Sri Lanka, UN Won't Be "Used" or Speak on Broken IDP
Promises or Elections
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 31 -- As the Sri Lankan government of Mahinda
Rajapaksa reneges on its commitment to empty the internally displaced
person camps into which it herded Tamils earlier this year, the
United Nations has had nothing to say.
by the UN and its Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that particular
attention will be paid to Sri Lanka, the UN has in the past week
repeatedly refused to answer questions about whether it has been
asked to provide election observers and whether it will.
the last in-person press briefing of 2009, on December 24, Inner City
Mr. Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky about the UN's vetting
of Sri Lankan soldiers as peacekeepers, and that it's "been
said in Sri Lanka that the former military head, [Sarath] Fonseka,may
be prosecuted for having said that those seeking to surrender were
shot, and I’m wondering whether the Secretary-General, who said he
is concerned about political openness, has any, is monitoring that
and has any comment on the number two presidential candidate being
threatened with legal prosecution."
UN Spokesman, rather
than answering, chided
Well, it would really help me if you gave me short, clear questions
that I can answer, because this was rather long and it’s difficult
for me to unravel exactly what your point is.
City Press: peacekeepers and Fonseka. The question is, is DPKO going
to vet the 700 new peacekeepers who are coming for participation in
war crimes? And does the SG have any comment on the number two
presidential candidate being threatened with legal prosecution?
Okay, so, on the first one, again I would need to find out more
details from DPKO because I do not know that. And on the second one,
that’s not something that we can comment on.
strange, since Ban Ki-moon following his visit to Sri Lanka in May,
including being sung to be interned Tamil children in the Vavuniya
camp, has said he will push for inclusive political dialogue in the
country. If the main opposition candidate, or his supporters, are
threatened with arrest, particularly for blowing the whistle on their
country's alleged war crimes, how can there be inclusive political
would assume that the UN would be able to say whether they will send
observers to the election set for late January. On December 28, Inner
City Press asked Ban's Spokesperson's Office, in writing
you confirm or deny that Sri Lanka has asked the UN for election
observers? If so, what is the response or when will a response be
given? It is reported that the EU will say "no," due to the
short time given for the request. Does the UN think the time given
answers were given to other, non-Sri Lanka questions that Inner City
Press posed -- for example, about the UN's use of peacekeepers from
Nepal -- Inner City Press visited the Spokesperson's Office. Mr.
Ban's Deputy Spokesperson said, on December 28, that she was working
on getting an answer to the Sri Lankan elections question.
in the three
days that followed, no answer was forthcoming. In the interim, Inner
City Press spoke with a well placed source in Mr. Ban's office, who
indicated that a request was received, but that the UN was not
inclined to send observers "to be used."
But then shouldn't
the UN say that on the record? This is the worst of all possible
worlds: allowing an already questionable election to take place
without UN observers, without even explaining why the UN decided, if
it has, not to send observers.
UN's Ban and Mahinda Rajapaksa, elections
observers and full IDP release not shown
December 30, Inner City Press asked the Spokesperson's Office in
writing, to comment on "that Sri Lanka is reneging on its
commitment, which the UN publicly welcomed, to empty the IDP camps."
More than 24 hours later, when the UN Spokesperson's Office closed
for a three day holiday, no comment was issued. The UN praised the
Rajapaksa's announcement, but had nothing to say when it was reneged
on, even when asked.
also on December 30 asked Mr. Ban's Spokesperson to respond to a
published critique that
Ki-moon has been too eager to meet with officials without ensuring he
gets something in return....There was no surprise when he was given
nothing—he had given up all of his leverage. Also, he has been
reluctant to speak out. And so, he is fighting many of these battles
with one hand tied behind his back and it is no surprise that he is
24 hours later, there has been no response. While some find it a
fitting on, at least on Sri Lanka and human rights, to 2009, we will
continue to follow these issues. Watch this site.
