the UN, A Day of Resolutions on Gaza, North Korea and Iran, Georgia as Side Dish
Matthew Russell Lee at the U.N.
UNITED NATIONS, July
12 -- Just as there are big countries and little countries, at the UN there are
big issues and then other issues, sometimes called non-issues. On Wednesday at
the UN, there were serial stakeouts by the Ambassadors of France and the United
States, off the cuff comments by the Ambassadors of Russia, China and the UK,
and side speeches by the Palestinian Permanent Observer and the UN's head of
peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guehenno.
from a half-dozen journalists at the
noon briefing --
where Inner City Press asked about a UNHCR conflict-of-interest investment with
Ivan Pictet, who's on the UN Investment Committee, click
that article -- was the Special Representative of the Secretary General for
Georgia, Heidi Tagliavini, soon to leave her post and return to Switzerland.
Still she was diplomatic, preferring not to comment on yesterday's outbursts
from Georgia's parliamentary speaker and the Russian ambassador, rather
referring obliquely to "mis-information" being a problem in Abkhazia.
City Press asked if she views as mis-information the allegations of money
laundering, including for terrorism, in Abkhazia.
God my mandate doesn't include bank regulation," she replied. She went on to
describe Abkhazia as a "dark area" where certainly money laundering could
happen. In response to Inner City Press' second question, about South Ossetia,
she described the Abkhazians as more professional, and having a longer
independent history, than is the case in South Ossetia. Asked if Georgia should
be allowed to speak before the Security Council when it is on the agenda, she
respond that she personally thinks that's right, but it is of course up to the
Security Council. In the hall outside Room 226, the Georgia ambassador noted
that Russia should not be able to block Georgia's attendance and speaking, since
these are procedural and not substantive matters. That and a token, a New York
another stakeout, Inner City Press asked the UN's head of peacekeeping
Jean-Marie Guehenno for more information on the release of the final five of the
peacekeeper in Ituri in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mr. Guehenno
replied that the problem in Ituri is "young men with guns," and that even those
are disarmed can't find a job. He said, in a sanitized on-camera version, that
those negotiated with, Peter Karim, changed from day to day. Inner City Press
asked if in his briefing to the Council about the African Union summit in
Banjul, the issue of the Secretary-General's new deference to a "Mugabe-selected
mediator" came up. Mr. Guehenno replied both that it had not come up, and that
he was not sure if the mediator was Mugabe-selected. Inner City Press asked,
"what is the mediator's mandate? Between whom is he mediating -- Mugabe and the
Blair government in the UK, or Mugabe and the opposition in Zimbabwe?" Mr.
Guehenno said he is not the one to ask, that the question should be directed to
and answered by Department of Political Affairs. Okay then.
action was dueling resolutions: the Qatari resolution on Gaza, not expanded to
cover Lebanon, texts and more texts on North Korea, and forthcoming text on
Iran. In the midst of these, all covered
elsewhere, French ambassador
Jean-Marc de La Sabliere let drop that he met with the Thai candidate for
Secretary-General. Inner City Press pursued at the stakeout the fate of the Gaza
electrical power plant, which UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland said Tuesday
should be repaired by Israel. Inner City Press asked U.S. Ambassador John Bolton
if he had any comment on this. He replied, "I don't have any comment." Dan
Gillerman, the Ambassador of Israel,
that his country has "no intention to punish" civilians, but that he has "no
information on the plant." Inner City Press asked to be updated, and asked OCHA
to amplify Jan Egeland's reference to an "American insurance company" now
possibly barred from paying out on the policy due to sanctions against Hamas.
Who paid the premiums? Especially, after the insurance company became arguably
barred from paying on the policy? Developing....
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