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In Swine Flu's Shadow, Mexican Ministers Head to UN, Urgency Questioned, Football

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

UNITED NATIONS, April 27 -- As the United Nations, U.S. and World Health Organization raised threat levels about swine flu, particularly in Mexico, a delegation from that country is scheduled to arrive at the UN in New York on April 29 for a session of the Security Council. Mexico holds the Council's presidency this month, and its Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa is slated to preside over an "open debate" about Children and Armed Conflict. Undersecretary for Human Rights and Multilateral Affairs Juan Manuel Gomez Robledo, reported on most recently by Inner City Press in connection with Sri Lanka, will also attend, along with other Mexican officials and staff.

  The question is, how will the screening of those coming from Mexico impact the delegation and meeting? Another question, raised in light of the UN Medical Service scandals exposed here last week, is whether the UN would feel any duty to report to outside authorities if it discovered swine flu on its premises, technically international territory.

   WHO's Deputy Director General Keiji Fukuda was asked why WHO is not recommending any travel ban. Meanwhile, European Union Health Commissioner Andorra Vassiliou urged Europeans to postpone non-essential travel to the United States and Mexico “unless it is very urgent for them.” While the issue of "Children and Armed Conflict" is pressing, is Wednesday's Security Council session urgent? It is noted that the Council, among its other urgent work, considers and imposes its own travel Bans.

Mexico's Juan Manuel Gomez Robledo, at UN, EU and WHO warnings not shown

  Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday made a rare appearance at the UN noon briefing, to read out a statement about swine flu. Then he said he could not take any questions, because he had an appointment at 12:10 with Norway's Minister of Environment and International development Eric Solheim. The time for that appointment had been changed. Perhaps Ban would ask Solheim about his Somalia envoy Ahmedou Ould Abdallah's acceptance of Norwegian support to prepare Somalia's Law of the Sea filing about its underwater drilling rights, a question the spokespeople for Ban and Ould Abdallah have so far refused to answer.

Footnote: just as Mexico stadia saw football games played without any crowds due to quarantine, Ban Ki-moon was a veritable picture of good health on April 25 playing football or soccer with UN diplomats at Chelsea Piers. It was for the cause of children's right to play, and presided over by Children and Armed Conflict envoy Radhika Coomaraswamy. The Ambassador of Paraguay was most forceful, spectators say, while his counterpart from Liechtenstein tangled with Ban's senior advisor Kim Won-soo. How this play will play out is not yet known.

  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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