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On Libya, Rice Explains Rejection of Russian Ceasefire Proposal, Blame Game On

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 16 -- On Libya, Russia offered a ceasefire resolution and offered “Chapter Seven” of the UN Charter, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the Press on Wednesday evening when the UN Security Council meeting ended.

  Asked why other Council members did not all agree to the ceasefire proposal, Churkin told the Press that Russia does not describe other countries' positions, and to ask them.

  Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Susan Rice to explain opposition to Russia's ceasefire proposal. She said that there was a need for enforcement action, and that a call to end violence was already in the Council's previous Resolution 1970 on Libya.

  A Western spokesperson emerged and told the Press that since this earlier Council call for a cessation of violence had no effect, the Russian ceasefire resolution would have sent the wrong signal.

  Asked if the US now supports a no fly zone, Rice said the US is looking at a package that includes a no fly zone but goes beyond it.

  Rice did not list Arab countries which have offered to enforce a no fly zone. Ibrahim Dabbashi, the diplomat for Libya but not Gadhafi, said there are five such countries.

  Inner City Press has heard of four: Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar, whose Permanent Representative and presumptive next President of the UN General Assembly came to visit the Council consultations on Wednesday, accompanied by a bodyguard.

  Accused of filibustering, Churkin denied it, saying this is not the US Senate or House of Representatives.

  Susan Rice, when asked if Churkin was filabustering to give Gadhafi more time answered, “What do you think?”

To some the proceedings have the aura of a blame game. Russia can now argue that it is not obstructionist, it offered a ceasefire resolution which was rejected.

The US can explain what many saw as its indecisiveness about calling for a no fly zone by saying that it wants MORE than a no fly zone.

And if Russia somehow blocks such a proposal -- the deployment of a veto seems unlikely -- the US could blame Russia for being obstructionist.

In the background, countries like India and even Germany have expressed reservations or questions about a no fly zone.

For now, Council members' experts will convene Thursday at 9 am, the Permanent Representative at 11 am. But what will happen in the next 13 hours in Libya? Watch this site.

* * *

As UN Council Slows on Libya, Dabbashi Says “10 Hours, Treki in Cairo"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 16 -- While the UN Security Council went through its five page draft resolutions paragraph by paragraph, Libyan diplomat Ibrahim Dabbashi came out to talk to the Press. He had prepared talking about, about Gadhafi using mercenaries “who fought in Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda,” from Niger, Mali (off camera) and Chad (on camera).

Chad's Permanent Representative has told Inner City Press that while they may be “individual Chadians” fighting with Gadhafi, the Deby government does not choose between him and the rebels.

On camera, Dabbashi said a Council resolution authorizing air strikes is needed “in ten hours.”

How many planes do you have?” Inner City Press asked Dabbashi. Enough, he said. He said the rebels' use of these planes has driven Gadhafi crazy.

After a series of questions about timing -- Dabbashi backed off the ten hour figure, ending up saying the revolutionaries are “not counting” on the Council -- Inner City Press asked him if the UN Secretariat has spoken to him about the letter from Gadhafi's government saying he and Shalgam no longer represent Libya, or if he thought the UN Secretariat now recognized the rebels as the government,as France has.

We are continuing our work with credentials, Dabbashi said.

He was asked, Where is Shalgam? He is here in New York, Dabbashi said.

Inner City Press asked, “Where is Treki?”

In Cairo,” Dabbashi quickly answered.

Hillary Clinton in Benghazi met with Ahmed Gebreel, who worked on Treki's transition into the Presidency of the GA. There is talk of the UN of Ali Treki, former President of the General Assembly, seeking to go into exile rather than come to New York to represent Gadhafi at the UN. But his family is still in Libya. Has there ever been an Ambassador at the UN under duress?

Dabbashi earlier at UN: now, only 10 hours? Recognized by UN?

A Western spokesperson emerged from the Council to say that the Council is going through the resolution paragraph by paragraph, given the urgency.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin came out and told press he was angry at being portrayed as an obstructionist. The buzz is that Russia by asking questions is seeking to slow things down. “They don't dare veto it,” a source said, “so they seek to slow it down.” But what about the US? Watch this site.

* * *

As Gadhafi Forces Advance, UN Delays, “Not the End of the World” - But Benghazi?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 16 -- As in Libya the Gadhafi forces say they are prepared to move on the rebel capital Benghazi, at the UN Security Council in New York the Permanent Representative of the UK Mark Lyall Grant told the Press that if there's not a vote on a no fly zone until tomorrow, it's “not the end of the world.”