* * *
UN Weapons Expert Sues to Keep Job, UNMOVIC Cover Up Alleged, Gag Order
on Inner City Press Rejected
Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive
NATIONS, December 29 -- A Russian expert in weapons of mass
destruction, claiming retaliation for having exposed what she called
a United Nations cover-up of chemical weapons left over from Iraq, is
challenging the UN's termination of her employment at New Years.
who served the UN in Iraq, in New York and most recently on North
Korea and Iran, appeared Tuesday in a judicial proceeding in the
basement of UN headquarters, saying that if the UN lets her go, she
is in danger.
retaliation, and that her supervisor Thomas Markram had forced her to
remove the names of countries she worked on -- North Korea and Iran
-- from her job description and evaluation.
chief of UN
Disarmament Affairs' Weapons of Mass Destruction Branch, Gabrile
Kraatz- Wadsak, acknowledged that Mr. Markham had forced these two
countries names to be removed from Ms. Uktina's employment forms, but
said it was so no "bias"
would be perceived against the two countries.
went to the UN Ethics Office, which is ostensiblly in charge of
ensuring protection of whistleblowers. They simply referred her
elsewhere in the UN system, leading to the December 29 hearing.
the only media organization covering the hearing and case, first
questioned Ms. Utkina in 2007, when five vials of phosgene were found
in the closed down offices of the United Nations Monitoring,
Verification and Inspection Commission, (UNMOVIC). Story here,
a gag order was sought, Ms. Utkina alleged that UN "management
concealed six days" the vials.
disbanded in 2007, Ms. Utkina continued working in UN Disarmament, in
posts funded by the John D. MacArthur Foundation. (Testimony says $2
million was spent on a mere four posts in 22 months). Ms. Uktina
argues that it was discrimination and retaliation that she was made
to work on projects outside the scope of the MacArthur grant, such
that she is now being let go.
deputy of Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin
called the head of UN Disarmament, Sergio De Queiroz Duarte, asking
if Ms. Utkina could be kept on. Only if money could be found, Mr.
Duarte replied, according to testimony. Then a prospective donor
country -- left unidentified -- was approached, but did not come
Tribunal judge Memooda Ebrahim-Carstens asked Ms. Utkina if she
currently has an UN security. No, Ms. Utkina answered, but "Hans
Blix protected me." She added that she lives in an apartment
building -- which Inner City Press will leave unnamed -- where "eighty
percent" of the tenants work for the
UN, with security video cameras.
UNDT judges, notice to Press before sealing documents not shown
said that she could not get a job in the weapons field in Russia
because her husband is American, nor in the
United States because she is not a citizen. Her degree is as a
chemical weapons production engineer. What do you want me to do, she
asked, "put that on my Facebook?"
representative countered that the UN "can't give jobs for life."
He argued that Ms. Utkina's harm would not be irreparable, that it
could be compensated with money if she ultimately wins on the merit.
Ms. Uktina cited a medical procedure costing "three times as
much as [her] repatriation grant" and the possible need to
return half of the UN's $25,000 educational grant for her daughter.
hearing, after the UN Office of Legal Affairs representative pointed
Inner City Press out, a motion was made to prohibit Inner City Press
from reporting on the proceedings. Inner City Press opposed the
motion, noting that the hearing was listed as open and that the Ban
Ki-moon administration brags about the transparency of its new
internal justice system. (Click here
for a previous Inner City Press report
on a UNDT proceeding.)
separate orders to keep documents filed secret from the Press and
public, the judge agreed, but asked OLA to in the future make earlier
motions to bar the press. But the Press would need notice and an
opportunity to be heard, Inner City Press pointed out. We'll see.
* * *
in Guinea Bissau Offers Sanctuary to Coup Leader, Setting Precedent?
