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In Cote d'Ivoire, Elections Official Asks US & France for UN Protection, UN Slow

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, December 2, 11:40 am, updated 12:40 -- The head of the elections commision in Cote d'Ivoire was holed up in a hotel room, sending messages to France and the US that if the UN Mission ONUCI would provide protection to get to the airport, he would release the elections results and then fly to Paris.

This was being discussed inside the UN Security Council as noon approached on Thursday. UN envoy Choi demanded to know why the request for help was being directed to France and the US and not to him.

Inner City Press asked a Council source why Choi himself doesn't release the results he has. “He hasn't finished counting,” was the answer. So Choi and ONUCI are slower than the electoral commission?

UN's Ban & Choi, cut out of communications and slow on count

It was announced at the UN that new Council President Susan Rice would read a statement after consultations. Watch this site.

Update of 12:40 pm -- after publication of the above, the chairman of the electoral commission Youssouf Bakoyoko announced that Alassane Ouattara won the run off. It is emphasized, as a matter of courage, that he did so AFTER the Gbagbo dominated Constitutional Council had declared that his time was up. While some at the UN analogize what is to come to the Bush v. Gore case of 2000, others say that's a stretch. Ambassador -- this month, President -- Susan Rice read a statement and said she will take quesitons at her 1 pm press conference on the month's program of work. Watch this site.

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UN Upbeat on Cote d'Ivoire Despite NY Weapons Purchase, Open Air Polling 

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 29, 2010 -- Long promised elections in Cote d'Ivoire are now scheduled for October 31, UN envoy Choi Young-Jin told the UN Security Council and Press on September 28.

 Choi was relentlessly upbeat, that strongman Laurent Gbabgo and his two main opponents Alassane Ouattara and Henri Konan Bedie are all committed to a fair election without violence, “at least in the first round.”

Inner City Press asked Choi about the arrest in New York two weeks ago of Gbagbo colonel Yao N'guessan, trying to buy for $3.8 million 4,000 handguns, 200,000 rounds of ammunition and 50,000 tear gas grenades.

  That is a matter for the [Security Council] sanctions committee, Choi said. But doesn't weapons purchase by a president who has already overstayed his term draw the attention of the Council? And isn't the US, which calls it Ivory Coast, concerned? Or does the US only concerned with its new big embassy in Abidjan?

  France, a critic of Gbagbo, has drafted a Council resolution authorizing the deployment of additional peacekeepers for the election. Nothing about the abortive arms purchase; nothing about Gbagbo's invitation to Cote d'Ivoire of Sudan's Omar al Bashir, indicted for war crimes and genocide by the International Criminal Court.

 One problem at a time, apparently. But aren't they all connected?

  Inner City Press asked Choi how he and the UN Mission intend to build shelters for the 3600 outdoor polling places which must, under the rules, be covered by October 31. Choi spoke of building tents, the nitty gritty logistical details for which the UN receives too little credit. Rare praise: remember it.

 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.

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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

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