W. Sahara, Second Tier Titans Clash on Rights, Gabon and Uganda in
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 29 -- The Western
Sahara resolution, which was
scheduled to be voted on in the UN Security Council this morning, has
been dropped from the agenda.
Sources tell Inner City Press that a
dispute remains about a human rights component, or even language, in
the resolution to extend the mandate of the UN Mission in Western
what some call
a battle of second tier titans, France on behalf of Morocco opposes
any human rights component, while the UK favors its inclusion. France
does not like to be seen in its opposition to les droits de l'homme.
sources say, has been outsourced into a post-modern, but
not post-colonial proxy war between France's Gabon and U(k)ganda.
France's Gerard Araud, UK (UN) official John
Holmes, proxy war not shown
itself gave in, at least temporarily, to Morocco's demand that its
suspend its subscription only news service on Western Sahara. Once
inquiries were made, the service was revived. So, free press but
still not human rights. Watch this site.
1) Uganda has its own human rights issues, not only at home in Karamoja
and the north, but also with its forces in Somalia. On April 28,
Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky for the UN's
response to a report by HRW that Uganda's and Burundi's troops in
Mogadishu fire indiscriminately into civilians areas in violation of
the laws of war.
Nesirky claimed that the UN didn't have to respond,
despite its logistical support to these AU forces. (After being
Pressed, he said he would seek guidance). Later, Inner City Press
asked Uganda's representative for his country's response, which has
been promised. Stay tuned.
While Western Sahara was removed from Thursday agenda, Lebanon is on
it. On his way in, the UN's part time envoy on Resolution 1559, Terje
Roed Larsen, told the Press he might, at long last, appear afterwards
at the stakeout and take questions. "Only if nice, soft
questions," he said. Only at the UN.
Western Sahara, Spain for Human Rights Mandate, Polisario Says UN
its Stakeout "for Morocco"
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 26 -- As France and the UK face off on whether to
include a human rights mandate in this week's UN Security Council
resolution on the Western
Sahara mission MINURSO, Inner City Press on
Monday asked Spain's deputy prime minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de
la Vega if her country supports the inclusion of the right mandate.
la Vega said. She said human rights must be part of the mandate.
Until now, this had not been known to be Spain's position. But even
in response to a follow up question, Fernandez de la Vega confirmed
the position. Video here.
at the UN Television stakeout position on the second floor of the
UN's Temporary North Lawn Building, after she met with Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon. On Friday, Mohamed Abdelaziz, Secretary-General
of the Frente Polisario, had met with Ban. The Press was told that he
would speak at the stakeout at 5:15 on Friday.
that, the UN announced over a loudspeaker that Mohamed Abdelaziz'
stakeout had been canceled. Later on Friday, Ban issued a statement
about the meeting.
City Press was told by a Polisario representative that Mohamed
Abdelaziz' stakeout was canceled "after pressure from Morocco"
to which the UN gave in. "The UN preferred to issue Ban
Ki-moon's statement," the representative said. But by what
right, one wondered, could the UN tell or even suggest to a party to
a UN mediated conflict to not speak to the press?
UN's Ban and Fernandez de la Vega, rights and
canceled stakeout not shown
is a history
here. Back when the Security Council was on the UN's second floor,
the Polisario's representative was speaking before a UN TV camera
went suddenly it went dark. When Inner City Press inquired, the UN's
response was that it was an electrical problem. But it emerged that a
Moroccan former UN official had called UN TV and told them to pull
Morocco's Ambassador was seen buzzing around the Security Council,
even as they met about Chad. To cover their side of the argument,
they point to an OLAF report that the Frente Polisario over estimates
the number of people in the camps in order to get more food rations
than are needed from the UN World Food Program, and then re-sell the
rations for profit.
Vega, after her statement that Spain supports inclusion of a human
rights mandate in MINURSO, said that the big picture us a solution
that both parties can agree to, allowing for self-determination. This
seems a long way off. Will human rights monitoring be a start? The
resolution will be adopted on Thursday. Watch this site.
Inner City Press also asked Fernandez de la Vega if Spain's Alberdi,
who got the top post at UNIFEM over an Indian candidate in a process
determined, some say, by Spanish monetary contributions, is a
candidate to head the forthcoming UN gender "super-agency."
