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Hurry Up and Wait at UN on Palestine Application, Ashton Wants Talks

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 23 -- Palestinian Friday at the UN turned out to be as dramatic, or more, than Mahmoud Abbas had predicted.

  Abbas turned in Palestine's application for statement to Ban Ki-moon, who passed it on to the Lebanese President of the Security Council.  (Inner City Press is putting it online, here.)

  Then the Middle East Quartet convened a 2:30 meeting at the UN, with convoys of black vehicles screeching up to the UN as the UN's top security official ran outside, following a dust-up between Security and Turkey inside the UN.

  Following the Quartet's meeting and statement, the EU's Catherine Ashton came to speak and to take questions. Inner City Press asked her if the EU members on the Security Council will all vote the same way on Palestine's application. Ashton said that is not her focus, she is concentrated on negotiations between the parties that could lead to peace for the two peoples.

Lady Ashton Sept 23, won't say how EU members of SC'll vote

Just as Ashton was finishing it was announced that Nawaf Salam, President of the Security Council for September, would speak at the Council stakeout at 3:30. He did not take any question, but announced that there will be Council consultations on Palestine's application Monday at 3 pm.

Inner City Press asked a member of the Lebanese delegation about Benyamin Netanyahu's statement that the Security Council this month is led "by Hezbollah." After a pause, the representative said, "He can say what he wants."

Back in the North Lawn building, after Tony Blair took to the microphone, Hillary Clinton followed but did not take any questions. Will the UN "have" to veto? That is a question. Watch this site.

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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.

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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