on Budget, Iran Loses Sanctions Vote, R2P, Durban III Funded
December 23/24, updated -- As the UN Budget
committee finally began
voting at midnight, Iran's attempt to cut funding to the Group of
Experts of its Sanctions Committee lost with 79 against, 36
abstaining and 11 for, including Venezuela, Ecuador, Zimbabwe,
Swaziland and Myanmar.
Durban III review day passed, 102 for, 33 abstaining and 17 against,
including Canada and the United States, whose Joseph Melrose spoke.
and Nicaragua proposed a paragraph against Responsibility to Protect.
Cuba spoke at length as did Nicaragua, denouncing the arrogance of
R2P while speechifying to a GA hall full of half sleeping delegates.
was sleeping, as was Swazilands. Russia had five large
people, and took over a seat of Sierra Leone or the Seychelles.
group lost, 68 against, 51 abstaining and 17 for them in opposing
R2P, including Qatar, the Solomon Island and not surprisingly Sudan.
India voted “no,” that is, for R2P, a change from their prior
Permanent Representative's position.
vote was held on
the overall Genocide resolution, now with only nine opposed including
Iran, Ecuador and Zimbabwe. Iran called for a vote against all the
Special Political Missions. On this, only Iran voted against, with
three abstaining: North Korea, Myanmar and Syria - on Roed Larsen and
Resolution 1559? Watch this site.
committee meeting ends at 1:35 am with $5 billion quietly
am Eritrea takes the floor, quoting Henry Ford, a real Hallmark
Card of a speech from a country dis-invited from the UN's September
am, after a coffee or drinks drink, full UNGA starts, with
France complaining again about English only. Iceland rep has been
knitting, Latvia sleeping. Deiss is not here. Why not?
UNGA votes on the budget, among countries absent is Somalia.
Where's the TFG? Sri Lanka is here, but didn't vote on Iran
resolutions. Very diplomatic.
UNGA, Durban III funding passes 104 for (2 more than in Budget
committeee), 22 against (5 more) and 33 abstaining (same).
New Yorkers in Marshall Islands & Palau seats confer, as
Nauru rent-a-diplomat quietly leaves. #NiceWorkIfYouCanGetIt
over, budget votes finished at 4:39 am, ritual Xmas tree up on
voting screen, flashbulbs of cell phone cameras, handshakes, 10-4.
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Budget Endgame Has Genocide and R2P, Iran Against Political Missions
December 23 -- The UN Budget
fight went into overtime
Thursday evening on the issues of genocide and the Responsibility to
Nicaragua put forward a proposal to bar the UN Special Representative
on Genocide from having anything to do with R2P, which they say is a
concept which has never been approved by the UN General Assembly and
which could be used for imperialist interventions.
place in the context of Cote d'Ivoire strongman Laurent Gbagbo
issuing threats against the UN peacekeepers there.
night UN officials Susana Malcorra, Catherine Pollard and Controller
Yamasaki were on hand to lobby for the Secretariat, neither R2P
Special Adviser Ed Luck nor current top genocide official Francis
Deng were seen on Thursday evening.
UNTV stake out
had been set up for statements to the Press. Ban Ki-moon's
spokespeople had left, and would not hold a briefing until 2011. Thus
are billions fought for and spent.
UN's genocide man Denger, R2P and budget not shown
diplomats milled around the UN's North Lawn building while
negotiations continued in Conference Room 5. “OICT is done,” a
delegate called out, referring to the Office of Information and
Communications Technology. A final deadline was announced: 10 or
10:45 in the General Assembly.
votes were still predicted on Durban III and on Iran's challenge to
the Group of Experts on its Sanctions Committee, and to Special
Political Missions more generally.
General Assembly met in its old building, but only to act on the
Credentials Committee's recommendation to accept the new Cote
d'Ivoire Mission personnel appointed by Ouattara. President of the
General Assembly Joseph Deiss quickly read out the proposal and
quickly gaveled approval.
and Namibia protested that they had
wanted to speak, even to ask for a postponement. But Deiss would not
relent. With other countries asking to speak, Deiss suspended the
meeting, to reconvene only when the Budget Committee is ready.
