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At UN, Of Elusive Security Council Reform, EU Special Powers & GA Revitalization

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 13 -- Libya's Ali Treki has overseen the past year's UN General Assembly, which in its concluding session this afternoon will consider a resolution to give special powers to the European Union, some GA revitalization and Security Council reform. What do these proposals mean?

The EU believes it deserves the right, in the GA, to propose resolutions and participate as if a member state. But then why allow each EU state to also participate? Why not give these rights to the African Union as well?

The EU says its Lisbon Treaty sets it apart from the AU. Ah, exceptionalism. Sources tell Inner City Press that while when the African Union goes as a group to the EU, they express opposition, African states are being picked off one by one. It's happened before.

The GA Revitalization resolution, in a provision little noticed except by Inner City Press, would require candidates for Secretary General to come to the GA and make their case, against competitors. Many hope it will apply to Ban Ki-moon, in his quest for a second term.

Security Council reform, as usual, is going nowhere. Each major candidate for a permanent seat has a natural enemy, and the Permanent Five are unlikely to ever give up power. They can say they support change, because they know it will never happen.

Ashton of EU, special powers not yet shown

The GA is supposed to orally direct that the SC reform process continue. Inner City Press previously asked the coordinator of the process, Afghanistan's Ambassador Tanin, who was paying his Danish staffer Jonas.

The answer given was murky, but now we can report: at first Jonas was paid directly by the Danes. Then he was made a JPO, a Junior Professional Officer, paid by the UN with Danish money. Tanin's other helper, it is less clear.

Questions are arising about the staffing practices of incoming GA President Joseph Deiss, including Inner City Press' initial scoop of Deis having to promise Finland a UN-funded post in order to squeak past Belgium's Louis Michel and get the Western Europe and Other Group nod for the PGA position. More on this to follow -- watch this site.

Footnote: Treki will hold a press conference at 12:30, billed as his final one. But he will stay on to co-chair the MDGs summit, and is expected to speak again at that time. There are questions...

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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....

* * *

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.

 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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