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At UN, Evo Morales Calls Colombia “US Candidate,” IMF Praise Out of MDG Document

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 21, updated -- With Colombia running for a seat on the UN Security Council, several leftist countries in Latin America have been grumbling. Inner City Press asked Bolivian President Evo Morales on Tuesday for his nation's view. After asking a second time, Morales said Colombia “is a candidate of the United States.”

  Earlier, Inner City Press asked Morales about the International Monetary Fund, criticism of which was proposed for the MDG Summit outcome document by Bolivia, Venezuela and others, but which was edited out.

  Morales replied that the IMF is guilty of “blackmail,” such as applying pressure for privatization. In the press conference before Bolivia's, Venezuela's Permanent Representative to the UN Jorge Valero told Inner City Press that at least a portion of the document what would have praised the IMF and World Bank had been removed.

  Valero declined Inner City Press' question about Colombia, saying that relations are going better with the country and it is in the hands of Hugo Chavez. Neither did he answer what had happened to the earlier prediction his country would head the Group of 77 this year: Argentina has now gotten the spot.

Evo Morales at UN, G-77, Argentina replacing Venezuela not shown

  Morales was asked how the Obama administration has treated Bolivia. Badly, Morales said, questioning how an African American could mistreat an indigenous person, noting various forms of US aid that have been cut. [See response of P.J. Crowley of US, below.]

Inner City Press had wanted to ask Morales for his views on immigration, but time did not permit. His Ambassador to the UN Pablo Solon said he will speak again later in this week. Watch this site.

Footnote: Evo Morales' press conference as a head of state was rare this eye. Earlier on Tuesday, Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan was replaced by his foreign minister, just as Hugo Chavez was replaced by Ambassador Valero. But Rosa Otunbayeva of Kyrgyzstan, slated for a 2:30 press conference, canceled altogether. Another US candidate? Barack Obama has having one of his few bilateral meetings with her, on Friday. Watch this site.

Update of 7 p.m. -- at a briefing across from the UN at the US Mission, Inner City Press asked P.J. Crowley of the US State Department about what Morales said, about aid and Colombia.
  Crowley said that US aid to Bolivia has been "restructured" based on conditions on the ground making Bolivia "ineligible" for U.S. aid.

  Crowley did not answer on Colombia. But, in response to Inner City Press' question of whom the US supports between Germany, Portugal and Canada for the two Western European and Other Group seats on the Security Council, Crowley said "I'm quite confident we will not" describe "our deliberation on votes" for seats at the UN. 
   But the US has made much of seats it opposed Iran for, to answer criticism of Iran gaining a seat on the Committee on that Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women....

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At UN on MDGs, More Questions Than Answers, Jafar on Rosneft, UNDP Dodges

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 20 -- On the first day of the UN's big week, a session of the Millennium Development Goals Summit, heads of state sat chewing gum in the General Assembly, while the media was largely confined to a room on the UN's North Lawn.

  In a meeting ostensibly about the poor, leaders took pot shots at their enemies. Georgia's President Saakashvili denounced Russia's use of resources from Abkhazia to build up for the Sochi Winter Olympics.

  The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's President Ivanov lashed out at Greece about, what else, the name issue, which he said kept his country's economy back.

  International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss Kahn wasn't where he was listed for a stake out at noon; Spain's Zapatero was listed at 6:15 but was gone by 6:16, taking only two questions. Inner City Press will endeavor to find and ask him, later in the week.

Monday in the Delegates Dining Room a business titan spoke, Badr Jafar of the United Arab Emirates' Crescent Group, fresh off a joint venture with Russia's Rosneft. After a lunch of salad with an unidentified mousse and chicken with an unidentified round grain, Inner City Press asked Jafar about Rosneft's history of chasing the indigenous from Sakhalin in Siberia, and a more recent chemical plant explosion.

Jafar joked he wished he'd known that, and then spoke at cross purposes about the UAE's need for cross border partnerships. But what of the corporate social responsibility he'd been speaking of? Well at least he took some questions.

Saakashvili on MDGs (and Sochi), CSR dodges at UN not shown

The UN Development Program invited reporters to cover a September 21 event on the “World Business and Development Awards... speakers include Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah, United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Development Rt. Hon Andrew Mitchell and the Chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation Dr. Mo Ibrahim.”

   But when Inner City Press asked to attend and ask some questions, the response was that that the guest list was suddenly full, and there would be no Q & A. This was only Day One - watch this site.

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Lamy of WTO Lashes Out at India Cotton Export Restriction, Admits US & China Power

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 20 -- Are the World Trade Organization powers “of the U.S. and Tonga, China and Vanuatu” the same? “Of course not,” WTO Director General Patrick Lamy told the Press on Monday at the UN. Inner City Press asked Lamy about powerful countries' domination of the WTO, and about export controls recently imposed by WTO member India on cotton and non WTO member Russia on wheat.

Lamy held off criticizing India, but said that “economists will tell you that import controls and export controls are similar animals” in their impacts. He projected that the WTO may adopt stronger export control restrictions, while still leaving the “flexibility” it allows on some import controls.

On the question of governance, Inner City Press asked Lamy to contrast the WTO with the IMF and the UN General Assembly, where he and the IMF's Dominique Strauss Khan had just delivered speeches at the Millennium Development Goals Summit. (DSK's speech, in English, avoided the issue of the IMF requiring Pakistan to pledge not to seek relief of its $500 million annual debt payments in exchange for $450 million post flood loan.)

Lamy acknowledged that the U.S. and China are power players in the WTO, but said that under the consensus system, the “weak can band together” and have power too.

UN's Ban and WTO's Lamy previously, one critiques India, the other makes nice on Kashmir
  As his example, he used the African Group's position on EU and US cotton subsidy restrictions. But what will India say about Lamy's criticism of their policies? Watch this site.

Footnotes: Lamy declined to comment on Japan's WTO case against Canada on Green Energy and solar panel subsidies, so Inner City Press didn't even try to ask about Vietnam's case against the US imposing anti-dumping penalties on that country's shrimp. But that too is interesting, post BP oil spill, as regards the MDGs...

  In terms of the UN's hosting of the MDG Summit, the wireless Internet in the General Assembly barely works, and UN Webcast archives haven't been updated since Friday, September 17, omitting for now all of Sunday's stakeouts and everything today.

 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.

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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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