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Playing Chicken with China on Sudans, Germany Fights for 1540 Seat, ECO-Watching

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 1 -- After the US put "in blue" a draft UN Security Council resolution about the Sudans on Monday, it emerged there is not agreement on the sanctions reference in the draft and another more nitty gritty fight is in the Council.

  The so-called 1540 committee on terrorism has eight experts, but nine candidates this time. The fight boils down to two seats for three experts from three countries: the UK, Germany and Pakistan.

  Pakistan says that the 1540 experts group already "Europe-heavy." Germany counters that geography is not the criterion, and there is no reason to limit this stage to a three-for-two in which it is expected to drop out. All eight are up for grabs.

  Meanwhile on Tuesday, even Security Council members going in for bilateral meetings with the new Azeri president of the Council for May asked Inner City Press about the status of the Sudans resolution.

  There is not only the question of sanctions, but how to deal with South Sudan's entry into, and some say intentional destruction of, Heglig oil facilities.

   Several Council members' Ambassadors in Khartoum -- NOT the US -- were taken to visit Heglig; one country called the damage "sizable." Another Council member has photographs and estimated the damage at $1 billion. Who will pay?

   Another item floating as Azerbaijan takes over from the US is whether and when ECOWAS will come for Security Council endorsement of its plans in Mali and Guinea Bissau.

  A well placed Council member told Inner City Press on Tuesday that ECOWAS "may" come brief the Council about Guinea Bissau, and ask for endorsement at that time.

   Or they might "pull a Kenya" -- a reference to Kenya merely informing the Council president that it had sent troops into Somalia, or "pull an Ethiopia." For the record, Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki resurfaced over the weekend on state television, putting an end it seems to reports at the UN of his death. Watch this site.

Footnote: the US Mission last act in April as a Jazz Day concert in the General Assembly, featuring among others Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Hugh Masekela, Stevie Wonder, Esmeralda Spalding and near the end a Latin jazz groups led by Bobby Sanabria, accompanied by a 91 year old drummer.

US Ambassador Susan Rice opined that the General Assembly Hall had never been so cool, and might never be again. We'll see.

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

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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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