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 29 -- When an accused coup leader shows up
unannounced at the UN asking protection, does he get it? The answer
is yes. Monday in Guinea Bissau, former Rear Admiral Bubo Na Tchut
showed up at the UN. The government has expressed surprise that he is
there, and says it will arrest him.
noon, Inner City Press asked the UN whether the UN knew in advance he
would go there, and what the UN will do in response to government's
position that he should be arrested.
some hours later, that "he has asked for protection. We have
been in constant contact with the authorities in Guinea-Bissau in an
effort to resolve this situation peacefully and in accordance with
this mean he
will go (back) into exile? What is the UN's responsibility to turn
off an indictee to a host government? Or, separately, to the
International Criminal Court? This could be a test case, in a country
where there UN has an extensive and not uncontroversial role. Click here for a
previous Inner City Press article about
UN's Ban and Guinea Bissau's prime minister, coup
leader not shown
now, for the
Question regarding Guinea-Bissau
Inner City Press
Sent: 12/29/2009 4:52:19 P.M. Eastern Standard
your question as follows:
confirm the presence in the UN building in Guinea Bissau of accused
coup plotter Admiral Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchute, and state how he
got in, whether the UN knew in advance he would go there, and what
the UN will do in response to government's position that he should be
is the response:
Rear Admiral Bubo Na Tchuto arrived unannounced at UN premises in
Bissau early yesterday (28 Dec) and remains there at this time. He
has asked for protection. We have been in constant contact with the
authorities in Guinea-Bissau in an effort to resolve this situation
peacefully and in accordance with international law.
* * *
Sudan, UN Nods Disapprovingly at Ban's Turkmeni-Plans, State Media
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 29 -- When state media in the hermit state of
Turkmenistan published what it called the New
Years greeting of UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, complete with his promise to travel to
the country in April 2010, the UN had no comment.
on December 28 asked for confirmation of Mr. Ban's now published
travel plans. For security reasons, Inner City Press was told, the UN
only announces such plans a week in advance. But, Inner City Press
was told, most media rely on reports like Turkmenistan's.
So is the UN
saying Turkmenistan's state media breeched protocol by publishing
Ban's missive? To this, there was no answer. Therefore no reason
seek comment on the BBC's December 28 pick-up from Sudan's state
media SUNA, "Sudanese leader receives congratulatory message
from UN chief" --
December, 28 (SUNA): President of the Republic, Field Marshal Umar
Al-Bashir, received Monday [28 December] a written message from the
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, congratulating him on the
anniversary of Sudan Independence Day.
The UN Secretary General
UN adherence to its noble goals and values as a global platform in
all fields, pointing out that the contribution of the member states
and the commitment of the leaders to the countries to achieve goals
will enable the UN to confront the current challenges and establish a
peaceful world where any one will enjoy justice and well-being.
Source: Suna news agency
Khartoum, in English 28 Dec 09
leaders -- in these cases, an ICC indicted war criminal and the
former dentist of the Father of all Turkmen, Turkmenbashi -- got
holiday wishes from Ban? There was also no answer to this.
UN's Ban and Turkmenistan's President, New Years
greetings not shown
legitimization in Khartoum and springtime for Ban Ki-moon in
Ashkabat, a capital formed by the demolition of its former residents'
houses, largely by a French construction firm. On this we can rely?
Watch this site.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to visit Turkmenistan in April 2010
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will visit Turkmenistan in April 2010.
This was announced in the Secretary-General's New Year message of
congratulations to President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly
text of the message was published in today's central press...
* * *
Is Silent as Egypt Bans Press From Protest of UN in Cairo, Gaza
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 28 -- As protesters massed in front of the UN in
Cairo, Egyptian authorities blocked the press from covering the
protest or speaking to the protesters.
noon in New
York, Inner City Press asked the Office of the Spokesperson for
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, "does the UN have any comment on
Egyptian authorities barred the press from filming or speaking with
people in front of the UN facilities in Cairo engaged in a protest
regarding the Gaza Freedom March?"
having heard nothing back, Inner City Press went to the
Spokesperson's Office for an answer to this and other questions. The
deputy spokesperson asked, which UN building, and indicated that
there would be no UN response.
UN's Ban and Egypt's Mubarak, freedom of the
press to cover protests at UN not shown
17, Inner City Press asked an organizer of the Gaza Freedom March
about Egyptian policies, and whether the UN is going enough. Video here,
from Minute 28:30.
was generally that "the UN
should play a stronger role" (this included in Afghanistan,
another of Inner City Press' questions). Video here,
December 28 request for comment, for the record, was not about the
Gaza Freedom March in general -- the UN has already no commented on
that -- but about a host government interfering with freedom of the
press to cover a protest in front of the UN. The silence, then, is
all the more striking. Watch this site.