  But could it be the end of Benghazi? “We don't think it will happen on that time frame,” he said. He came out to add that Russia, perhaps not surprisingly, had asked for a postponement of the scheduled consultations on the no fly zone, from 11 am to noon.

  Inner City Press asked, as it did Tuesday evening, if Lebanon had an answer from the Arab League if its request is for a ban on all or only military flights. A Western spokesman said his delegation has some answers, but on that one would have to “ask Lebanon.” But they have not responded.

Gadhafi over Gillard & Rudd, Downer & no fly zone not shown, h/t AdelaideNow

  French Ambassador Gerard Araud seemed resigned to no vote on Wednesday, speaking instead of “tomorrow night” or even “the end of the week.”

But would any of the other Permanent Five members dare veto such a resolution? Many asked about the US position, without receiving answers. Watch this site.

* * *

UN Libya Draft Paused on Whether All or Only Military Flights Would be Banned

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 15, update -- Which flights would a No Fly Zone over Libya actually ban? All or only military flights?

  Tuesday at the UN after Lebanon distributed a draft resolution that it said based based on the Arab League's decision, German Permanent Representative Wittig came out and told the Press that Germany questioned whether a no fly zone would be inconsistent with the Arab League's opposition to military intervention.

  When Tuesday's Security Council consultations ended, to be resumed on Wednesday, Inner City Press at the stakeout asked Lebanon's Ambassador about Germany's stated concern that a No Fly Zone could be foreign intervention.

  He said no, that “the Libyan people” and the Arab League asked for it, and if the UN Security Council authorized it, it could not be intervention.

  In the course of further reporting, informed Council sources told Inner City Press that issue in closed door consultations was that the Arab League, in Arabic, referred to banning military flights, while the version introduced at the UN in English would ban ALL flights. Lost in translation? Watch this site.

Update of 5:20 pm -- French Ambassador Gerard Araud did not echo his foreign minister Juppe's call to bomb Gadhafi's air fields in Libya, something that Lebanon's Ambassador seemed to speak against at the stakeout, hoping that approving a No Fly Zone would obviate the need to bomb.  Hey: Danish Foreign Affairs minister Lene Espersen has said Denmark stands ready, with four jets and 90 staff....

Update of 5:44 pm: India's Permanent Representative Hardeep Puri came out and told the Press pointedly that the draft would ban ALL flights -- but as Inner City Press first reported, is that what the Arab League has called for? In Arabic?

  Hardeep Singh also said that India might not have the right kind of assets to enforce a no fly zone.

Update of 5:59 pm -- when Chinese Permanent Representative Li Baodong, this month's Council president, came to the stakeout, Inner City Press asked him to confirm the closed door discussion of Arab League referring to military flights, not the "all" in the draft resolution. "You're raised a good question," he replies.  So this is one of the issues Lebanon has to check with the Arab League about overnight...

Update of 6:05 pm -- and now we have asked Lebanon's Mission to the UN, via their Twitter account, to answer when they can. New era? We'll see.

* * *

UN Envoy Al Khatib Is On Board of Jordan Ahli Bank, Links With Libya Central Bank

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 8 -- In selecting Abdul Ilah al Khatib as the UN's envoy on Libya, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon moved quickly -- maybe too quickly.

 Since serving as the foreign minister of Jordan, describe even some close to Ban as an autocracy, al Khatib has served on the boards of director not only of Lafarge Jordan Cement Company but also of Jordan Ahli Bank.

Jordan Ahli Bank is active beyond that country's borders. A sample connection: along with Libyan Foreign Bank, a fully owned subsidiary of the Central Bank of Libya, Jordan Ahli Bank is a top 20 shareholder of Union de Banques Arabes et Francaises.

   Could there be conflicts of interest? Did the UN's Ban administration even consider these?

Ban & al-Khatib in 2007, directorships not shown: or considered?

   Ban previously claimed that 99% of his officials have made public financial disclosure. But when Inner City Press showed this is not true -- even Ban's close ally Choi Young-jin, his envoy in Cote d'Ivoire, declined to make public financial disclosure -- Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said Ban's statement had been “metaphorical.”

Now Ban names and injects al Khatib into a struggle about democracy and free press, when as Inner City Press noted yesterday

"Foreign Minister Abd al-Ilah al-Khatib in January initiated a criminal defamation suit against weekly newspaper al-Hilal's editor-in-chief Nasir Qamash and journalist Ahmad Salama. He [al-Khatib] objected to the content of a January article, and said his tribe had threatened to beat up Salama if he failed to take action. The case remains in the courts at this writing."

  By what process was al-Khatib vetted and selected? Watch this site.

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

 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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