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At UN, Serbia's Win Ascribed to Italy & Poland, Small 5 Shrinks to 3?

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, June 8 -- How did Serbia's Vuk Jeremic win his race to General Assembly president against Lithuania, despite the still-heavy burden of Srebrenica for example?

  Before Friday morning's vote, Inner City Press predicted Jeremic would win with 97 votes; he ended up with 99. So who were the extras?

  After the vote outside the GA, then later at a UN Bike event and reception in the garden of the Dutch ambassador's luxury apartment building, Inner City Press was approached by a number of those involved.

  They said Jeremic and Serbia has "picked off" seven European Union members. The obvious wedge were the EU members who have not recognized Kosovo, each for their internal separatist reasons. But Poland, too, is said to have a problem with Lithuania.

  And even the bike ride's sponsor, the Netherlands, was widely rumored to have broken ranks with the EU. Italy too, based on substantial business ties with Serbia.

  More interesting going forward is whether the UN system can allow Jeremic to be a sort of counter-balance to "Bland Ki-moon," as some call him.

  The line seems to be that to be effective, Jeremic will have to work with Ban Ki-moon, so while "more articulate," as several observers put it, he "should not take Ban on."

  A respected Nordic Ambassador opined that Deiss and "the Qatari" have used the PGA post to travel the world, neglecting the GA. "They should cut out those thematic issues, too," the representative said.

  In terms of the GA trying to told the Security Council accountable, it appears that the Small Five whose proposal was killed by Ban's top lawyer Patricia O'Brien in a stealth and some say sleaze letter has shrunk to the Small Four (now minus Singapore) or even the Small Three, if Jordan follows through and drops out.

  The talk turned to what one Ambassador called the "pathetic" retaliation against Inner City Press of the UN Correspondent Association's Executive Committee, several officials known and unknown (more on which anon, or Annan) and Italian president Giampaolo Pioli. "Who the hell is that guy?" an Ambassador demanded, sipping cava. "We never see him at all.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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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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