Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

Follow us on TWITTER


Subscribe to RSS feed

March 1, 2011: Libya

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book


Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

UN Admits Banning Access of Kosovo, Unlike Serbia & Even Non-Members

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 29 -- When the UN Security Council met on July 28 about clashes inside Kosovo, Serbian foreign minister Vuk Jeremic spoke to the Press just outside the Council, and went inside after 6 pm to meet with outgoing Council president Peter Wittig of Germany.

  Meanwhile Inner City Press heard that Kosovo's delegation, including its minister Enver Hoxhaj, were refused even entrance into the UN compound, being told that if they did not have a formal appointment, they could not come in.

  While Jeremic made a statement on UN TV outside the Council, the Kosovars were nowhere to be seen.

  Inner City Press e-mailed the top two Spokespeople for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and asked

I'm told that the Kosovo delegation 'could not get into the UN' this afternoon, since it had no official business in/with the UN today. Please confirm or deny that the Kosovo delegation requested passes to enter the UN, and separately, that these were denied, and if so why. Thanks, on deadline. Also: can you confirm it was Yakoblev? And Controller Yamazaki's leaving, when? Thanks.”

No response was received on July 28, nor on the morning of July 29. So at Friday's noon briefing Inner City Press again asked if Kosovo had been denied access to the UN compound.

Ban's lead spokesman Martin Nesirky said

the way it works is, non-member states, other entities, do require an official engagement or appointment at the UN to come in. This was the case yesterday. Originally the Kosovo representative and Serbia had been looking at the possibility of being invited to closed consultation of the Security Council... Neither was invited. Serbia is a member state and therefore had access.”

  Inner City Press asked why Kosovo couldn't enter the UN, if other non-state parties to conflicts like the Frente Polisario of Western Sahara and the Turkish Cypriots -- and the Palestinian Authority -- are allowed in every day.

Vuk Jeremic previously in UNSC, Kosovo Banned from UN campus

  Nesirky said “let's not mix things up here, you know the UN status position.”

  But isn't it ridiculous for the Kosovars to not even be able to enter the UN building? Later on July 28 a large group from Senegal entered for an event about Ahmadou Bamba. They were searched with an electronic wand, but were allowed to enter. And not the Kosovars? We'll have more on this.

* * *

At UN, Serbia Denied TV & Meeting, France Says Russia Didn't Ask, Chides on Syria

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 28, updated -- The Kosovo compromise reached past 6 pm on Thursday involved Serbian foreign minister Vuk Jeremic being offered a meeting not with the full Security Council but only its outgoing president, Peter Wittig of Germany.

  Serbia had asked for an emergency meeting on the clashes on its border with Kosovo. But this was not granted.

  Jeremic entered the Council at 6:27 pm, and came out a mere 13 minutes later. He strode to the Security Council stakeout position, but found that the UN TV camera was being disassembled. “Talk about a diss,” one wag whispered.

(Jeremic spoke for three minutes without UNTV, with Inner City Press filming -- click here for video on YouTube. Inner City asked a question, but Jeremic did not answer it. Later UNTV said it would re-set up its camera. But most of the remaining media left.)

  France Ambassador Gerard Araud as he came out of the Security Council told the Press that there would have been a meeting if a Security Council member had asked for one. “Russia pleaded for a meeting,” Araud said, “but didn't ask for it.”

(Araud similarly said, as he took over the Council presidency for May, that Russia had not raised the issue of how to investigate alleged organ trafficking by Kosovo's highest officials. It was in Russia's speech that month, and since then Russia has proffered a draft resolution on the topic.)

  A Balkan source told Inner City Press that inside Araud said by contrast, there are 2000 people killed in Syria. This was an implied dig at Russia's opposition to a resolution on Syria, and shows how Security Council issues are connected.

  Portugal's Permanent Representative Cabral, who proposed the first compromise of Thursday's closed consultation, told Inner City Press that this deal was more nuanced, with the UNMIK report being moved up - to August 5, Inner City Press is told - and then a moved-up meeting.

Inner City Press asked, but is it true the UNMIK report doesn't cover the time period of the border clash? Cabral said that the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations could supplement the report.  We'll see.

Update of 7:15 pm - at 7:10, Jeremic came out and spoke on the re-set up UN TV, saying "we got shut out." But when Inner City Press asked question, he walked away.  Shut out indeed.  Until August, then...

* * *

As Closed Meeting on Serbia Set at UN, Russian Argument Lost in Translation?

