UN, Few Press for Sri Lanka,
Squeeze on N. Korea, Qazi Won't Talk
Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Muse
UNITED NATIONS, April 24
-- The UN on Friday was a study in priorities, or said
otherwise, hierarchy. With 6432 killed in Sri Lanka since January 20,
Security Council president Claude Heller of Mexico came out of the
make belated "remarks to
the press," he found no reporters there.
down in the basement, waiting for news from the North Korea sanctions
committee. So Heller and his UK counterparty John Sawers strode into
briefing room, and in less than a minute the refugee agency expert who
speaking was taken off the podium. Heller spoke and then was asked, by
City Press, are you asking for a ceasefire? No, the answer came.
Even if Heller
had spoken at the stakeout, there might have been problems with the
sound. The outside contractor which runs UN Television, the Venue
Services Group, has fallen so far that it did not meet payroll this
week. The technicians were working without getting paid. When Inner
City Press first asked about and reported
on the firesale of VSG's assets, the UN said it was being taken
care of. Now what?
Earlier, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin stopped
to ask the Press,
where is the Ecosoc chamber? Some say this organ, as they call it, was
to be as strong or stronger than the Security Council. But when a major
ambassador doesn't even know what it is, it says a lot. Then again, a
officer asked to see Churkin's i.d. card to let him into the Council.
On the Council's agenda Friday morning was the
routine three month
update on UN Mission to Chad and the Central African Republic, with the
name MINURCAT. A major development during the reporting report was the
of a Togolese UN peacekeeper by a French legionnaire serving under the
Union's EUFOR mission' flag. Inner City Press is told that Ban
on the 38th floor had prepared a statement on the killing, until it was
back at the past minute. It was the first time, some said, that the
a UN peacekeeper went unremarked by the Secretary General.
Japan's Takasu at stakeout, Sri Lanka and VSG
meltdown not shown
The previous afternoon, the Press had been promised
a stakeout Q&A
with the head of the UN Mission in Sudan, Ashraf Qazi. Fighting in
recently killed 200 people; Qazi was quoted -- misquoted he said --
that the UN
Mission provided evidence to the International Criminal Court leading
President Bashir's indictment. One expected, then, Qazi to want to
talk. But he
took a look outside the Council, and then took off down the hall.
dollar mission and no time to talk to the press.
Uganda's diplomat, on the other hand, at least
stopped to laugh at his
own delegation's draft Presidential Statement. It expresses concern
d'etat in Africa, without naming any of them. Madagascar? Mauritania?
Fiji, further afield? Inner City Press asked about the status. "We're
close," was the answer, accompanied with laughter, so fit for the UN.
The UN day ended, where else, in the basement, where
right at the deadline
the North Korea sanctions committee named three entities for an asset
North Korea's deputy permanent representative Pak Tok Hun took to the
microphone and spoke of the right to explore outer space. If the
Council is not reformed and democratized, he said, we expect nothing
The same was expressed earlier by a Western Sahara diplomat, who said
wouldn't join the Council even if, through a series of long shots, it
Because they were first to release an e-mail
statement, we'll give the
last work to the UK's John Sawers, followed by a still unanswered
Permanent Representative to the UN, said: "The UN Sanctions Committee
the DPRK has today adopted, as agreed in the Security Council's
Statement of 13 April [PRST/2009/7], a list of goods and entities to be
designated under Security Council resolution 1718.
Sanctions Committee agreed that UN Member States shall freeze the
Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID), Korea Ryonbong
Corporation and Tanchon Commercial Bank. KOMID is the DPRK's primary
dealer and main exporter of equipment related to ballistic missiles,
offices in a number of foreign countries. Korea Ryonbong General
plays an integral role in the DPRK's import and export of military
equipment. And Tanchon Commercial Bank is the DPRK's main financial
the sale of conventional arms and ballistic missiles.
Committee has also agreed to update the list of goods whose import to
export from the DPRK are banned, to bring it in line with current
agreement among all Security Council members to these measures, which
legally binding on all UN Member States, represents a major step
terms of international action to disrupt and deter the DPRK's WMD and
missile programmes. The UK will continue to urge DPRK to re-engage with
We continue to wait for the
UK's formal answer to the first of the two
questions which Inner
Press asked the UK Mission to
the UN two questions on Sri Lanka early on April 15:
Does the UK
believe that international law and the
rights of UN humanitarian staff are being violated by the
detention of UN staff in the Sri Lankan government's “IDP” camps?
this press time nine days later, the formal answer has been
referral to Minister
Miliband's April 12
statement, and this.
On April 21, Inner City Press put the question to U.S. Ambassador Susan
Rice, whose spokesman the following day cleared this response:
"UN personnel should have freedom of movement and be treated with
respect." But they are still detained as of this writing. As more
answers arrive or are released we will report them on this site.
It has been reported
this morning that Sri Lanka's “minister also told the
Foreign Secretary that there was concern that the LTTE would
consolidate its fortification of the No-Fire Zone.” Please confirm the
of that, and of this
and if so, does the UK interpret it as saying that
an offensive on the No-Fire Zone and the civilians in it will begin?
the UK Foreign Secretary say?
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
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
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
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News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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