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March 1, 2011: Libya

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Indonesia's Natalegawa Pitches Business With A Dash of Human Rights at CFR

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 27 -- When the US foreign policy establishment as represented by the Council on Foreign Relations hosts Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa, what gets asked about?

Mostly business rights, leavened or made palatable by a couple of human rights question, from two representatives of the same organization.

When Natalegawa replied Tuesday at CFR that Sri Lanka is "trying to do the right thing," there was no response or opportunity for Press questions.

CFR's presiding moderator was corporate lawyer James D. Zirin, whose specialty the program listed as "the defense of major accounting firms and financial institutions." So he's defended predatory lenders who took US government bail outs, before asking Natalegawa about his country's economic growth.

The money questions were followed up by, among others, Drew Ladner of Pascal Metrics Inc., who began by helpfully disclosing that he is "long" Indonesia. Listed as participants were businesspeople from Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Blackstone and Corsair Capital.

 As if to give the filthy lucre a sheen, both Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First were in the house, although only HRW got to question, twice as it happened. In essence this was window dressing to make the profit focus less venal.

Natalegawa twice emphasized his country's economy grew six percent in 2010, with 6.5% projected for 2011. If these was a roadshow, CFR was buying.

Inner City Press despite being invited, RSVP-ing and arriving on time was not allowed a question, nor a follow up to the Sri Lanka answer. No one asked for example about Saudi Arabia's treatment and execution of Indonesian workers.

 Thankfully, thirty blocks from CFR's Park Avenue headquarters Inner City Press came upon Natalegawa and his Permanent Representative Monday evening in front of the UN, and asked if Tibor Toth's statement that Indonesia is about to join the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is true.

  Yes, Natalegawa answered, it is in the works. At CFR he spoke of a nuclear free zone, of ASEAN meetings with the nuclear powers. He fielded questions about Western Papua, speaking of groups armed with bows and arrows.

Marty previously in UNSC, current PR over left shoulder

  Natalegawa described Indonesia's policy at the Human Rights Council in Geneva as in evolution; he chided the proponents of country-specific resolutions for putting forward the same drafts year after year. Natalegawa called this inertia, a term that could equally be applied to today's Council on Foreign Relations. Watch this site.

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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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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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