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At UN, Push by EU for Ashton Rights Countered by CARICOM & GRULAC, Delay

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 14 -- While the European Union was confident it would pass its resolution for special powers in the General Assembly on Monday, and then Tuesday at 10 am, the meeting was postponed to 11 am. Outside the GA hall, Inner City Press asked Ambassador after Ambassador what was going on.

Bolivia said that the EU was pushing too fast for a vote, and should done more consultations. An EU member's spokesman told Inner City Press, what? We started ten months ago. But, another Latin country told Inner City Press, now there is confusion.

An African Permanent Representative who began by saying he and his country “don't like to fight” -- they have a lot of other problems -- said the EU should show self restraint and not push for a vote.

The deadline for passage in this session of the GA is 1 pm; the first session of the new, Deiss run GA is at 3 pm. One of the EU's motives is to secure a prominent speaking spot in the General Debate for Catherine Ashton. Would she be head of state or head of government? Is it just personal ambition?

EU's Ashton in UNSC, General Assembly and Caricom not shown

Another ALBA Group member, while praising Inner City Press' Monday coverage, said “you missed the CARICOM story.” Various Caribbean Ambassadors came out of the GA last on Monday evening, but joked to Inner Cty Press that their confab was no EU related. That was not the case. GRULAC, too, is in the mix. Inner City Press asked, why not ASEAN? Watch this site.

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At UN, EU Resolution Stalled, Africans Oppose or Want Special Powers of EU

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 13 -- The European Union had been so confident they would have consensus in the UN General Assembly on Monday for a resolution giving them special powers in the GA. As Inner City Press has reported, there are questions of why the African Union and Arab League would not get the same powers. The EU claimed it dealt with these bilaterally.

  But once the item was called, the meeting was suspended for twenty minutes. Diplomats began to negotiate. Inner City Press set up on the green carpet in front of the GA and asked Permanent Representatives what was going on.

  A Central African Perm Rep told Inner City Press that “the EU will have to come back tomorrow, and they won't be able to sponsor resolutions in the GA.”

  The spokesman for a major European power scoffed when told this by Inner City Press. “We are only making a few small changes, so we can have consensus tomorrow.”

  But an Asian Deputy Permanent Representative confirmed to Inner City Press the African view: the EU will have to work through member states in most instances.

EU's Ashton in GA: African Union and Arab League not shown

  The AU and Arab League have leverage: while the GA will reconvene on this Tuesday at 10 am, if it is not approved by 1 p.m., two further resolutions would be required: to extend the 64th GA, and to push back the beginning of the 65th. Unlikely, a well placed UN staffer told Inner City Press.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander,” one African Permanent Representative told Inner City Press as the GA hall was being locked up. Ancient African proverb? Watch this site.

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At UN, Treki Says AU & Arab League Will Have Powers like EU, KFC Dodge

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 13 -- “I want General Assembly resolutions to be binding and respected,” outgoing President of the GA Ali Treki told the Press on Monday. Inner City Press asked Treki if he supports the European Union's proposal to get more power than the African Union or Arab League have in the GA. Video here, from Minute 16:06.

Treki said the EU request should not be rejected, but that the African Union and Arab League should get the same powers -- in the future. But when?

Inner City Press asked Treki about the PGA Office's budget of $280,000 which supports only four professional posts. Should these posts be allowed to be doled out entirely or even mostly to the PGA's own national? Video here, from Minute 32:15.

Treki, seeming to misunderstand the question, launched into an answer praising member states for cooperating with him. The seeming hearing problem may, however, have been intentional: when Inner City Press asked if a Treki family member had invited in the KFC Colonel Sanders impersonator, which led to the suspension of two UN Security officers, Treki twice acted like he hadn't heard the question.

First, Inner City Press joked that the question was about a Colonel, not Qaddafi but Sanders -- was Treki satisfied with the suspension of the officers?

Treki on his way in, KFC, Swiss list and revitalized GA not shown

 Since Inner City Press asked if Treki had been on a Swiss travel ban list of Libyan officials, Treki answered that question rather than KFC.

Treki said that was a thing of the past, that Libya and Switzerland have “now normalized their relations.” Inner City Press asked, have the UN and KFC normalized their relations? Video here at Minute 35:09.

Treki smiled and turned away. There are other issues. Watch this site.

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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...

 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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