UN Council, Goldstone Report Draws Surreal Speech Giving Crowd
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, October 14, updated below
-- With the Goldstone report on Gaza now coming
back to life at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, at the
Security Council in New York what passes for a debate began, on the
Middle East and Goldstone. France, it was said, would "mention"
the report, but it would "not be the thrust" of the Gallic
Agence France Presse was chided for misreporting
Israel's letter to the Secretary General and Council president,
making an explosive complaint under Resolution 1701, but not (as AFP
reported) asking for a Council meeting.
Netanyahu yahoo, opined that the Council should just call for a vote
on referring the report to the International Criminal Court, and let
the U.S. veto it. Another responded that maybe the U.S. might
abstain, as China did when Darfur was referred to the ICC.
replied, even the Europeans might veto, since in his view by this
logic NATO's acts in Afghanistan could be referred. But might the
Taliban be a more serious military threat than Hamas?
The man himself, Goldstone, UNSC speeches not shown
that Israel's Permanent Representative to the UN, approaching the
Council, was asked to show her UN identification card. "She
doesn't come her much," he said, "if she's not even
recognized." And still the Ambassadors poured in, including a
representative of Sri Lanka. Their position may be of particular
interest. Watch this space.
Update of 10:29 a.m.
-- on Goldstone, the speech of the UN's Lynn Pascoe, himself embroiled
in controversy, click here
is essentially a defense of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. "Members
will recall that, at the beginning of this year, the Secretary General
visited both Gaza and southern Israel... [he] hopes that the
institutions of the UN and its Member States can reach a consensus on
the way forward." He calls for domestic investigations.
Update of 10:41 a.m.
-- as Fatah's Malki speaks, the Libyan Ambassador whispers to Permanent
Observer Riyad Mansour, who in turn taps on the shoulder of Riyad
al-Malki, who stops and listens to the whisper.
Update of 10:57 a.m.
-- Israel's Ambassador Gabriela Shalev begins by saluting the UK's
outgoing Permanent Representative, next head of M-6, John Sawers,
wishing him good luck. Intelligence... Her written text, in its
conclusion, calls debating the Goldstone report "a tale full of sound
and fury, signifying nothing." And at 11:08 a.m., she said it.
Update of 4:05 p.m.
-- as the debate drones on, now Sudan's Ambassador is railing, without
irony, about brutality and crimes against humanity and a violation of
the Geneva Convention...
Update of 5:39 p.m.
-- Iran's Ambassador, formerly in that country's film industry, is
decrying "the Zionist regime" and urging the Security Council to defend
its credibility. He rejects the "smears" of Israel, trying to divert
attention from its own nuclear arsenal.
Update of 6:08 p.m.
-- and now, for Norway, it's Deputy Permanent Representative Mona Juul,
she of the leaked memo slamming Ban Ki-moon. Some wondered, in the
leak's wake, if she could continue at the UN, or if her husband Terje
Roed Larsen could. But here they are....
Update of 6:13 p.m.
-- For Sri Lanka, itself accused of war crimes in its war in the north
this year, Ambassador Palitha Kohona says that Sri Lanka suffered under
terrorism. "We have consistently endorsed the two state solution," he
says -- in Palestine, that is. He says his government was concerned by
events in Gaza, events which led to increase or tension and loss of
civilian life. Is he referring to his own country? He looks forward to
debate in the Human Rights Council, he says -- but not about Sri Lanka.
Update past 7 p.m.
-- it ended with a whimper, not a bang. Ambassadors streamed out of the
Council chamber. Even Fatah's Al-Malki walked by the microphone without
speaking. He slowed, he was tempted, but there were not journalists
waiting there. Inner City Press stood by the stairs, asking if the
Council president would come out to take a question. No, apparently. A
reporter, already bundled up, asked, "so the lid is on." Yeah. The lid
* * *
At UN, Libyan Gaza
Resolution Dies With a Murky Turkish Assist, Israel
Says It's Up to Ban
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
May 13, updated -- On the UN's Gaza
report, the Security Council on Wednesday
responded with short “remarks to the press” by Vitaly Churkin of
Russia, this month's Council president. See below. Moments before, the
Ambassador of Libya,
which proposed a resolution on the matter earlier this week, was
heard to complain about Turkey's position.
