council, nor
meaningfully addressed by the out of town Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon was the talk of the night.
asked the Permanent Representative of one of the Council's permanent
members why Egypt had not even been mentioned in consultations. “It's
an internal matter,” he said. “We're following it closely, it's a
question of timing and that it must be done without violence.”
a Western member said that “the capitals are studying it, they have
to get their own positions clear before even thinking of acting
through the Council.”
UK has been
most clear, in statements by David Cameron and foreign minister
William Hague: Mubarak is a “friend of Britain” and the prospect
of Muslim Brotherhood involvement in a subsequent government is
abhorrent. To some it echoes the Cold War: the enemy of my enemy is
my friend. For thirty years of “emergency” rule.
course other topics. Inner City Press, which reported
earlier in the
day on attacks in the ECOSOC Committee on NGO on a women's group from
Serbia which mentioned discrimination against lesbians in its
application for consultative status, asked Serbia's Permanent
Representative about the group. He was jovial but hadn't heard of
this new Serbian showdown.
irony is that
after Serbia's lower down representative spoke in favor of the group,
so did the US and Bulgaria, as well as Belgium and the EU. On the
other side were Pakistan, Russia, Sudan and Morocco.
asked Morocco's Permanent Representative about his country's
opposition to to the group, the Autonomous Women's Center. “It must
be on behalf of the OIC,” he said. Later another Moroccan said his
country represents the Arab Group this year in the NGO committee,
replacing Egypt whose staffer famously said of a gay rights applicant
for consultative status to the UN, “We've asked questions but we
just can't get any straight answers from them.”
regime is on the rocks, despite its long time Permanent
Representative trying to act otherwise at the UN on Monday,
delivering a speech to the UNDP executive board as if nothing was
while the world
sees and talks about a wave of change sweeping the Arab world, this
leaves no mark inside the UN, where Arab countries like Morocco score
points by opposing gay rights.
Islamic peacekeeping, with an Asian Muslim country's Permanent
Representative telling Inner City Press his country has offered
troops to Somalia's Transitional Federal Government if the force ever
“gets blue hatted,” or comes under UN command. He said that same
of Afghanistan: his country will only send soldiers if the UN is in
charge, not ISAF.
characterized Bosnia's presidency in January as rather
sleepy, its reception got higher marks from the crowd of diplomatic
Epicures, noshing on Kobe beef sliders and burek like Bosnian pastry
filled with meat and spinach.
missions first couple ended the evening by dancing, as the lights of
midtown Manhattan flickered through the glass roof. Their Deputy was
congenial, having served her country through thick and thin.
City Press' question to the Perm Rep about a new documentary about UN
peacekeepers in Bosnia buying women -- where was the Autonomous
Women's Center then? -- met with a smiling “I'm not working
tonight.” But of course he was. And through the course of January he
got more accessible and comfortable at the Council stakeout, to his
credit, unlike some in the UN.
Team Bosnia in the Council, Egypt & Ban's
spokesman not shown
under the Ban Ki-moon “regime” as one called it was also in the
air. A well placed Council source recalled “Martin [Nesirky] got
excluded from the Council's consultations and all we got was a letter
from [Vijay] Nambiar.” Ban's chief of staff Nambiar was in
attendance Monday, but chief adviser Kim Won-soo did not seem to be.
Susan Rice was nowhere to be seen, nor it appeared was her UK
counterpart Mark Lyall Grant.
Representatives of France, China and Russia were all present, along
with those of just left Council members like Austria and Turkey.
Israel's prime minister is much concerned of regime change in Egypt.
Israel's hard line Permanent Representative was not seen at that
reception Monday night, but earlier on Monday Israel joined the
defense of the Serbian group on lesbian rights. And so it goes at the
Monday several dozen UN correspondents discussed the lack
of information coming out of Ban Ki-moon's UN, unfavorably comparing
Ban's answering in New York to what he does, for example, while in
Addis Ababa the last few days, including a France 24 interview
against deferring announcing a campaign for a second term.
Nesirky was reviewed, called alternately rude and “in a
tough spot” not getting any information from Ban. We'll address
this going forward - later today, and in this new month when Brazil
heads the Council, holding a debate on Security and Development on
February 11. Watch this site.