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China's Li Baodong Links Mali & Libya Weapons, Returns for Arab League

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 4 -- When China's UN Ambassador Li Baodong came Monday to tell the press about June's agenda for the Security Council, most of the questions asked of him concerned Syria. The first question, strangely, was whether the upcoming G-20 meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico would address Syria.

  Li Baodong did not at first address that part of the question, and the reason was simple. In a 10:30 briefing held in the same auditorium, Mexico's "sherpa" for the G-20, Lourdes Aranda, had told another Syria-obsessed correspondent that, no, Syria is not on the agenda of the G-20 meeting.

  Inner City Press asked Li Baodong about the civil war in Mali, whether it's true that the African Union Peace & Security Council is really bringing Mali to the UN on June 13. Li Baodong said the topics that day will include Sudan / South Sudan, Somalia and, yes, Mali.

  Unlike much of the Western discussion of Mali in the Security Council, Li Baodong referred to weapons flowing into the Malian conflict from elsewhere in the area -- that would be Libya -- and said that the root causes of the conflict have to be considered.

  He answered the often repetitive questions at some length, and ever returned to the podium to answer one more, about an informal interactive dialogue with the Arab League, after UN Television seemed to have stopped. (If they don't put the video up, Inner City Press will later, on its YouTube channel.)

  Not on the agenda or program of work is the for-a-time standard horizon scanning briefing by the Department of Political Affairs. When Inner City Press asked about it, Li Baodong said that Council members are free to ask for whatever briefings they need, and that Mali will be addressed on June 13.

  Not in the footnotes of the printed program of work distributed on Monday, but mentioned by Li Baodong, was "Children and Armed Conflict," on which a usually contentious report is due. We'll have more on this, and other matters throughout the month: watch this site.

Footnote: Inner City Press also asked Lourdes Aranda for Mexico's view of the relationship between the G-20 and the UN and its ("G-193") General Assembly, and about the so-called Volcker Rule which among other things would ban US banks from investing in some public securities of other countries.

  Her answer about the UN was telling, that it can lack focus (that's an understatement). On the Volcker Rule, she said this is what the G-20 is for: to talk about in advance the impact of a particular countries legal changes on other countries. So will the G-20 chime in on the Volcker Rule? Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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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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