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At UN as Mayr-Harting Moves from Austria to EU, Interesting Times Toasted

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 14 -- Sometimes at the UN there is a diplomat that nearly everyone likes. This is the case of Thomas Mayr-Harting of Austria, who threw his semi-farewell on October 14, as he moves from Austria to representing the European Union at the UN.

Turkey's Permanent Representative Apakan, for example, said he'd known Mayr-Harting since he was Austria's political director, and as a member of the Class of 2010 on the UN Security Council. The turn out was more extensive than for most farewells, not only because Mayr-Harting will remain at the UN, but due to history.

Numerous European ambassadors told Inner City Press they were glad he would be representing them -- "sort of," one of them said, referring to the fight about how the EU will refer to itself in the General Assembly -- as a "seasoned" diplomat.

Mayr-Harting while on the Security Council was tireless in briefing about the Taliban - Al Qaeda sanctions committee. Now, perhaps in tribute to his work, there is less obstructionism, with his successor Wittig recently being surprised by Russia's lack of blocking. The groundwork was laid.

Morocco's Permanent Representative Loulichki made his appearance, pledging support for the cause of Palestine; leaving earlier was his putative competitor for a 2012-13 Security Council seat, Abderrahim Ould Hadrami of Mauritania.

There was much discussion of the election, and what it might portend for Palestine. In Iceland, as it happens, there is legislation to recognize Palestine as a state. Bosnia has already granted recognition, but might not be able to vote in favor of Palestine in the Security Council.

Mayr-Harting with Monique and Deiss, exciting times ahead

The US was represented by Deputy Rosemary DiCarlo, and then Jeffrey DeLaurentis, who professed a desire to be polite: accepted. There was the UN's Special Advisor on Africa, and its Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, whose theater-savvy spouse pondered how the spate of New York groping might be stopped.

This was a concrete question, evaded earlier on Friday evening by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon when he left his ballyhooed screening of "The Whistleblower" before any questions could be asked. Thank God, one wag said, that the UN is larger than the increasingly diminished Secretariat. 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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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