* * *
UN, Final Night Falls on Budget, of Scales, Bahrain and Human Rights,
Live Blogging Budget from UN
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 23-24, updated
-- As the UN budget process moved into what
should be its final night, Permanent Representatives milled around
basement Conference Room 8, amid cigarette smoke and furniture set to
be moved out the next morning.
issues on which Inner City Press has so far exclusively
the requests by Bahrain and Bahamas to pay less, and India's
opposition to upgrading a human rights post -- the issue was when
how to review the scales of assessment.
countries in the Group of 77 demand no review for the next three
years. Western countries and other some others, who feel their ox is
gored, are pushing for faster review.
delegation, for example, point out that they pay "over fifty
percent of Latin America," even after suffering swine flu and a
decrease in tourism.
Group of 77,
which fell into some disarray during the climate change talks in
Copenhagen, remains united in the UN Budget committee. They have
thrown their weight behind Bahrain and the Bahamas, who are predicted
to prevail in being dropped in peacekeeping assessment from Category
B to C, with a 7.5% discount.
objections that human rights are being conflated with supporting an
upgrade of a post, it is suggested to Inner City Press that "India
will back down."
General Assembly Ali Treki has already met with Ambassadors, then
retreated to his second floor office. One of his advisors remains in
the basement, glad handing the chairman and secretary of the Budget
Committee. There was talk of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who stayed
hidden throughout the first budget vigil of his Secretary Generalship,
waiting in the wings.
UN's Ban and Treki at another meeting, this year's
budget not yet shown
delegation, beyond their long time bow tied representative, Alejandro
Wolff is in the basement, there's no sign of Susan Rice. Inner City
Press asked Ambassador Rice earlier on Wednesday for the U.S. view on
the budget, if she is satisfied with her Mission's level of
involvement, and whether like at least her last two predecessors she
believes the UN budget is too piecemeal, not transparent enough.
replied that of course she is satisfied with her Mission's
performance, and that the U.S. is very involved in making sure
Missions get enough resources. But what about the when to review the
scales of assessment? More fundamentally, what about the piecemeal
budget process in which "add ons" comprise more than $1
billion? More blogging to follow: watch this space.
Update of 7:27 p.m. -- the basement is still full of
Ambassadors, but UN TV keeps showing live shots of the empty General
Assembly chamber upstairs, in front of which four Security officers are
posted. In the cafeteria, the chairs and tables are being carted away.
Some the basement furniture, too, will be on the move. An African
Ambassador stops to tell Inner City Press that "the PGA would be wise
to re-schedule the plenary for 10 a.m. tomorrow."
of 7:45 p.m. -- in the Delegates Lounge, Deputy Permanent
Representatives are lifting a glass on the last, or next to last,
night of the UN bar. "They're at the level of Perm Reps down
there," one tells Inner City Press. "Let them earn their
of 8:10 p.m. -- even countries' Budget Committee experts are no
longer in the loop. "My Ambassador is in there," one tells
Inner City Press, gesturing at the entrance to Conference Room 8.
"But I don't know where things stand."
Inner City Press has dug into who it would be, who would get the
upgrade to ASG level from D-2. It's American Jessica Neuwirth, whom
Inner City Press questions on camera in April, vidoe here
40:05. One UN human rights expert has expressed disgust at the way
the Secretariat has tried to upgrade the post, a promotion through
the budget process. Only at the UN.
of 8:26 p.m. -- an Inner City Press source emerging from Conference
Room 8 says they are discussing the scale of assessments for
peacekeeping, with the U.S., Japan and EU opposing the G-77's push to
move Bahrain and Bahamas from Classification B to the discounted C. The
news: there is a proposal to abolish Classification C....