Fernandez de la Vega said that she is. "Now it's official,"
a Spanish correspondent said. So too with Spain's position on
including a human rights mandate in the Western Sahara Mission?
* * *
UN Council Meets on W. Sahara, Ill Haidar Is Freed, Inner City Press
Told by Sources
Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive
NATIONS, December 17, updated -- As the UN Security Council kept the
for a briefing on Western Sahara in the shadows on Thursday, word
reached Inner City Press that seriously ill hunger striker Aminatou
Haidar is being released and will return to Western Sahara. "It's
good news," the well placed diplomatic source told Inner City
Security Council ambassador emerging from the closed door
consultations told Inner City Press of a cable from Spain, that the
plane has left.
Council will continue to consider the request for a briefing, the
source said yes. But several non-permanent Council members told Inner
City Press that "Costa Rica doesn't have nine votes" in
favor of its request, if it called for a procedural vote.
Aminatou Haidar, position of U.S. not shown
asked U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, as she stood at the Council
stakeout microphone, for the U.S. position on whether the Council
should have a briefing on Western Sahara. Ambassador Rice walked away
from the microphone, the question hanging in the air. "You have
your answer," another correspondent told Inner City Press. A
request to Mission staff on Wednesday likewise yielded no answer.
Watch this site.
Update: as the
Council consultations got out, an Ambassador who favored a briefing on
Western Sahara said there will now be one. "When they can't defeat you,
they go along," he said. The French Ambassador Gerard Araud is said to
have adamantly opposed the briefing -- but lost. Of course, the
decision came after Ms.
Haidar was freed. Inner City Press is told she is returning to Western
Sahara on a Spanish plane, with her doctor and sister.
The U.S. said
it was at a "sensitive" moment, and asked for delay. Three days or so,
although it's left up to the Burkina Faso presidency. Before the end of
the year -- when Burkina Faso leaves the presidency, and the Council...
* * *
Sahara and Ms. Haidar's Failing Kidneys in UN Half Light Limbo,
NATIONS, December 16 -- Through the half light outside the UN
Security Council, Morocco's Ambassador Mohammed Loulichki passed on
afternoon. Inner City Press asked him, "How about a briefing?"
The reference was to the request, first made by Costa Rica, supported
by Uganda, Austria and to varying degrees others, for a briefing on
Western Sahara in light of the extended hunger strike of human
rights activist Aminatou Haidar.
need for a briefing," Morocco's Ambassador replied. "Everyone
knows everything in the UN... transparency."
Inner City Press finds that after Costa Rica made its proposal, and
even suggested it would call for a vote, Mexico stepped forward for
its own reasons with a compromise proposal, that this month's Council
president Michel Kafando of Burkina Faso "reach out" to
Morocco, the Frente Polisario and envoy Christopher Ross.
visited with Kafando on Wednesday, with the Frente Polisario
presenting a letter among other things urging "the Members of
the UNSC to immediately intervene to avoid a tragic end which will
haunt forever the peace process."
according to an Inner City Press source who viewed a text message she
sent on Wednesday, is suffering nausea and pain in his kidneys.
UN sources tell Inner City Press, is in California on family
met without success with Morocco's foreign minister asking for some
humanitarian move, was in Copenhagen, speaking
have more, as
well, on Mexico's
position, on which we reported yesterday. The
Frente Polisario maintains an embassy in Mexico, despite Moroccan
pressure to close it.
language as well as historical leftist and anti-colonial ties,
Polisario is on the move in Latin America, opening embassies in
Panama and Uruguay. Meanwhile, it had to close its embassy in Kenya,
due it is said to pressure not only from Morocco but also Saudi
Morocco's Ambassador to the UN, Ms. Haidar's kidneys
circle to Wednesday afternoon's meeting, Burkina Faso was part of a
move, driven by Morocco and France, to ejected Western Sahara from
the African Union. It didn't work, but it happened.
second of the
Burkina Faso presidency's two meetings ended with two options on the
horseshoe table: no briefing, as urged by Morocco, or a briefing
about Ms. Haidar and the wider situation. How would the choice be
made between the two, and what role would be played by France, which
in other circumstances has demanded briefings about Myanmar human
rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi? Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
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Press' March 27 UN debate
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Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
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12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
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16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
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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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AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
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Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
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