Egypt Walls Off Gaza, UN's Position Shifts, Still Silent on Cairo
Clark Claims Waiver of UN Rules By Ethics Office, Won't Say
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 31 -- "I've
spent a lot of years at the top,"
Helen Clark was quoted
about accepting the Order of New Zealand
honor. At the UN in New York, Inner City Press asked how
of this honor doesn't violated applicable UN rules, which contain
provision for waiver.
Wednesday evening, the UN Spokesperson sent a reply that "you
asked about an accolade being received by Helen Clark of UNDP. UNDP
has informed us that, in accordance with the relevant rules, Helen
Clark informed the Chef de Cabinet of the honour she is to receive
and was informed that she could accept it."
immediately wrote to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's "chef de
cabinet" -- French
for chief of staff -- asking among other things
have just been informed that you somehow waived the Staff Rules with
regard to USG Helen Clark receiving an honour from New Zealand.
"Honours, gifts or renumeration from outside sources,"
2. Given the importance attributed by the Organization to the
requirement that staff are, and are perceived to be, independent and
impartial, staff members are reminded that they may not accept any
honour, decoration, favour, gift or remuneration from any Government.
This rule applies whatever the reason for the award, even if the
award is unrelated to the staff member’s service with the
that this honor not only falls under Rule 1.2, but also the purpose
of the Rule, this is a request
that you explain your rationale (and precedent and authority) for
ostensible waiving the rule
that you provide a list of instances in the past three years you have
waived this rule, and requests for waiver that you have denied.
morning, having no response, Inner City Press sent the above again to
the chief of staff, explicitly to "do everything possible to
make sure you get this before asking the Office of the Spokesperson
Helen Clark accepts shake from UN's Ban- New
Zealand honor and Rules not shown
immediately, a second response issued from the
Office of the Spokesperson issued a second response:
Further to your questions on Helen Clark
To: Inner City Press
Sent: 12/31/2009 12:20:53
P.M. Eastern Standard Time
you are aware, we had previously informed you that the Chef de
Cabinet was informed by Helen Clark of an accolade that she is to
receive and had told her that she could accept it. Further to that
information, we can add that these honours are routinely reviewed by
the Ethics Office , which sets specific conditions under which
honours can be accepted in particular cases. In addition, any such
honours conferred to individuals are held by the individuals'
respective offices while they work for the UN.
will also share with you any relevant information from the Ethics
Office about the rules for accepting honours once we receive it.
unclear how membership in the Order of New Zealand could be "held"
by UNDP. In this second answer, the Chief of Staff's approval is
grounded, after the fact, in some review by the UN Ethics Office.
when did the UN Ethics Office review Ms. Clark accepting an honor
from New Zealand, and why was this raised only in a second response?
In fact, when was it, that Ms. Clark asked the chief of staff for a
waiver? We have asked the Spokesperson's Office, which closed at 3:30
on December 31. Watch this space.
* * *
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 30 -- With hundreds of protesters outside the UN's
building in Cairo, in New York the spin of Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon's position(s) on the Egypt's construction of an underground
wall to seal off Gaza gathered force.
Agency, KUNA, headlined an article on December 29, "Ban supports
Egypt's decision to build steel wall along border with Gaza." Since the
UN has repeatedly dodged questions about the wall, which
Inner City Press asked in connection with the now-stalled Gaza
Freedom March, this seemed surprising.
further down, said that Ban's support for the wall is "implicit,"
and quoted his Deputy Spokesperson:
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon implicitly supports Egypt's decision to
build a steel wall along its border with Egypt, meant to curb weapons
smuggling into the Strip. 'We are aware of the media reports over
recent days. It is our understanding that Egyptian efforts to counter
illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition into the Gaza Strip, as
all states are called upon to do by UN Security Council Resolution
1860, are ongoing,' his deputy spokesperson Marie Okabe told KUNA."
refusal to answer Inner City Press' December 28 request for
on Egyptian authorities' blocking press access to the protesters in
front of the UN building in Cairo, on December 30 Inner City Press
asked a narrower, more targeted question, "In
light of the public report that Ban "supports Egypt's decision
to build steel wall along border with Gaza," please clarify
whether Ban in fact supports, implicitly or otherwise, the
construction of this wall."
response repeats the quote used by KUNA, but amplifies it with an
additional paragraph expressing concern for potential humanitarian
consequences, see below.
