Abkhaz on Council Agenda But Not Yet
in UN, with Ossetians in Possible Basement Meeting, Kebabs for Iran
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Muse
NATIONS, February 9 -- In
the conflict between Georgia and Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and Russia
them, the UN has become a sideshow and a prop. This week the mandate of
Observer Mission in Georgia expires; it was rolled over to February in
put it past Bush into the Obama era. But Monday the Group of Friends on
met and afterwards UK Ambassador John Sawers told the Press that they
to agreeing on a resolution to merely roll the mandate over again,
with the precedent that the word Georgia not appear. All of this to
to the Geneva talks. There are a few remaining issues, Sawers said
Inner City Press' sources say that while Georgia
wants a "straight
rollover" with no changes, the European Union wants some additional
about new security mechanisms. Georgia opposes this because they see a
a complete revamp of the mission in Abkhazia, "real peacekeepers" as
they put it. They argue that Abkhazians, if they truly want to be
would be better served by peacekeepers to protect their interests
Russia as well as Georgia. They say the South Ossetians are another
their leadership entirely aligned with Russia.
In Georgia, now
government has lost not only former UN Ambassador Irakli Alasania but
Viktor Dolidze, the ambassador to the OSCE.
UN envoy Verbeke, Abkhaz and Ossetian
representation not shown
So while the
first roll-over of the mandate may have been attributable to turn-over
at the top of the U.S. government, now there's a rationale for
deferring decision pending a change of government in Georgia.
While some in the UN Secretariat disagree, Inner
City Press' Council
sources predict that Russia will this week demand that representatives
Abkhazia and South Ossetia be allowed to participate in the Council's
in the chamber. "Russia doesn't have the votes, thought," they argue.
A so-called Arria-formula meeting, held in the UN's basement instead of
Council chamber, might be possible. One
wag joked, for once recently someone really wants to come to the UN.
this same format might be the one for the Sri Lankan
briefing that Mexico requested and Inner City Press has exclusively
on, click here
most Council members, and many other Ambassadors, on Monday
celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Islamic Republic of Iran,
hummus and roasted and stewed meats, honey pastries and no alcohol. Of
food, one General Assembly wag quipped that the Axis of Evil always
best spread. But what about North Korea? There was talk of Iran
executive board of the UN Development Program; there was prouder talk
new satellite. We can look down at the US, one gleeful staffer said.
Ki-moon showed up and engaged in staged talk with Iran's Ambassador, as
press pushed in but couldn't hear. At 8:40 Aramark turned the house
and off. It was time to go. What will the next thirty years bring for
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.
* * *
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
UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
Reporter's mobile (and
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request
reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]