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On UNESCO, Palestine Calls Out the Czechs, Ban on Joining UN Agencies

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 3 -- Palestine's Permanent Observer Riyad Mansour emerged from the Security Council midday Thursday, telling the Press he'd met with Lebanon and with Portugal, as November's Council president.

  Inner City Press asked Mansour about Portugal's decision to abstain on Palestine's successful application to become a member of UNESCO. This is seen as part of Portugal's shift toward American position.

  Mansour said countries' votes at UNESCO "are being studied," including the No vote of a country which has formally recognized Palestine as a state.

  Off camera, Inner City Press asked the Palestinian delegation to name the state. After a pause came the answer: the Czech Republic. Other sources tell Inner City Press that Palestinians are none too happy with Portugal's decision to abstain at UNESCO.

  Inner City Press also asked Mansour about UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's statement that, beyond UNESCO, Palestinian efforts to join any other UN agency -- seemingly including the International Criminal Court -- are "not beneficial for Palestine and not beneficial for anybody."

  Mansour said slowly, "We respect the statements of the Secretary General" - then said "we are studying it." Some ask, who is Ban Ki-moon say that trying to join the ICC, or other agencies, would not benefit Palestinians?

  Earlier, Inner City Press reported on complaints from inside the Ban Ki-moon UN administration that Ban was seeking a legal memo from his top lawyer Patricia O'Brien, who refused press questions, on how to delay or stymie a Palestinian filing to join the ICC, for which the UN Secretariat is the repository.

(c) UN Photo
Abbas launches UN bid on Sept 23, Ban Ki-moon on agencies not shown
  Ban's new statement put this is a new light and is, as said, "being studied." Watch this site.

Footnote: while there is much media interest in the session of the Security Council Committee on the Admission of New Members slated for Thursday afternoon, less than two hours after Mansour spoke, the meeting will be closed, and new Council president Cabral would not say if he would summarize the meeting afterward. We'll see.

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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