Gun-Jumping on Annapolis Resolution While Kosovo Clock Ticks
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Muse
November 30 -- In the half light outside the UN Security Council at 1 p.m. on
Friday, Israel's deputy ambassador Danny Carmon told a gaggle of reporters that
appreciation for the Annapolis conference has other means to be expressed than
in a resolution. Less than 24 hours previous, the U.S. had circulated a draft
resolution, which was unceremoniously withdrawn on Friday. Even Thursday night,
journalists in touch with the Israeli mission expressed surprise that the normal
pre-filing consultations had not been done. By Friday before the 10 a.m. Council
meeting, diplomats were trying to interpret an Abbas statement that action by
the Security Council would show seriousness -- did they mean he agreed to the
language of the U.S. resolution? Israel opposed any resolution at all: not the
right form of text, and not the right venue, why let the UN get back involved?
One eminence gris nailed it: if you wanted to see Israel's relation to U.S.
policy on the Middle East, the last twenty hours showed it.
calendar ticks down to zero hour in Kosovo. Whether December 10 or January 20,
it seems inevitable that Kosovo will declare independence, and that the U.S. and
at least most of the European Union will extend recognition. A Russian diplomat
leaving the Council on Friday joked, "If you see the Russian delegation leaving,
you know there won't be a resolution." But how about a declaration -- of
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's schedule Friday morning was Russian Ambassador
Churkin. At the noon briefing, Inner City Press asked for a read-out on the
meeting, and of Mr. Ban's thinking on Kosovo. He is waiting for December 10,
when he will forward the report to the Security Council, was the answer. But
it's clear that the report will say the talks have broken down. "I cannot
predict" the future, was the answer.
about the past? Tuesday at the same Security Council stakeout, the new
Permanent Representative of Ukraine, Yuriy Sergeyev, gave four reporters copies
of a book, "Famine in Ukraine 1932-33," and took questions for twenty minutes.
Inner City Press asked about
moves to reach back and strip the New York Times' Walter Duranty of his Pulitzer
Prize, for having air-brushed out the famine and more deaths than he ever
wrote words. Amb. Sergeyev said he was aware of those requests, and directed
Inner City Press to what he called a courageous Italian cable from May 1933,
describing events and opining, "however monstrous and incredible such a plan
might appear, it should nevertheless be regarded as authentic and well under
receive similar communiques these days from Somalia. At Friday's noon
briefing, Inner City Press asked if the Secretariat is any closer to sending at
least an assessment mission. We don't yet know the date, was the answer. Tick
In the Security Council, vanishing
resolution and action on Somalia not shown
recurrent question through the week was the UN's response to a court ruling in
the Netherlands reportedly rejecting absolute immunity for the UN for the events
of Srebrenica. First there was no response, then a statement that the UN was
seeking a copy of the decision. Inner City Press asked if the UN had made a
filing in the case, and if so if it would be released. The answer was that
filing are usually sought in the courts themselves. But why doesn't the UN
provide copies of the filings it makes, unless they are under seal? It's a
public institution, after all.
perhaps it's going private. Mid-week there was a conference on Information
and Communications Technologies (ICT) and climate change. At the entrance and
inside the conference room were tables promoting IBM, Hewlett Packard, Xerox,
Seagate, Sun Microsystems and others. In the program, these were listed as
co-sponsors, as private sector presenters at the "Signature Level." Inner City
Press asked, twice, how much did they pay for this privilege? The spokesman
referred it to a press person, who did not return the call. How much did they
pay -- it's a simple enough question, and one we'll keep asking.
* * *
here for a
AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army.
for an earlier
piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000
contribution from an undefined trust fund.
Video Analysis here
Because a number of Inner City Press' UN
sources go out of their way to express commitment to serving the poor, and while
it should be unnecessary, Inner City Press is compelled to conclude this
installment in a necessarily-ongoing series by saluting the stated goals of the
UN agencies and many of their staff. Keep those cards, letters and emails
coming, and phone calls too, we apologize for any phone tag, but please continue
trying, and keep the information flowing.
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