Flotilla Assault, UNSC Statement Leaves Vague Who Will
June 1 -- The UN Security Council adopted a vague
Presidential Statement at 2 am on Tuesday, in the wake of Monday's
assault by the Israeli Defense Forces on the flotilla to Gaza.
Afterward, Inner City Press asked first the new President of the
Council, Mexico's Claude Heller, then US Ambassador Alejandro Wolff,
what the provisions means. Their interpretations were entirely
Statement calls for an investigation which is "prompt,
impartial, credible and transparent." US Deputy Permanent
Representative Wolff told Inner City Press this means that Israel can
the other hand, only Council President for less than three hours,
said that it should be an independent investigation panel, named by
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Heller also told Inner City Press that
the PRST's reference to "the use of force" and "those
acts" were both directed at the Israeli military. But the US and
Israel, apparently, have another reading.
live-blogged the twists and turns of the day's Council action from
just outside it, here.
US' Alex Wolff, investigations by Ban Ki-moon not shown
Observer Riyad Mansour ended by saying the Arab Group
and the Non Aligned Movement will be lobbying S-G Ban Ki-moon.
Presumably the US will be lobbying the other way...
Ironically, the Non
Aligned Movement earlier this year lobbied Ban to say that he had no
authority to name a panel, even to advise himself, about
accountability for 30,000 estimated civilian deaths in Sri Lanka. Ban
has vowed that he will never the less name that panel, which he
announced on March 5. We'll see.
PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT ON THE RECENT INCIDENT IN THE EASTERN
Council deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries
resulting from the use of force during the Israeli military operation
in international waters against the convoy sailing to Gaza. The
Council, in this context, condemns those acts which resulted in the
loss of at least ten civilians and many wounded, and expresses its
condolences to their families.
Council requests the immediate release of the ships as well
as the civilians held by Israel. The Council urges Israel to permit
full consular access, to allow the countries concerned to retrieve
their deceased and wounded immediately, and to ensure the delivery
of humanitarian assistance from the convoy to its destination.
Council takes note of the statement of the UN
Secretary?General on the need to have a full investigation into the
matter and it calls for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent
investigation conforming to international standards.
Council stresses that the situation in Gaza is not
sustainable. The Council re-emphasizes the importance of the full
implementation of Resolutions 1850 and 1860. In that context, it
reiterates its grave concern at the humanitarian situation in Gaza
and stresses the need for sustained and regular flow of goods and
people to Gaza as well as unimpeded provision and distribution of
humanitarian assistance throughout Gaza.
Council underscores that the only viable solution to
Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an agreement negotiated between the
parties and re-emphasizes that only a two-State solution, with an
independent and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace
and security with Israel and its other neighbours, could bring peace
to the region.
Council expresses support for the proximity talks and voices
concern that this incident took place while the proximity talks are
underway and urges the parties to act with restraint, avoiding any
unilateral and provocative actions, and all international partners to
promote an atmosphere of cooperation between the parties and
throughout the region.
* * *
Council Meets on Gaza Ship Raid, Obama, Ban and Justice Put in
May 31-June 1, updated -- In the wake of Israel's commando raid on the
flotilla bound for Gaza,
the UN Security Council in New York went
into emergency session early Monday afternoon. Palestine's Permanent
Observer Riyad Mansour called it a massacre. Inner City Press asked
him what the Palestinian Authority expects from the Obama
administration, in light of their read out from Barack Obama's call
to Benyamin Netanyahu.
cautious statement," Mansour responded. Noting that Netanyahu
has canceled his trip to Washington, Mansour said this was out of
members also showed up. Sudan's Permanent Representative called Inner
City Press to the side. I have something to say, he insisted. "Israel
has written the communique of the International Criminal Court
meeting in Kampala," he said. Inner City Press pointed out that
Israel is not an ICC state party.
went into the Council without speaking, as did U.S. Deputy Permanent
Representative Alejandro Wolff. A reporter shouted out, "will
you support a PRST?"
for a Permanent Five member of the Council predicted a Presidential
Statement by the Council, later on Sunday. One can imagine the
language being negotiated back and forth.
Ship, with Turkish flag, UNSC outcome not yet shown
It was said that the UN's
Department of Political Affairs might given a briefing. Based on
what? UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is in Kampala, after having
sent his two most senior envoys to Sudan to the inauguration of Omar
al Bashier, indicted by the ICC. Watch this space -- we will live
blog from the Council stakeout.
1:41 p.m. -- a P-5 spokesperson emerges from the Council and says
the format has been decided on, 15 plus two, Israel and Palestine.
1:44 p.m. -- Turkey's Ambassador emerges. On way on stairs he's
asked, is there a Turkish draft PRST? "The Minister should
speak first," he said, "in half an hour's time." A P-5
spokesperson says the text has been "seen."
1:50 p.m. -- Turkey's Ahmet Davutoglu arrives with entourage. He
will do a stakeout for the Press after he speaks to the Council, a
1:57 p.m. -- the UNSC meeting on Gaza is beginning, chaired by
Lebanon on the last day of its Presidency. Israel and Palestine are
seated, DSG Migiro is on the house. UN DPA's Taranco begins briefing.
2:37 p.m. - as Davutoglu, UK & others speechify, search is on
for the PRST drafted this morning at the Egyptian mission, outside of
which the Ambassadors of Lebanon and Palestine emerged 1/2 hour
before the UNSC meeting.
2:47 pm -- France's Araud calls for investigation, and access
"under the Vienna convention" to those from the flotilla
imprisoned now in Israel. Also calls for meeting of the Quartet, to
lift the blockade of Gaza. UN part time envoy Tony Blair, where are you?
