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In UN Budget Vote, R2P Denounced by Cuba 4, Sudan, Echoed by Liberia

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 24 -- The concept of the Responsibility to Protect gave rise to the first contested vote in this year's UN budget fight, after an all night session extending into Christmas Eve.

  Cuba presented an amendment against including references to R2P in the UN Office for the Prevention of Genocide, on behalf of itself, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Iran.

  Sudan also spoke up in favor. When Poland spoke against the amendment, on behalf of the European Union, Cuba made a point of order, that it wasn't yet time for General Statements.

   Budget Committee chairman Tommo Monthe overrode Cuba's objection, allowed Poland's speech and then called the vote. The anti R2P amendment lost, 11 in favor, 71 against and 42 abstaining. The anti R2P 11 included Syria and, to the surprise of some, Liberia, a major US ally.

  Did Ellen Johnson Sirleaf approve of this vote? What would or will US Ambassador Susan Rice say? (As note, the US Mission to the UN's Ambassador for Management and Reform Joe Torsella was not present during the Fifth Committee's voting, which he'd earlier pushed to televise for the sake of transparency.)

  Cuba explained that it is against genocide, but R2P has yet to be accepted by the member states. Tunisia -- post Ben Ali -- echoed this, saying that it remains controversial and should have been considered in the Sixth (Legal) Committee.

In Budget vote, Ban Ki-moon's Kim Won-soo shows up - where's Ban? (c) MRLee

  Then on the resolution as a whole, only seven voted against, and only eight abstained, including Yemen -- even "after" Ali Saleh -- Zambia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Inner City Press witnessed the representative of Sri Lanka sleeping through much of the meeting, during which a representative of Sudan a mere two seats away gave two speeches. And so it goes at the UN.

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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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