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At UN, Germany's Westerwelle Won't Answer on European- Iranian Trade Bank

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 11 -- When German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle took questions from the press at the UN on Friday, he began with a statement and then two questions, in German, about Egypt and Hosni Mubarak.

When Inner City Press asked him for Germany's response to demands that it close the Hamburg-based European- Iranian Trade Bank AG (EIH), Westerwelle refused to answer the question, saying that on this “historic day” he would only speak about Egypt. Then, in German, he spoke about Tunisia as well. Video here.

Westerwelle is not only or even mostly in the United States concerning Egypt. He came to speak at a Security Council session on security and development, and to lobby for a permanent Council seat for Germany along with the other three members of the so-called G-4 group.

  Some say that a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council should be able to speak about one than one issue, particularly including questions about its own policies.

Westerwelle with UN's Ban, answers on EIH Bank not shown

  In the US, a “bipartisan group of 11 Senators issued a letter to Westerwelle that:

EIH is one of Iran’s few remaining access points to the European financial system,” the letter says. “The threat of a nuclear-armed Iran is undeniable and we must make sanctions as strong as possible to deny Iran the economic means to develop those weapons. The bank has and continues to conduct transactions on behalf of entities under US and EU sanctions, including Bank Mellat, a designated supporter of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran... Companies that continue to conduct trade with Iran via EIH also face potential sanctions in the US, including restrictions on exports to the US and access to US capital markets.”

One would think, even with his mind on Egypt including the reports that Germany offered medical sanctuary to Mubarak, that Westerwelle provide his response about EIH Bank. We'll see.

Footnote: since Germany got its two year seat on the Council, the German Mission has held more press availabilities than before. But unlike with the Indian mission, most by the German mission are off the record, which is not the way these questions should be answered. Watch this site.

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As India's Krishna Pitches UN Council Membership, Discussions of Nambiars

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 10 -- Alongside the UN Security Council's debate Friday about security and development, the foreign ministers of India and Brazil, Japan and Germany are getting together to try to push for permanent seats on the Council.

Thursday night high in the New York Palace Hotel, India's Ambassador to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri told Inner City Press among other news that he counted 120 countries as supporting India for a permanent seat. He derided the so-called United For Consensus grouping, saying he counted only six seats, and not the 15 sometimes claimed.

India's external affairs minister S.M. Krishma arrived earlier Thursday in New York, and after a 45 minute break went to a meeting of the L-69 group. There, Jamaica's Permanent Representative told those assembled that they shouldn't accept permanent seats without the veto power, so as to not accept second class citizenship.

  Jamaica led opposition to the European Union's drive for special rights, or citizenship, in the General Assembly last year.

  Hardeep Singh Puri described his Minister Krishna's program for February 11, including a speech in the Security Council, a lunch along with many others with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, a meeting and then press availability with G-4 foreign ministers, and then an IPSA dinner.

Krishna (and Singhs) with Ban, previously, this time not shown

  Inner City Press had asked about the treatment of Indian students at the closed down Tri Valley University in California. Hardeen Singh Puri said that India's consul general from San Francisco is coming to New York Saturday to meet with Krishna, along with the country's ambassador to Washington.

  Indian journalists in attendance told Inner City Press that the Tri Valley University situation is being resolved, with “ankle bracelets being removed from some Indian students.” They also opined on India's highest official in the UN system Vijay Nambiar, and his general brother Satish Nambiar, who praised Sri Lanka's assault on Tamil areas in 2009. Of the Tamil fishermen from India being killed by Sri Lanka, nothing has yet been said. Watch this site.

 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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