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On Palestine, Ashrawi Says US Uses "Blackmail," Hopes Republica Srbska in Bosnia Does Right

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 21 -- Long time Palestinian advocacy Hanan Ashrawi was at the UN on Wednesday, and Inner City Press asked her about votes in the Security Council for Palestine's UN membership.

  Minutes earlier, Nabil Shaath spoke of how he was with the PLO at the UN in 1974, and said that since nine Security Council members have recognized Palestine, he assumes they would vote in favor of Palestinian UN membership. His list included Russia, China, India, Lebanon, South Africa, Brazil, Gabon, Nigeria -- and Bosnia.

  Ashrawi, asked about the figure of nine supporters, said "we're working at it." She complained that the US is "pressuring, cajoling, even blackmailing" countries to vote against Palestine. She said that "Third World countries... the weak" don't like to feel they are being browbeaten. She said the US should have put this energy into promoting peace.

  Informed Balkan sources have for weeks told Inner City Press that the Republica Srbska portion of the Bosnian government does not want to vote in favor of Palestine, and that on this matter that would lead to an abstention. Inner City Press asked Ashrawi about Bosnia, Republica Srbska and a possible non affirmative vote.

  On camera , Ashrawi said "we hope the Bosnians take the right decision and I think the Serb member of the tri sy should und this is in fav just it is an imperative and a responsibility." Click here for YouTube video, from Minute 1:06.

  Will Republica Srbska "understand" that? Or who will reach out and (counter) "cajole" them? Watch this site.

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Palestine's Shaath Calls Hamas Obstructive, Says Fear of ICC Shows Bad Intent

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 21 -- As Palestine's Nabil Shaath says Mahmud Abbas will ask the Security Council for full UN membership before "going to the General Assembly," Inner City Press asked him about Palestine joining the International Criminal Court, and about the position of Hamas on what his delegation is trying at the UN.

Shaath said the first question, which he said "some Europeans" have been raising, implies that Israel intends to commit crimes. He said Palestine would not file complaints to "harass" Israel, because it would hurt what he called the credibility, of Abbas and the PLO.

"I am not an advocate for Hamas," he said. But he said that in Cairo many good agreements were reached with Hamas, but that no government could be formed, as he said was the case in Lebanon and Iraq too. He said Hamas has two reasons to oppose the UN push: Hamas says it wasn't consulted with sufficiently, and they think the UN moves are "in the air."

Shaath called this "obstructive" and negative. He then spoke about Gazans, if they go to the West Bank, being called "illicit infiltrators" and being sent back to Gaza, as if the two were like "Zimbabwe in the south and Iceland in the north."

Returning to Hamas, he acknowledged they are not represented in the Palestinian delegation to the UN, calling this a political question. "We have not yet regained our unity," he said.

  He was asked which nine countries on the Security Council have recognized Palestine, and would presumably vote for Palestine's application for UN membership. He answered: Russia, China, India, Lebanon, South Africa, Brazil, Bosnia, Gabon and, after a pause, Nigeria.

Shaath, 2d from right, at UN in 1974. Plus ca change

Nine positive votes would then require a veto. Shaath said that Ban Ki-moon has assured there will be no "political" delays in transmitting Palestine's requests, only "procedural" ones. Watch this site.

Click for July 7, 11 re Sudan, Libya, Syria, flotilla

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

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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

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