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March 1, 2011: Libya

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Diplomacy and Oil Mix at CFR Talk by Ivorian Ouattara and Koroma

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 20 -- When Cote d'Ivoire Alassane Ouattara spoke Tuesday at the Council on Foreign Relations, one expected him to raise, or be asked, about accountability for killings by his supporters and those of Guillaume Soro, in Douekoue for example.

  Ouattara had promised to take action against anyone found responsible; this was said to set him apart from Laurent Gbagbo.

  But in a discussion led by an executive from ExxonMobil, Walter Kansteiner III, Ouattara neither mentioned accountability nor was asked about it.

 Rather he was asked about his economy and the African Development Bank -- by a banker -- and what he thought of the African Union. The answer to the latter was, not much.

Ouattara said he is "disappointed" with the African Union's "lack of efficiency." As an example of this, he pointed to the AU not yet recognizing the Transitional National Council in Libya. He said if you just look at the television you see who is in power. The audience laughed.

  ExxonMobil, one wag muttered, likes to do business with those who are in power. (It was by this same logic that Tony Blair, sometime UN official, pitched J.P. Morgan Chase's wares to Gaddafi, and now appears in the guise of convincing the Palestinians not to seek UN membership.)

  Ouattara was accompanied by Sierra Leone's president Ernest Bai Koroma, who Ouattara called his "brother," and the moderator's logic in the pairing quickly became clear.

 "We have started oil exploration," Koroma said, "and the results have been very interesting." More interesting than the fate of underaged prisoners in Freetown's jails?

Ouattara, Koroma & the man from ExxonMobil, Douekoue not shown

  The Council on Foreign Relations has been in a frenzy the first two days this week, starting by hosting Alain Juppe on Monday. In that one, the first question was given to French state media; after that, the moderator asked about the Euro. CFR puts out good reports, but it is also interested in business, witness the ExxonMobil host for President Ouattara. An intellectual gloss on the great game for resources, in a venerable building on 68th and Park Avenue. Ouattara left at 2:30, and CFR pitched its 5:30 offering from Iran. Pump that oil!

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At UN, Deby On TNC's "Hypocrisy, " 400,000 Chadians "Blocked" in Libya, "No Prisoners in Chad"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 19 -- Chad's President Idriss Deby told Inner City Press on Monday that there remain 400,000 Chadian's "blocked" inside Libya.

 He said the vast majority had gone to Libya to work. Some had been recruited to fight but by both sides, he insisted, Gaddafi and the National Transitional Council.

   He said that going forward the international community should help reconcile all Libyans, "including those who worked with Gaddafi." Video here, 1st part of interview.

  Deby accused the leaders of the "New Libya," the National Transitional Council, of hypocrisy as many of them previously worked with Gaddafi. He said there should be greater African Union involvement in the New Libya, and chafed at Inner City Press' statement that South Africa has led on that issue, and on that of African migrants.

  "There are other African countries on the Security Council," he said, naming Gabon and then Nigeria.

  Inner City Press asked Deby for his view of developments in Sudan. Deby spoke of Southern Kordofan and "Nil Bleu," Blue Nile, then said that much remains to be solved between North and South Sudan.

  On this, Inner City Press asked Deby to respond to reports that the publication N'Djamena Bi-Hebdo was told not to compare South Sudan to Southern Chad:

"In the October 14 to 17 edition of the local newspaper N'Djamena Bi-Hebdo, the publishers included an article comparing southern Sudan with southern Chad. The prime minister called the article 'dangerous' and asked the HCC to act on the matter. On October 19, the HCC met with journalists and warned N'Djamena Bi-Hebdo in particular and all media houses in general to "observe ethics rules" by not printing articles that risked inciting hatred, violence, or separatist sentiment."

  Deby said he didn't know about the case. He said "come to Chad" to see the freedom of the press, and also said that "there are no political prisons in Chad." Inner City Press began to ask of one example -- Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh -- but Deby didn't answer on it.

Deby and the author, smiles on Libya, other answers not show

  The interview was over, and Inner City Press left the Plaza Hotel. Deby will speak before the General Assembly on Friday, after meeting with Ban Ki-moon the day before. "Mais vous savez de tout," Deby said. Not as much as we'd like to. Watch this site.

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

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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

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