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, July 27 -- Serbia's letter asking for a emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Kosovo's “seizure” of a border crossing in which at least one policeman was killed caused controversy in the Council Wednesday morning.

  Several pro-Kosovo Western Council members said they didn't have enough information, and opposed an open meeting at which, they said, Serbian foreign minister Vuk Jeremic could “use” the incident.

  The compromise, which Portuguese Permanent Representative Cabral described to Inner City Press, is to hold a closed door consultation on Thursday morning, with a briefing by UN Peacekeeping, probably by outgoing chief Alain Le Roy. (Former UNMIK chief Lamberto Zannier has left to head the OECD and has not been replaced.)

  While Cabral said the closed door session might lead to an open meeting, another Western delegation said that an open meeting, at least on Thursday, was “highly unlikely,” expressing concern that the buzz about Jeremic flying to New York was an attempt to “force” an open meeting. “He can talk to you, the Press, out here if he want to,” the Western Council member said.

Western sources in the Security Council went further, saying that in Wednesday's consultations about whether to have a meeting the Russian representative “made two mistakes -- first calling it a 'minor incident' then referring to two states.”

Inner City Press asked the Russian delegation about this; they say that the UN mistranslated part of the statement from Russian. “Of course we wouldn't call it two states.” Neither Serbia nor Russia nor the UN recognizes Kosovo as a state.

The Deputy Permanent Representative of a country in the middle -- let's called them Non Aligned -- told Inner City Press that Russia at first called it a “small” incident, then corrected that and that nearly all other delegations agreed it was serious.

  The “two states” reference was apparently, according to the non aligned source, an argument that as with the Thailand Cambodia border dispute, any dispute between two states can trigger a Security Council meeting.

 Since the Western members consider Kosovo a state, how can they oppose a meeting on this issue? And isn't their argument that an open meeting could inflame things precisely the argument others make, cynically they say, about places like Southern Kordofan in Sudan? Watch this site.

* * *

India, Brazil & S. Africa Move Toward Joint Communique on Syria, European Members Grumble at UN

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, July 27 -- As the crackdown has intensified in Syria, the so-called IBSA countries -- India, Brazil and South Africa -- have been under increasing pressure to “do something about Assad.”

  France's UN Ambassador Gerard Araud, for example, wrote an opinion piece in the Brazilian press urging Brazil to support the long pending draft Security Council resolution on Syria circulated by the European members of the Council.

  UN sources have for some time been telling Inner City Press that IBSA has been moving toward taking action.

 Now on July 26 several European members complained to Inner City Press that the action the IBSA countries are moving toward is not through the Council but rather a communication, or demarche, directly to Syria.

  This new development is not unexpected. As the Council's two resolutions on Libya have been cited after the fact as authorizing not only airstrikes but even the parachuting of weapons into the Nafusa mountains by France, opposition to a Syria Council resolution has grown.

  But India, Brazil and South Africa, each for its own reasons, wants to take some action on Syria. Internally, each of the three government faces pressures from some groups to do more about human rights in Syria, and from others not to allow “another Libya.”

  As to Brazil, on a recent Council on Foreign Relations conference call Inner City Press asked, “what do you make of Brazil's position on Syria being portrayed as... obstructionist?”

  Former US Ambassador to Brazil Donna Hrinak responded that the

Brazilian congress certainly is playing more of a role. Itamaraty at one time had, you know, virtual monopoly on foreign policy making. Civil society is a lot more vibrant in Brazil in also speaking out on foreign policy. You could do quite well by looking at what players are active in U.S. foreign policy and seeing those same groups reflected in Brazil.”

   How would an op-ed by a French diplomat seeking to impact US foreign policy play out?

Brazil's PR Viotti, India's (3d from left), Araud behind Susan Rice in shades, IBSA letter not shown

  CFR's Latin America director Julia Sweig also replied:

with respect to Syria, there was a great deal of conflict with France over that, but there were a couple of resolutions, I believe, that passed in the Brazilian congress, which is becoming more and more active in weighing in on foreign policy, condemning 1973, that resolution [on Libya], and also a great deal of resistance on the Syria front that I believe Itamaraty is increasingly sensitive to, as our foreign-policy operatives are themselves when they conduct foreign policy. So in foreign policy, domestic politics and voices will impinge.”

Things are not so different in India and South Africa. So for the three to act together is not unexpected, despite the grumbling from European members of the Security Council. Watch this site.

Click for July 7, 11 re Sudan, Libya, Syria, flotilla

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

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.

* * *

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -