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At UN, Few Answers to India & Colombia on Children & Armed Conflict "Mandate Creep," German Slogan Dredged Up

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 12, updated -- During what was billed as a “debate” on Children and Armed Conflict in the UN Security Council on Tuesday, countries like Colombia and India criticized the way the concept is being carried out by the UN.

Colombia's foreign minister Maria Angela Holguin called “unacceptable” the UN's attempts to talk to the FARC rebels without the consent of her government. India's Permanent Representative Hardeep Singh Puri complained, for the second day in a row, about the UN's “mandate creep.”

Afterward, Inner City Press asked about the critique and requested responses from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon through this spokesman, UNICEF and German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle, in his capacity as Security Council president.

Typical of the UN, none wanted to directly respond. Westerwelle said he wouldn't comment on what other countries said, emphasizing only that the resolution passed.

Westerwelle meets Ban July 12, reply to India not shown

Ban Ki-moon came to the stakeout and read a statement but took no questions. His spokesman Martin Nesirky said Ban had an urgent 11:45 telephone call.

At the noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Nesirky for Ban's response to the critique, and to those who feel that the decisions of which countries to put on the CAAC Annex is arbitrary, excluding for example Pakistan despite the armed conflict and child recruitment admitted by Ban's previous envoy Jean-Maurice Ripert.

  On the former, Nesirky replie that "the most important thing to emphasize here is that the Security Council has been consistently focused on this topic, underscoring the importance that the international community attaches to dealing with the question of children and armed conflict."

   On the latter, Nesirky told Inner City Press to asked Ban's CAAC expert, Radhika Coomaraswamy. She had come out of the Council ready to do a stakeout, but was told there were not enough journalists. Later she told Inner City Press among other things that her office needs now to do the political work, explain how her Office works. Inner City Press asked, will you come out to speak after Myanmar's speech? She replied, and speak to you?

  Update: when the session ended at 5:45 pm, Ms. Coomaraswamy and her team emerged. They indicted, again, that Colombia's fear is unfounded, that they would not speak to a rebel group without the government's consent. One wonders why Colombia wasn't answered, on the record, during what was called the debate?

 UNICEF's Tony Lake came out and Inner City Press asked him about the critique by India and Colombia. “I'm running late,” he said, indicating he would have answered “if ten minutes earlier.” But after Inner City Press immediately e-mailed the questions to four separate UNICEF spokespeople, still there was no answer two hours later.

  Footnote: Alongside the debate, the Permanent Representative of Syria was told that Westervelle political party in 1999, the FDP, was associated with a slogan, "Kinder Statt Inder" -- children not Indians. It was a reference to the granting of information technology visa to Indians.

  The other side is that is was in only one region, not by FDP but CDU, and unrelated to India's opposition to the German introduced and pushed resolution. But so it goes at the UN. We exoect to hear more on this.

* * *

At UN, Children & Armed Conflict “Mechanism” Questioned by Colombia

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 8 -- In the run up to a July 12 Security Council meeting on children and armed conflict, Permanent Representatives were called to an “emergency” meeting Friday at 5 pm.

  Sources told Inner City Press that for example Colombia is concerned that, because of child recruitment in its borders, it could be subject to “mechanisms,” even though it is not on the Security Council agenda.

  Inner City Press asked Colombia's Permanent Representative Nestor Osorio, as he went into the Council, if his country was “concerned about being on the list.”

  “No one wants to be on any list,” he genially quipped. Other sources say that Brazil is supporting Colombia's position and that India, too, has its own concerns.

  Another Permanent Representative said there could be a solution for Colombia, some generally language about "dealing with Ms. Coomaraswamy," the adviser on children and armed conflict.

  Colombia has previously tangled with Coomaraswamy, click here for that story from Inner City Press.

  Meanwhile countries not involved in the fracas wondered why they had to come in “at such a high level, and through the rain” when the Council debate is not until Tuesday. We'll see.

* * *

On Sudan, Could an UNMIS “Wrap-Up” Resolution Provide S. Kordofan Protection?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 8 -- As the UN Security Council adopted its resolution for 7000 peacekeeping troops in South Sudan, behind the scenes negotiations continued to see if a separate resolution on the dissolving UN Mission in Sudan was needed, and what it could accomplish.

  Sudan's president Omar al Bashir, indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide in Darfur, has ordered the UN mission in North Sudan to start winding down the moment South Sudan declares independence.

  But the political coordinator of a BRICS country told Inner City Press that it is possible that a “wind-up” resolution could provide for UN peacekeepers staying in the violent border areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile at least while the mission is being wound up.

  “That would require the consent of Bashir,” a representative of a Permanent member of the Council pointed out, adding that the UN Department of Field Support and Office of Legal Affairs, headed by Patricia O'Brien, had been asked to opine if a wind up resolution is needed.

  The spokesman of another Permanent member said that negotiations were continuing, even on the eve of South Sudan's independence, with Ban Ki-moon in Khartoum, meeting with not with Bashir but foreign minister Ali Karti.

  “It would be a good message to have such a resolution,” the representative said, indicating the UN was not just getting thrown out. But isn't it?

Kiir & Bashir in Juba, new UN resolution & mission not yet seen

  At Friday's UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about reports that the Egyptian UN peacekeepers in Kadugli in Southern Kordofan sat by while civilians were killed right outside their gates, and that two Nuba UN local staff were killed.

  Haq denied the later, and pointed to earlier statements on the former. Inner City Press is still waiting for a response from UNMIS promised earlier in the week. Better hurry up: for now, UNMIS is over on July 9. Watch this site -- and this, Inner City Press July 7 debate on about Sudan.

Click for July 7, 11 re Sudan, Libya, Syria, flotilla

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

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

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