of 9:21 p.m. -- the crowd outside Conference Room 8 has grown;
President of the General Assembly Ali Treki has descended again, and
still to no avail. Inner City Press is asked: why are you the only
media here? Later a camera crew comes. But they are covering neither
scale of assessments nor human rights. They are here, it seems, by
mistake, asking Treki about the UN tribunals for Rwanda and
Yugoslavia. Inner City Press asks the crew: did he say anything
useful or useable? No, is the answer. Will the results in Conference
Room 8 be any better or more authentic? Or is this all just theater?
of 9:34 p.m. -- a PGA staffer tells Inner City Press that a deal is
near on Bahrain and Bahamas. He calls it a "transitional
arrangement" from Classification B to C. Classification C, he
says, was set up as a compromise in 2000 under then U.S. Ambassador
Holbrooke, as a way to "shut up" Kuwait, the Emirates and
Singapore, so Holbrooke could bring about some other reduction.
Another diplomat marvels at how little the U.S. Mission says now.
"When Rice is not in New York, you don't hear anything," he
says. "The others used to be allowed to talk. Now they are not."
Ambassadors strain in the doorway of Conference Room 8. It is
untransparent, but something is afoot.
of 9:42 p.m. -- in the corner by Conference Room 4, U.S. deputy
Alejandro Wolff speaks with G-77 members. Afterwards, Inner City
Press is told by G-77 that Bahrain and Bahamas will be put into
Classification C, with its 7.5% discount, for three years. What about
the human rights liaison upgrade to ASG? G-77's chair in New York
scoffs. Why do we need another
useless ASG? We will vote with India!
of 9:47 p.m. -- a crowd comes out of Conference Room 8, with shouts
of "Conference Room 4! We'll go to Conference Room 4!" It
is the Group of 77, almost 77 of them now, going to plan strategy.
"It's percolating," a G-77 member in Classifaction C tells
Inner City Press. "Like the coffee."
of 9:54 p.m. -- while the G-77 and EU consult, Inner City Press has
received the following predictions from perhaps the best placed
source: India will NOT call for a vote on the human rights liaison
upgrade to ASG, even though "Navi Pillay has not made the case
for the upgrade." The argument has become that there are six or
seven "development" USGs in New York, and none for human
Israel WILL call for a vote opposing the Goldstone report follow up.
But a Middle Eastern source says Israel does not have support from
the usual places for this. Nonetheless, a vote is predicted.
predicted to back down on calling for a vote on Roed Larsen's
mandate. This is perhaps wishful thinking by the source. He is
correct, however, in diagnosing that unresolved political issues rear
their head in the budget's eleventh hour.
of 10:27 p.m. -- Finally, there are numbers. How much would the
Permanent Five members of the Security Council have to pay, if
Bahrain and Bahamas are allowed to shift down from Classification B
to C? $300,000, is the answer from one of the P-5. 50% or so to the
U.S., 15% each to France and the UK, the rest Russia and China.
principle of the thing!" the P-5, as well as Japan and others,
say. But principle left the station in 2000, which the artibrary
Classification C was set up to solve some other political problem.
Yamasaki is now down in the basement. Inner City Press asks him "what
for." He agrees that "the scales" are up to the member
states. But so it is the ASG upgrade? The Goldstone report follow up?
asks Israel's representative: will you call for a vote? They say you
are threatening to do so. He replied, "It is not a threat. And
it is more than a follow up." And so that train, too, has left
of 10:35 p.m. -- in this micro issue, of $150,000, stop the presses.
Inner City Press asks the P in the P-5, "if Bahrain and Bahamas
are reduced, does it cost you $100,000 or $150,000?" The answer
is, "It's not sure that Bahrain and Bahama will be reduced." Could be a
of 11:10 p.m. -- the word is, Bahrain and Bahamas will get moved to
Classification C, but not in the resolution. Rather, they will get a
letter of guarantee from the President of the General Assembly. On
the overall scale of assessments, Russia has made a new proposal. But
G-77 is not backing them up: every country for themselves, it's up to
you. Everyone is eating pizza and waiting for another paragraph to be
of 11:17 p.m. -- Russia, it's said, has some supporters, including
Mexico and Kazakhstan. But not enough supporters...
of 11:38 p.m. -- amid talk of an "agreed scenario,"
Ambassadors huddle in front of Conference Room 7: Sudan and
Singapore, the U.S. and UK. This is how deals are cut at the UN.