Israeli diplomat told Inner City Press that the Council had no
business in the issue, “this is between us and the Secretary
General.” But as to the report, created with UN money, one wonders
why member states cannot demand a copy of the full report from the
Secretariat. Eventually, one guesses, it will simply be leaked.
Turkey's Foreign Minister at the UN, Libya's
resolution not shown
is what Churkin said, or read out loud from notes.
members of the Council expressed their appreciation of the
Secretary-General commissioning of Martin report and informing
members of the Security Council of its content. Members discussed
this information under other matters in consultation. Members
expressed their concern about the finding of the report…and (they)
expressed general interest to be kept abreast of the matter as the
secretary-general deems appropriate.”
answered every press question by referring back to the statement,
saying it conveyed all of Russia's views. Inner City Press asked,
“What about Sri Lanka?” “We're discussing that,” he said, and
went back into the Council. Libya's resolution is dead.
of 5 p.m.
-- the post mortem has it that while China and Viet Nam wanted action
on the Gaza Report, the U.S., Austria and Uganda took the lead in
counseling to give Ban Ki-moon ample time to do... anything he wants.
May 7, Inner City Press
asked Associate UUN Spokesperson Farhan Haq:
City Press: I wanted to ask about this invitation that’s been made
to the Secretary-General to visit Sri Lanka. First I wanted to ask
if on Monday when he met with the Ambassador of Japan, whether he was
briefed on a visit by Mr. [Yasushi] Akashi to Sri Lanka and was urged
by Japan that he should take this visit. And I also wanted to know
whether he would be in New York 11 May for the Middle East debate,
and 15 May to meet with the Chinese diplomats, that in fact this is
one reason that he is considering not going, as I have been told by
senior Secretariat staff.
Spokesperson Haq: Well, first of all, we don’t announce the trips
of the Secretary-General until they are close to occurring. And in
that regard, I don’t have anything to announce about a trip to Sri
Lanka at this stage. At the same time, as Michèle told you
yesterday, and is still true for today, if the Secretary-General
believes that visiting Sri Lanka can have an impact in terms of
saving lives there, he will certainly try to go. So he is
considering that. But part of what he is studying is what the impact
of a potential trip would be.
City Press: But if he had that belief, that would be without regard
to attending the 11 May Middle East thing or the 15 May meeting with
the Chinese diplomats? I am told that’s a major factor in his
Spokesperson: Scheduling is a separate issue. What we’re talking
about is the decision of whether or not to go. And certainly if he
can make a difference and can save civilian lives, which is what his
priority has been on this case, then he will go. At present, we
don’t have anything to announce at all in this regard, though.
Question: Just one last
one on that. I wanted to know, can you at least
confirm that he met with Ambassador Takasu on Monday in his office
inside the Security Council? Can you give a read-out of that meeting
and say why it wasn’t on his public schedule?
Spokesperson: I can confirm that he met with the Permanent
Representative of Japan. He did that, yes. It was in his office in
the Security Council. We don’t provide readouts of meetings with
Question: And why wasn’t
it on the schedule?
Spokesperson: It came up all of a sudden when he had a bit of free
time in between other appointments on a fairly hectic day.
Ban Ki-moon is working on his issues as a trip to Manama, Bahrain,
after a news-less trip to Malta, the killing of civilians accelerates
in Sri Lanka. On Friday
May 8, Inner City Press asked Deputy
City Press: On the invitation by the Government of Sri Lanka to the
Secretary-General to visit, is there any progress in thinking? In
the alternative, is the Secretary-General, is he considering invoking
Article 99 or responsibility to protect or making some other move of
some type on the situation in Sri Lanka?
Spokesperson: I have nothing beyond what we’ve been saying from
this podium this week on Sri Lanka, including what the
Secretary-General himself has said earlier this week.
What Ban said
did not involve calling for a cease-fire, did not respond to the
invitation to visit Sri Lanka, or the accelerating rate of civilians
death over the weekend, during which no statement issued about Sri
Lanka. Watch this site.
4 in the UK with allegations of rape and
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
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
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.
* * *
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