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March 1, 2011: Libya

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On W. Sahara, EU Finally Speaks, Morocco Dodges Resources, of Kashmir, UK

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 10 -- After a series of ritualized speeches on the topic of Western Sahara, long promised by the UN a referendum on independence which has never taken place, a vague resolution was adopted on Monday, Columbus Day in the US, without a vote.

  One surprise was that the European Union, which did not speak in UN General Assembly committee last week due to a fight about how to identify itself -- as EU, EU and its member states, or member states of the EU -- did make a statement about Western Sahara.

  Another surprise, at least to some, was the countries like Democratic Republic of the Congo broke from the African Union position that Western Sahara should get its referendum. It was later explained that some Francophone members of the AU -- "under pressure from France," a long time AU insider told Inner City Press -- have shifted over to French favorite Morocco.

These countries, it was further explained, will go along and vote for Morocco over AU nominated Mauritania for a seat on the UN Security Council for 2012-13.

  While Moroccan Permanent Representative Loulichki strutted around the Decolonization Committee meeting room Monday with an entourage of testimony - carriers, Mauritania has been seen, "two diplomats with one cell phone," one observer put it, putting in calls to remind other countries of the AU recommendation.

  During the final pause in the Committee's proceedings for the day, occasioned by a broken voting machine, Inner City Press asked Mauritania's Permanent Representative if it's true Francophone African countries are going with Morocco.

  "Not all of them," he said hopefully, also asking Inner City Press if it had any polling data. The vote, of course, is anonymous and blind. Money talks.

South Africa's Deputy Permanent Representative Doctor Mashabane devote much of this speech to a call on member states to not engage in illegal exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara.

  It was on this topic that Inner City Press last week approached a senior member of the Moroccan delegation to the UN, seek a response to the New York Bar Association's scathing report on Morocco's sell-off of contested resources. Despite insults, no actual response has been been received.

Loulichki previously at UN, Monday he called it "Moroccan Sahara"

  Also a big part of the Decolonization Committee's proceedings were critiques of the UK, mostly on the Malvinas Islands (which the UK calls Falklands), but also Turks and Caicos, Monserrat and Gibraltar. After the Western Sahara vote, the UK rose to make its points - then was chided for claiming as "Right of Reply" what was really an "Explanation of Position." Oh.

India and Pakistan traded barbs about Kashmir, perhaps a preview of skirmishes in the Security Council in 2012, when Pakistan is seeking a seat opposed, late in the process, by Kyrgyzstan. Watch this site.

Footnote: In fact the voting never took place on Monday, due to the broken voting machine. (UN sources told Inner City Press that the voting system and the display.) The vote was rescheduled for Tuesday, when the Committee will also discuss... the peaceful uses of outer space. Only at the UN.

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Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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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