* * *
Votes On Durban III & Iran Sanctions Panel, R2P & Staff
December 22/23 -- With the UN Budget
committee at work at
2:30 am on December 23, the number of issues on which a contested
vote would be called was whittled down to two, or three at most. The
main achievements, though, would be under or unreported, committee
members complained to Inner City Press.
some, Iran is still calling for a vote on the funding of the Panel of
Experts of its Sanctions Committee. On the other side of the coin,
the Durban III event in September will be voted against by, among
others, Canada -- which has already said it won't participate.
at 2 am is a merger of functions of the offices for the Prevention of
Genocide and of the Responsibility to Protect. The opponents of R2P
say it has never been approved, and oppose the merger.
Committee members mill around past midnight, with bottles of wine and
pizza boxes on tables, a deal is said to be near on R2P, while votes
are predicted on Iran's Panel of Expert and on Durban III.
Committee members bemoan the lack of coverage of the bigger ticket
items: continuing contracts and so-called common system. As one
heart felt developing world committee member told Inner City Press,
staff are 70% of the UN's costs and therefore its major asset.
need to be given security, especially working in some of the most
dangerous places in the world. And to pay funds and programs staff
more than Secretariat makes no sense. This too, they say, will be
part of the package.
votes, it is
predicted, still come December 23. Watch this site.
* * *
Sanctions Group, UNICEF
21 -- The UN budget committee has begun its ritual
of all night meetings to finish before Christmas. This year the
global financial crisis has finally hit home, as one delegate put it
to Inner City Press, in the discussion of the “common UN system”
or “harmonizing contracts.”
are additional political issues
around the UN's funding of a Durban conference review day in
September, and Iran trying to defund the Panel of Experts of its
contracts has been a theme since September in the budget
committee. UNICEF came and argued that it should be allowed to pay
its people more, since it needs “better” people in order to
attract private sector support.
UNHCR and the
World Food Program,
among others, came to make the same pitch. The phrasing, and the
arrogance, troubled many.
grew more subtle with example of staffers leaving UN peacekeeping
missions in order to work for UNICEF to earn more money. There are
also examples of seeming UN peacekeeping officials, like Alan Doss
when in Liberia and the Congo, secretly being under better paid UNDP
avoid at least
some of these scams, the proposal is to harmonize contacts, with some
sort of a phrase in or grandfathering period. This may raise costs,
and countries which are cutting back pay to their own workers are
hard pressed to vote increases for UN system staff.
Permanent Representative of Tunisia recently admitted to Inner City
Press that his country's announced plans for a Youth Conference have
fallen through due to lack of funding. Still, a deal is predicted for
December 22 or 23.
complaining about Ban Ki-moon's Secretariat not doing enough of the
heavy lifting on “continuing contracts,” leaving Missions like
Singapore having to do the calculations.
recorded vote is
predicted on funding the Durban III day in September, and perhaps on
Iran's proposal to defund its Sanctions Committee. Why aren't North
Korea and Sudan, for example, making the same proposal to undercut
their Sanctions Committee?
Tuesday's UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's acting Deputy
Spokesman Farhan Haq for any comment from Ban about Durban III. "The
member states decide," he said.
UN's Ban and Controller Yamazaki, (not) taking the 5th
referred from the Third Committee is the question of Myanmar. Despite
evidence that staff time has been redevoted from Myanmar to other uses
in the Department of Political Affairs, nothing has yet been done.
the North Lawn, the new venue for budget committee rituals, included
two diplomats from Cote d'Ivoire chatting nervously with the Press. Earlier
Ban Ki-moon urged the General Assembly to disaccredit
Permanent Representative Djedje. What would this mean for others in
the Ivorian mission? Their budget expert just keeps working. It is
the Fifth Committee ethic. Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
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.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.