As UN Bids Bye to Kumalo,
Susan Rice Starts Behind Closed Doors, Jackfruit Diplomacy
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, February 24 -- There
are many flavor of diplomacy at the UN, some open and some tinged with
favoritism, the styles of the powerful or of underdogs of various hues.
were on display on Tuesday in the Delegates' Dining Room, at the
farewell reception for South Africa's decade-long Ambassador, Dumisani
While a bass-led quartet played, Kumalo thanked the crowd and danced.
hosted a more exclusive lunch for Kumalo earlier in the day, at which
emerged that he will become his country's envoy to the Great Lakes
including Burundi. (When Inner City Press asked Kumalo about the
posting, he joked that the Great Lakes "will be smaller when I'm
finished with them.") Others say Kumalo should be made the UN's Special
Africa, now that current Under Secretary General Diarra is
Inner City Press spoke with Diarra at Tuesday
night's event, along with
Ambassador Michel Kafando just returned from his native Burkina-Faso.
said, there are some few troubles on the horizon, the Tuareg and the
disappearance of stealth UN envoy to Niger Robert Fowler.
Diarra pointed out that Canada's prime
minister Harper discussed l'affaire
Fowler with Ban Ki-moon this week. Ban's subsequent stakeout
misreported as progress toward speedy release and resolution. And so it
DSG Migiro and Susan Rice, lunch in the corner, lunch behind closed
Earlier on Tuesday, the Malaysian mission's two
week-long food festival
filled this same room. A Malaysian diplomat, amongside answering
questions about Sri Lanka,
told Inner City Press his mission
had contracted with catering firm Aramark and brought six chefs to New
The diplomat's wife was in the kitchen, supervising some of the
plat du jour was
jackfruit curry. Chef Ismael Ahmad -- his white apron literally
said "Celebrity Chef" came out and joked that the jackfruit curry
made his fingers yellow.
dined with UNFIL's force commander;
Secretary-General Migiro had the corner table, her security detail
the dessert table with sticky rice with spicy coconut and,
Ricotta Salada cheese. Malaysia says that while some smaller countries
the price charged by Aramark, this open food festival is part of its
and public relations.
Another approach to diplomacy is being exhibited by
the United States.
Kumalo danced with the masses, and even Sudan's Ambassador speaks on
record, for example telling Inner City Press that he denied a visa to
Clooney for Sudan, asking him why he didn't go to Gaza. New U.S.
Susan Rice, meanwhile, is slated to give an off-the-record presentation
in the American press corps on Wednesday. When her
predecessor Zalmay Khalilzad
left, he sat down with nearly every interested journalist who
covers the UN,
staff subsequently negotiated what could and could not be reported.
Under Obama, one might have expected greater
openness by the U.S.
Mission. So far it does not seem to be the case. Some ascribe this to
Kornblau, arriving from Zagat's only this week. But others
speculate that Hillary Clinton wants to keep a lid on Susan Rice, both
access to Obama, and in access to the press. So who decided to make
her first sit-down press availability so small, and off the record?
Footnote: Susan Rice's
absence from Kumalo's farewell was excused, as she was in Washington to
do the hand-shaking Cabinet-member walk before Obama's speech. Present
for Kumalo at the UN were, among the P-5, Ambassadors Churkin, Ripert
and Sawers (dancing), and China's Liu, who'd gone Malaysian earlier in
the day. UN diplomacy takes time...
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
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
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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