UN, France's Araud Refuses Question on Mistral Ship Sale to Russia,
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 28 -- When one of the five permanent members of the
UN Security Council seeks to sell high tech warships to another of
the P-5, against the interests of a smaller country which is on the
Council's agenda, isn't it a UN relevant matter, even if the seller's
Ambassador says "no" as he walks away from a question about
to sell Mistral class warships to Russia, whose war with Georgia over
South Ossetia was debated in the Council, and mediated by French
President Nicolas Sarkozy.
28, as France's Permanent
Representative Gerard Araud was talking questions from reporters at
the Council stakeout on topics ranging from Cote d'Ivoire to Iran and
Chad, Inner City Press asked "about the Mistral." Video
at Minute 6:25.
walked away from the microphone and UN Television camera. "That's
not the UN," he said. But isn't it?
France's Araud on Jan. 28, answer on Mistral ship
sale not shown
take over the presidency of the Security Council in February. As
such, to read out press statements and provide summaries of Council
consultations, Araud will be at the stakeout more frequently. Whether
he will stick to this narrow definition of "the UN" remains
to be seen.
* * *
Obama's Speech Omits Sudan, Susan Rice Says Jobs Come First, Gration
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 28 -- Just as the motorcade of U.S. President Barack
Obama left Capitol Hill on Wednesday night after his State of the
Union speech, a coalition of Darfur activists issued a press release
expressing "disappointment that President Obama did not
highlight Darfur, Sudan or genocide prevention during his State of
the Union address.... 'We are very far from the unstinting resolve on
Sudan that President Obama promised in the campaign.'"
at the UN in New York, when U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, a "long
time friend" of Mr. Obama, stepped to the Security Council
stakeout microphone to speak about Somalia and Ivory Coast, Inner
City Press asked her about the activists' disappointment.
misreading the omission of Sudan and genocide from the lengthy speech
as reflecting a lessing of commitment on these issues by the Obama
Rice said, this is a misinterpretation. She said the speech has
correctly focused on jobs and the American economy, not every foreign
policy issue could be mentioned. She said the Administration remains
"deeply committed," and mentioned for the second time this
week the work of U.S. envoy on Sudan Scott Gration. Video here,
Rice has spoken to the press at
the UN twice this week is "something
of a record," one reporter noted. The Mission is known to have
bristled at recent
negative coverage. Inner City Press has previously
documented the fall off in media access and U.S. advocacy since Ms.
Rice arrived at the Mission, and has been told 2010 may be different.
US' Obama, Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton: no Sudan
in SOTU '10
Footnotes: on Ivory
Coast, when Inner City Press asked if the U.S. agrees with holdover
President Laurent Gbagbo about the over 400,000 names on the voter list
that he is contesting, Ambassador Rice said there was an incident of a
"false list." The UN has not acknowledged that the list is false, and
France has only said that it, like all other complaints, should be
So is it the U.S. position that the
list is false? If so, cynics might say that the U.S. backs up Gbagbo
more and more, to gain even more influence in Abidjan assuming Gbagbo
remains in power.
anti-corruption front, Inner City Press recently exposed
and got confirmed that the nephew of the UN's top envoy in Ivory Coast
then got employed by the UN system in the country, which even UN
investigators have described to Inner City Press as highly problematic.
But has the U.S. Mission said anything about this? Or about the even
longer standing nepotism
problem surrounded the UN's Congo envoy Alan Doss? We will follow
the US Mission's transcript:
City Press: On Cote d'Ivoire, does the US have a view: President
Gbagbo has said that there's almost half a million improperly
registered people and he has called for investigations. They say
that's why it's being delayed. Do you have a view as to whether that
is a legitimate claim?
just one other I wanted to ask you, the Save Darfur Coalition took
somehow umbrage that last night's State of the Union address did not
mention Darfur, Sudan or genocide prevention. Are they misreading
that? Does this reflect any lessoning of a commitment?
Rice: Absolutely not. I think if that is their interpretation I would
characterize that as a misreading. I think as all Americans saw and
all Americans feel, the President's focus last night was
appropriately, principally on jobs and the economy. And the very
concrete steps that he is taking and that he is calling on Congress
to take to put our economy back on track and put Americans back to
work. It was the right focus and clearly not every foreign policy
issue of consequence was dealt with or could have been addressed in
that context. The President is deeply committed to ending the killing
and the suffering and the genocide in Darfur, and our work here at
the United Nations and indeed the work that General Scott Gration and
that the U.S. Government is doing to try to end the conflict and
ensure the protection of civilians is as important today and
yesterday as it is any other day.
to Cote d'Ivoire, as you know the elections have been delayed
repeatedly. This is a source of real concern for the United States
and for the Security Council. There was a very unfortunate incident
in which a false voter list was released and that has set back the
process further. It is our view that the steps need to be taken by
the Ivoirian authorities to ensure that the elections happen properly
but that also the conditions for it are as such that the people of
Cote d'Ivoire can all participate, that all eligible voters are
allowed to cast their ballots, and that it happens in a transparent
and legitimate fashion.