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At UN, Media Taken Out of Mediation Gabfest, Amid Grumbles, Potshots

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 23, updated -- When a debate on mediation was scheduled Wednesday in the UN General Assembly, it was unclear who selected the speakers and where the project would be going.

  In the afternoon panel, Turkish foreign minister Davutoglu said "you have to get away from the press." Moderator Ed Luck, who said he would "mix it up" with "civil society," did not provide for any press reply to Davutoglu, who unlike his Spanish and Italian counterparts did not hold any public question and answer stakeout.

  Rather, what replies there were began with the first non-panelist speaker of the afternoon, Chinese Deputy Permanent Representative Wang. He chided "a representative this morning" and said he disagreed, that the "South China Sea" should be addressed "bilaterally."

  Moments later he explained to Inner City Press that in the General Assembly Hall, it had been called the "West Philippines Sea."

  Inside Conference Room 4, Ed Luck called on an NGO, which immediately praised the UN DPA chief Lynn Pascoe, soon to be replaced by US Near East official Jeffrey Feltman, as exclusively reported by Inner City Press on March 28.

  Across the hall in the NGO Committee, a skeptical Permanent Representative said the idea had been for a mediation unit under the General Assembly, but now an international center "with no accountability."

  Morocco's Youssef Amrani, put on the afternoon panel and speaking in Spanish, thanked the Security Council and DPKO, which under Herve "The Drone" Ladsous watered down the last MINURSO report.

  The other side of that failing mediation was not represented at the meeting, and almost certainly wouldn't be called on by Luck.

  Rather, the last round of speakers included the OIC -- directing a question at Davutoglu -- Australia citing all of its efforts including in Timor Leste (it is running for a Security Council seat against Finland, represented, and Luxembourg, not) and Argentina, which brought up its Islands dispute with the UK. Would they be allowed to reply? Watch this site.

Update: The UK did reply. Hours later the UK Mission to the UN tweeted, "At UN mediation meeting UK reaffirms no negotiation on #Falklands sovereignty against islanders' wishes (from 01:52:05)" Ah, mediation.

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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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