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On UN Budget, US Makes 11th Hour Proposal for Flexibility for Ban, May Vote on Myanmar, R2P

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, December 24 -- Outside the UN budget negotiations at 2 am on Christmas Eve, new details emerged about the US Mission strategy behind closed doors.

  Inner City Press was told, in the nature of a complaint, that "at the eleventh hour" or midnight, US Ambassador for Management Joe Torsella suddenly introduced a proposal to give Secretary General Ban Ki-moon more "flexibility" after the budget is approved.

  "Come on," the representative of a major developing country scoffed. "If you're going to make this kind of proposal, don't wait until midnight and show up with a bunch of copies."

  While his complaint may have been on the conventional fault line of the countries that pay, like the US, and those who want to see development through the UN, Torsella is open to another critique.

  Torsella has beat the drum from transparency, for televising Budget Committee sessions, making the public see how a $5 billion budget is proposed and negotiated. Then he comes and makes an eleventh hour proposal behind closed doors.

  "Watch," the developing world representative predicted. "If the US doesn't think it has the numbers, it won't call for a vote, it will have all been secret... Or, not any more."

Torsella at US Mission, 11th hour proposal not shown (c) MRLee

  He predicted votes on the Responsibility to Protect, with "ALBA countries opposing it," on "Myanmar and on the Oceans." And on Torsella's eleventh hour proposal? It was 2 am, and nothing had had gone to the final meeting of the Third Committee, much less the full GA. Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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