Of Africa Days and Al Qaeda Evenings, Burundi and Bacardi Gold
July 15 -- With small countries in Africa dominating the
Security Council's July 15 schedule, there were few reporters, fewer
updates and, some concluded, no news. But it depends on how you
is on the cusp of becoming the fifth country on
the agenda of the UN Peacebuilding Commission. If no member objects
to a letter pending in the Council, the referral will be made.
the four countries already on the PBC agenda, Burundi, recently had a
one party election marred by tossed grenades and now the threat of
attack by Al Shabab.
soldiers in Somalia. Inner City
Press spoke this week with the UN's envoy to Burundi Charles Petrie.
He put a positive spin on the one party election, saying it was not
as violent as it might have been.
opposition is weak, and the UN must play the counter-balance that
civil society and opposition parties would in other countries. He
should know: he was thrown out of Myanmar by the government, then
served for a time in a humanitarian role on, but not in, Somalia. He
was in the French military but not, as one rumor has it, in the
Foreign Legion. The Council should have heard from him but didn't.
same might be
said of the UN's new envoy to Somalia, Augustine Mahiga. He went into
the Council's quiet room on July 14, but was not heard from by the
Council as a whole. He met with the Permanent Five, one by one. He
stopped to speak to Inner City Press, about including Al Shabab on
the Al Qaeda sanctions list under Council Resolution 1267 in the wake of the
on July 14,
at an ill-attended UK reception on climate change in the General
Assembly lobby, Inner City Press asked UK Permanent Representative
Mark Lyall Grant about 1267 and the Shabab. He pointed out that they
are already on the Somalia sanctions list, and who knew who is or is
not truly affiliated with Al Qaeda. An Ethiopian diplomat added, not
surprisingly, they are “definitely” with Al Qaeda.
Former PBC head McAskie interviewed by former
sticks to its schedule. Guinea Bissau was the topic for July 15. The
coup leader now heads the military; the UN “took note” of it. A
Presidential Statement is to be drafted in the coming days.
and all, the
Permanent Representatives of France, Japan and Mexico strode into the
Council just after 10 a.m.. The active Number Three of the US, Brooke
Anderson, was made to show her identification card to get in. The day
previous, Permanent Representative Susan Rice was in the Council but
left early, to go get an award from the WNBA and, the press release
said, Bacardi Gold.
has wanted to go and see, but it conflicted with UN press
conferences. The Security Council has met every day this week.
Gabon's Perm Rep meandered in at 10:25. There was only one reporter
at the Security Council stake out: this one. Something, it was
rumored, would happen.
* * *
Uganda Bombing, UNSC Statement Does Not Assign Blame, Even After Al
Shabab Takes Credit
12, updated -- A day after the Kampala double bombing which
killed more than 60 people, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had yet
to issue any kind of statement. In front of the Security Council on
Monday morning, one non-permanent member's spokesperson wondered
under what agenda item the Council might issue a statement: Somalia?
moves were afoot for the issuance of a press
statement, later in the day. Would it say who is responsible? After
the bombing of trains in Madrid, the Council issued a statement
blaming it on ETA. When Al Qaeda later took responsibility, the
Council's statement was never retracted.
speakers including Uganda authorities are pointing the finger at
Islamist Somali insurgents. They had vowed retaliation for the
Ugandan and Burundian AMISOM peacekeepers' shelling of a market in
Mogadishu. Others pointed out the targeting of "Ethiopian Village,"
given antagonism between irridentist Somalia and Ethiopia. Motive is
certainly there-- and, the media pointed out,
As the draft
text of the press statement was distributed to members, a Council
diplomat told Inner City Press it did not assign blame, only the
Council's "standard terrorist attack language." Might that change?
p.m. -- Nigeria's Ambassador, the Council's president for
July, read out a four paragraph statement. As Inner City Press
predicted this morning, it did not assign blame. But in the interim,
Al Shabab has taken credit for the bombings, saying
they were months in the planning.
City Press asked Nigeria's
Ambassador on camera why blame was not ascribed, and if this might
not discourage countries from sending peacekeepers to Somalia. She
declined the first, and to the second question said “there is a
peace to keep in Somalia.” Video here.
Press was told that Al Shabab's confession came after the
statement was circulated and concurrence obtained. They didn't want
to delay it. But wouldn't it have been stronger if more specific? An
Ethiopian diplomat spoke about Eritrea. If ten Taliban are coming off
the 1267 Al Qaeda sanctions list, does that mean there's room for
Al-Shabab? Watch this site.
