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As Azeri Minister Meets Ban Ki-moon on Nagorno Karabakh, Seeks UNSC Seat Over Hungary and Slovenia, Citing EU Rules

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 1, updated -- A three way race for a UN Security Council seat is shaping up between Azerbaijan and two members of the European Union, Hungary and Slovenia.

  Azerbaijan's argument is that under the EU's common foreign policy provisions either of these two would be aligned with Permanent members the UK and France.

  Azerbaijan, a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and recent joiner of the Non Aligned Movement, would in this view bring a different perspective.

  Azerbaijan recently detained people who protested in Baku, and is seeking to confine protest organizer Bakhtiyar Hajiev for two years, ostensibly for refusing the mandatory year of military service. (Azerbaijan remains in a frozen or “protracted” conflict about Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia, which they say has dropped out of the race for the Security Council seat.)

  Inner City Press asked one of the spokespeople for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday if in his May 31 meeting with Azeri foreign minister Elmar Mammadyarov Ban had raised these detention or other human rights issues, and if Nagorno Karabakh was discussed, as has been reported.

  While the UN usually puts out canned “read outs” of Ban's meetings with visiting foreign ministers, this time it had not.

Ban & Azeri FM, still no UN read out shown

  In her first noon briefing replacing lead spokesman Martin Nesirky, Vannina Maestracci told Inner City Press she would try to get a read out of the meeting.

 She delivered answers on two questions that Nesirky had left unanswered the previous, which may portend well. Watch this site.

Footnote: Mammadyarov was leaving New York on Wednesday for Washington, to meet with Hillary Clinton. Some have analogized the US and Russian relation with Azerbaijan to those with Georgia, and even pointed to the 2008 denouement of the frozen conflict of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, whose president Sergei Bagapsh recently died while seeking medical treatment in Moscow.

  Would the US provide more back up to Azerbaijan than to Abkhazia, whose break away from Georgia was just recognized by Vanuatu? Yes, some say, pointing to its natural gas reserves, and US Ambassador Richard Morningstar who works the issue....

Update of 4:10 pm -- and some hours later, this belated readout:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 3:59 PM
Subject: Response to your question on Azerbaijan.
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

In their meeting yesterday, the Secretary-General and the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan discussed the status of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. The Secretary-General encouraged the parties to support confidence-building measures proposed by the Organization for Security and Coooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group Co-Chairs to ease tensions on the ground.

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At UN, As Georgia Loses HRC Bid It Blames Russian Lobbying, 5 Votes for Syria

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 20 -- Of the 17 countries running Friday for 15 seats on the UN Human Rights Council, only two were going to lose.

  Inner City Press asked the Permanent Representative of Georgia Alexander Lomaia what he felt his chances were, facing off against Romania and the Czech Republic for two Eastern European group seats.

Ambassador Lomaia said, without hesitation, that Russia had been asking countries not to vote for Georgia, that at least two delegations had disclosed this. In many UN fora, Georgia and Russia exchange rights of reply regarding Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This is just one more battle.

After the election, in which Georgia got 89 votes but still lost to Romania's 131 and the Czech Republic's 148, Inner City Press asked a Russian diplomat about the result. He smiled and said, “Oops.”

Nicaraguan representatives said they liked their chances, but they too took a loss, despite receiving 98 votes. Austria pointed out that the two votes cast for Australia were probably for it.

  Syria tried to play down the five votes it received, after postponing its run to 2014, to mere errors. If that was a write in campaign, it wasn't much.  Kuwait, Syria's replacement, waltzed in with 166 votes.

UN's Ban & Kuwait minister, human rights not shown

The Permanent Representative of the Philippines, another winner with a clear or unopposed slate, acknowledged to Inner City Press that there are human rights issues in his country, such as unsolved killings of journalists. But, he said, the trend line is up.

   Later on Friday in the same General Assembly Hall, military bands of China and the US played together. Only at the UN.

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

 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.

* * *

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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