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At UN, Kosovo Moves into 3rd Floor, Serbia Eviction Bid Ignored, Watered Down Resolution Passes Unanimously, Vuk Spins

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 9 -- In the UN General Assembly, Kosovo's top officials took up positions in the third floor visitors gallery in advance of the vote on Serbia's already watered down resolution. Serbia and Russia, sources tell Inner City Press, asked to have the Kosovars removed. But President of the GA Treki said he couldn't do it.

On the GA floor, UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant and France's Gerard Araud rallied the troops. At 5:22 p.m., they went up to the third floor to talk with the Kosovars.

Lost in all this is that Serbia already gave up its chance for an up or down vote on Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence. In order to be considered for EU admission, they changed the resolution.

Vuk Jeremic in the GA, capitulation not shown

 After all the strong talk, can foreign minister Vuk Jeremic show his face in Belgrade? Or, as one diplomat wagged to Inner City Press, will Vuk leave the GA hall naked as after a poker game? Watch this space.

Update of 5:36 p.m. -- Vuk protested the Kosovars' presence; Treki said they were invited by, inter alia, the US, UK, France, Italy and others. Vuk spoke.

Update of 5:49 p.m. -- Azerbaijan and Venezuela speak in favor of Serbia. In the cheap seats, UK Lyall Grant is on cell phone, US Rosemary DiCarlo two seats away.  She now takes the floor.

Update of 6:02 pm -- It's unanimous on the resolution: Serbia giving in to and for EU. India says it will not recognize Kosovo. UK leaving - to do stakeout?

Update of 6:30 p.m. -- Vuk Jeremic tells Inner City Press that at least “the ICJ process is over.” He says Serbia's fight will continue and -- somehow -- that entering EU can help that fight. Will this be popular in Belgrade? Watch this site.

Update of 6:46 p.m. -- Vuk Jeremic told Inner City Press, “There is no change in Serbia's position... Being a member of the EU is one of the priorities... This resolution puts an end to the ICJ process. At some point, some misinterpreted what the court had said, the resolution is very clear that this was not the confirmation of statehood for Kosovo.”  Stick a fork in it....

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At Russian UN Mission, Serbia Makes Its Case, Somalia Forgotten, Churkin Serves Roast Beef

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 30 -- Serbia's Ambassador to the UN beamed at Russia's end of Security Council presidency reception Monday night, joking with the Ambassadors of the UK and Bosnia about his country's controversial General Assembly resolution condemning Kosovo's independence.

No other country, he told Inner City Press, broke away without consent and yet was welcomed by such powerful friends at the United States. Where it's done without permission -- he named Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Northern Cyprus and Taiwan -- the countries remain in limbo. We don't want to be the precedent.

Bosnia's 35 year old Ambassador joked that if it were just he and the Serb, they could work it out. The British Ambassador, also laughing, said not to count on his support in the GA. But the Serb persisted, blaming the presence on US President Obama's team of former Bill Clinton official for his country's troubles.

Who, asked Inner City Press. Hillary Clinton, he answered. Richard Holbrooke. But what about trying David Alexrod or Valerie Jarrett? He seemed not to know of them, and offered thanks.

Other talk turned to Ethiopia's incursions into Somalia. Many had read of it, none could confirm. US Ambassador Susan Rice walked away as fast as she could.

Churkin back in the day, Serbian resolution, roast beef and pilots not shown

  Ambassador Rugunda of Uganda, whose country just lost four AMISOM peacekeepers to a grenade attack in Mogadishu, vowed to look into it.

  The spokesman of another Council member predicted a Council statement on the killing, perhaps on Russia's last day.

Russian Ambassador Churkin played the host, offering dumplings and roast beef and mushrooms in small pots. He drank a toast with Susan Rice, and smiling worked the room. He told Inner City Press, regarding Russia's pilots taken in Darfur, that his job and that of Russia's envoy to Sudan was different. He is not a diplomat, said Churkin. He is doing his job, and I am doing mine. Good answer. Watch this site.

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At UN, Russia Month Ends With Pilots Taken in Darfur, Congo Rape Meeting Deferred

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 30 -- While Russia's envoy to Sudan Mikhail Margelov complains loudly about the second hostage taking of Russian pilots in Darfur in a month, outgoing Security Council president Vitaly Churkin on Monday advised the Press not to make too much of the kidnappings.

   Inner City Press asked if this was a trend. The first incident, Churkin countered, was resolved, and the pilot went on vacation.  It was never announced who had taken him.

   Still, Churkin said he had met Monday morning with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about the pilots, asking for the UNAMID mission to get involved. Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky about the pilots at Monday's noon briefing. Nesirky did not disclose Ban's meeting with Churkin, which was not on Ban's schedule.

   Nesirky said, in response to another Inner City Press question, that Ban's 10:30 meeting with Margot Wallstrom about the Congo rapes had been postponed until the afternoon. (Atul Khare, it emerges won't be back to brieif the Council until September 8.)

  Nesirky said the Russian pilots were working for a private Sudanese company. But wasn't it working for UNAMID? Maybe, Nesirky said, maybe they were transporting food for peacekeepers. It is all murky.

 One wonders why it was never announced who took the first Russian pilot, Yevgeni Mustovchikov, and why DPKO's Alain Le Roy never got or passed on any "full understanding of the facts" behind the violence in the Kalma Camp. As with the Congo rapes, lack of accountability breeds impunity leads to repetition of the actions.

Beyond the danger to the pilots who are kidnapped, if as many believe government supported militias are behind the kidnappings, could their repetition trigger some change in Russia's position on Sudan?

We are slow to change our position, a Russian diplomat told Inner City Press after the TV lights were off.

UN's Ban (& Kim) & Churkin in Red Sq. March 2010, pilots not shown

  The next stop would be Russia's End of Presidency reception. Russia in August wanted a slow month in the Security Council, with a small party at the end. They got the Congo rape scandal and, it was promised, jovial gate crashers.

  For September, the Council president passes to Turkey, who Permanent Representative has been reviewed unfavorably, if off the record, by his Foreign Minister. This will be his chance to shine.

   In briefings for his nation's media, the Ambassador is known to defer to reporters, saying they know more than he does. One cannot imagine this from Churkin. For those following the story, former spokesman Ruslan is said to have found a better job with the Ministry back in Moscow.

France's Deputy Permanent Representative Nicolas de Riviere is setting sail, to cover international organizationss at the Quai d'Orsay. He will be replaced by Martin Briens -- and he'll be supervising, in a sense, his old boss Gerard Araud. It is musical chairs in the Council.

In terms of the next Council members coming in, South Africa says it will be running unopposed. Some said the same of Colombia, but now there's word of another candidate, probably from Central America and to the Left. Que empienzan los juegos -- let the games begin. Watch this site.

 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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