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Scrambling at UN, Serry Dials for Lavrov, Palestine Speech of Abbas Pushed Back, SC Awaits

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, September 22 -- At 7 pm the night before Palestine's Abbas is expected to give a request for UN membership to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Ban's Special Coordinator for the Middle East Robert Serry worked his cell phone in the UN's North Lawn building.

  Pacing among tables littered with day's discarded sandwiches, Serry said loudly into his phone, "He asked me to convey a personal message to Lavrov, I need to reach Lavrov."

  That for this team Lavrov was hard to find was telling. Barely an hour previous, Inner City Press spoke with a gaggle of Russian journalists being taken to interview Larvov. They knew how to reach Lavrov but Ban Ki-moon's UN didn't.

  At 7:45 pm on Thursday, when Serry and his two aides left their meeting with Pascoe, in the General Assembly the afternoon group of heads of state were still speaking. Some of the evening session could, Inner City Press was told, be moved to Friday morning, which could push Abbas' speech back as well.

  In the waiting, not only the Bosnia / Republica Srbska issues identified yesterday by Inner City Press but also questions about Gabon's and even Nigeria's vote were raised. In this scenario, the US wouldn't even have to veto.

Serry & aides leave North Lawn at 7:45 pm: Lavrov not shown

  Earlier on Thursday, Inner City Press asked many Security Council delegations what they expect to happen next.

One pro-Palestine Permanent member said the request for membership should move "as quickly as possible." Another member predicted that given opposition, things will move slower. A third predicted that Abbas' request will be a topic in the Security Council's Middle East debate scheduled for Tuesday, September 27. Will Serry have reached Lavrov by then? Watch this site.

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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.

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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