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March 1, 2011: Libya

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At UN, Rudd Speaks of Cutting Costs While Paying Overtime For Stakeout

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, September 22 -- When Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd finally came to the UN Television stakeout position on Thursday after 9 pm, he was asked about Prime Minister Gillard urging him to spend less as he travels overseas.

  Rudd replied that while in New York he will stay in the country's residence rather than a hotel, and that he does that in many other places including Washington and London.

 He said he makes "no apologies" for frequent travel, given for example that he has interlocutors in Jerusalem and Ramallah, Paris and Beijing.

  What Inner City Press learned while waiting for Rudd to appear, however, is that Australia agreed to pay a "substantial" extra amount to keep the UN TV stakeout open, after the UN General Debate was over for the day.

  Rudd's stakeout was supposed to be at 6 pm, but no one but the UN TV crew was there. Inner City Press tweeted it, and went to work on a story about Palestine. Then the UN said Rudd would speak at the stakeout at 8:30 pm. This too did not happen. After Rudd spoke in the General Assembly and then that closed, after one more speaker, still Rudd did not appear.

  A Rudd staffer cited health concerns, his recent heart attack, for the reason. Long time UN hands wondered aloud where Rudd could be, since everything was closed or closing in the UN. There was discussion of Australia having agreed to pay extra for this delay.

  Perhaps for this too there is no need to make apologies. But perhaps not.

Rudd on Sept 22 and the microphone he paid (overtime) for, (c) MLee

Inner City Press asked Rudd about Australia's vote in the General Assembly on a resolution to give Palestine Observer State status (he answered long but without a yes, no or abstain) and about Sri Lanka, which we'll report on separately. Watch this site.

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At UN, Deby On TNC's "Hypocrisy, " 400,000 Chadians "Blocked" in Libya, "No Prisoners in Chad"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 19 -- Chad's President Idriss Deby told Inner City Press on Monday that there remain 400,000 Chadian's "blocked" inside Libya.

 He said the vast majority had gone to Libya to work. Some had been recruited to fight but by both sides, he insisted, Gaddafi and the National Transitional Council.

   He said that going forward the international community should help reconcile all Libyans, "including those who worked with Gaddafi." Video here, 1st part of interview.

  Deby accused the leaders of the "New Libya," the National Transitional Council, of hypocrisy as many of them previously worked with Gaddafi. He said there should be greater African Union involvement in the New Libya, and chafed at Inner City Press' statement that South Africa has led on that issue, and on that of African migrants.

  "There are other African countries on the Security Council," he said, naming Gabon and then Nigeria.

  Inner City Press asked Deby for his view of developments in Sudan. Deby spoke of Southern Kordofan and "Nil Bleu," Blue Nile, then said that much remains to be solved between North and South Sudan.

  On this, Inner City Press asked Deby to respond to reports that the publication N'Djamena Bi-Hebdo was told not to compare South Sudan to Southern Chad:

"In the October 14 to 17 edition of the local newspaper N'Djamena Bi-Hebdo, the publishers included an article comparing southern Sudan with southern Chad. The prime minister called the article 'dangerous' and asked the HCC to act on the matter. On October 19, the HCC met with journalists and warned N'Djamena Bi-Hebdo in particular and all media houses in general to "observe ethics rules" by not printing articles that risked inciting hatred, violence, or separatist sentiment."

  Deby said he didn't know about the case. He said "come to Chad" to see the freedom of the press, and also said that "there are no political prisons in Chad." Inner City Press began to ask of one example -- Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh -- but Deby didn't answer on it.

Deby and the author, smiles on Libya, other answers not show

  The interview was over, and Inner City Press left the Plaza Hotel. Deby will speak before the General Assembly on Friday, after meeting with Ban Ki-moon the day before. "Mais vous savez de tout," Deby said. Not as much as we'd like to. Watch this site.

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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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