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March 1, 2011: Libya

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Christofias Says Cyprus Pays Price for Sanctions, Explosive Mix With Downer

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 22 -- When Cypriot President Demetris Christofias took questions after his speech to the UN General Assembly, Inner City Press asked him not about oil about exploding stored ammunition, and of UN envoy Alexander Downer.

 Christofias told Inner City Press, "You mixed the weapons, the explosion with Downer... this is a very dangerous mixture." There was laughter. Video here, from Minute 23:25.

  He continued, "We store in Cyprus these materials, trying to be consistent in implementing UN Security Council resolutions of sanctions against Iran. We tried to avoid it. Unfortunately we are forced to take and store it."

  Christofias paused and asked, "Why the explosion? It's a matter of investigation. At end of month they are going to have the result. Then we could say more, anyway... Implementation of UN Security Council resolutions is paid by a very high price by the Republic of Cyprus."

  Turning philosophic, Christofias posed another question: Why we try to follow UN Security Council? On these resolutions we base our struggle to put an end to occupation."

  The Cypriot Permanent Representative and chair of the Host County Committee Minas Hadjimichael whispered, and Christofias said to him, "Human rights, if you want to, we mention, of course."

  Then he changed topics: "Alexander Downer is Alexander Downer, we watch, we follow. He control us, we control him." (At this, the moderator looked quizzical.)

Christofias: 2.5 Billion loan at 4.5% interest not shown, except in smile

  Christofias concluded that Cyprus is "in a daily dialogue, we have good relations despite sometimes we don't have the same opinion on some matters. This is democracy. This is life. I'm ready to continue the dialogue, for with Mr. Eroglu, then with with Secretary General, with the presence his special adviser Alexander Downer." So there.

Footnote: Minas Hadjimichael, chair of the Host Country Committee told Inner City Press there will be a meeting of the Committee on "September 28 or 29." 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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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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