of Three Leaders, Liberia Comes to Praise and Iran and Sudan to Bury the UN
Matthew Russell Lee at the UN
UNITED NATIONS, September
19 -- Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on Tuesday sung the praises of UN. To the
General Assembly, she thanked the "men and women of the United Nations Military
Mission in Liberia [who] have largely comported themselves well." The reference
was to sexual exploitation and abuse.
There are questions about UNMIL's role, or
lack of it, in Liberia's
breakdown, which has led the government to
call for vigilantes.
At a press conference Tuesday, Inner City Press asked President
about this, and about
UNDP reportedly not
paying wages due to Liberians. Video
She said that the vigilante comment
-- which was made by her Justice Minister -- has since been clarified, that the
call was for community groups to keep their eyes open and call police. Oh.
Meanwhile, at least two other high profile speakers at the UN on Tuesday took a
different approach. Iran's President delivered a detailed critique of the
current Security Council, saying that because of the veto rights of five
countries, the Council protects only the powerful, while "children are killed in
alleyways and streets." Notably, Iran's president and U.S. Senator Norm Coleman
have called the Security Council outmoded, a relic in need of expansion.
Sudan's president Al-Bashir Tuesday told reporters, "Everyone knows who is the
real power behind the transition to a UN force... It's an attempt to dismember
Sudan" and divide it into five pieces. Then, when asked about all those
demonstrating under a banner of "Save Darfur," President al-Bashir said that
"Zionist organizations organized the rallies." To that, one CNN reporter
followed-up, talking over Bloomberg and other media, until President Al-Bashir
opined that maybe CNN is part of the conspiracy as well.
Meanwhile, General Assembly spokeswoman Sainte informed Inner City Press that
the Thai prime minister had cancelled, with only an hour to spare, his
appointment to speak to the GA -- while the coup
goes on. And, Somalia was bounced from Wednesday into next week due to the
substitution away from the head of state, despite the
explosive attempt on his life. Tough crowd...
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