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UK Proposes Middle East Session "Perm Reps Only,"U S Opposes

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 2, updated -- Taking over the Presidency of the UN Security Council for March, UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant on Friday proposed that the Council meet "Perm Reps only" and was opposed by the US and others, Inner City Press exclusively learned Friday morning.

The US was said to argue that it can send whomever it likes to Council meetings; it is a team whose instructions from the the capital, Washington -- where its Permanent Representative often has to be.

Inner City Press asked Lyall Grant to confirm and explain his request, among other questions asked at his "Program of Work" press conference.

Lyall Grant acknowledged making the request, saying it was so that session could be "frank and interactive." He said even if others don't, the UK on March 27 will be represented only by its Permanent Representative - him.

He likened it to the UK's innovation of the "horizon" briefing by the Department of Political Affairs. That, too, was opposed by the US, some say due to a fear that such an unscripted session could turn into "Israel bashing." Some wonder if the US, which takes over the Council's presidency in April, will even hold a horizon briefing. Watch this site.

  Inner City Press also asked Lyall Grant about Sudan, Myanmar and Sierra Leone. On Myanmar it appears any briefing of the Council by Vijay Nambair will await April. On Sierra Leone, Lyall Grant gave a long and reasoned answer to which we'll devote a separate piece.

   On Sudan, he said there is a Presidential Statement in the works -- and an hour later, Inner City Press observed the experts working on it emerging from the Council. So much for Perm Reps only...

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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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