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In UN Council, Myanmar and Mugabe in Footnotes, Demand for Tony Blair, Kosovo Wide Open

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, November 4, 10:30 am, updated -- With proxy wars raging in the Congo, Somalia and elsewhere, the Costa Rican presidency of the UN Security Council began with a breakfast Tuesday morning. Ambassador Jorge Urbina greeted dozens of diplomats and freeloaders at the Council's entrance. Several of each stopped and spoke with Inner City Press, together painting a picture of the coming month's program of work.

    "Myanmar and Zimbabwe are in the footnotes," one well-placed source confided, adding that the U.S. put Myanmar on, and the UK "peace and security in Africa," in this case the code word for Mugabe. The Kosovo meeting was going to be closed, but since the Serbian foreign minister -- "who seems to live in New York," one staffer snarked -- wants to speak, or even his president Tadic, it will an an open session.

Urbina speaks on Kosovo, in the Chamber as it should be

   There is a footnote on the Middle East, which Inner City Press is told means Tony Blair, the still-outstanding request that he come and briefing the Council, since he serves as envoy to the Middle East Quartet. Last week, even UNRWA's Karen AbuZayd noted that many hats Blair wears, wondering what if anything he accomplishes.

   Urbina is said to favor meetings being open, rather than private consultations. Whether that means he will describe Council dynamics at the stakeout microphone, as neither the Belgian or Chinese Ambassadors were willing to do, remains to be seen.

Update of 1 p.m., while in Amb. Urbina's press conference: he has confirmed that Zimbabwe is on, but in response to Inner City Press' request that in the spirit of transparency he disclose which delegation asked to put it on, he said "the Council as a whole." He confirmed that Tony Blair has been asked to briefing the Council, some time ago, but has yet to respond.

  That there will be no debate in his month on Protection of Civilians, he ascribed to delay by the Secretariat, and that John Holmes will only report in December. The November 22 to 28 trip, he refused to state the destination, or if the press can go. Still it was heady stuff, and may bode well for the month.

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

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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