UN's Ban and Egypt's Mubarak, sealing of Gaza with
wall not shown
Your question on Egypt/Gaza
unspokesperson-donotreply [at] un.org
Inner City Press
12/30/2009 1:42:28 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
the reports about Egypt's construction activity, we would reiterate
that it is our understanding that Egyptian efforts to counter illicit
trafficking of arms and ammunition into the Gaza Strip, as all states
are called upon to do by UN Security Council Resolution 1860, are
for any potential humanitarian consequences, we continue to be
gravely concerned about socio-economic conditions in Gaza. The key to
a sustainable solution to the crisis in Gaza is for resolution 1860
to be implemented in full, including an end to the Israeli blockade
and the reopening of all legitimate crossings between Gaza and Israel
and Gaza and Egypt, as prescribed in the 2005 Agreement on Movement
So does UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon support Egypt's construction of the
wall? Watch this site.
* * *
Is Silent as Egypt Bans Press From Protest of UN in Cairo, Gaza
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 28 -- As protesters massed in front of the UN in
Cairo, Egyptian authorities blocked the press from covering the
protest or speaking to the protesters.
noon in New
York, Inner City Press asked the Office of the Spokesperson for
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, "does the UN have any comment on
Egyptian authorities barred the press from filming or speaking with
people in front of the UN facilities in Cairo engaged in a protest
regarding the Gaza Freedom March?"
having heard nothing back, Inner City Press went to the
Spokesperson's Office for an answer to this and other questions. The
deputy spokesperson asked, which UN building, and indicated that
there would be no UN response.
UN's Ban and Egypt's Mubarak, freedom of the
press to cover protests at UN not shown
17, Inner City Press asked an organizer of the Gaza Freedom March
about Egyptian policies, and whether the UN is going enough. Video here,
from Minute 28:30.
was generally that "the UN
should play a stronger role" (this included in Afghanistan,
another of Inner City Press' questions). Video here,
December 28 request for comment, for the record, was not about the
Gaza Freedom March in general -- the UN has already no commented on
that -- but about a host government interfering with freedom of the
press to cover a protest in front of the UN. The silence, then, is
all the more striking. Watch this site.
* * *
Entry into Ban's Home and Party Dodged by UN, Disputing Obama Analogy
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 24 -- At UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's
official residence on December 22, an individual with no invitation
and no UN pass crashed Mr. Ban's holiday party, multiple sources tell
Inner City Press.
Ban's personal secretary Ms. Kim stopping the individual and being
told -- falsely as it turns out -- that the individual works for the
UN Department of Political Affairs but for some reason had no pass or
identification, and being let in.
"What section?" and was told, "Elections" -- the
unit embroiled in controversy following its role in the flawed Afghan
to believe the person was not even from the UN, he passed security
into Mr. Ban's residence. The individual even received a gift from
Mr. Ban, before proceeding to enter without authorization other UN
Inner City Press approached Mr. Ban's new spokesman Martin Nesirky on
his way to the day's noon briefing, and asked about the incident,
even suggesting he ask Ban's secretary Ms. Kim. Nesirky returned to his
office and put in an inquiry. Inner City Press put the question on
the record during the noon briefing and was promised an answer.
23, Nesirky tersely e-mailed Inner City Press that "there was no
Inner City Press sought and receive additional information, including
the identity of the person -- also not invited, but having a UN pass
-- who brought the party crasher, and other identifying details.
noon briefing, Inner City Press went to Nesirky's river view office
and asked what he had meant, that there had been no security breach.
Nesirky said that the UN doesn't discuss security arrangements.
Press noted that in Washington in the wake of gate crashing at
President Obama's state dinner with India a whole Congressional
hearing on the topic of security was held, Nesirky said the
situations were not at all analogous.
Press asked, because Obama is so much higher profile than Ban?
Nesirky said that wasn't it -- without specifying what he meant --
and insisted "there is no story."
