Pro-Poor Talk and a Critique of the World Trade Organization from a WTO Founder:
In UN Lull, Ugandan Fog and Montenegrin Mufti
Matthew Russell Lee at the U.N.
UNITED NATIONS, June
8 -- The chairman of BP / British Petroleum on Thursday
high cost of remitting money from poor people to their relatives as "a horrific
indictment of the financial system."
Kofi Annan's point-man on migration and founding director general of the World
Trade Organization, also conceded that the poor are ill-served by the WTO's
dissonant treatment of goods and people. Nations accede to the free movement of
goods and increasing services, but restrict those who must travel in search of
work or other improvement.
might make member states be as open to people as goods and services, Mr.
Sutherland responded both that there are economic benefits and that it is
inexorable, given most of the developed world's declining birthrate. Thus
the briefing ended,
but there were ever yet more question some quite concrete. In Russia for
example, with its dwindling population, much of the construction work is done by
migrants from Central Asia. Uzbek immigrants live in sheds, subjected to
shakedowns under threats of deportation. The use of migrant labor may well be
inexorable, but the fair and humane treatment of migrants is not.
Mr. Sutherland & S-G
recent UN migration report's author, Hania Zlotnik, was asked about this outside
the briefing room. She recounted recently watching an old Public Broadcasting
Corporation documentary about Chicago, in which Eastern European immigrants were
exploited but now have even power. She reported that on the substance of
migration, the United States is not being a problem -- only on the issue of the
upcoming forum and its timing. In the wake of Wednesday's John Bolton - Mark
Malloch Brown dust-up, the U.S. position on migration was not mentioned in the
The U.S. was the
elephant in the (briefing) room, as it is on the issue of the funding of the
warlords in Somalia. On that, Ambassador Loj in the morning predicted a Security
Council briefing, which occurred, leading to a more formal presentation from
Francois Lonseny Fall, now slated for June 19. Whether he will take questions is
not yet known. On Thursday, incoming General Assembly president Haya Rashed Al
Khalifa was slated to speak with the press, and then decided not to at the late
minute. Speaking in depth, not in Room 226 but rather in the UN Correspondents
Association, was the Grand Mufti of Bosniak and Albanian Muslims in Montenegro,
Rifat Fejzic, who painted a positive picture of the treatment of the Islamic
community in what's slated to be the 192nd member state. He estimated that there
are 150,000 Muslims in Serbia itself, not including Kosovo.
Balkans observer was surprised at the Grand Mufti's upbeat take, contrasting it
to the Bosnians. He referenced a Balkan proverb, that one who is bitten by a
snake becomes afraid of a lizard. Independence via referendum and not bloodshed
means that lizards can be addressed without fear. The Grand Mufti said that
French officials have approached him, for information on how to bring about a
more hierarchical organization of Muslims in France. How this will work out is
something of a lull at the UN on Thursday. The Secretary General urged reporters
to put the speech story behind them, advice echoed by the forthcoming lame duck
General Assembly president at a four-minute
East Foyer stakeout.
John Bolton was in London; his Security Council colleagues were in Sudan, from
that Joseph Kony's deputy Vincent Otti will be participating in talks with South
Sudan and even Uganda. Since Mr. Otti has been indicted by the International
Criminal Court, at noon the
question was raised,
should Mr. Otti be arrested? Near press time the new member of the Spokesman's
Office team courteously disclosed that the Otti report could not be confirmed,
and thus there'd be no comment. The question remains: should South Sudan arrest
Mr. Otti? Time will tell the answer.
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