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At UN Charter Debate, ICP Asks Venezuela FM About Yemen, W Sahara, Eritrea

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 15 -- When the UN Charter was debated in the Security Council, chaired by Venezuela's Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, she brought up Syria, the State of Palestine and eight armed conflicts in Africa.

  Inner City Press, when she did a question and answer stakeout, asked her about Yemen as well, a conflict decidedly less spoken about in the Security Council amid continuing airstrikes. Video here.

   Inside the Chamber, Spain's Ignacio Ybanez brought up Burundi, as did France's Ambassador Francois Delattre (along with CAR and Mali, North Korea, Syria, Libya and yes, Yemen) - but what has been done about Burundi?

 New Zealand's Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen said the delay of the Council's visit to Burundi by six months blunted its impact. The Free UN Coalition for Access would add, and the lack of transparency.

 In the afternoon session, South Africa cited the UN's failure on Western Sahara (Inner City Press covered the President of the General Assembly's upcoming trip to Morocco, here, still no responses received.)

  Russia's speech went old school, back to the UK bombing Yemen in 1964, the US in Grenada and Nicaragua. It was unclear if the US would invoke a right of reply: 68 countries were signed up to speak. Number 65 was Turkey, as signs across from the UN said “Turkey, ISIS, Stop Killing Kurds!”

  India's Permanent Representative said that peacekeeping Troop Contributing Countries are not consulted enough, and criticized that there must be consensus to list groups as terrorist.

 Eritrea's Permanent Representative criticized the sanctions against it as illegitimate. Israel called out Malaysia and Venezuela, by name.

 There will be more...

On February 12, when Venezuela's Permanent Representative Rafael Ramirez held a breakfast Q&A, Inner City Press asked him about Yemen, Western Sahara, the next UN Secretary General, Haiti and UNSC transparency.

  On Yemen, Ramirez said there is a need for more open meeting, citing February 16 and 17 and the request for weekly meetings going forward. He said the media doesn't cover Yemen anything like Syria.

 On Western Sahara Ramirez told Inner City Press that Ban Ki-moon and his envoy Ross should be able to visit before April. When Inner City Press asked about the so-called "Group of Friends on Western Sahara" which, without any African members, drafts the UNSC's resolutions on the topic, he said, "I don't now what kind of friends are these."

 Ramirez said he was next meeting with the President of the General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft, that the UNSC should propose more than one candidate to the GA. Inner City Press asked for his view on possible candidate Susana Malcorra; he said running is a personal decision.

  On Haiti, Ramirez said he is worried about the parliamentary coup, citing the example of Honduras; he said he would wait to see what CELAC could accomplish.

 Inner City Press for the Free UN Coalition for Access suggested that Presidents of the UNSC, starting with Ramirez, should publish online their daily schedule of meetings. Ramirez to his credit said it is a good idea. We will be following this.


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