UN's Ban, center, and Nicolas Cage, security and
candor not shown
City Press for pursuing the issue, and even said he would only ask
Ban's office a second time if Inner City Press returned with not only
the first but also the last name of the gate crasher. This is
pointless, since by two witnesses' account, Ban's secretary did not
even write down the person's name.
Nesirky's deputy reportedly made belated telephone calls Thursday
afternoon, seemingly to quiet possible witnesses, Inner City Press
called Mr. Ban's office and asked to speak with Ms. Kim, on deadline.
first transfer, a female voice began and then hung up. When
Inner City Press called back, the response was that Ms. Kim was no
longer available. Inner City Press left a cell phone number stating
it was for a story being written that day, on deadline. The deadline
Press finds troubling is that the UN would reflexively claim that
"there was no security breach," then would refuse to
confirm or deny specific facts about unauthorized entry into the
Secretary General's official residence.
these are the UN's answers on an incident at the Secretary General's
residence, how are the answers on human rights, peace and security and
even environmental issues more credible?
governments and legislatures make for at least some accountability,
often in the UN there is no accountability, and it starts at the top.
Watch this site.
23, 2009 transcript
Nesirky: I think you have another question, I’m pretty sure you
City Press: Okay, I do. No, actually, then I will if I get your
drift. It’s… I wanted to… I guess, and it’s something that
maybe you’ll have an answer on later today, but some are saying
that in yesterday’s reception at the Secretary-General’s
residence that there was an unauthorized attendee, and that the
personal secretary to the Secretary-General, you know, was aware of
this and for some reason it was waived. I wanted to know both what
the procedures are, given, in light of the event at the White House
at the State dinner for India, what are the relevant procedures at
the UN for such things, and is it in fact the case that an
unauthorized attendee attended, and what will be done about it?
Yes, you mentioned this as we were passing in the corridor just now. I
don’t have an immediate answer for you on this specific
incident. And also, in more general terms, I would not wish to go
into details about security arrangements. That’s clearly not
appropriate, but I can just assure you that the security detail for
the Secretary-General is extremely rigorous and they work extremely
hard for the Secretary-General’s safety. That’s put in a general
context, and the more specific question you’ve raised, I’ll see
what I can find out. It’s not something that I was aware of.
Spokesperson later confirmed that there was no security breach at the
your question about SG residence last night
unspokesperson-donotreply [at] un.org
matthew.lee [at] innercitypress.com
12/23/2009 12:33:05 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
to the Spokesman's response at the briefing to the above, there was
no security breach at the SG residence last night.
A question is, what does the UN mean by "security
breach"? Watch this site.
* * *
UN, Dawn Budget Deal Benefits Bahrain, Has Russia Bitter,
Politics of Human Rights
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 24 -- A UN
budget deal was sealed at 4 a.m. on
Christmas Eve, just as the building itself began to be gutted.
two countries, Bahrain and Bahamas, managed to get their assessment
decreased by a side letter from General Assembly President Ali Treki,
Russia and its allies lost a vote about rates of exchange, and only
begrudgingly supported the overall deal.
called for a
vote on support of the Goldstone report on Gaza, and found only a
couple of African countries and North Korea to support it.
campaign by Syria and others against Terje Roed Larsen's role in
Lebanon never came to fruition. India on the other hand gave a long
speech denouncing the upgrade of a human rights liaison post in New
York to Assistant Secretary General, but did not call for a vote.
night, when Ambassador and Treki met and milled around in the UN's
basement, Inner City Press quizzed Permanent Representatives and
staffers and got increasingly candid answers as the night went on.
"This place is a joke," said one South Asian envoy. "We
pay too much," said a Latin American. "Bahrain's play was
shameful." The live blog is online here.
Budget Committee vote at 2 a.m. and the large session upstairs to
confirm it from 3 to 4, dozens of Ambassadors toasted with Scotch
whiskey and the remains of take-out pizza, wishing each other happy
holidays. The Delegates Lounge, a fixture, will close on Christmas
Eve for up to two years. During the first part there will be no
construction in the space: it will simply lie empty, which the General
Assembly next door remains open. "They're just closing it to close it,"
several delegates complained.
first year when despite pleading from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
the U.S. broke consensus on the budget, Wednesday night Mr. Ban was
nowhere to be seen.