2:55 p.m. -- it has been noticed, by other journalists, that while
the UK and France are represented by their #1 Perm Reps, the U.S. #1
Susan Rice is not here. In DC, one reporter guesses, also noting her
May 27 speech at "Fleet Week" -- how about Flotilla Week?
of 3:21 p.m. -- Turkey FM Ahmet Davutoglu
describes PRST. Inner City Press asks if US on board, any interplay
with Iran sanctions? "2 separate cases," FM Davutoglu says. We'll see.
3:42 p.m.- Egypt's Ambassador calls for investigation, and action
"unlike on Goldstone report." But when asked about Egypt's
own blockage of Gaza, he says the Rafa crossing is not for
humanitarian aid, that is only up to Israel. Hmm...
4:05 p.m. - Council breaking until 4:30. Inner City Press asked
Syria Amb if any link to Iran sanctions. He says, Israel wants to
divert from the NPT...
4:30 p.m. -- beyond disputes about compensation, while the Turkish
draft, OIC and NAM call for international investigation, the US has
called for Israel to do the investigating -- not unlike
Ambassador Susan Rice and Hillar Clinton on Sri Lanka's self
Then again, the NAM opposed any UN panel on Sri Lanka. Double
4:38 p.m.-- in the consultations, it was said that a PRST would be
good, but that the way to proceed was "informal informals"-
that is, not even in the consultations room. So here we wait.
5:17 p.m. -- As Turkey and the United States negotiate a UN
Security Council Presidential Statement about the Israeli assault on
the Gaza-bound flotilla, the language is getting watered down. From
the "strongly condemn" proposed by the Turks, the First
Revised draft now speaks of "deeply regret." And it is the
"use of force" that is regretted -- which can be read as,
both sides' use of force...
5:36 p.m. - Also in US Rev 1 flotilla PRST, while investigation's
to be done in 30 days, it doesn't say #UN or non-Israeli
investigation. Can Turkey live with this?
5:54 p.m. - here as a public service, h/t LouCharb, is a photo of
Rev 1 of the flotilla PRST - www.innercitypress.com/gazarev1.jpg
6:46 p.m. -- inside the Council consultations, comparison is made
to last Western Sahara negotiations, which took 8 hours. This could
top it. Diplomats head out for food, reporters subsist on potato
chips from nearly empty vending machine.
7:53 p.m. -- Now French Ambassador Araud announces, a break until
9:15! A break from the break... Palestine's Riyad Mansour speaks of
something "between Rev 2 and Rev 3." Separate Sudan story to follow.
9:15 p.m. -- this is the time that they said. So far, Perm Reps of
Mexico and Brazil have walked by and in, and Israel's Danny Carmone
has walked out. Inner City Press asks a well placed Council member
spokesman, "So it's Wolff and the Turks?" He nods. An
outgoing Chinese diplomat tells Inner City Press, "Strange, the
whole world is outraged, but one country isn't. Watch that country in
the next few days."
9:45 p.m. -- Chinese dip to Inner City Press on #flotilla: "whole
world outraged, but one country isn't. Watch that country in next
days." And, they're waiting for call from DC, which is waiting
on another capital. Tel Aviv? He nods.
9:58 p.m. - not looking good. Rev 2, on which there was
preliminary agreement is no longer the basis for discussions. Int'l
inquiry? Mexican midnight?
10:35 p.m. -- Big lull on #flotilla PRST, & some dissing.
Visible in consultations room, UK Lyall Grant walking around like a
11:17 a.m. -- Palestine's Mansour says, down to a few words, US on
phone to DC, maybe by midnight, maybe after w/ Mexicans. Maybe,
maybe. It's what passes for news at this point.
11:21 -- a lot of interest in the effect of midnight on the UN.
They can "stop the clock" at 11:59, and just pretend that
it remains May. But that is unlikely, no reason to play with them
when a PRST is from the Council as a whole. Some UN TV staffers
reminisce that Perez de Cuellar was allowed to stay on some extra
hours to conduct a peace deal while Dick Clark was in Times Square.
There there's no news, there... history.
11:31 -- UK Lyall Grant leaves. "It doesn't seem to be very
close yet," he says. Going to bed? "I'll be back if
something happens." Put a fork in it?
11:56 p.m. -- Mexico UNSC Presidency minus four minutes and
counting. Will the ball or #flotilla PRST drop? Where is Dick Clark?
11:59 p.m. -- Palestine Mansour says we might see white smoke on
#flotilla PRST. 2 dips go for cigarettes. Lost in translation?
12:05 a.m. -- No action on #flotilla PRST, but Mexico's nameplate
and flag has been moved into position. UN efficiency.
12:30 a.m. -- Bosnia's Ambassador stares into space as if in an
airport, waiting for a flight delayed by an Icelandic volcano. The
political coordinator of another P-5 country has left for the night.
It's down to the P-1 Plus 1. 30 minutes into the Mexican president
and still no solution.
1:19 a.m. -- A Turkish journalist gets a text message from the
Mission inside: "there is still some hope." An American
indicates the same. Could it be?
1:23 a.m. - News flash (!) the doors to Council are closed. "They
are going into formal consultations and then they will come out."
Condemning or regreting? Israeli investigation? Watch this space.
1:28 a.m. -- UN DPI staff go in, who transcribe formal meetings.
Looks like the deal is done. But what is it? Watch this space.
1:35 p.m. -- a Lebanese journalist rushes out with the text,
shares only with Al Jazeera. "Condemns," he tells Press.
"Those acts." We'll see.
1:40 a.m. -- They are setting up in the Chamber, Amb Heller is
ready, bleary eyed journalists ready for questions after PRST is read
out, we'll see.
of 1:44 onward -- things moving too fast for blogging (!) turn to http://twitter.com/innercitypress
- for text and Q&A, 10-4
of 2:38 a.m. -- final PRST and analysis above