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At Togo's Reception, Invites to Baku & Lome, Maldives Props for not Defecting

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 28 -- When Togo did its End of Presidency of the Security Council reception Tuesday night in the tents behind the UN's North Lawn building, many didn't know what to expect, as they hadn't at the month's beginning.

   But the reception, at least, was nearly unanimously a smash hit. In a tent with heaters fronting the East River, with oysters and carved meats and champagne, the Permanent Representatives of the UK and France, Israel and Jamaica, Sri Lanka and South Africa, Colombia, Eritrea, Somalia, Cote d'Ivoire, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan, just to name a few, mingled under the tent.

Inner City Press asked Jamaica's able Permanent Representative when the monument for the Transatlantic slave trade will go up. 2014 was the answer, and out in front of the UN above the garage.

  UK Deputy Parham was appropriately, given the history, hit up for 20,000 pounds, and New Zealand to at least match Australia's pledge before Rudd left.

  On the topic of Tuesday afternoon's Council consultations, the trips for the rest of 2012, Azerbaijan's Permanent Representative clarified to Inner City Press he was asking for a "stop over in Baku," with hospitality, if the Council visits Kabul.

  Likewise the Togolese hosts would like a visit to Lome, if the Council goes to Cote d'Ivoire. Ambassador Bamba, always open, told Inner City Press that while the Ouattara government was penned up in the Golf Hotel, they held cabinet meetings in a tent not unlike this.

  Israel's Ambassador Prosor called his Colombian colleague over: why had Osorio delivered the invitation of the Non Aligned Movement to Palestine? It's Osorio's job.

  Likewise it was said to be the job of Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative Palitha Kohona to push his country's cause. Inner City Press requested an interview with his Deputy Shavendra Silva, which was always possible in the past. "Hablando se entiende," as they say in Spanish -- speaking, people can understand each other's positions, if not agree with them.

The substantive discussions, which must remain without attribution, concerned whether it was right for example that Gbagbo's diplomats were stripped of their credentials. The consensus was that it wasn't right, but might makes right. Will it happen to Syria? Only time under the new chief of UN Protocol will tell.

Inside the UN (Aramark?) tent on Feb 28 (c) MRLee

  On Maldives, according to a neighbor, both the Permanent Representative then his Deputy resigned: they had come to represent one government, and wouldn't just flit to the next. This was a position with which others could agree. But it was all off-record, as is so often at the UN. So too the talk of who will get which post: more on which anon. Watch this site.

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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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