UN's Ali Treki in a theater like setting, story
Controller stood BlackBerrying in the
basement. Later his Under Secretary General for Management sat on the
Budget Committee podium without saying a word. She left before the GA
asked about India's argument that using the budget process to upgrade
particular posts will create a precedent for more sleaze. I don't
opine on that, she said. A staffer from the PGA's office said that
current holder of the post, American Jessica Neuwirth, will not
benefit from the upgrade. "She was only brought in for eleven
months," he said. So who will get the post, after all this
evening -- or
early morning -- ended with Myanmar denouncing criticism of its human
rights record, but vowing as part of its foreign policy to continue
to cooperate with the Secretary General's "Good Offices."
The occupant of that post, Ibrahim Gambari, has been re-assigned to
Darfur, for reasons as much budgetary as political. At the UN it is
hard to disconnect the two. Happy holidays.
* * *
UN, Final Night Falls on Budget, of Scales, Bahrain and Human Rights,
Live Blogging Budget from UN
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, December 23-24, updated
-- As the UN budget process moved into what
should be its final night, Permanent Representatives milled around
basement Conference Room 8, amid cigarette smoke and furniture set to
be moved out the next morning.
issues on which Inner City Press has so far exclusively
the requests by Bahrain and Bahamas to pay less, and India's
opposition to upgrading a human rights post -- the issue was when
how to review the scales of assessment.
countries in the Group of 77 demand no review for the next three
years. Western countries and other some others, who feel their ox is
gored, are pushing for faster review.
delegation, for example, point out that they pay "over fifty
percent of Latin America," even after suffering swine flu and a
decrease in tourism.
Group of 77,
which fell into some disarray during the climate change talks in
Copenhagen, remains united in the UN Budget committee. They have
thrown their weight behind Bahrain and the Bahamas, who are predicted
to prevail in being dropped in peacekeeping assessment from Category
B to C, with a 7.5% discount.
objections that human rights are being conflated with supporting an
upgrade of a post, it is suggested to Inner City Press that "India
will back down."
General Assembly Ali Treki has already met with Ambassadors, then
retreated to his second floor office. One of his advisors remains in
the basement, glad handing the chairman and secretary of the Budget
Committee. There was talk of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who stayed
hidden throughout the first budget vigil of his Secretary Generalship,
waiting in the wings.
UN's Ban and Treki at another meeting, this year's
budget not yet shown
delegation, beyond their long time bow tied representative, Alejandro
Wolff is in the basement, there's no sign of Susan Rice. Inner City
Press asked Ambassador Rice earlier on Wednesday for the U.S. view on
the budget, if she is satisfied with her Mission's level of
involvement, and whether like at least her last two predecessors she
believes the UN budget is too piecemeal, not transparent enough.
replied that of course she is satisfied with her Mission's
performance, and that the U.S. is very involved in making sure
Missions get enough resources. But what about the when to review the
scales of assessment? More fundamentally, what about the piecemeal
budget process in which "add ons" comprise more than $1
billion? More blogging to follow: watch this space.
Update of 7:27 p.m. -- the basement is still full of
Ambassadors, but UN TV keeps showing live shots of the empty General
Assembly chamber upstairs, in front of which four Security officers are
posted. In the cafeteria, the chairs and tables are being carted away.
Some the basement furniture, too, will be on the move. An African
Ambassador stops to tell Inner City Press that "the PGA would be wise
to re-schedule the plenary for 10 a.m. tomorrow."
of 7:45 p.m. -- in the Delegates Lounge, Deputy Permanent
Representatives are lifting a glass on the last, or next to last,
night of the UN bar. "They're at the level of Perm Reps down
there," one tells Inner City Press. "Let them earn their
of 8:10 p.m. -- even countries' Budget Committee experts are no
longer in the loop. "My Ambassador is in there," one tells
Inner City Press, gesturing at the entrance to Conference Room 8.
"But I don't know where things stand."
