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As Kills SC Reform, O'Brien Tells ICP Letter Was to PGA, PGA'll Be Asked?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNdislosed Location, June 6 -- As the Qatari President of the General Assembly appears with little notice to take questions at the UN, something he should be asked about is the role he played in killing off the reforms to the Security Council's working methods proposed by the so-called Small Five.

  In the run-up to what was supposed to be a vote on the Small Five's proposal, which among other things would have urged the Permanent Five not to use their vetos to defend genocide and other "ICC crimes," the PGA after being lobbied requested an opinion from Ban Ki-moon's top lawyer Patricia O'Brien.

  O'Brien, who has repeatedly refused to hold any press conference to take questions, dutifully issued a letter that the Small Five proposal should require a super-majority of all UN states: effectively killing the proposal, which was withdrawn.

Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky for O'Brien to come explain her position. Nesirky said that he doubted she would do a press conference, and she has not.

  But on Tuesday, June 5, even under fire at the UN, Inner City Press spotted O'Brien leaving the ICC Darfur briefing in the Council and said, "Can I ask you one question, and you can answer it or not?"

O'Brien repeated the phrase, "I can answer it or not?" But then she paused and Inner City Press proceeded, asking her to state the legal significance and status of her letter which killed the Small Five reform, was or is it an official UN document?

O'Brien said it was a letter prepared at the request of the President of the General Assembly. And then she left.

Moments later a Small Five -- or Four, more on that as Inner City Press' sources told it soon after the withdrawal that Singapore was dropping out -- Permanent Representative complained to Inner City Press about Ban's O'Brien and the PGA, saying that the letter didn't take into account the Small Five's arguments.

The Permanent Representative told Inner City Press that the Small Five withdrew their proposal because it would have becomg "official precedent" if the President of the General Assembly just "accepted the letter," as the Permanent Representative predicted bitterly that the PGA would have.

So the PGA should be asked this, or should otherwise answer. Watch this site.

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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