Sawers Explains Leaving Sri Lanka Off UN Council Agenda, on LRA No
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, August 4 -- The UN Security "Council has to take
decisions on each country on its merits," outgoing UK Ambassador
to the UN John Sawers told the Press on Tuesday. Inner City Press had
asked Sawers to explain why, despite saying that he had the votes to
put Sri Lanka on the Council's agenda, the choice was made to keep
the issues of civilian casualties and now detentions on the margin of
the Council, in the UN basement, for the sake of Council unity.
"There is always a judgment to be made," Sawers answered,
"was to whether Council unity at a moderate level of agreement
is better than division on a more ambition level of agreement."
from Minute 32:08.
under Sawers put sanctions on Zimbabwe to a vote in the Council,
foreseeing and obtaining a double veto from China and Russia. On Sri
Lanka, it never pushed for vote, even though on procedural matters
such as additions to the Council's agenda no country has a veto.
decision during the
of Sawers and France's Jean-Maurice Ripert, who is also leaving this
month, will continue to be reviewed as internment continues in Sri
Lanka, the press is barred from covering the supposed elections in
the North, and investigations into the killing of aid workers are
called off, the govern exonerating itself.
UK's Sawers and France's Ripert: ils son va,
Sri Lanka not on Council agenda
also asked Sawers what the Council's plan is, if any, to deal with
the Lord's Resistance Army, which in recent days made deadly
incursions from the Democratic Republic of the Congo into the Central
African Republic and Southern Sudan. Video here,
from Minute 31:44.
latter, Sawers appeared
to conflate the documented LRA attacks with the separate tribal
conflicts on which, he said, UN Peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy would
brief the Council later Tuesday. Sawers acknowledged of the LRA
that the "Council needs to address" to issue, after the
"exhaustive efforts of former president Chissano." But what
is the plan?
questions ranging from Iran -- a topic on which he's said less and
less to the media after being named the head of the UK's intelligence
agency MI6 - to Afghanistan. On the latter, no one asked Sawers to
statements of his minister David Miliband and the UN's Kai
Eide, who critiqued Miliband's call for talks with Taliban "local
commanders." Eide said they are not important enough. But who
does Eide work for?
deflected a question about reports that Myanmar may have a nuclear
program supported by North Korea, saying he would take the
correspondent's scheduling suggestion under advisement. Sawers got
his hackles up with a South Asian correspondent wondered why the UK
doesn't give helicopters to the UN and African Union Mission in
Do you think
Sudan would accept them from us, Sawers
pointedly asked. The correspondent persisted until Sawers said, we've
had enough on that. He noted that the Rwandan contingent in Darfur
still has its APCs trapped in Port Sudan. The "heavy lift"
air support the U.S. bragged of was not mentioned.
The partying for the departure of Jean-Maurice Ripert has already
begun. On August 3, La Francophonie threw him a bash. Now Ripert is
organizing his own farewell, seeking to invite the UN Security
officers who went on the Council's
African forays. Will the officer
who shot through the UN plane in Goma last year, leading to a bus
ride to Kigali, be invited?