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At UN, China Trashes Sudan Sanctions Report & Blind Quotes, Budget Cut Threatened

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, October 20, updated with Q&A -- China in a rare public shoot-back at other UN Security Council members issued a statement Wednesday night disputing the accuracy of the report of the Council's Sudan sanctions committee, and implicitly threatening to cut the committee's funding.

  The spokesman for China's Mission to the UN Liu Yutang e-mailed Inner City Press -- exclusively, he said -- a statement at 9:47 pm (full statement below) that

“the Panel of Experts uses a large amount of budget and resources every year, it should improve its performance... the so-called Security Council diplomat [quoted in Reuters] was even afraid of disclosing the name of his/her own country, which clearly demonstrates that the diplomat has no confidence in what he/she said and he/she is not credib1e... Such old-fashioned trick only testifies to the stereotyped prejudice against the developing countries.”

  One thing that is true is that China rarely speaks out against other Council members, even on background. On the Council's recent trip to Sudan, Inner City Press asked China's Ambassador to the UN Li Baodong a number of questions, and he never one said “off the record” or “on background.”

In the airport in Nairobi, Li told Inner City Press that his country would be perfectly willing to meet and speak with Sudanese President Omar al Bashir, if the other Council members agreed.

Li Baodong & other P-5 -- "Council diplomat" not shown

At a South Sudanese police training base in Rejaf, as US Ambassador Susan Rice essentially rallied for Juba's independence with a tentful of police recruits, Ambassador Li said softly that “it is very sensitive” -- but nevertheless never requested off the record treatment, or asked to be identified as a “Security Council” (or “Eastern”) diplomat.

  On the other hand, China has recently been further flexing it muscles, for example against Norway for the Peace Prize decision of the Nobel Committee.

  Does Wednesday night's statement indicate a Nobel-ization of Security Council debate or merely a shot across the bow? Watch this site.

Footnote: one also remembers, for example, that the Somalia Sanctions Committee alleged there were hundreds of Somalia's in Lebanon, and then leaked a pro-UN report, here. These committees should be more transparent, which ever way the cookie (or bullets or referenda) crumble...

Full "Q&A" --

Q: Reuters reported that, according to a Security Council diplomat, the latest report of the Panel of Experts on Sudan says a dozen brands of bullet casings found at sites of attacks on U.N./African Union peacekeepers in Darfur came from China, and that China has tried to block its publication. Does the Chinese Mission have any comment?

Yutong LIU, Chief Press Officer Chinese Mission to the UN: “The latest report of the Panel Of Experts on Sudan has serious drawbacks. A number of references in the report are not based on facts and lack of solid evidence. Some of the conc1usions of the report are vague and unclear. Some are even based on the Panel’ s own conjecture and presumption. This is not consistent with the requirements of the Security Council that the Panel of Experts should carry out its work in a responsible, objective, impartial and professiona1 manner. The Panel of Experts uses a large amount of UN budget and resources every year. It should improve its performance.

China takes a prudent and responsible attitude towards its arms export and has always fulfilled its obligations under Security Council resolutions. Around 800 Chinese peacekeepers are currently deployed in Sudan. China attaches great importance to their safety and security. What was said by the so-called Security Council diplomat as quoted by the Reuters is not inline with the fact, illogical and lacks common sense. The diplomat was even afraid of disclosing the name of his/her own country, which clearly demonstrates that the diplomat has no confidence in what he/she said and he/she is not credible. I don’t want to presume who has provided the Reuters with the above mentioned information. Such Old-fashioned trick only testifies to the stereotyped prejudice against the developing countries.”

* * *

South Sudan Accuses Bashir of Arming LRA as Susan Rice Smiles, Others Queasy

By Matthew Russell Lee

REJAF, SOUTH SUDAN, October 7 -- A military band greeted Susan Rice and 13 other Security Council Ambassadors on Thursday morning at this police training camp on the banks of the Nile River.

  The minister of internal affairs of the Government of South Sudan, Gier Chuang Aluong, gave a speech, in which he accused the government of Omar al Bashir of supplying ammunition not only to cattle rustlers but also the Lord's Resistance Army.

  Susan Rice did not react to this accusation, rather smiling broadly as South Sudan military figures praised her.

As the Security Council delegation took a tour of the facility, compete with mock hijackings of VIPs in four by four vehicle, fought off by the just trained police, Inner City Press asked another Council Ambassador if he was comfortable with the tone of the visit to Rejaf, sometimes called and spelled Rajaf.

  “It's a very sensitive situation,” he said, going on to wonder what the government of Sudan in Khartoum would think of this show of readiness for independence and with what some call its Susan Rice “cult of personality” aspect. Others say it is merely Susan showing her passion.

  Still, the mood was hopeful, with young South Sudanese singing and marching around in robo-cop crowd control outfits complete with thigh and shin armor. Inner City Press interviewed a number of the trainees, who said they are only paid from time to time and have no toilets, having to “use the bush.”

A speech to the Council members asked for $50 million to take the training facility to the next stage. Afterward an Ambassador joked to Inner City Press, “Did they expect us to take out our checkbooks?”

Susan Rice & SSudan minister, status neutral & $50 million not shown, (c) MRLee

  One Permanent Representative was conspicuously absent: Russia's Vitaly Churkin. It led one to wonder how such a Council Mission to Kosovo would have looked, while UNMIK was running it, before the unilateral declaration of independence. There, the UN's watchword was “status neutral.” Was that only because Serbia had Russia taking its side in the Council? Watch this site.

Footnote: the last leg of the Susan Rice portion of the trip, a visit to Wau, was canceled when the UN plane, run by Swift Air, broke down on the Juba tarmac. The entire delegation moved to the Russian base of UNMIS. Things started friendly, but then a Russian commander ordered the Press to stop using the Internet.

* * *

Museveni Pressed on Killing of Civilians in Somalia, Disfavors Shelling, Cites Mao

By Matthew Russell Lee

UGANDA, October 6 -- President Yoweri Museveni took questions from the Press after meeting with the Security Council on Wednesday. Inner City Press asked about calls to investigate the killing of civilians in Mogadishu by Ugandan and Burundian troops. President Museveni said that those his forces killed “in June, July, August” must have been combatants, since they were assaulting a fortified position.

But what about killings of civilians in markets? President Museveni said he does not favor the shelling of such areas. Inner City Press posed similar questions last month to Jean Ping of the African Union Commission, who responded angrily that Al Shabab insists on using human shields and even fighting from mosques. He did not speak about disfavoring response.

Uganda's Ambassador to the UN Ruhakana Rugunda said that the Lord's Resistance Army was discussed in the meeting with the Council. Inner City Press asked if Uganda thinks the UN mission in the Congo MONUSCO is doing enough against the LRA bases in the Congo.

President Museveni said that the LRA is degraded, so degraded they had to go to “the Central African Republic and Darfur.” He praises his “revolutionary” forces, citing Mao about a people's army not taking a needle from the people without paying for it. Three times he praises Tanzania for sending 45,000 to throw out Idi Amin.

About the UN's Mapping Report on the Congo, President Museveni said he hadn't read it, but it must be fiction. There are fiction writers, he said, in international organization. US Ambassador Susan Rice sat stonefaced. What is the US view on what happened in Rwanda, and the Mapping Report? Watch this site.

Watch this site, follow on Twitter @InnerCityPress.

 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.

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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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