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As UN on Madagascar Can't Call a Coup a Coup, It Invites Battlestar Galactica

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

UNITED NATIONS, March 18 -- As the elected president of Madagascar was overthrown by the military, the UN's Spokesperson in New York said "the legality of the situation is not something that we can determine... A court said it is legal." No matter than the military handed power to an opposition leader who is, under the Malagasy constitution, years too young to serve. Inner City Press asked

Inner City Press: do you have any statement on Madagascar now that it’s been confirmed the President stepped down?  What’s the United Nations mediation role now that the coup has essentially taken place?

Spokesperson Michele Montas:  The mediation group is still there.  What I can say is that the United Nations does not support any unconstitutional change in Government.  Our concern is stability and peace on the island, we have said that before, and a transition through a democratic process based on broad consensus to legitimize any arrangement, as the Secretary-General made clear in his statement yesterday -- the one that Marie read for you.  And we keep on appealing for calm and stability.  That’s really all I can say.  Yes.

Question:  [inaudible] yesterday would not say whether or the Secretary-General considers it a coup.  Does he consider it a coup today and, if not, why not?

Spokesperson Montas:  Well, the legality of the situation is not something that we can determine.  A court said it is legal, although, we also heard reports that such a decision was made under duress. 

Olmos at UN, calling for Mexico peacekeepers, Madagascar coup not shown

The African Union is considering this question at this moment and we certainly do not condone unconstitutional changes in Government -– I repeat that line –- and our focus at the moment is to urge a transition through a democratic process.  Whether we call it this or we call it that is something that will be defined later."

  In a surreal event Tuesday in the UN, the "Mission of Madagascar" sponsored an event and concert for the Millennium Development Goals. Who was in change was not clear.

Footnote: Meanwhile in an equal surreal event in the UN on March 17, regarding Battlestar Galactica, it was clear who was in charge: President Laura Roslin, represented by actress Mary McDonnell. Her co-star Edward James Olmos called for UN Peacekeepers in Mexico. A hundred high school students attended and asked questions. Afterwards at a reception, Inner City Press learned of UN staffers in the Department of Political Affairs and Film Society, who referred Battlestar to the Department of Public Information. It was something of a coup, headlined geekery at the UN. It could be worse...

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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