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March 1, 2011: Libya

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At UN on Libya, As S. Africa Says TNC Would Be Recognized by Resolution, US Says "Let's Vote"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 24 -- With a vote set for August 25 in the UN Security Council on a US sponsored resolution to unfreeze $1.5 billion in frozen Libyan assets, and to direct some of it "as directed by the National Transitional Council," a question has arisen whether this would implicitly confer UN recognition on the TNC.

  South African's Permanent Representative Baso Sangqu told the Press on Wednesday this would be a form of recognition of the TNC, adding that his country could live with the resolution if it added that it does not imply this recognition.

  When Inner City Press asked a spokesman for the US Mission to the UN spokesman about such a line he said he did not want to prejudge the next 24 hours of negotiations, before the scheduled vote on Thursday afternoon.

  But sources inside the consultations say that the argument made against the line was that the Security Council does not give recognition, so the caveat line would not be added.

Since Resolution 1970 provided that frozen assets could only be given to the legitimate Libyan authorities, South Africa argues, the current language of the US drafted resolution would inevitably imply that the TNC is now the legitimate authority.

Others argue that if such a "we do not recognize" line were added, other Council members would act for their own line, "we DO recognize the TNC."

South Africa points to a meeting Thursday of the African Union -- click here for Inner City Press analysis of UN report sources say tells Ban Ki-moon he "can't count on the AU" -- and says it will know more after that.

 The timing of the vote called for in the Security Council, 3 pm, does not appear to be based on deference to AU decision making. A spokesman for the US Mission was asked if the timing was so that US official Bill Burns could announce the $1.5 billion at a Libya Contact Group meeting in Istanbul. He reiterated that it is because the needs are urgent.

South Africa's Sangqu told the press that until Tuesday there were other countries with holds on the proposal the US put forward on August 8.

Sangqu & Susan Rice in May: who summoned who in to vote on Libya?

  Sangqu did not name the other countries, and the US Mission spokesman, when asked, only emphasized that now South Africa's is the only hold.

So this can be viewed as a strong arming to implicitly recognize the TNC, using urgent needs -- and South Africa's seeming isolation -- as tools. Or it can be called muscular diplomacy. There are, of course, the needs....

  One deep background here was the claim in a New York Times article about the voting on Resolution 1973, that US Ambassador Susan Rice went and found Sangqu and shepherded him into the Council to vote on the resolution, an account which South Africa understandably took unbrage at....

Footnote: Sangqu emphasized that "Libya is an African country," and an AU member. Inner City Press is informed that only yesterday did Libya's representation at the AU "change sides" from Gaddafi to the TNC. Watch this site -- and click here for Inner City Press analysis of in-fighting at the UN on "post-conflict" Libya.

Click for July 7, 11 re Sudan, Libya, Syria, flotilla

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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