Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

As Tanks Roll Into Gaza, UN Council Meets, Fireworks at Stakeout

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, January 3, with updates -- With Israel's ground offensive into Gaza having begun, the UN Security Council began an emergency meeting on Saturday night. Libya on behalf of the Arab Group circulated a draft three-paragraph Presidential Statement calling to a ceasefire. The Council's new President, France's Jean-Maurice Ripert, was asked if he thought the draft was similar to the press statement read out last Saturday. There's a significant difference, Ripert indicated. The Libyan draft does not mention Hamas or rocket fire.

  UK Ambassador John Sawers said he would comment later. A US spokesman passed out a statement by Scott McCormack and said, "That's our bottom line." Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson went in with Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar, but Ban was not yet seen.

  The General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann appeared at the stakeout, fresh back from Nicaragua, and denounced the ground offensive and the "disfunctionality" of the Security Council. Inner City Press ask how he would review the performance of the UN Secretariat, a question which d'Escoto dodged by saying, "I do not speak for them." Then a representative of Fox News repeatedly asked questions about why d'Escoto is targeting Israel. A self-described Jewish correspondent asked about the terror in which Israelis live. A new columnist for the New York Post asked d'Escoto, "who invited you to the Security Council?"

France's Ripert feeds the press, fighting about balance not shown

  D'Escoto did not answer, but from the riser of TV cameras, an Arab journalist said, "It's none of your business." Then the Postie debated an Arab cable channel. The conflict had spread not only to the Security Council but to its stakeout and press corps. The ground offensive had begun.

Update of 7:50 pm -- As d'Escoto came out of the Council, he approached Inner City Press. "I'm going to take a rest," he said softly. Inner City Press asked him if he's spoken with UN rapporteur Richard Falk since he was barred from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. "We are in touch," d'Escoto said. "Do you know where he is?"


Brazil, d'Escoto whispered. And then he was gone...

Update of 8:38 pm - Council goes into recess to re-work the Libyan draft, Presidency indicating that reference to rockets will go in, and that d'Escoto was not invited to the consultations, "which technically do not exist."

  PGA d'Escoto's spokesman tells Inner City Press, on the record, that as PGA d'Escoto can go anywhere he wants in the UN, and that with 400 people dead and a military attack going on for one week, discussing whether to wait for an invitation" is ridiculous. He added,"Nothing's going to come out of the Security Council." 

 But during the recess, two Western Council member spokesmen said a statement is coming along, with extra issues to be included being arms smuggling, Palestinian reconciliation, humanitarian access and border crossings. We'll see.

Update of 8:57 pm -- The Sudanese Ambassador alleges, and the US indirectly confirms, that even a press statement is too much for Washington. All they want is for the French Ambassador to tell the press about the Council's views. "That's the lowest form of Council action," says Sudan's Ambassador. "It's no action at all." Call it, talking points to which the US acquiesces.  He adds that tomorrow Sunday, the foreign ministers of Libya, Morocco and Palestine arrive. On Monday, those of Saudia Arabia, Jordon, Yemen and Lebanon. Those of Egypt and Qatar are no longer coming, he says. The lowest form of action...

Update of 9:18 p.m. -- during the Council's redrafting lull we can report: President of the General Assembly d'Escoto when he went "uninvited" into the Council met with the Arab Group, which "rehearsed him" for next week, when the Group will take Gaza to the General Assembly if the Council does not act. They will meet again with d'Escoto after tonight's proceedings, whenever they end...

Update of 9:53 pm -- As Council drafts & Press in lull, here's Inner City Press grassroots video of Sudan's Ambassador to UN, on Gaza, US, Hamas -

Update of 11:02 pm -- so the Council "could not reach agreement," President Ripert says, alluding to a "strong convergence" for the bland points he read out. In the French version, he added that Nicolas Sarkozy is going to the region with an EU delegation. Inner City Press asked him, what *is* the EU position, since a Czech spokesman has called Israel's ground attack "defensive" and not offensive? Ripert says to ask the Czechs for the EU position. Some way to run an organization, or a Union...

Update of 11:07 pm - US Ambassador Wolff comes out to take questions, emphasizes Hamas rocket fire. Inner City Press asks him, since UNRWA's Karen AbuZayd said the killed police cadets only went to work for Hamas government because they had no jobs, were they legitimate military targets. I'm not going to get into specifics, Wolff says, blaming it all on Hamas. But what is a legitimate target?  To be continued. The Libyan Ambassador, speaking mostly in Arabic, predicts an open Council meeting on Monday.

Update of 11:30 p.m. -- in the penultimate stakeout interview of the night, Egypt's Ambassador denounces the UK for having alleged weapons smuggling from his country into Gaza. He says he will write a letter to UK Ambassador Sawers. Sudan's Ambassador speaks last, and only in Arabic. And it's a wrap.

Update of 12:28 a.m. Sun Jan 4 -- and this, according to the French mission, is what Council President Ripert said at the stakeout, the "elements for the press," the only outcome of the meeting:

"We had extensive talks on the situation in Gaza. I must tell you that there was no formal agreement. In my capacity of President of the Council, I have noted very strong convergences.

Serious convergences to express serious concerns at the escalation and the deterioration of the situation in Gaza and southern Israel.

 Serious convergences on a call for an immediate, permanent and fully respected cease-fire.

Serious convergences on a deep concern about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the need to ensure free access for humanitarian supplies and on a call on all parties to protect the civilian population.

Serious convergences on  a full support for the regional and international diplomatic efforts underway to help resolve this crisis.

Serious convergences on the urgent need for Israelis and Palestinians to continue negotiations for a comprehensive solution, as envisaged in Security Council resolution 1850."

  And after the meeting and the stakeouts ended, from within the Council came the sound of the final plays of the US National Football League wild card game between the Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers. There was cheering, and then the US spokesman emerged. He said to Inner City Press, "Chargers won." And that just about sums it up.

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

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -