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To Reform UNSC, Japan Tries to Divide Africa, Others Try G-4 Split

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 8 -- With the perennial topic of UN Security Council reform the subject of speeches Tuesday in the General Assembly, the lack of seriousness with which the Council's five Permanent members took it was in evidence.

  French Permanent Representative Gerard Araud, for example, cut out early with this spokesman from a Security Council consultation on upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- but not to speak in France's slot in the General Assembly debate a mere two stories above.

   Rather, he left his Deputy Permanent Representative Briens to deliver that speech.

   Likewise the US, which has promised India for example its support for a permanent seat on the Council, was represented not by Susan Rice but rather her Deputy, Rosemary DiCarlo.

  Shortly after DiCarlo's low key speech, when Cuba was speaking the UN Television camera swung back to where DiCarlo had been sitting. Now it was a junior US diplomat, typing on his cell phone.

Japan of course is lusting for more from the UN. Its Permanent Representative Nishita distributed his speech to the Press in advance, and chatted with Inner City Press on his way up to deliver it.

  He announced a November 14 conference in Toyko. Not long after, a diplomat who will attend in Tokyo told Inner City Press succinctly, "Japan will be trying to divide Africa, but we'll be trying to divide the G-4." And so it goes at the UN.

  Earlier on Tuesday countries reviewed the Security Council's annual report and actual performance. Ireland for example questioned the seriousness of the Council's all day thematic debates, saying that the promised interactivity was in practice nearly zero.

  A member of the so-called S-5 suggested that the reports by each month's Council president should be more serious, and that the annual report should be distributed further in advance.

  Amazingly, Nepal was listed as among the Council's successes in the year -- the UN was in fact thrown out -- while tardiness on Cote d'Ivoire was chided, while France used the Council to legitimize its Force Licorne's assault on the Presidential palace.

  The P-5 do what they want and the rest just talk, as one wag put it. Speeches will continue on Wednesday. And so it goes at 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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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