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At UN, Oil for Food Resolution Kept Open by Iraqi Letter Delay, Nuke Doubts by 3

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 15 -- As US Vice President Joe Biden travels to the UN on Wednesday hoping to preside over the passage of three resolution on Iraq in the Security Council, well placed sources have told Inner City Press which of the three resolutions had still not been finalized late Tuesday, and which Council members opposed the other, nuclear resolution.

  At 5:30 Tuesday afternoon, a self described “senior US official” told some of the UN press corps that two of the three resolutions were “in blue,” meaning with text to vote on finalized, and a third was still not ready.

  The official also argued that despite Iraq's failure to yet ratify the International Atomic Energy Agency additional protocol, a resolution allowing nuclear imports should be adopted Wednesday.

  From this, some assumed that it was the nuclear or Weapons of Mass Destruction resolution which was the one outstanding.

   But later on Tuesday Inner City Press was informed that “the Oil for Food resolution was delayed, Iraq was supposed to turn in a letter but only turned it in late, let's see if the bureaucratic wheels turn fast enough for Biden to brag about its passage.”

Biden previously at UN as Senator, Iraq IAEA ratification not shown

   Inner City Press was also informed that opposition in the Council to removing nuclear import restrictions on Iraq began with the United Kingdom, then Austria -- specifically objecting to Council action before Iraq ratifies the IAEA additional protocol -- and then, and perhaps still, China.

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At UN, Biden Visit to Include 2 or 3 Iraq Resolutions, No Answers on Costs or Security

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 14 -- One of three Security Council resolution which the US would like adopted at the December 15 meeting chaired by Vice President Joe Biden has not yet been finalized for a vote, a self-described senior US official told the press on Tuesday.

  Beyond ending the Oil for Food Program, the US would like to removing restrictions on Iraq's import of nuclear material, despite the country not yet having ratified the additional protocol of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

  The Chinese mission to the UN has indicated a preference to await full ratification by Iraq, but late Tuesday the senior US official was still talking about all three resolutions being passed.

   The context of the remarks was a conference call. Inner City Press dialed in, and to ask a question pushed Star 1 as directed, giving name and affiliation again. But Inner City Press was never called on, even as the moderator said “it appears there are no more questions.”

  Beyond asking for confirmation that it is the Weapons of Mass Destruction or nuclear resolution that is not yet finalized, Inner City Press had wanted ask, as it has the UN Spokesman, who is paying for the alternations in and around the Security Council for Joe Biden's visit.

  On December 10, a large US delegation entered the Council chamber talking of Verizon and putting in new communications lines for Wednesday's session. A Council staffer told Inner City Press that Wednesday will be the first time a US Vice President chairs the Security Council since George H.W. Bush, as Reagans' VP, chaired a meeting. On the morning of December 14 new metal detectors were in place. At the noon briefing, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: for this Wednesday, tomorrow’s Security Council event featuring Vice-President Joe Biden, there have been a lot of, they’ve even installed metal detectors, but on Friday, there was people going into the Council to install new telephone lines. So, it all led me to wonder, who is paying for this? Is it… is it… does the US specifically reimburse the UN for these special security… particularly, let’s say the phone lines, or is it something that the UN absorbs the cost and, if so, what’s the basis of doing it for this meeting and not other similarly vice-presidential meetings?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, you’re making assumptions there before establishing the facts. So, let’s do that.

  But five hours later, no answer had been given. Similarly, last month Inner City Press asked Nesirky's Office to confirm that the UN in Iraq, including SRSG Ad Melkert, is accepting security from the US forces. The UN refused to confirm it, despite a New Orleans Times Picayune report that:

The soldiers of Alpha Battery, 1/141, started out providing armed troops and armored vehicles to protect the supply convoys. They now act as the quick reaction force, which includes providing ground medical evacuation to area helicopters that cannot reach and secure landing zones, Fernandez said. They also staff entries to the United Nations Villa, a compound where UN workers live, and specifically guard the residence for the special representative for the UN secretary-general in Iraq. While the UN officials have personal security personnel, they also are shadowed by Alpha Battery when they travel. “They’re not allowed to move without us,” Fernandez said. “They don’t want to move without us.”

  Perhaps the US Mission to the UN or State Department will have an answer.

UN's Ban and Biden, previously, security, costs and IAEA ratification not shown

  A UN budget document just released mentions that the UN's architectural contractor in Iraq is in default:

A/65/604 - 7 December 2010

Programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011

First performance report on the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011

Report of the Advisory Committee

...5. The Advisory Committee recalls that the General Assembly, in section VI of its resolution 64/245, approved a commitment authority of up to $5 million for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), under section 33, Construction, alteration, improvement and major maintenance, for the biennium 2010-2011, in order to undertake design work for the construction of an integrated compound in Baghdad. The Secretary-General indicates in paragraph 13 of his report that, during 2010, a Project Manager (P-5) was recruited and an architectural services contract was awarded for the project’s schematic design, design development and construction documentation phases. Upon enquiry, the Committee was informed that, to date, UNAMI has entered into commitments with the contractor in the amount of $2.97 million, comprising obligations of $2.39 million and disbursements of $0.58 million.

6. The Advisory Committee notes with concern that, as at 19 July 2010, the architectural services contract has been in a “condition of default” and that it is therefore unlikely that a full specification design would be available until early 2011. The Committee was also informed that the estimated costs would be far higher than originally expected and that the construction timelines would extend much further than planned. UNAMI is currently considering alternative options in Baghdad and has identified an existing site that will become available in 2011. The Committee notes that the Secretary-General is seeking approval to appropriate the amount of $5 million already approved as a commitment authority.

7. In the context of its report on the budget for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq for 2011, the Advisory Committee has expressed its concern about the reported situation that has resulted in delays in the construction project and urged the Secretary-General to resolve the problems at hand (see A/65/602, paras. 217-221). Therefore, in view of the uncertainties concerning the planned project, the Committee recommends that the amount of $5 million already approved as a commitment authority not be appropriated at present but rather that any actual expenditures arising from the commitment authority be reported in the context of the second performance report for the biennium 2010-2011.

Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

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

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