Inner City Press has dug into who it would be, who would get the
upgrade to ASG level from D-2. It's American Jessica Neuwirth, whom
Inner City Press questions on camera in April, vidoe here
40:05. One UN human rights expert has expressed disgust at the way
the Secretariat has tried to upgrade the post, a promotion through
the budget process. Only at the UN.
of 8:26 p.m. -- an Inner City Press source emerging from Conference
Room 8 says they are discussing the scale of assessments for
peacekeeping, with the U.S., Japan and EU opposing the G-77's push to
move Bahrain and Bahamas from Classification B to the discounted C. The
news: there is a proposal to abolish Classification C....
of 9:21 p.m. -- the crowd outside Conference Room 8 has grown;
President of the General Assembly Ali Treki has descended again, and
still to no avail. Inner City Press is asked: why are you the only
media here? Later a camera crew comes. But they are covering neither
scale of assessments nor human rights. They are here, it seems, by
mistake, asking Treki about the UN tribunals for Rwanda and
Yugoslavia. Inner City Press asks the crew: did he say anything
useful or useable? No, is the answer. Will the results in Conference
Room 8 be any better or more authentic? Or is this all just theater?
of 9:34 p.m. -- a PGA staffer tells Inner City Press that a deal is
near on Bahrain and Bahamas. He calls it a "transitional
arrangement" from Classification B to C. Classification C, he
says, was set up as a compromise in 2000 under then U.S. Ambassador
Holbrooke, as a way to "shut up" Kuwait, the Emirates and
Singapore, so Holbrooke could bring about some other reduction.
Another diplomat marvels at how little the U.S. Mission says now.
"When Rice is not in New York, you don't hear anything," he
says. "The others used to be allowed to talk. Now they are not."
Ambassadors strain in the doorway of Conference Room 8. It is
untransparent, but something is afoot.
of 9:42 p.m. -- in the corner by Conference Room 4, U.S. deputy
Alejandro Wolff speaks with G-77 members. Afterwards, Inner City
Press is told by G-77 that Bahrain and Bahamas will be put into
Classification C, with its 7.5% discount, for three years. What about
the human rights liaison upgrade to ASG? G-77's chair in New York
scoffs. Why do we need another
useless ASG? We will vote with India!
of 9:47 p.m. -- a crowd comes out of Conference Room 8, with shouts
of "Conference Room 4! We'll go to Conference Room 4!" It
is the Group of 77, almost 77 of them now, going to plan strategy.
"It's percolating," a G-77 member in Classifaction C tells
Inner City Press. "Like the coffee."
of 9:54 p.m. -- while the G-77 and EU consult, Inner City Press has
received the following predictions from perhaps the best placed
source: India will NOT call for a vote on the human rights liaison
upgrade to ASG, even though "Navi Pillay has not made the case
for the upgrade." The argument has become that there are six or
seven "development" USGs in New York, and none for human
Israel WILL call for a vote opposing the Goldstone report follow up.
But a Middle Eastern source says Israel does not have support from
the usual places for this. Nonetheless, a vote is predicted.
predicted to back down on calling for a vote on Roed Larsen's
mandate. This is perhaps wishful thinking by the source. He is
correct, however, in diagnosing that unresolved political issues rear
their head in the budget's eleventh hour.
of 10:27 p.m. -- Finally, there are numbers. How much would the
Permanent Five members of the Security Council have to pay, if
Bahrain and Bahamas are allowed to shift down from Classification B
to C? $300,000, is the answer from one of the P-5. 50% or so to the
U.S., 15% each to France and the UK, the rest Russia and China.
principle of the thing!" the P-5, as well as Japan and others,
say. But principle left the station in 2000, which the artibrary
Classification C was set up to solve some other political problem.
Yamasaki is now down in the basement. Inner City Press asks him "what
for." He agrees that "the scales" are up to the member
states. But so it is the ASG upgrade? The Goldstone report follow up?
asks Israel's representative: will you call for a vote? They say you
are threatening to do so. He replied, "It is not a threat. And
it is more than a follow up." And so that train, too, has left
of 10:35 p.m. -- in this micro issue, of $150,000, stop the presses.