In Kampala, the Ethiopian Village - UN statements not yet shown
on Somalia, Tanzania's former Ambassador Mahiga, spoke to Inner City
Press at the UN in New York last week, including about the
peacekeepers' use of “long range artillery” and the civilian
casualties caused. Will Mahiga take this so-called “collateral
damage” more seriously than Ould Abdallah did? Watch this site.
Council on Monday morning, there was a minute of silence
for the dead of Srebrenica. What there thought of the UN's role?
* * *
Eggs and Tobacco, Dodges of Fadlallah Trap of UK
and CNN, France Denies Camera Issues
updated -- When eggs are thrown at peacekeepers in South
Lebanon, the Security Council in New York is summoned into action. At
the request of France, whose peacekeepers also got stoned, the
Council convened on Friday afternoon to consider a draft press
statement. The “H word,” a diplomat told Inner City Press, would
not be in the statement.
Hezbollah, just as these days F is for Fadlallah. Already, CNN editor
Octavia Nasr, a Maronite Christian, has been fired for Tweeting her
condolences for the death of Mister F. The UK Ambassador to Lebanon
Frances Guy had her Fadlallah blog blocked and removed from the web.
raised at the UN's noon briefing, is whether the UN will be sending
anyone to pay their respects. Some wondered if the UN shouldn't have a
designated lightening rod,
or Liaison to Controversial Figures (LCF). Michael Williams released a
the Council met
behind closed down on France's draft press statement, in the press
pen a pro-Hezbollah television journalist -- we've called him
Hezbollah TV -- spoke heatedly about the French UNIFIL peacekeepers
destroying fields of tobacco with their tanks, destroying a
motorcycle and reportedly pulling its rider into their tank. This, he
said, triggered the stoning and throwing of eggs.
UN's Ban at UNIFIL, French, eggs and Fadlallah-gate not shown
friend of Hezbollah, nevertheless called Fadlallah a
huge and “respectful” figure. Did he mean “respected”? Both.
Inside the Council the consultations continued.
to receive a briefing from DPKO's head of
Peacekeeping for Asia and the Middle East, Mr. WWW Wolfgang
Weisbrod-Weber. Watch this site.
Footnote: after the
Press Statement was read out by Nigeria's Joy Ogwu, Inner City Press
asked if for example the peacekeepers' taking photographs had been
raised. No, she said.
Press asked French Ambassador Gerard Araud, who denied connection to
the "incidents" of June 29, July 3 and July 4. The pro-Hezbollah TV
journalist asked about tobacco and "atrocities," leading the French
spokesman to urge the UN TV microphone man to swing his boom in another
direction. "Have a good weekend," another journalist said. Indeed.
* * *
North Korea's Ambassador Sin Son Ho came late to
the UN press area, 20 minutes after Susan Rice of the U.S. and her
Japanese and South Korean counterparts had spoken and left.
City Press, asking where the other reporters were. They
had left, but following tweets from @InnerCityPress and
returned. But there was no UNTV crew, and therefore no sound.
Son Ho sat in
the penned in press area, sweating. Inner City Press offered him a
fan, one handed out in June at a largely Japanese march from Times
Square to the UN. “NO! Nuclear Weapons” were the words on fan.
Sin Son Ho declined.
if he has seen the photo exhibit in the UN's entrance about
the De-Militarized Zone. He nodded. “My country very beautiful,”
he said. “Very beautiful.”
did he come
so late to the stakeout, after Ambassadors Rice, Takasu and Park had
already spoken. He didn't want to mixed with them, was the answer.
Some wondered how the UN Secretariat could be
treating North Korea and its Ambassador this way. The emphasis,
however, was on getting him to speak and take questions before he
left. Inner City Press plugged the lights in. The microphone stand
and Sin Son Ho began. He denounced the Security
Council, which he said “failed to bring the correct judgment or
conclusion to this case.” He said the Peninsula was now at a
“trigger point” and could “explode at any moment.”
Sin Son Ho, at earlier press conference, "NO Nukes"
fan not shown
question was in Korean, but Sin Son Ho answered in English. This was,
he said, a great diplomatic victory. Inner City Press began asking
about his statement, in an earlier press conference, that he would
lose his job if the Council took action.
shouted, “Will North Korea take military action?” Sin Son Ho
replied, “Thank you for coming,” and walked away from the
A swarm of TV
camera people, mostly from Japanese media,
ran after him and up the stairs. A long time UN Security officer
tried to stop the camera people, who surrounded Sin Son Ho as he
passed through the turnstile. And then he was gone.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
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.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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