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At UN on Climate, “Small Islands Voted for Us,” Council Member Argues

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 19 -- In the climate change fight in the UN Security Council, a new argument has been raised that is gaining traction. The ten elected members got the votes of the small island states that now face an “existential” threat.

  They deserve support from the Council members, the argument goes, as much as the “obscure” issues that take up some Council agenda spots.

  While earlier on Tuesday several sources predicted there would be no Presidential Statement agreed for the next day's climate session, by the time the Council's Iraq debate began at 11, at least one Permanent Representative and a Deputy came out to tell Inner City Press they thought the statement “has a chance.”

Merkel, Ban Ki-moon and guard, climate PRST not shown

  Perhaps they are simply dreaming. But they believe their arguments are “moving China,” as one of them said. We'll see.

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At UN, China Opposes Climate Statement by UNSC, India Was “Easy” With It

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, July 19 -- In the run up to climate change day in the Security Council, the Germany presidency of the Council summoned Permanent Representatives Tuesday morning for a last try to agree on a Presidential Statement which would call for periodic reports on climate and security.

Several small island states are supporting Germany, the UK, France and others in this. Nauru's president Marcus Stephen, for example, had an op-ed in Tuesday's New York Times calling for a new UN Special Representative on climate and security. Papua New Guinea, too, has expressed a need for Council action.

On the other hand the Non Aligned Movement at the leadership level has opposed “encroachment” by the Security Council and its five Permanent members on the issue. Some questions, who is the underdog here? Nauru or Egypt, a perennial power on NAM, even after Mubarak's fall?

In a sense the debate has a dumb bell structure, with some small island states joined with some large European powers.

These proponents pointed the figure at not only China and Russia, but also South Africa and India as opposing the Presidential Statement or any outcome from the meeting.

But Indian Permanent Representative Hardeep Singh Puri told Inner City Press on his way into Tuesday's consultations that while the “PRST looks difficult, some countries are against it, I am easy with it.”

Moments later, Inner City Press learned that inside the closed door consultations, China said its position has not changed, it is opposed to the Presidential Statement. And that, one Permanent Representative told Inner City Press, would appear to be that.

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At UN on Climate, Statement in Play Amid Encroachment Fears, AOSIS to Meet

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 18 -- While Germany has been pushing on climate change for a Security Council Presidential Statement after the July 20 meeting, numerous Council members expressed doubt to Inner City Press on Monday night.

  “It's as if they think only the Security Council can deal with anything,” one Council member complained. The Non-Aligned Movement has been lobbying against Security Council jurisdiction over climate change.

  Meanwhile some small island states, many in the Pacific, see the seas rising and want the Council and its powers under Chapter Seven of the UN charter to be invoked. That is the tension, within the Association of Small Island States or AOSIS: which ones need the Council's involvement, on issues like their fishing rights even if their land is overrun, and those aligned with NAM.

  "The Brits in 2007 said it wouldn't be a precedent," one member told Inner City Press of a UK sponsored Council meeting in that year. "Now they're citing it. So we say no."

  Germany still believes a Presidential Statement is possible, saying it has been calling Moscow and Beijing. But such a Statement require unanimity, and other capitals must be called. And there it is harder for the administration of Angela Merkel to exert pressure.

  “She was against nuclear power and then for it,” a Council member told Inner City Press. “Now she is against it again. Investors need more constancy than that. We can put words on paper, but what do they want the Council to do?”

 Here is the German mission's concept paper, click here.

  The initial proposal was for a brand new Special Representative of the Secretary General, to report to the Council every six months. Even an AOSIS member told Inner City Press, “too expensive.” Now the idea is Secretary General reports, and language that makes clear the Council is not encroaching on other bodies.

  On July 19 there is an AOSIS meeting at 9 am, then Germany has called a meeting of Permanent Representatives at 10. “If they had a PRST, they wouldn't need a Perm Rep meeting,” a Council member told Inner City Press. But hope springs eternal -- and the seas are rising. Watch this site.

* * *

At UN on Eritrea, Badme Is In Eye of Beholder, Meles Ego Blocks a Deal?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 18 -- On Eritrea's request the UN Security Council will meet on July 19. But the meeting is now turned against Eritrea, with not only Ethiopia and Somalia but also Djibouti, Uganda and other set to attend.

  “Eritrea is going to get its [behind] kicked,” a Security Council member told Inner City Press on Monday night. “They're not going to know what hit them.”

When Eritrea's president met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on July 8, he asked for “three hours” to make his case, including against sanctions. But sanctions aren't set by Ban Ki-moon, but rather by the Council.

Just like last September, when Eritrea got thrown out of a meeting on Somalia at the last minute at the insistence of Uganda, now it will be barrage on Tuesday afternoon.

   But as more than one Council member told Inner City Press, why not pressure Ethiopia to give back the strip of land in Badme that Eritrea won? “They they'd have no leg to stand on,” as one member put it. “Meles Zenawi is ready to give it back, but he doesn't want Eritrea gloating about it.”

  This from a person who called Eritrea repressive, accusing it of not giving passports to any male between 20 and 40 years old.

  Will the solution to this problem have to await the next generation of leaders? Watch this site.

Click for July 7, 11 re Sudan, Libya, Syria, flotilla

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

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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