Inner City Press asks the P in the P-5, "if Bahrain and Bahamas
are reduced, does it cost you $100,000 or $150,000?" The answer
is, "It's not sure that Bahrain and Bahama will be reduced." Could be a
of 11:10 p.m. -- the word is, Bahrain and Bahamas will get moved to
Classification C, but not in the resolution. Rather, they will get a
letter of guarantee from the President of the General Assembly. On
the overall scale of assessments, Russia has made a new proposal. But
G-77 is not backing them up: every country for themselves, it's up to
you. Everyone is eating pizza and waiting for another paragraph to be
of 11:17 p.m. -- Russia, it's said, has some supporters, including
Mexico and Kazakhstan. But not enough supporters...
of 11:38 p.m. -- amid talk of an "agreed scenario,"
Ambassadors huddle in front of Conference Room 7: Sudan and
Singapore, the U.S. and UK. This is how deals are cut at the UN.
Update of 11:59
p.m. -- from within Conference Room 8, some clapping. A delegate
emerges and tells Inner City Press, "It's done. In 45 minute, committee
vote in Conference Room 3." (After that, there'll be a wait for
translation before the full General Assembly.)
But even as
typing this up, Inner City Press asks Kazakhstan's Ambassador: are you
happy with how the Russian proposal has been addressed? No, is the
answer. We will be putting it to a vote. We are not happy.
She is eating La Vache Qui Rie
cheese on Breton crackers. The room is full of smoke.
of 12:10 a.m. -- Mexico clarifies that it previously supported
Russia's one year proposal, but fell away when Russia changed it into
a proposal about market exchange rates. Now, alongside Kazakhstan and
some others, Ukraine (Mexico says) is supporting Russia's position.
Inner City Press a thumbs up, it's done. There will be at least two
votes called for. And there is more to be said, not only about the
budget. But budget first, in this space, when the Fifth Committee
of 12:45 a.m. -- Delegates stand in line in Conference Room 3,
waiting to get their copies to vote on. A European representative,
saying "good night" to Inner City Press, explains that her
mission works the budget in three shifts. The skeleton crew is coming
in for the vote.
asked the Committee chairman, Peter Maurer of Switzerland, how many
countries he thinks will vote along with Russia. I don't know, he
says. You will see.
of 1:09 a.m. -- finally, the two scales of assessment resolutions are
distributed. The peacekeeping scale says, in paragraph 16, that the
GA "recognizes the concerns raised by Member States, including
Bahrain and Bahamas, regarding the structure of the levels."
Both have been assured they will get a side letter from the President
of the General Assembly. Inner City Press asked at the document
window, but where's the Russian amendment? The response: that's a
different story. Still the curtain that covers the voting board has
not been drawn back. But Maurer has gaveled the meeting to order.
of 1:13 a.m. -- the first items called by Maurer are the
international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former
Yugoslavia. Jun Yamasaki speaks on changes in rates of exchange.
of 1:22 a.m. -- Maurer asks again and again, are there any comments?
Are there any objections? I see none, it is so decided. Does any
delegation wish to make a statement after the adoption of the draft
resolution? Eritrea's seat is empty. We will be writing about their
speech outside the Security Council (much) earlier today. And now
India is taking the floor.
of 1:24 a.m. -- India says it proposed to maintain the liaison at D-2
level. I would like to keep this on record. "I find it difficult
to accept.. Human rights and Human Resources management tool... This
needs to be understood... We are moving this amendment... this is not
about nurturing human rights... this is budgetary.... without
prejudice to our positions on several aspects to human rights...
Human rights is one for the GA... I need to remain most delegates
here... a job, an assignment, a protocol job in the real sense of the
term... why is there a need to upgrade... cannot attend meetings...
surely, simple expeditious answers, tell the USG to give all area
of 1:28 a.m. -- "India's commitment to multilateralism... we
have been participating.... fully aware it's 1:30 a.m., one and a
half hour beyond when we should have completed our work... without
wishing to make matter divisive... I wish to inform you, we would not
wish to press for the amendment we had mentioned earlier in the day
And so it is adopted, without amendment. There is applause.
of 1:36 a.m. -- now Israel is calling for a vote on the
Goldstone report. A/64/7/L.3 of ACABQ about the Goldstone report. "As a
matter of principle... we cannot support... established with
favor 136, against 2, abstain 3. Guatemala says it made a mistake,
wants to be green.
