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

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On Libya, US Says Arming Rebels Is Legal, Deferred Answer on Visas of d'Escoto

By Matthew Russell Lee

WASHINGTON DC, April 14 -- While at its April 14 briefing the US State Department on Libya was primarily asked why it is not arming or funding the rebels, giving more planes or even “whacking” Gaddafi, described as “fist pumping” in a convertible in Tripoli, Inner City Press ask State Department spokesman Mark Toner if allowing funds to the rebels might not result in violations of the arms embargo in UN Security Council resolution 1970.

  While the idea is that arming the rebels would require another resolution, beyond 1973, Toner replied that arming the rebels is legal. See transcript:

MR. TONER: We believe that – our understanding of the sanctions and what was prohibited, that this was – this action was legal, that it was lawful.

Inner City Press: How about the arms embargo? How does – I mean, if this – both revenue streams, do you feel that the arms embargo under Resolution 1970, which is a total arms embargo on the country, is this something that you would be discussing with (inaudible)? Do you think – you keep saying that the revenue stream is only for the operation of the government.

MR. TONER: We’ve talked about this before, and what we’ve said is that 1970 – taken in totality, 1970 and 1973 – that it is permissible to get arms to the opposition, and that’s something that remains on the table, certainly. We’ve never taken that option away.

Inner City Press: And could I ask you about visas, too? So also on Libya, there – I’ve tried to ask this to the mission in New York --

MR. TONER: Yeah.

Inner City Press: -- but there was – there were stories saying that Ali Treki, who is the former foreign minister of Libya, was denied a U.S. visa, more recent stories saying that D’Escoto Brockmann, who was named to represent Libya, couldn’t get a visa. Is that true? And what’s the visa status of the two diplomats who left?

MR. TONER: D’Escoto Brockmann is the Nicaraguan?

Inner City Press: Nicaraguan. Absolutely.

D'escoto Brockmann previously at UN, US visa not shown

MR. TONER: Okay. Yeah. I’m trying to remember, but this is a couple weeks ago, I believe, when this was in the news. But we had very real concerns about his status, and I believe we were looking into it, but at the same time, obviously, complying with our obligations as a host nation for the UN. But we felt that he had – we had concerns – there were concerns about his status here that needed to be addressed. I don’t know what the exact status is today of that, though. I’d have to check.

Inner City Press: (Inaudible) the Nicaraguan? His --

MR. TONER: Yes, the Nicaraguan. As far as the Libyan --

Inner City Press: The representatives – yeah, Shalgam and Dabbashi.

MR. TONER: -- representative – I’m not sure what the status of that is. I’ll have to check for you.

Inner City Press: : Okay. Yeah, thanks.

  Seven hours later there still was no answered. And while an official of the US Mission to the UN, which has rebuffed Press questions about visas for some time, told Inner City Press that on Libya the legality of UN envoy al Khatib also being paid by Jordan would be publicly addressed this week, it hasn't been. We'll see -- watch this site.

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World Bank Can't Deal With Libya Rebels, Says Danger Drives It Out of Yemen

By Matthew Russell Lee

WASHINGTON DC, April 14 -- Minutes after Robert Zoellick touted the World Bank's engagement with civil society in the Arab world, Inner City Press asked him if the Bank has had any contacts with the Libyan Transitional National Council based in Benghazi.

  No, Zoellick answered, since its founding in 1944 the World Bank can deal “only with established governments.” He went on to describe World Bank assistance to those fleeing Libya, referring to a program with Bangladesh to get its nationals out and provide then assistance once back in Bangladesh.

But Bangladesh's Permanent Representative to the UN has told Inner City Press that most of his nationals remained trapped in Libya, unlike for example Belgium which immediately flew its 78 citizens out.

Zoellick implied that some part of the $500 million program just announced with Tunisia will help those fleeing Libya to that country. We'll see.

Inner City Press also asked Zoellick about Yemen, whether World Bank programs continue there and what it would take to change that -- that is, if there is a limit to the repression that the World Bank would accept.

Zoellick replied that nearly all of the World Bank's international staff have been removed from the country for safety reasons, although a “resident” remains to work on “the bank [or Bank?] brief” there. He mused that the World Bank likes to watch things, to be ready. But ready for what? 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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