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In UN Council, March Agenda Omits Sri Lanka, UK Did Not Even Request, Libya Implies

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, March 3 -- "Sri Lanka is not an issue on the agenda of the Security Council, we just met the request of the Secretariat to brief the Council,"  the Libyan president of the Council for March Ibrahim Dabbashi told the Press on Tuesday. At the monthly briefing on the Council's program of work, Inner City Press asked Ambassador Dabbashi if there would be any follow-up on the UN's John Holmes February 27 presentation to the Council. Video here, from Minute 12:18.

   Initially, Dabbashi tried not to answer the question at all. When Inner City Press asked it again, Dabbashi said "we are always ready when there is a necessity of getting information." Video here, from Minute 14:20.

  Later, however, Dabbashi grew more combative. "The majority of the members don't feel the need to put it on the agenda," he said. "Sri Lanka, I have already replied, I am not going to comment any more."

  The majority of the questions directed at Dabbashi, three of the first five, concerned the expected indictment of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir for war crimes on March 4, and why Libya would like to suspend the indictment. That is the position of the African Union and the League of Arab States, Dabbashi replied. He called the conflict in Darfur one about resources, which unfortunately has become internationalized.

  Inner City Press asked if the reference in footnotes to the month's program of work called "Peace and Security in Africa" refers to Zimbabwe or to Eritrea and Djibouti. Dabbashi confirmed it is the latter, and said that "the Leader" Gaddafi had been in Eritrea a few days ago, and that the UN's top politico Lynn Pascoe is "trying to do something." Therefore an overdue meeting on Eritrea has been postponed. One wonders what knowledge The Leader may have of the UN envoy taken hostage in Niger, Robert Fowler, and whether that will finally make the Council's agenda in March.

  Tony Blair, the UN-affilaited Quartet's envoy, is again listed in the footnotes for the month. Since November, he has refused to brief the Council, despite showing up in Washington to speak at prayer breakfasts and the like. Dabbashi said noted the outstanding request of South Africa, no longer on the Council. So Blair outlasted Dumisani Kumalo, the South African Ambassador, muttered one wag. But Kumalo will be back, as South Africa's envoy to the Great Lakes, then maybe for the UN. Ban has been told, by the General Assembly, to get himself a new Special Advisor on Africa. We'll see.

Libya in the Council, Sri Lanka civilian casualties not shown

  It is not difficult to get an issue placed in the footnotes at the beginning of a Council month of work. The UK and US, for example, got Zimbabwe and Myanmar included even while their resolutions on the topics faced veto threats, and on Zimbabwe received a double veto. That Sri Lanka is not even in the footnotes calls into question things UK minister David Miliband said in London, that the UK would be doing at the Council in New York. These questions are yet to be answered.

Footnote: at the risk of again being called, by supporters of Sri Lanka's government, an agent of Mossad, we must report that Dabbashi called the "1500 dead" in Gaza a genocide, while saying that Sri Lanka with its over 2000 civilians killed so far this year is not on the agenda of the Council.  Dabbashi was asked if the Council has that morning considered the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket players in Pakistan. No, he said. Similarly, on March 2 Inner City Press asked

Question:  in Sri Lanka there is this report of the Government giving the UN system 300 acres for a camp for people leaving the conflict zone.  As Mr. Holmes had said on Friday, there is some dispute about whether the army will be near these camps, whether people will be able to leave the camps.  Are these camps going to be entirely… are the rules going to be set by the UN who people are treated there?  Or is the UN administering the camp for the Government?

Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe:  We’ll have to follow up with Mr. Holmes if you already asked him the question.

Inner City Press: On Friday he said this was somehow implied and there is a story today saying that in fact 300 acres had been…

Deputy Spokesperson Okabe:  So, we’ll follow up with Mr. Holmes.

  And we're still waiting...

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

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

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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