U.S. has voted in favor of part 5... The U.S. supports creation of
expert on Sudan, DPRK and Myanmar... Somalia... We will not reiterate
our views, it does not change our view of the report.
of 1:45 a.m. - now Russia is speaking, "despite all efforts...
we have not been able to achieve a consensus on scale of assessments
for the regular budget... this draft does not take into account the
views of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and others...
fluxuations in currency rates, over-estimates... Russian federation
is submitted its own amendment to paragraph 6...
of 1:49 a.m. -- this table is the same as Russia distributed in Room
5 on December 1.... Now Kazakhstan is taking the floor, excusing
Maurer for calling her "sir," "it's 2 a.m.," she
says. The mic is not working. "Sabotage," Maurer jokes. She begins in
of 1:52 a.m. -- she says Iraq is given special treatment, "that
is understandable," why would poor Kazakhstan as a developing
country have to pay this... I propose that the proposal of the
Russian federation, we put it to a vote today... We support it, the
amendment to item 136..."
of 1:55 a.m. -- Japan says the agreement is for scales to remain the
same for three years, with review "urgently." Japan urges
opposition to the Russian amendment.
of 1:59 a.m. -- Ukraine, which Maurer called "The Ukraine,"
says it supports Russia's amendment not because it benefits Ukraine,
but because it's right. Now Sweden, on behalf of the EU: "against the
proposed amendment by the Russian federation."
of 2:04 a.m. -- Russia loses, 22-85-27. Russia's supporters include
Nicaragua and Venezuela, Laos and Mongolia , Serbia, Qatar, Myanmar
and so forth. Afterwards Russia notes that this is not a consensus
resolution. Belarus trashes the Committee on Contributions as biased.
of 2:07 a.m. -- looking back at the Goldstone vote, now that the voting
sheet has been released, when you take
away Guatemala's erroneous vote, Israel has only three abstainers in
support, and these are surprising: Cote d'Ivoire, Cameroon and Benin.
of 2:09 a.m. -- on scale, Maurer reads out it is the understanding of
the Committee that Bahamas and Bahrain will be treated as Category C.
And there are no comments -- except Bahamas, which wants to thank its
of 2:13 a.m. -- Sweden says the EU accepted the Chairman's proposal
on the peacekeeeping scales -- that is, the letter from the PGA to
Bahrain and Bahamas.
of 2:15 a.m. -- Maurer says it's over, come to the GA. He thanks the
bureau. "it's not the moment to get philosophic... to GA and then sleep
before daylight starts."
of 2:17 a.m. - Mosves congratulates Paul, 17 years serving the 5th
committee, there is applause. 35 minutes gap before the GA.
of 2:41 a.m. -- in the Delegates Lounge, there are drinks and
congratulations. Mosves says he is the only Committee secretary allowed
in to the most sensitive negotiations, because he has no position, only
wants to help them get where they want to go. Other committees are not
binding, he said. In the 5th it must be by consensus. He tells a PGA
staffer, see I brought it in earlier than last year, when it was 8:01
a.m.. The staffer later scoffs. USG Angela Kane has headed off,
no need to wait for the GA. Will Russia raises its issue again in the
GA? Inner City Press is told no. Israel will, yes. With only
of 3:12 a.m. -- Ali Treki gravels the meeting to order. In the TV
booth, there are no headsets for translation. It sounds like he is
of 3:17 a.m. -- underneath TV booth 14 there are many empty seats in
the GA. Comoros, DRC, Lesotho, Paraguay... Not voting in the Budget
committee earlier tonight (or this morning) were, among others,
Belize, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic and
Chad. The Comoros, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea and Eritrea.... and
on from there.
of 3:34 a.m. -- after the resolution criticizing Myanmar's human
rights record passes 86-23-39 (Norway asked that it's vote be changed
to yes), the Solomon Islands speaks up to say that due to pressure it
is changing its position from that in the 3d Committee.
Another change: on Israel's vote, the DPRK (North Korea) abstains, in
seeming support of Israel -- or simply against any human rights mandate
of 4:07 a.m. -- the Kazakhstan Ambassador brings it to a close, be
well, be happy, be lucky!
The voting screen depicts a green and orange Christmas tree.
of 4:14 a.m. -- the Japanese delegates are still at their GA table,
talking on their cell phones.
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