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In UN Security Council, Silence on Pakistan and PKK Raids, Copter Crash and Georgia

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, November 5 -- While the declaration of martial law in Pakistan is all over the news, Monday at the UN Security Council it did not, apparently, come up. U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad was asked why the U.S. did not bring it up, but did not answer. Chinese representative Lui Zhenmin was asked why it did not come up.  "No one will bring it here, you know that," he said. But why?

            Likewise, the cross-border raised by the PKK from Northern Iraq into Turkey, a major topic at the meeting about Iraq just held in Istanbul, had yet to be raised in the UN Security Council, despite clearly being a threat to international peace and security.

            Before he left for Istanbul, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon what the UN could do about the PKK issue. Mr. Ban answered:

"I am going to meet, during my participation in the meetings [in Istanbul], many foreign ministers and I will ask what the UN can do to help reduce this tension. I met with prime minister Erdogan a few days ago, I will meet president Gul... and the foreign ministers of the region, Iran, Iraq. I will do my best."

            We'll see. 

Musharraf laughs at UN in 2005, emergency powers not shown

   The president of the Security Council this month is Marty Natalegawa, the Ambassador of Indonesia. Friday Inner City Press asked Amb. Natalegawa why the situation in Georgia is not even in the footnotes of November's plan of work, given the dueling press conferences and statements of Russia and Georgia, most recently concerning CIS peacekeepers around Abkhazia. "There is no plan to discuss that in November," Amb. Natalegawa said. Video here, from Minute 39:53. He had said, "As president of the Council, Indonesia has to ready itself to discuss all manner of issues the Council deems as threats to international peace and security." Somehow, at least as of November 5, these do not include martial law in Pakistan, cross-border raids into Turkey, and conflict around Georgia's breakaway republics.

            A more straight-forward UN issue is this: a UN-contracted helicopter crashed Friday in Liberia, killing all three people aboard. The UN had gotten the aircraft from Russia-based UT Air, which was also involved in a larger helicopter crash in Sierra Leone in 2004 which killed 24 people, including UN peacekeepers from battalions from Pakistan and Bangladesh and UN staff members from Ghana and Sierra Leone. In both cases, three Russia crew members were killed. What steps were taken after the 2004 crash? How is UT Air selected for these contracts? These are all questions awaiting answers. UT Air uses on its web site the logo of the UN, saying "Partner of the UN Organization." Developing.

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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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