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

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At UN, Russia's Churkin Complains About Non Quiet, Others Talk of Leaks

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 22 -- The day after Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin chastised a Western Security Council member's spokesman for offering “distortions” to the media without waiting for the President of the Council to speak first, the predictions were of more attacks and tensions in and around the Council.

A Council member's Permanent Representative told Inner City Press, explicitly “on background,” that Churkin has been making three critiques.

  First, that there are too many people in the Council's closed door consultation room, some of whom are “leaking.” (This is a critique other Council sources say that the US Permanent Representative Susan Rice has echoed, urging more junior diplomats of Council members not to give information to the press).

  Second, he said, Churkin has complained about Western countries' spokespeople spinning the media, on an anonymous basis. Russia's spokesman Anton Uspensky rarely joins this gaggle: Inner City Press has suggested that might be a better approach.

  Third and the only one of the three that Churkin expressed to Inner City Press when asked, the so called “Quiet Room” is not quiet enough. “There are people laughing,” Churkin told Inner City Press.

Churkin previously speaks to press, spokesman not shown

   It is a waiting room where non-Council member states can wait and lobby. But during these Libya meetings, Ambassadors from all over the world stop it, and it can get loud.

  During three March 21 stakeouts about Sudan, the speakers' remarks were routinely drowned out by unrelated loud and plaintive questions shouted from the other side of the stairs.

  French Ambassador Gerard Araud was asked, loudly, why the African Union could not fly into Libya.

There is no mechanism, Madame,” Araud answered.

And what mechanism is there for adjudging Churkin's claims, either the one he's made public, or the anti-leaking one he's said to share with Susan Rice? Watch this site.

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At UN on Libya, Churkin of Russia Tells Western Spokesman Not to Spin the Press, "This Is Where Distortions Come From"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 21 -- Outside the UN Security Council on Monday afternoon, a Western Council member's spokesman was telling reporters that as he had predicted, the Council had declined requests for any meeting about the military action in Libya until Thursday.

  Russia's Ambassador Vitaly Churkin came out of the Council chamber and apparently heard this. He stopped on the steps up to street level, turned back and said, “I must say to that young man, the President of the Council is supposed to brief the media.”

  He pointed at the Western spokesman and asked, “You are from which delegation?”

  The Western spokesman answered. (Since these spokespeople say they are speaking on background, for now the answer is being withheld.)

  Churkin continued, “Double check with your Ambassador. It's really impolite and rude. It's the President who is supposed to brief the media.”

  After Churkin went upstairs, there was speculation about what had triggered the confrontation. On March 16, Churkin had complained about being portrayed as an obstructionist.

  Inner City Press later on March 16 asked US Ambassador Susan Rice about what Churkin had said about Russia's ceasefire in Libya proposal. She said the proposal did not go far enough.

On March 21, Churkin came back. “Now we know where all the distortions come from.”

Inner City Press suggested to him that the Russian Mission's spokesman should brief the media more often.

  While that seems to be the consensus among most of the stakeout press corps, others note that some delegation's spokespeople are more likely that others to tell reporters about other countries' positions, while demanding off the record treatment.

  This happened during the first Council resolution on Libya earlier this year, when Portugal was accused off the record of being “weak” on the referral of the case of Libya to the International Criminal Court.

   Later, reporters were urged to “ask Brazil” if they were making problems with the ICC referral. In fact they were, though not at the spinner had implied. Rather, Brazil objected to the US demanded carve out from the ICC referral for countries that are not members of the ICC: not only the US, but such countries as Algeria and Ethiopia, which are not members of the ICC.

Now we know where all the distortions come from”? Oh that it were so. Watch this site.

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

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

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.

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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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