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At UN on Koreas, China Opposes “Condemn,” Inaction Likely, 2 Elements Proposed

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, November 30 -- Negotiations for a UN Security Council statement on the artillery attack on Yeonpyeong island have stalled, Inner City Press has learned. On November 29, China expressed its opposition to a draft statement which would have “condemned” the attack. China also proposed adding two elements, about the Six Party Talks and 2005 joint statement.

At press time, the political coordinators of the US and China were negotiating. The sense, however, is that with China opposing the use of the world “condemned,” and South Korea saying that a weak Council statement would be worse than nothing, nothing will occur.

The artillery attack, SC action not shown

Meanwhile, the Council will hear on Tuesday about Haiti, the elections and cholera, at the request of US Ambassador Susan Rice.

* * *

At UN, No Action on Korea Shootout, Security Council Theater, Questions Banned

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 24 -- The shootout in Korea reverberated throughout Wednesday outside the UN Security Council, while within the Council nothing was done about the showdown.

  The Council had two meetings, in the morning on the Congo and at 4 pm about Ivory Coast. The stakeout was full of reporters from Japanese media, who burst into action to chase a mid level North Korean diplomat to no avail.

  In the morning the Permanent Representative of South Korea entered the Council's chambers. He did not go into the consultations, however, but only to meet with UK Deputy Permanent Represent Philip Parham. On his way out, he refused to answer any questions.

  After the morning's meeting, Susan Rice of the US stayed inside talking with UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant, after Russia's Vitaly Churkin had left. At the news that the Council would reconvene in the afternoon, the press was all at(w)itter.

  But the afternoon session concerned only Ivory Coast, sending three battalions and two helicopters from the UN Mission in Liberia for Sunday's runoff election. After the vote on this resolution, the UK's Lyall Grant told the mass of reporters that on Korea “consultations continue.” He said he would take no questions on camera, even about Ivory Coast.

UN's Ban & UK's Lyall Grant: neither takes questions, utmost concern not shown

  Afterward an Ivorian diplomat complained to Inner City Press that his country hadn't been consulted about the resolution to send in the additional troops. By then the major powers have left, the Thanksgiving holiday getting an early start.

The prediction is that North Korea will be discussion on Monday November 29, on resolution 1718 (non proliferation). But what of the non nuclear shootout? A shiny haired South Korean journalist regaled Japanese reporters with tales of Seoul's prowess.

We don't need the Security Council,” he said, “not this time, not when we fought back.” Reporters scribbled this down, perhaps to become Gospel in Tokyo. Another reporter asked, why is Thanksgiving four days? The UN unceremoniously canceled its Friday press briefing.

 At Wednesday's briefing, acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq denied that Ban Ki-moon has seen a UN memo about Korea, and dodged questions about why Korea had not been in Ban's Monday speech. He pointed at Ban's November 23 statement, that Ban conveyed his “utmost concern” to Lyall Grant. But why then no Council meeting? Watch this site.

  On the memo, from the UN's November 24 transcript:

Inner City Press: a memo has emerged for a 6 December meeting of the Policy Committee of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General concerning DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea]. I don’t know if you have seen it, but it’s been leaked and talks about the UN trying “efforts to re-engage with the DPRK”. It seems to have been written before this most recent firing, but I just wonder, first, can you confirm that the document exists and or that there is a 6 December meeting of the Korean Peninsula/DPRK Policy Committee of the Secretary-General’s office? And two, does this raise any, does the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, is a stated desire to re-engage with DPRK in any way changed by recent events?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq: Well, first of all, you’re aware of our general policy not to comment on leaked documents, which applies in this case. In this particular case, as for whether there was a meeting of the Policy Committee on this, no, in fact there was not. The document that was reported on Fox is not something that has been seen by senior UN officials. It was not reviewed by senior UN officials, and therefore it does not have any particular status.

Inner City Press: Is there within DPA [Department of Political Affairs] a unit that specifically focuses on Korea Peninsula/DPRK that provides memos to the Executive Office of the Secretary-General?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson: You mean does the Department of Political Affairs have a desk on North Korea?

Question: [inaudible] document, it seems to, unless it’s somehow some lower-level UN official writing his own grandiose projections, it seems to be…

Acting Deputy Spokesperson: Like I said, this is not something that was reviewed by senior officials. It could be a working level initial draft. But it certainly is not something that has undergone any particular review higher up.

Question: Was there at any time a meeting scheduled for 6 December on the topic of DPRK/Korean Peninsula?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson: Like I said, this not something that has been discussed at the Policy Committee.

But that doesn't answer the question. Watch this site.

* * *

In Haiti, UN Fires Into Crowds, Says Its Only Focus Is Future, Not How Cholera Arrived

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 15 -- With protesters in Haiti still blaming the UN for the deadly cholera outbreak, and UN peacekeepers reportedly opening fire on the crowds, at UN headquarters on Monday Inner City Press asked the UN's interim humanitarian coordinator for Haiti Nigel Fisher why the UN had not acted to fully investigate reports of UN peacekeepers' roles in bringing or spreading the disease. Video here, from Minute 22:21.

My focus is on how to stop” the disease, Fisher replied. But even the UN's deputy special envoy Paul Farmer denounced this approach, call it more politics than science. Beyond being anti scientific, it appears in this case that the UN's attempts to brush off complaints and not fully investigate them has come back to haunt the UN, as suspicions have only grown.

Inner City Press asked when the last time cholera had been present in Haiti. “There has never before been cholera in Haiti,” Fisher answered.

Fisher characterized as “political manipulation” the claims by the Mayor of Mirebalais that the disease may have come from the UN Peacekeeping base there, staffed by peacekeepers from Nepal. But the Centers for Disease Control, even Fisher acknowledged Monday, said the strain is a strain which originated in South Asia.

Nigel Fisher by video, facts on MINUSTAH role not shown, (c) MRLee

Some in the UN system say that even looking into the role of the peacekeepers from Nepal is somehow racist. But political correctness can lead to riots in which UN peacekeepers are shooting into crowds of Haitians. Which is worse? Watch this site.

 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.

* * *

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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