On Western Sahara,
Rifts about Realism and Rights, France's Overkill, Pristina Question
Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
April 29 -- The Security Council's resolution on Western Sahara, which
supposed to be voted on by April 29, was not. At issue were references
rights and realism. The first, France and Morocco did not want in the
second, they insisted on. Opposition to
realism -- a code word for giving up on holding a binding referendum
independence as an option -- was led on the Council by South Africa,
Panama and Costa Rica in support, on the principle of international
late Tuesday, Polisario Front representative Khadad Mhamed said that
realism had been
solved. The resolution will now now tie the realism only to the
process, not to the outcome. But France had stood firm on keeping human
out of the resolution, he said. While that might change by Wednesday
afternoon, to which the vote had been re-scheduled, it appears that
Africa would vote for the resolution either way, another example, one
remarked, of realism.
No one spoke on-camera on these
matters. Rather, in whispers to the side of the Council stakeout, the
representatives offered negative reviews of French Ambassador
Ripert being considered to head UN Peacekeeping. Other more informed
said that France has put forward names beyond Ripert and Jean Arnault,
do they want to ensure keeping the peacekeeping post.
Little has been heard about the Peacekeeping Department's investigation
of its forces' grafitti on ancient cave paintings in Western Sahara -
Boutros with MINURSO in 1994: , sand blast
from the past, Plus ca change
long-promised investigation of its role in the violent re-taking of the
Mitrovica courthouse in Northern Kosovo on March 17, at Tuesday's noon
asked this and two other questions, none of which had been answered,
hours later. From the transcript:
Question: Is there any update on
the UN's investigation of the events in northern Kosovo of 17 March?
Deputy Spokesperson: Nothing
beyond. No. I
know you asked that to Mr. Guehenno the
other day, so I have nothing beyond that.
Question: Can you or DPKO
that a team of three DPKO and one Ugandan lawyer, Francis Ssekandi,
Pristina on Saturday to conduct the investigation?
Deputy Spokesperson: Sure, we
Question: Also, there's a report
of a petition given to the UN's Human Rights Office in Kathmandu
either protests in Nepal or about Tibet.
Are you aware of that? And
the UN going to do about it?
Deputy Spokesperson: I'm not
aware of the petition, but we can look into that for you as well.
Question: About the CEB meeting,
in your readout on it, were any kind of UN reform or issues that have
previously discussed like the availability of audits of funds and
Member States or whistle-blower protection?
Was there any follow-up on the previous CEB meeting
on those topics?
Deputy Spokesperson: Usually
CEB is a gathering that looks at the various issues that are priority
for the system as a whole, so there should be discussion on a number of
subjects. This time, as you know, there
was a large focus on the global food crisis.
So that's all I can tell you for now.
Well, we'll be waiting.
Footnote: Minor as it seems,
especially in this time of food price riots, there was grumbling
Tuesday about the South African mission holding its end-of-Presidency
reception in the middle of the day. "Maybe they want to save money,"
one savvy correspondent opined. Ambassador Kumalo then promises a
wrap-up press conference. Well see.
* * *
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here for a Reuters
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Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
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