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At UN As Abbas Files for Membership & Speaks, Israel & Susan Rice Sit Glum

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 23 -- While some at the UN thought that Palestine's Abbas would not in fact file for full membership, late morning Friday he did just that. Abbas handed an application to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, then headed to the General Assembly to deliver his speech.

  While Armenia spoke, including about the "genocide scholars community," Inner City Press ran to the UN stakeout and asked Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt about votes for Palestinian statehood. Bildt said "it will be decided in these buildings," in the Security Council. He spoke of caution.

  Through heavy rain over at the UN's noon briefing, Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky declined a request to provide "color" about Ban's meeting with Abbas, referring to the television footage. He was asked if there is a Middle East Quartet meeting in the afternoon, and he said he didn't know.

Inner City Press asked Nesirky about the role of UN official Robert Serry in the Quarter. As reported yesterday night, Serry was saying loudly into his cell phone, "He asked me to convey a personal message to Lavrov, I need to reach Lavrov.""   Nesirky said Serry represents the UN on the Quartet.

  The General Assembly hall was standing room only, no one more was allowed in. Over in the new North Lawn building, diplomats sat at marble coffee tables watching Abbas' speech on the Internet. Many of them clapped when the audience in the hall clapped.

  Inner City Press watched with a political adviser in from Malaysia, who nodded in affirmation at nearly everything Abbas said. "The US will veto, it is shameful," he said. But are there nine affirmative votes, which would then require a veto to block?

Abbas gets ready to rock the House, Sept 23, 9 votes not shown

  In the hall in the Israel's seats, the Deputy Permanent Representative looked stonefaced. There was no sign of Netanyahu, set to speak in less than an hour, or Avigdor Lieberman or Permanent Representative Prosor.

  During a standing ovation, US Ambassador Susan Rice also remained seated, looking glum. When Abbas finished, the unenviable task of following him went to Japan's new Prime Minister Noda, the self-described bottom feeder. And so it goes at the UN.

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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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