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March 1, 2011: Libya

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Azeri Momentum Opposed by France Then Weekend, Abstention Mystery, Russian Resolution

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 21, updated -- As Azerbaijan and Slovenia fought round after round of ballots for a Security Council seat, the Azeri vote count began to rise each time, from 93 to 96 to 100 to 110. Then after a debate about whether to continue without interpreters, France intervened and said it would not proceed without translation into French.

  Russia, however, spoke in favor of continuing and another round was held. During the ten minutes when the secret ballots were being counted, a well placed Deputy Permanent Representative predicted to Inner City Press that Azerbaijan's total would rise to 125 and they'd ask for another, knockout round. "People just want to end it," the DPR explained.

  Self-serving as it sounds, Inner City Press predicted 116 for Azerbaijan. In fact it was 113 -- Azerbaijan apparently heard it as 130 and a win at first -- with Slovenia falling to 77. The fight was called off or put into suspension until Monday, after the vote for ECOSOC.

  In non restricted rounds, Estonia got one vote. One wag posited Estonia voted for itself, to show its readiness to step in. But who continued abstaining in restricted rounds?

End of the end, leaving GA 7 pm Friday, Azeri mo not shown (c) MRLee

Later when asked, French Ambassador Gerard Araud would not comment on his complaint and position. In the rounds of voting before 6 pm, all 193 UN members participated; after 6, only 191. Did France in fact drop out?

  Downstairs past 7 pm a Security Council consultations began on Libya, with Russia set to introduce a resolution to belatedly end NATO's mandate.

 A Security Council member at 7:30 pm told Inner City Press the resolution had been unveiled, discussions to continue Monday, amid disagreements.

 A European Permanent Representative, walking away from casting votes in the General Assembly, told Inner City Press that NATO was already ending it.

  He shook his head at what he called the "African Union's loss" in endorsing Mauritania which lost. He suggested listening online to a recorded conversation of Sengal's Wade with Gaddafi. "He didn't do much for the AU," the Perm Rep said. "Have a good weekend."

  And so by day's end there were four new Council members: Pakistan, Morocco, Togo and Guatemala. Regarding the last, the mystery remained on who the two abstentions were. Inner City Press asked Permanent Representative of one Grupo ALBA country who smiled and said "I voted for all the winners." It was a widely held position.

Update of 7:45 pm -- as Russian Ambassador Churkin left the consultations, he said the no fly zone must end. Inner City Press asked if that meant ending NATO's mandate; he said yes. Asked about the text, he said it is "short and clear - like every Russian text."

  Meanwhile a well placed European diplomat said some Council members are not in a hurry to lift the no fly zone or exclude continued NATO bombing, even now. We'll see.

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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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