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Of Crimean Maps & W. Sahara Stakeouts, End of Luxembourg's Month

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 31 -- After a month as president of the UN Security Council in which Luxembourg's Ambassador to the UN Sylvie Lucas did 14 question and answer stakeouts, she hosted an end of presidency reception. Along with shrimp, champagne and for some, soda, there was talk of Crimea on the map, the EU and Africa and for April, Western Sahara.

  After an Arria formula meeting on Crimea that was closed to the press, video here, a not-yet Council member recounted how the UN Office of Legal Affairs has opined that the recent General Assembly vote, despite the 58 abstentions, means that Crimea will remain part of Ukraine on all UN maps. But for how long?

  Of the EU - African Summit, there was talk of South Africa's Zuma not going, and of Robert Mugabe's wife being blocked. The African Union position on Western Sahara arose, as UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous whispered with Morocco's Ambassador. Will Polisario be banned again from even speaking at the stakeout? The Free UN Coalition for Access opposes such restrictions and abuses of power.

  This will be decided in April under Nigeria's presidency; there will be a Rwanda event on April 16, and earlier in the month. And what on North Korea? Will there be any presidential statement?

 Earlier on March 31 Ambassador Lucas said seven resolutions had been adopted -- and one, on Ukraine and Crimea, was vetoed.

   Inner City Press had earlier asked the UN Spokesperson why the Crimea "Arria formula" meeting was not listed in the UN Media Alert, even though meeting organizer Lithuania had told the Free UN Coalition for Access there would at least be a question and answer stakeout afterward. There was one - but only of Lithuania's Deputy Permanent Representative.

  Inner City Press asked about Palestine and also about the Central African Republic.

  During March, the Mission of the Observer State of Palestine directed letters to Lucas as Council president, and a delegation of the OIC, NAM and the Arab League met with her. She said she conveyed that information, and it was discussed in consultations.

  But what really comes of it? US Secretary of State John Kerry is in Tel Aviv; the UN's role in these talks is unclear or non-existent.

  In the CAR, the Chadian special forces killed somewhere between eight and 30 civilians, while not being part of the MISCA peackeeping force. Lucas said she had read the reports, and understood that the Chadians were part of a team to evacuate other Chadians.

  So what happened? Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's 150 word statement does not answer. We aim to have more on this. Watch this site.


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