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At UN, Morocco Says Mauritania Broke Rotation, Haroun Takes Puri's Call

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 21 -- Morocco won a UN Security Council seat in the first round of voting, along with less surprisingly Pakistan and unopposed Guatemala, which got 191 votes and two anonymous abstentions.

  Afterward Inner City Press asked Morocco's Foreign Minister to confirm what his delegation said, that Mauritania had agreed not to run for the North African seat until others in the sub-group had. Yes, the Foreign Minister replied, but the "principle of rotation" prevailed.

  Inner City Press asked how Morocco intended to impact the Western Sahara issue on the Council and also Palestine. He replied that Morocco was only the Council 20 years ago, with "Moroccan Sahara" on the agenda. He did not answer on Palestine, but walked away from the stakeout microphone.

  Minutes before on that same microphone Inner City Press asked Pakistan's Permanent Representative Haroun if being on the Council will make the Kashmir issue more prominent on the Council's agenda. He replied that Kashmir is already on the agenda, and that he gets along well with India's Ambassador, Hardeep Singh Puri.

  Then Haroun answered his cell phone, saying on camera that it was "Ambassador Puri" congratulating him. While seeming to many to be staged, it was good theater, perhaps a harbinger of things to come.

Haroun tells Indian call, good times ahead (C) MRLee

  Inner City Press had asked the Office of the Spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to briefly postpone its noon briefing during these two stakeouts. At 12:11 Inner City Press ran to the briefing room, only to find Spokesman Martin Nesirky packing up his files, ending the briefing. So it goes at Ban's UN.
  Back at the General Assembly stakeout, Inner City Press asked Guatemala's foreign minister for his country's position on Palestine UN membership, on which Guatemala took a reservation from the Group of 77's position.

  He said the country favors a two state solution, is in elections and will have a position before joining the Council, which takes place January 1.

  Inner City Press asked twice about the two absentions. He said Guatemala doesn't know who cast them - averigua la, check it out.

There are second rounds on Togo versus Mauritania, and in the Eastern European Group. 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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