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UN Assembly President Implies If Some Have Nukes, Why Not N. Korea?

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, April 6 -- In the wake of North Korea's missile launch, while China and Russia speak of being cautious and not knee-jerk, the President of the UN General Assembly Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann on Monday told the Press, "how can we go on saying its alright for some to have [nuclear weapons], because they are responsible people and would not use it arbitrarily, but some others cannot have?"

   Inner City Press had asked President d'Escoto, for the second time, about the North Korean launch. Video here, from Minute 15:46. The first time, off camera, he said that Japan might be have a right to threaten to shoot the missile down, viewing it as self-defense. Follow-ups to received clarification of this statement were unsuccessful, leading to an on-camera "no comment" by d'Escoto's spokesman

  But Monday the position got more clear. Rather than condemn North Korea, d'Escoto in essence said that all nations or none should have the right to nuclear weapons. In this, he veered away even from those two of the Security Council's Permanent Five members closest to his views, Russia and China. Both speak of the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but neither of giving up its weapons.

  Monday morning upon his return from Moscow, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the Press that the Council should have have a "knee-jerk" reaction to the launch, that what is important is resuming the Six Party Talks.  That tracked with China's catchphrase Sunday, "cautious and proportionate," click here for that story.

UN PGA d'Escoto, decidedly to the left, under SG Ban's watchful eye, missiles not shown

Footnotes: U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, asked for comment, walked past reporters, leading one reporter for the Japanese press to call it a "wild Rice chase." Japanese media swarmed around the stakeout, even though the Security Council meeting on Monday was about Haiti, with many speakers (Chile's Ambassador chided UN agencies for trying to speak before member states.)

  The Permanent Five members and Japan had a closed door meeting at 3 p.m., and the wider Council's Haiti debate then re-started at 4 instead of 3 p.m, in deference to the Permanent Five -- a deference that PGA d'Escoto does not appear to share.

  D'Escoto to his credit took the question, while at a press conference about the human right to food, which Inner City Press is covering in a separate dedicated story, click here to view.

  Click here for a new YouTube video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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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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