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Amid UN's Ministerial Hype, US Praises Departing AMISOM, Sikhs Complain of France

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

UNITED NATIONS, December 14 -- A police bus was set up in front of the UN on Sunday night. Inside the building was nearly empty, but metal detectors had been erected in the basement by Conference Room 8. It was the calm before the storm. But what storm?

  Monday and Tuesday will see diplomatic action on Zimbabwe and the Middle East, Somalia and Congo. Slated to come are Condi Rice and Sergey Lavrov, and the UK's Milliband. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, like Tony Blair, will appear only by video, despite the scheduling Monday of a Sikhs versus France press conference about the Gauls' ban on religious symbols.

  Condi is said to be pitching a resolution for UN peacekeepers in Somalia. Since the UK blocked even a bridge force for the Eastern Congo, in which the UN has already spent billions, anything for Somalia seems a long shot. Especially with the U.S. in denial. The quote of the week came from a spokeswoman from the U.S. mission to the United Nations, Nicole Deaner, that "AMISOM is an effective peacekeeping force." Oh really? Then why have the Islamist al-Shabab claimed more and more land, leading to AMISOM's departure?

P-5 Ministers, Kouchner only by video, 4 to the right on display

  An article containing Ms. Deaner's quote also cited, without explaining, a professor from North Carolina named Kenneth Menkhaus. He is an advisor of the so-called Enough Project, a subsidiary of the Center for American Progress. Despite the high-sounding name, CAP has refused to reveal its list of donors, even as its director John Podesta bonds with the incoming Obama administration. Was this the change we believed in?

  Lavrov's Russia, making nice with the U.S. on the Middle East, should be expected to follow through on its stated anger at Ban Ki-moon's secret agreement with NATO, and his pro-U.S. statements on South Ossetia. Neither is on the agenda these two days. It's a feel-good holiday time at the UN. Only for the Congo and Somalia, there appear to be no gifts.

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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