UN, NPT Opens Amid Monks' Drums, Dissonant Expectations, Ahmadinejad
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 3, updated below
-- With Japanese monks beating mournful drums outside
the NPT Review Conference opening Monday morning, the dissonance
between the aspirations of those outside and inside the UN building
could not have been more clear.
Station amid singing of "learn war no more," a man held a
sign of who has the most nuclear weapons: Russia, the US, the other
Permanent Five members of the Security Council (China, the UK and
France), India, Israel, Pakistan and, the sign said, North Korea with
the UN, the
talk was nearly all about Iran. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has
flown in from Tehran -- former U.S. diplomat Mark Wallace wrote to
the Millennium Hotel urging they tell him there was no room at the
inn -- and is slated to speak late this morning in the General
the new UN press
floor, a maze of cubicles in which no whistleblower dares speak, the
Iranian press was in a frenzy. Inner City Press was interviewed by a
woman with a scarf covering her head. "What do you think of my
President, Doctor Ahmadinejad?" she asked.
for Iranian media came to make the argument that every time a small
country joins NATO, it is an example of proliferation: more countries
under the nuclear umbrella and, according to him, more countries
paying for nuclear weapons.
the conference is the Philippines Ambassador. Some wonder why him;
the Manila press expresses hope his role will lead to the passage of
an entirely different treaty, about the rights of migrant workers.
UN's Ban and Ahmadinejad before, May 3 scene not yet seen
gallery above the General Assembly Hall, Inner City Press called out
to a few ambassadors, including Michel Kafando of Burkina Faso. He
was on the Council until replaced by Nigeria. Where does nuclear
proliferation fit in the scheme of Burkina's concerns? Watch this
space, this will be updated.
Update of 10:38 p.m.
-- from the spaceship-like it begins, with greetings to Ban Ki-moon
and... Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Ambassador of Zimbabwe missed his
chance to chair the meeting. Zim for Iran! There was a recent visit by
A-Jod, to Harare and Uganda. It has begun...
Update of 10:55 a.m.
Cabactulan quotes as a Chinese proverb that that leader is best who
is not known. At seems he may be referring to Ban Ki-moon, who is now
speaking about his visit to Russia's test site. Here in press section
in upper deck, there are no headphones. How will be hear Ahmadinejad?
of 11:21 a.m. -- New
IEAE chief bemoans DPRK, Syria and Iran. BKM
praised Indonesia for saying it will ratify
of 11:29 a.m. -- while waiting for Ahmadinejad, UN email comes in:
Hillary Clinton will speak to Press at 5:20. But when's the
of 11:39 a.m. -- the General Debate begins, with Marty of Indonesia
speaking for NAM. Groups get 8 minutes, nations only five.
of 11:59 a.m. -- after Marty of Indonesia went over his time,
Ahmadinejad starts up. He takes on Ban Ki-moon's statement about the
uranium deal. We accepted that, A-jod says. Puts on glasses.
of 12:21 p.m. -- after Inner City Press ran down to press conferene
auditorium, having not yet received any response to its 12:11 email to
Spokesperson and Deputy asking when the briefing would begin, the
room was already locked. Briefing held 12:05 to 12:10, no questions.
They have delayed noon briefing in deference to stakeouts by the U.S.
Permanent Representative. Not for the President of Iran?
back up to
the GA Hall, Inner City Press is barred from 4th floor, but shunted
to the press booths on the third floor. Three stories directly above
Ahmadinejad, who is still speaking, now on the "Zionist regime."
of 12:32 p.m. -- Ahmadinejad has been going for half an hour, now
reciting the names of famous Iranians. "there will be no room in
the future for bullying."
of 12:43 p.m. -- as Luxembourg drones on, Ahmadinejad comes back into
GA Hall, takes Iran's seat and sits grinning.. Apparently he wants to
see if the Luxembourg's of the world will attack him to his face.
These are prepared texts, so it seems that they will.
of 12:51 p.m. -- with Ireland speaking, Ahmaninejad leaves with
entourage. Already the hall is half empty, the press area in the
upper deck entirely empty.
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