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Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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As UN Authorized Bombs Drop on Libya, UN Silent on Who Notified Ban

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 19 -- As more than 100 missiles rained down on Libya on March 19, it was a surprisingly quiet Saturday in and around the UN in New York, where the air strikes were authorized on March 17.

  In front of the Libyan Mission on 48th Street there was a single police officer. There were two guards in front of the US Mission, and the UN Spokesperson's office was closed, not answering e-mail questions from the Press.

  This is surprising given the role give to the UN and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Security Council resolution 1973, adopted on March 17 with ten votes in favor, five abstentions.

  Countries are only authorized to “take all necessary measures” including Cruise missiles “to protect civilians” if they have “notified the Secretary General,” under the resolution's Operative Paragraph 4. The same is true, with the addition of notifying the Arab League, for enforcing the no fly zone or flight ban under Paragraph 8.

  So one would expect the Secretary General or his Spokesperson's Office to be able to answer questions, including about which countries have provided notifications. But Ban's Spokesman Martin Nesirky did not answer e-mailed questions, and an early evening visit to his office found it locked shut. This Deputy Farhan Haq, his e-mail auto responder days, is out of the office until March 22.

  Ban & Nesirky, answers about Libya prior notifications not shown

Inner City Press has asked

Given the language of UNSC Resolution 1973, please immediately disclose which Members States have “notified the Secretary General” under Operative Paragraph 4 before taking “all necessary protect civilians,” and under Paragraph 8 (flight ban), and all “coordinating” done by the Secretary General.

Was Mr. Al-Khatib in Paris; either way, what did he say? When will he file UN financial disclosure? Does he continue his private business including with Jordan Ahli Bank? Has the UN considered if this may present a conflict of interest?

Please state when the Secretariat last heard from Libya's Ali Treki, or from the Gaddafi government about presenting his credentials.

Treki is reported to be in Tunisia; he may seek to present his credentials to Ban as Libya's Permanent Representative to the UN. (Previously, Libya's Ibrahim Dabbashi told Inner City Press Treki was in Cairo.) If Ban accepts Treki's credentials, Shalgam can no longer be Permanent Representative, and the same would seem to apply to Dabbashi. What will Ban do?

Footnote: with so much talk about revitalizing the UN being a goal of the Obama administration and Ambassador Susan Rice, this silence at and from the UN should draw some reaction. But the US got what it wanted, the 10-0-5 vote, and has moved on, leaving a disputed narrative of its domination of the Security Council, particularly South Africa, in its wake.

  But now the African Union, which did not attend the Paris summit, is calling for a a stop to the “assault ON Libya.” More diplomacy needed? Watch this site.

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Gadhafi Premier Asks UN's Ban to “Intervene to Avoid Bombing,” China's Li Tells Inner City Press, Germany Stood Out

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 18 -- In front of the UN Security Council late Friday afternoon, Chinese Permanent Representative Li Baodong, the president of the Council for March, told Inner City Press he had just gotten a call about Libya and Resolution 1973 from the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.

  Li told Inner City Press that “Libya's new premier, [Al-Baghdadi] Ali Al-Mahmoudi, told [Ban] Libya will implement resolution 1973, ceasefire. He asked the Secretary General to intervene and avoid bombing, which would cause civil war, cause blood shed, killing.”

  Had Ban's call to Li as Security Council president asked for bombing to be avoided? Li answered that “the Secretary General told him remarks are positive but they must be verified... The Libyan invited observers from any party.”

  Inner City Press asked Li what he thought of the resolution and events since it was was passed, with abstentions by China and four other countries: Russia, India, Brazil and Germany.

  “At least this is a ceasefire, a step in right direction,” Li answered. “But you've got to have a ceasefire by both sides.”

Li Baodong & Ban last month, Resolution (1973) not shown

 Inner City Press asked Li if he had been surprised that there were five abstentions. “A little bit surprised,” he said. “I thought four.”

  Was it Germany that surprised you, Inner City Press asked.

  Li Baodong nodded. “The Germans this time showed strong leadership,” he said. “Their standing up, standing out, will gain a lot of respect.”

  The Security Council meeting were long over. There was almost no one else around. “Have a good weekend,” Li Baodong said, and left. We'll see what happens in Libya. Watch this site.

