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As Turkey Bombs Iraq, Not Even Raised in Security Council, UN Baghdad Budget Introduced

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

UNITED NATIONS, December 17 -- Over the weekend there was a cross-border bombing raid, Turkey into Iraq, and on Monday not a word of it in the UN Security Council. When Turkish soldier were being shot at across the border, similarly nothing was said in the Council. The standard, apparently, is not disturbances to international peace and security, but rather that none of the Permanent Five members of the Council have any over-arching interest in a topic. The U.S. would not want the Iraq - Turkey issue to be discussed at that UN, and therefore it is not. Last week Iraqi Ambassador Hamid Al Bayati stressed to the press that his country's sovereignty must be respected in the upcoming Security Council resolution, and on the ground, where, he said, no permanent bases would be accepted. But now the U.S. brags about opening Iraqi air space for Turkish bombing runs, and Iraq is not heard from.

            In fact, final Council consultations had been scheduled for Monday afternoon, but then were cancelled. Indonesian Deputy Permanent Representative Hasan Kleib told Inner City Press that the slow-down in the MNF resolution concerned a dispute about the difference between "non-interference" and "non-intervention." Another Council diplomat, on the Permanent Five side, said that at the last minute the U.S. wanted to check with Iraq's Maliki if the text was alright with him, and called this an aftermath of the little trouble the U.S. had in the Council on the post-Annapolis resolution. That time, the U.S. formally introduced a draft resolution and then quickly withdrew it, after criticism from Israel.

Iraq's Hamid al-Bayati, U.S. looms behind

            Meanwhile, two days before the UN's budget is slated to be voted on, its proposed $185 million expenditure for a new headquarters in Iraq was introduced for the first time in the UN's budget committee. While on the overall budget it is the U.S. which is complaining most, on this item the U.S. is not complaining, as increased UN presence is viewed as helping the U.S.. But Monday Japan's representative criticized the late submission, suggesting that at this late stage the proposal should be separated from the rest of the budget. And the UN's Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions has just made public its critique of the Baghdad plan, listing issues that "need to be clarified before the proposal can be considered by the General Assembly," including the "nature of the requirement for the UN Office in Baghdad" and the "level of the financial and other contributions by the Government of Iraq." To be continued.

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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

  Because a number of Inner City Press' UN sources go out of their way to express commitment to serving the poor, and while it should be unnecessary, Inner City Press is compelled to conclude this installment in a necessarily-ongoing series by saluting the stated goals of the UN agencies and many of their staff. Keep those cards, letters and emails coming, and phone calls too, we apologize for any phone tag, but please continue trying, and keep the information flowing.

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Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

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UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540