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As Small Arms Summary is Downgraded, Another "Deflating Friday" at UN

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 23 -- "Another deflating Friday at the UN." That's what New Zealand's representative called the end of the week's Small Arms meeting at the UN.

  The chair, Nigeria's Joy Ogwu, prepared a summary of the week's discussion, including references to border control and "additional issues" -- which the US was said to understand as "ammunition," and to oppose.

  It was the UN "Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects," and an issue was whether to freeze the "Program of Action" in place, not allowing it to deal with new issues, or to allow it to extend into ammo and other issues.

  It took place not longer after the deadly explosion of an ammunition dump in Congo - Brazzaville.

  The summary referred, for example, to "reinforcing inter-agency cooperation to address the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons across borders" -- can you say, Fast and Furious? -- and "enabling peace operations to further contribute to the tracing, safe storage and disposal of illicit small arms."

  But in the final hour Ogwu's summary was converted from an annex to the Report to a mere "Conference Room Paper."

  A new Paragraph 8 ter was begrudgingly agreed to, qualifying that "the Chair's summary... does not represent a full record of the issues discussed during the week.. and does not prejudge the outcome document of the Conference." So what was the point of the week?

  And so after 5 pm on Friday, the New Zealand rep raised his flag and read out loud a statement he has prepared earlier in the day, premised on Ogwu's summary being annexed to the Report. After he read it, it said part was no longer true, that "the last hour" had been deflating. Only the last hour?

This comes five weeks after a similar Friday at the UN on the Arms Trade Treaty, click here for that Inner City Press story.

  Meanwhile on this Friday March 23 the Fifth Committee "resumed session" budget negotiations when into overtime, with 5th Committee chairman Tommo Monthe telling Inner City Press they'd re-assess program at 8 pm, including on scales of assessment and Capital Master Plan cost overruns. 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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