Update of 11:59
p.m. -- from within Conference Room 8, some clapping. A delegate
emerges and tells Inner City Press, "It's done. In 45 minute, committee
vote in Conference Room 3." (After that, there'll be a wait for
translation before the full General Assembly.)
But even as
typing this up, Inner City Press asks Kazakhstan's Ambassador: are you
happy with how the Russian proposal has been addressed? No, is the
answer. We will be putting it to a vote. We are not happy.
She is eating La Vache Qui Rie
cheese on Breton crackers. The room is full of smoke.
of 12:10 a.m. -- Mexico clarifies that it previously supported
Russia's one year proposal, but fell away when Russia changed it into
a proposal about market exchange rates. Now, alongside Kazakhstan and
some others, Ukraine (Mexico says) is supporting Russia's position.
Inner City Press a thumbs up, it's done. There will be at least two
votes called for. And there is more to be said, not only about the
budget. But budget first, in this space, when the Fifth Committee
of 12:45 a.m. -- Delegates stand in line in Conference Room 3,
waiting to get their copies to vote on. A European representative,
saying "good night" to Inner City Press, explains that her
mission works the budget in three shifts. The skeleton crew is coming
in for the vote.
asked the Committee chairman, Peter Maurer of Switzerland, how many
countries he thinks will vote along with Russia. I don't know, he
says. You will see.
of 1:09 a.m. -- finally, the two scales of assessment resolutions are
distributed. The peacekeeping scale says, in paragraph 16, that the
GA "recognizes the concerns raised by Member States, including
Bahrain and Bahamas, regarding the structure of the levels."
Both have been assured they will get a side letter from the President
of the General Assembly. Inner City Press asked at the document
window, but where's the Russian amendment? The response: that's a
different story. Still the curtain that covers the voting board has
not been drawn back. But Maurer has gaveled the meeting to order.
of 1:13 a.m. -- the first items called by Maurer are the
international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former
Yugoslavia. Jun Yamasaki speaks on changes in rates of exchange.
of 1:22 a.m. -- Maurer asks again and again, are there any comments?
Are there any objections? I see none, it is so decided. Does any
delegation wish to make a statement after the adoption of the draft
resolution? Eritrea's seat is empty. We will be writing about their
speech outside the Security Council (much) earlier today. And now
India is taking the floor.
of 1:24 a.m. -- India says it proposed to maintain the liaison at D-2
level. I would like to keep this on record. "I find it difficult
to accept.. Human rights and Human Resources management tool... This
needs to be understood... We are moving this amendment... this is not
about nurturing human rights... this is budgetary.... without
prejudice to our positions on several aspects to human rights...
Human rights is one for the GA... I need to remain most delegates
here... a job, an assignment, a protocol job in the real sense of the
term... why is there a need to upgrade... cannot attend meetings...
surely, simple expeditious answers, tell the USG to give all area
of 1:28 a.m. -- "India's commitment to multilateralism... we
have been participating.... fully aware it's 1:30 a.m., one and a
half hour beyond when we should have completed our work... without
wishing to make matter divisive... I wish to inform you, we would not
wish to press for the amendment we had mentioned earlier in the day
And so it is adopted, without amendment. There is applause.
of 1:36 a.m. -- now Israel is calling for a vote on the
Goldstone report. A/64/7/L.3 of ACABQ about the Goldstone report. "As a
matter of principle... we cannot support... established with
favor 136, against 2, abstain 3. Guatemala says it made a mistake,
wants to be green.
