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As UN Buzzes for Rice, Taste Tester Kornblau Said To Be in Wings, Congo Questions Boil

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

UNITED NATIONS, January 27 -- The UN press corps was buzzing Monday for the arrival of Susan Rice, the Obama Administration's choice for Ambassador to the UN. In the jostle at the Security Council stakeout while Ms. Rice met with Ban Ki-moon, journalists tried questions on each other. "Given your role in the genocide in Rwanda, what will you do about Darfur?" suggested one boyish reporter. "Since you fiddled while Rwanda burned," added another.

   Arrangements were made for who would ask the first question -- there was no agreement among the media, but the US Mission even suggested that Gaza would be a good one. And Gaza was in fact asked, twice, like Darfur and Iran.  Ms. Rice declined however to answer a shouted question about Somalia, which she told Congress is not ready for a peacekeeping mission, complex or not. And the three questioners she called on did not raise the slaughter in the Congo, nor what should happen with captured rebel Laurent Nkunda.

  Inner City Press was asked, who will the new US spokesperson be? Word on the street, which the US Mission on Tuesday declined to confirm or to deny, is that the choice is zeroing in on one Mark Kornblau, currently employed by Zagat's as, among other things, a taste tester as well as Director of Communications.

Susan Rice and UN's Ban, Somalia solution not shown

  Kornblau has previously been a spokesman for candidates John Edwards in 2007 (click here for his quote for Edwards on health care) and John Kerry in 2004, for Senators Evan Bayh and Debbie Stabenow, and a certain Congressman Wu. The significance, sources say, is that he does not come from within the State Department. And at the UN there are near-nightly diplomatic receptions, most recently for Sudan, to please a taste tester's buds.

   The US Mission to its credit has finally provided a copy of the initial complain by Algeria against the Arab Commission for Human Rights, and takes issue with Inner City Press' initial report that they were not transparent. Duly noted; how Susan Rice deals with UN reform remains to be seen. Watch this site.

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

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

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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