On Gaza at UN, Western Placeholder Statement
Competes with Libyan Resolution, PRST Put Online Here
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News
January 7, updated -- With Gaza smoldering
from 12 days of bombardment, the UN Security Council's meeting resumed
Wednesday morning. Libya late
Tuesday said it would be calling for a vote for
its draft resolution. But Western members of the Council were
idea of a non-binding Presidential Statement, to give more time to what
called the Egypto - Sarkozy proposal, announced Tuesday in Cairo.
Press obtained a copy of the draft Presidential Statement, and in the
the Council's 3 pm consultations on the text is putting it online here. It
"welcomes the French - Egyptian plan" and says that the Council
"will take comprehensive action as Egyptian and other international
initiatives will materialize."
place-holder statement is seen by many as inadequate in response to the
of death and destruction being visited on Gaza.
France's Kouchner with Israel's Ambassador, ceasefire resolution
Wednesday afternoon, ministers
Miliband and Kouchner of the UK and France strutted in front of the
while US Ambassador Khalilzad was with Condi Rice in the UN's basement,
Arab ministers. UN Envoy Robert Serry, defender of Egypt among others,
out of a press conference to attend a Ban Ki-moon luncheon with other
ministers. Serry is slated to return to the region Wednesday night,
Ki-moon to follow next week. It was a struggle to be or be seen as
relevant. The Council's consultations loomed -- watch this site for
Update of 3:36 pm
-- Condi Rice has passed through
the stakeout, making a statement but taking questions on her way to
Ki-moon. As she leaves a reporter shouts, "Why are you opposing a
resolution?" A cameraman answers, "A resolution is not a
solution." Another jokes, "to pollution." The
media talk is why Associated Press had no
one at the Sarkozy's Egypt meeting, and had to follow-up hours late
story from the AP. Reuters and AFP are happy about that. Competition
everywhere. But who had the Presidential Statement first?
Update of 3:49 pm
-- an hour after Inner City Press
got and uploaded it, a Western Council member's spokesman emerges to
the draft statement. "The French - Egyptian plan" has been changed to
"the Egyptian iniative and the French mediation." Guess who tried to
put the word France first....
Update of 5:29 pm
-- France's Ripert emerged to say
that there is no unanimity on either their draft Presidential Statement
Libya's draft resolution. "See you tomorrow," he said. It emerged
that the Arab Group is meeting at 6 pm to decide how to proceed. Inner
Press asked Egypt's Ambassador to explain the Presidential Statement's
phrase, "the Egyptian initiative and the French mediation." What is
France's role? I can only speak for Egypt, he said, adding that even he
unclear on France's role.
course, left the stakeout microphone
without taking any questions. He then summoned an unwieldy press scrum
off-camera. Few could hear him. French diplomacy at its best, one wag
Later a spokesman for the Egyptian foreign ministry said that one of
options is for the Arab minister to leave New York with no text at all.
Security Council has such a bad reputation in our region, he said, it
to blame it for anything.
Update of 7:43 pm
-- Condi Rice, David Miliband and
Bernard Kouchner emerged from Conference Room 7 in the UN's basement
briefly at the microphone the UN had belatedly set up. They are staying
York to keep working, beginning with another meeting in the basement at
on Thursday. Later the UK mission pitched an on the record quote from
the world needs to hear the unified voice of the Security Council. Amre
came out later and said, there is work to do. An Arab Group Ambassador
Press to expect voting -- that is, on a resolution -- at noon on
Others demurred, predicting a stronger Presidential Statement than the
draft, followed by two days of waiting on the Egyptian initative. To be
for Inner City Press'
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