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At UN, Greece's Bakoyannis Called "Not Ready for Prime Time" by Some: Sri What?

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

UNITED NATIONS, February 28 -- Dora Bakoyannis, the foreign minister of Greece, was unable on Friday to comment on the 2000 civilians killed this year in Sri Lanka. She came to speak to the Press outside the UN Security Council, which was holding a three-part session on the OSCE, peacebuilding and Sri Lanka. Inner City Press asked for her or Greece's position on Sri Lanka, the debate on which in the Council has concerned the right of a government to kill civilians while fighting a separatist or terrorist group.

  "I will not comment on that," Minister Bakoyannis said, "I have to catch up with it." Video here, from Minute 5:01. Several Greek observers shook their heads, some embarrassed, some judgmental. Not ready for prime time was the verdict, they said.

  Beyond such intra-Greek critique, the larger question which we hope going forward to explore is, Does a foreign ministry such as Greece's only take an interest in conflicts outside of their region while they are on the UN Security Council, or are aspiring for a seat?

  When asked if Russia building military bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia would be helpful to her and the OSCE's attempts to keep a OSCE mission in these areas, Ms. Bakoyannis answered only that it "should be discussed within the OSCE." Video here, from Minute 4:54.

Ms. Bakoyannis and UN's Ban, her last time in NY, Sri Lanka not shown

  Ms. Bakoyannis did answer, or at least respond to, Inner City Press' question about Nagorno Karabakh, on which she has been quoted that a solution's to be found within the territory of Azerbaijan. She answered by referring to the Minsk process, trying to bring it to a close by the end of 2009. Video here, from Minute 2:11. This answer, but not the Sri Lanka no comment, was picked up by the ANA news service, here.

  Staff of the Greek Mission to the UN, working around the clock during Ms. Bakoyannis' visit, were to accompany her to the airport after this Council appearance. The Mission is among the more responsive in UN world, on topics ranging from the riots to the intrigue around the U.S.'s planned use of a Greek port by the name of Lobster for weapons trans-shipment. To bring Minister Bakoyannis up to speed on major UN topics, at least those on the Council's agenda on the day that she is there, would be another step forward.

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

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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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

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