Blocks d'Escoto on Libya, Grumblings About Free Speech & Precedent
March 31 -- Barely an hour after Susan
Rice of the US said
Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann would find his tourist visa under review if
he purported to represent Libya or any foreign government at the UN,
Chinese End of Security Council Presidency reception
seven block south of the UN was abuzz about the standoff.
Representatives expressed shock to Inner City Press that d'Escoto
conference scheduled for March 31 at 10 am had so quickly been
canceled or “postponed.”
Press was told that the when
the UN Secretariat received the complaint, rather than point out that
other press conferences have been held by non diplomats they moved to
cancel Brockmann's “show.”
has gone too far,” a Latin American diplomat told Inner City Press.
“Maybe the UN should be moved to Brazil.”
Permanent Representative, this time of a country on the Security
Council, told Inner City Press about a Council credentials rule that
if a citizen of one country seeks to represent another, he or she
needs letters from both countries.
repeatedly now, is of an Irish national who was an expert working for
Austria when it was on the Council. He could not get a letter from
Ireland and so was not allowed in the Council, at least not for
Brockmann could easily get a letter from Nicaragua, and he has a
letter from Musa Koussa when he was Gaddafi's foreign minister,
before his reported defection.
Representative pointed out to Inner City Press that the Musa Koussa
letter is undated, and said the US and UN will use that.
D'Escoto & Ban, previously: March 30
reception & March 31 presser not shown
result is that
the US, by invoking immigration rules, “mocking” as one Latin
diplomat put it to Inner City Press its duties under its Host Country
Agreement with the US, is blocking the UN press corps from hearing a
perspective that the US doesn't like.
earshot of the Chinese hosts of Wednesday's reception, some mused
back to the case of Tiananmen Square activist Shen Tong, whom China
and then Boutros Ghali blocked from entering the UN to hold a press
correspondents protested and went (just) outside the UN's gates on
First Avenue to hear the canceled briefing. And at that time, notably,
the US is said to have sided with the right of the UN press corps to
invite and hear from whomever they wanted, inside the UN. Watch this
so many attendees commented on it, so will we: the food at
China's reception was amazing, from roast duck to fish spiced with
chiles. Afterward DVDs were given out about minorities in China.
Several Council observers praised China's diplomacy as President for
March, for example circulating two letters from Libya without
obsessing about where they'd come in from. Now Colombia takes over
for April; they are already preparing an end of April reception,
Colombian music at a museum. But we'll have more soon on their
program of work. Watch this site.
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Rice of US Says d'Escoto Can't
Represent Libya on a Tourist Visa
30, updated 6:50pm -- With former Nicaraguan foreign minister
d'Escoto Brockmann scheduled to give a UN press conference on March
then foreign minister Musa Koussa nominated
d'Escoto Brockmann as Libya's Permanent Representative to the UN,
Susan Rice of the US late on March 30 threw cold water on the
nomination and even the press conference.
that while d'Escoto Brockmann was born in the United
States, he previously renounced his US citizenship. She said he is in
the US on a tourist visa and, she argued, cannot represent any
country at the UN on such a visa.
validity of Koussa's letter, given reports that Koussa has defected
from Libya, and said that even if it were valid, d'Escoto Brockmann
would have to leave the US and re-apply for a G-1 visa.
such an application could be denied by the US -- despite its Host
Country Agreement with the UN -- just as Koussa claimed the US denied
a visa to recent nominee Ali Treki, who like d”Escoto Brockmann is
a former President of the General Assembly.
d'Escoto Brockmann is being allowed to hold a press conference in
the UN, since he doesn't represent anyone.
be fair, Inner
City Press notes the following: other former PGAs, like Srjan Kerim,
routinely come into the UN. In fact, former Libyan Permanent
Representative Shalgam and his deputy Ibrahim Dabbashi are still
allowed in on “courtesy” passes, and speak at the UN stakeout.
Inner City Press if a country can be represented by a non-national.
The ambassador of Palau, for example, is an American lawyer who
represented the country as it applied to join the UN. (He is married
to a woman from Palau).
Assembly's budget votes in December, several countries were
represented by non nationals, often New Yorkers who are drivers for
is told by UN sources that d'Escoto Brockmann was inside the UN
building on March 30, in a UN TV studio doing a two way interview to
Latin America. Does Ambassador Rice think that shouldn't have
that if d'Escoto purports to represent Libya while on a tourist visa,
he'll find that visa status reviewed....
Update of 6:50 pm -
now the UN's
Media Alert no longer lists any d'Escoto Brockmann press
conference for March 31, it's said to be "postponed." Watch this
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