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At UN on Cote d'Ivoire, Russia Demands Susan Rice Statement Be “Corrected"

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, December 7, updated -- Russia demanded that US Ambassador Susan Rice's statement Tuesday on Cote d'Ivoire, ostensibly as UN Security Council president, be “corrected in the record,” sources tell Inner City Press.

  Russia has asked UN Secretariat to add its objection to the record on Tuesday's opening meeting. There is not much precedent for this; the "Verbatim" section must be consulted.

  In closed door negotiations since Friday about the Ivorian crisis, Russia has argued that the Security Council should not set the precedent of being a certifier of elections results.

  Meanwhile outside of the Security Council, Laurent Gbagbo-alligned Ivorian diplomats told Inner City Press that while UN envoy Y.J. Choi should now come back to the country for his “protection of civilians” - but not electoral -- mandate, they argued that “power sharing doesn't work.”

Look at Zimbabwe,” one of them told Inner City Press. But in this scenario, is Gbagbo playing Robert Mugabe?

Susan Rice at UN, Russian demand for correction not shown

At a separate press confernce at the UN Tuesday morning about the International Criminal Court, it was recalled that Cote d'Ivoire was mentioned as a target of ICC investigation and prosecution back in 2004. Now there are mentions again. Watch this site.

Update of 12:50 pm -- At the UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky what the procedure would be to act on Russia's request that “the Secretariat” somehow “correct” Susan Rice's statement. Nesirky declined to answer, saying he wasn't in the consultation -- his office has been barred from consultation since the Council moved to it current basement venue earlier this year -- and instead urged Inner City Press to ask the US, as Council President for December.

Inner City Press has since been told that it is the US' position that there is no procedure or precedent to “correct” statements such as that of Ambassador Rice, which was that the presence of Cote d'Ivoire diplomats in the Council's open session in no way implied that they were recognized as legitimate representatives of that country at this time.

Thought: It was an indirect and procedural way of asserting the position that Laurent Gbagbo is no longer the legitimate head of state of Cote d'Ivoire. One can understand why Russia would object, while understanding why Rice would make such a point “for the record.” Will the record in fact be corrected, as Russia requested?

  The Council -- at what level is not clear -- will reconvene at 3 pm, to consider a statement confirmed to that of ECOWAS. Watch this site.

* * *

On Cote d'Ivoire, Gbagbo Prefers UN Abou Moussa to Choi, UNSC Unlit Saturday

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 3 -- On Cote d'Ivoire, the lack of planning by the UN, France and US became evident on Friday as in New York the US, even as President, was unable to get a Security Council statement or meeting, as UN envoy Choi was threatened with expulsion from Ivory Coast by Laurent Gbagbo.

  Later Friday Inner City Press was told by Ivorian diplomats that Gbagbo will inaugurate himself as president on Saturday. Meanwhile, UN sources say that all electrical source will be turned off in the Security Council over the weekend, with provisions to move any emergency meeting to Conference Room 3 in the UN's North Lawn building, where the Council has never met.

  An African Permanent Representative explained to Inner City Press that all along, Gbagbo has wanted to replace Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's envoy Choi with his deputy, Abou Moussa from Chad. Now may be the time.

  Another African Perm Rep told Inner City Press that the African Union had found many more flaws in the voting in the North of Cote d'Ivoire than found by the UN or other observers, and said this would become known "in coming days."

The Ivorian diplomats Inner City Press spoke with, as well as several African Permanent Representatives, questioned Choi's and Ban Ki-moon's and “even” Obama's “rush” to coronate Ouattara. “The UN didn't do that when the (Republican - leaning) US Supreme Court decided for Bush over Gore,” one of them pointed out.

We will fly the flag of sovereignty!” exclaimed an African Permanent Representative, linking the UN's “lack of planning” in Cote d'Ivoire with its being ejected from Chad and, mostly, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “We will throw the UN out!”

UN's Abou Moussa, Ban & Stoudmann- was Choi a good replacement?

  Well meaning UN senior staff consulted by Inner City Press lamented the way it was playing out, and blamed some of it on Choi, saying that an SRSG more experienced in UN peacekeeping would have been better. “This will blow back on Ban Ki-moon,” one of them said.

Inner City Press ran from these interviews to the press area to write, skipping the Cuban Mission party. But in the UN press area a sign announced “This area will be closed from Saturday, 4 December 8:00 am UNTIL Sunday 5 December 6:00 am.” So if they want press coverage, the Security Council meeting or stake out if they want one will be on Sunday. Watch this site.

* * *

As Gbagbo Moves to Eject UN Choi from Ivory Coast, No UNSC Action Under US, Only Obama Statement

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 3, upstead -- In Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo's adviser and Ambassador to the UN Alcide Djedje has threatened to throw out of the country UN envoy Y.J. Choi after Choi rejected the decision of the Gbagbo dominated Constitutional Council that Gbagbo won the run off election, 51% to 49% over Alassane Ouattara.

   This took place hours after the UN Security Council, led this month by the US, had begun to call a meeting, then stood down. Inner City Press observed and reported the preparations for the meeting.

   Inner City Press  can now report that a video link was established, and a UN Mission in Cote d'Ivoire official appeared on screen, ready to speak to the Council.

  But the US never convened the Council to meeting. Another Permanent Five ambassador told Inner City Press on Friday afternoon that the US had said, only a press statement, no meeting.

  Some fairly or unfairly even wondered if the US decision not to call a meeting despite the “crisis” in Ivory Coast was related to Permanent Representative Susan Rice not being in New York.

  At 11:50 am, Inner City Press asked the US Mission to the UN to confirm or deny by e-mail that there would be a Council meeting. Not having any response for an hour, Inner City Press asked again, including a question on Sudan, and was told that it would be called.

  During that time, apparently more friendly press was told that there would be no meeting, but rather a press statement read by Brooke Anderson.

  Now as 6 pm has passed, no meeting, and no UN Security Council press statement read by Brooke Anderson. (Also, no answer on 12 SPLM soldiers killed in Sudan.)

   The US Mission had not informed UN staff still in waiting that they could go home (perhaps to return this weekend).

   An African diplomat told Inner City Press at the stakeout that some countries, like his, wanted to check that all had been done correctly, including in Choi's statement.

UN Choi & Gbagbo in 2007, threat to eject not shown

  At 5:15 pm e-mailed out a copy of a statement by US President Obama, hailing Ouattara's win and calling on Gbagbo to respect the result.

  So has Barak Obama become the Security Council? What explains the Council's failure to meet, and failure to even issue a press statement?

  Some of those surrounding the Council have been told to be "on alert" for a Council meeting, or at least read out of a UNSC statement by some US Ambassador, over the weekend...

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel 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.

* * *

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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