U.S. has voted in favor of part 5... The U.S. supports creation of
expert on Sudan, DPRK and Myanmar... Somalia... We will not reiterate
our views, it does not change our view of the report.
of 1:45 a.m. - now Russia is speaking, "despite all efforts...
we have not been able to achieve a consensus on scale of assessments
for the regular budget... this draft does not take into account the
views of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and others...
fluxuations in currency rates, over-estimates... Russian federation
is submitted its own amendment to paragraph 6...
of 1:49 a.m. -- this table is the same as Russia distributed in Room
5 on December 1.... Now Kazakhstan is taking the floor, excusing
Maurer for calling her "sir," "it's 2 a.m.," she
says. The mic is not working. "Sabotage," Maurer jokes. She begins in
of 1:52 a.m. -- she says Iraq is given special treatment, "that
is understandable," why would poor Kazakhstan as a developing
country have to pay this... I propose that the proposal of the
Russian federation, we put it to a vote today... We support it, the
amendment to item 136..."
of 1:55 a.m. -- Japan says the agreement is for scales to remain the
same for three years, with review "urgently." Japan urges
opposition to the Russian amendment.
of 1:59 a.m. -- Ukraine, which Maurer called "The Ukraine,"
says it supports Russia's amendment not because it benefits Ukraine,
but because it's right. Now Sweden, on behalf of the EU: "against the
proposed amendment by the Russian federation."
of 2:04 a.m. -- Russia loses, 22-85-27. Russia's supporters include
Nicaragua and Venezuela, Laos and Mongolia , Serbia, Qatar, Myanmar
and so forth. Afterwards Russia notes that this is not a consensus
resolution. Belarus trashes the Committee on Contributions as biased.
of 2:07 a.m. -- looking back at the Goldstone vote, now that the voting
sheet has been released, when you take
away Guatemala's erroneous vote, Israel has only three abstainers in
support, and these are surprising: Cote d'Ivoire, Cameroon and Benin.
of 2:09 a.m. -- on scale, Maurer reads out it is the understanding of
the Committee that Bahamas and Bahrain will be treated as Category C.
And there are no comments -- except Bahamas, which wants to thank its
of 2:13 a.m. -- Sweden says the EU accepted the Chairman's proposal
on the peacekeeeping scales -- that is, the letter from the PGA to
Bahrain and Bahamas.
of 2:15 a.m. -- Maurer says it's over, come to the GA. He thanks the
bureau. "it's not the moment to get philosophic... to GA and then sleep
before daylight starts."
of 2:17 a.m. - Mosves congratulates Paul, 17 years serving the 5th
committee, there is applause. 35 minutes gap before the GA.
of 2:41 a.m. -- in the Delegates Lounge, there are drinks and
congratulations. Mosves says he is the only Committee secretary allowed
in to the most sensitive negotiations, because he has no position, only
wants to help them get where they want to go. Other committees are not
binding, he said. In the 5th it must be by consensus. He tells a PGA
staffer, see I brought it in earlier than last year, when it was 8:01
a.m.. The staffer later scoffs. USG Angela Kane has headed off,
no need to wait for the GA. Will Russia raises its issue again in the
GA? Inner City Press is told no. Israel will, yes. With only
of 3:12 a.m. -- Ali Treki gravels the meeting to order. In the TV
booth, there are no headsets for translation. It sounds like he is
of 3:17 a.m. -- underneath TV booth 14 there are many empty seats in
the GA. Comoros, DRC, Lesotho, Paraguay... Not voting in the Budget
committee earlier tonight (or this morning) were, among others,
Belize, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic and
Chad. The Comoros, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea and Eritrea.... and
on from there.
of 3:34 a.m. -- after the resolution criticizing Myanmar's human
rights record passes 86-23-39 (Norway asked that it's vote be changed
to yes), the Solomon Islands speaks up to say that due to pressure it
is changing its position from that in the 3d Committee.
Another change: on Israel's vote, the DPRK (North Korea) abstains, in
seeming support of Israel -- or simply against any human rights mandate
of 4:07 a.m. -- the Kazakhstan Ambassador brings it to a close, be
well, be happy, be lucky!
The voting screen depicts a green and orange Christmas tree.
of 4:14 a.m. -- the Japanese delegates are still at their GA table,
talking on their cell phones.