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Darfur War Crimes Statement Dies In Security Council, Called "Gutted" and Not Needed

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

UNITED NATIONS, December 7 -- With a whimper in the Security Council on Friday, a proposed statement on Darfur, supporting the call by International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo for Sudan to arrest two ICC indictees, died on the vine. Thursday it was said that China had asked for changes to the draft. Friday morning, a diplomat from another Permanent Five member of the Council said that China was "gutting" the proposed statement so much that their might be no statement at all.

    When Inner City Press asked Moreno-Ocampo about this, late Friday morning, he said that the statement was coming out soon, he'd been told. Sudan's Ambassador, on the other hand, told Inner City Press that the opponents of the draft included not only China, but also Qatar. South Africa, he said, would also be opposed, but as a state party to the ICC, felt a need to take a different position.

Moreno-Ocampo and Qatar's Ambassador: PRST not shown

            At one p.m., Council president Marcello Spatafora stepped to the stakeout microphone and spoke about Cyprus. After asking unsuccessfully if the issue of Northern Cyprus' "isolation" had been discussed in the Council, Inner City Press asked Amb. Spatafora about the status of the ICC statement. Amb. Spatafora read from notes that sounded suspiciously like a version of the draft statement. Video here. Inner City Press asked, so has the statement been adopted? No, Amb. Spatafora said, arguing that what Council members had said after Moreno-Ocampo's briefing had been "so clear" that no statement, it turned out, was necessary.  But why had one been proposed?

            Later, Inner City Press asked a Council diplomat if it would be fair to say that the draft had been so watered down that the initial proponents no longer wanted it. You got that right, the diplomat answered, insisting that this be not for attribution. And so it goes in the UN Security Council...

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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

  Because a number of Inner City Press' UN sources go out of their way to express commitment to serving the poor, and while it should be unnecessary, Inner City Press is compelled to conclude this installment in a necessarily-ongoing series by saluting the stated goals of the UN agencies and many of their staff. Keep those cards, letters and emails coming, and phone calls too, we apologize for any phone tag, but please continue trying, and keep the information flowing.

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

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

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