* * *

At UN, As Libyan Resolution Passes With Five Abstentions, Half Answers by Lebanon & Dabbashi, Rice Chats with Sudan

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 17 -- The Libya resolution passed the UN Security Council Thursday evening with ten votes in favor and five abstaining: Russia, China, Brazil, Germany and India.

  Russia said that its ceasefire proposal had the support of “a number of (Council) members,” and that its questions on the resolution just adopted remained unanswered. What are the limits of the use of force? He said if things go badly, it will be the responsibility of those who use force.

  Brazil's Permanent Representative said her country is sensitive to the call of the Arab League for a no fly zone, but that the resolution in Paragraph 4 went beyond it.

  Germany's Permanent Representative Wittig also said that military force carries risks that have been under estimated.

India through its Deputy Permanent Representative criticized the whole resolution, saying the Council should have waited for the report of Ban Ki-moon's envoy Al Khatib, and that sanctions may hurt the Libyan people.

After the vote, Inner City Press asked Libyan diplomat Ibrahim Dabbashi to respond to India's statement about the sanctions hurting Libyans. Dabbashi's response was only that the resolution does not allow foreign occupation.

Inner City Press asked Dabbashi about the possibility at some point of UN peacekeeping mission. No, Dabbashi that, not that. He said it's the Libyan people against Gadhafi.

Lebanon's Permanent Representative took questions, and Inner City Press asked him about the critique of some of the abstainers that the resolution went beyond what the Arab League has asked for. He replied that the Arab League only spoke about a no fly zone. Exactly.

Susan Rice took a few questions then it was “last question.” Since she had said Gadhafi had lost legitimacy by attacking his own people, Inner City Press asked, “What about Bahrain... and the crackdowns there?” These have included attacks on hospitals, blatant violations of international law.  But Susn Rice was gone.

Footnote: Before she spoke at the stakeout, Susan Rice was speaking with a Sudanese diplomat from Khartoum. Inner City Press is seeking the US read out on the communication, and what the US is going to do, especially at the UN, about the stand off between SPLM and Khartoum on the reports of Khartoum aiding the two renegade generals in and around South Sudan, and on the crackdown on student protesters in Darfur that even UNAMID reported on earlier today. Watch this site.

* * *

As UN Council Slows on Libya, Dabbashi Says “10 Hours, Treki in Cairo"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 16 -- While the UN Security Council went through its five page draft resolutions paragraph by paragraph, Libyan diplomat Ibrahim Dabbashi came out to talk to the Press. He had prepared talking about, about Gadhafi using mercenaries “who fought in Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda,” from Niger, Mali (off camera) and Chad (on camera).

Chad's Permanent Representative has told Inner City Press that while they may be “individual Chadians” fighting with Gadhafi, the Deby government does not choose between him and the rebels.

On camera, Dabbashi said a Council resolution authorizing air strikes is needed “in ten hours.”

How many planes do you have?” Inner City Press asked Dabbashi. Enough, he said. He said the rebels' use of these planes has driven Gadhafi crazy.

After a series of questions about timing -- Dabbashi backed off the ten hour figure, ending up saying the revolutionaries are “not counting” on the Council -- Inner City Press asked him if the UN Secretariat has spoken to him about the letter from Gadhafi's government saying he and Shalgam no longer represent Libya, or if he thought the UN Secretariat now recognized the rebels as the government,as France has.

We are continuing our work with credentials, Dabbashi said.

He was asked, Where is Shalgam? He is here in New York, Dabbashi said.

Inner City Press asked, “Where is Treki?”

In Cairo,” Dabbashi quickly answered.

Hillary Clinton in Benghazi met with Ahmed Gebreel, who worked on Treki's transition into the Presidency of the GA. There is talk of the UN of Ali Treki, former President of the General Assembly, seeking to go into exile rather than come to New York to represent Gadhafi at the UN. But his family is still in Libya. Has there ever been an Ambassador at the UN under duress?

Dabbashi earlier at UN: now, only 10 hours? Recognized by UN?

A Western spokesperson emerged from the Council to say that the Council is going through the resolution paragraph by paragraph, given the urgency.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin came out and told press he was angry at being portrayed as an obstructionist. The buzz is that Russia by asking questions is seeking to slow things down. “They don't dare veto it,” a source said, “so they seek to slow it down.” But what about the US? Watch this site.

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

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

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