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At UN, Obama's Magic Rice on the Speakers List, Sri Lanka Below the Basement

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

UNITED NATIONS, May 8 -- The foreign ministers of eight of the UN Security Council's fifteen members are heading to New York for a May 11 meeting about the Middle East. The host country is not sending Hilary Clinton. The Council's List of Speakers, leaked on May 8 to Inner City Press, lists as the eighth speaker “Susan E. Rice, Permanent Representative of the United States of America and Member of President Obama's Cabinet.” There is nowhere near this level of detail, including a President's name, for any other speaker. Some call it the magic of Obama.

   The foreign ministers attending, in the order they will speak, include Austria's Michael Spindelegger, Burkina Faso's Bedouma Alain Yoda, Turkey's Ahmet Davutoglu, France's Bernard Kouchner, Mexico's Patricia Espinosa Cantellana, the UK's David Miliband, Costa Rica's Bruno Stagno and Russia's Sergey Lavrov.

 Advisers to Security General Ban Ki-moon tell Inner City Press that Mr. Lavrov has told Ban that Russians should be given more top jobs in the UN, and has asked how, for example, foreign Canadian diplomat Robert Fowler was named special envoy to Niger, where his kidnapping resulted, according to those responsible, in the release of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb.

  Mexico's Patricia Espinosa, when last at the Council to chair Mexico's thematic debate, skipped out on a scheduled stakeout and press conference, wanting to avoid questions about what was then called the Swine Flu. Ministers Kouchner and Miliband are convening a meeting about Sri Lanka, but not a Security Council meeting, not even an “informal interactive dialogue” such as took place in April.

UN's Ban and Barack Obama, action on Sri Lanka not yet shown

  As Russia's Vitaly Churkin, the Council president for May, left the chamber Friday afternoon, Inner City Press asked about Monday's event on Sri Lanka. It's not a Council meeting, Amb. Churkin said. There might be NGOs there.

  Given that over 7,000 civilians have been killed this year in Northern Sri Lanka, some wonder about how Obama's principles, including those of his anti-war crimes adviser Samantha Power, are being applied. Susan Rice will represent the US on the Council's trip next week to Africa including the Congo, where evidence emerged Friday that the UN is working with indicted war criminal Bosco Ntaganda, click here for that litmus test.

   The document being negotiated for adoption on May 11 has, through time, omitted references both to Israeli settlements and to terrorism. Late Friday afternoon, after a Council meeting on Chad and Sudan, Inner City Press asked U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative Alejandro Wolff, exiting a meeting with Russia's Churkin, how it was coming on Monday's statement. “Moving... we're still not there,” Amb. Wolff answered. They better hurry up.

Footnote: while some UN proponents grumble that not only Barack Obama, but now Michele Obama when she came to New York have not set foot in the UN, Michele Obama (or “FLOTUS” in pool parlance) did visit the US Mission. From the pool report:

 “Her mission, she says, is to put a spotlight on the nation's employees who may feel underappreciated. 40 long-time U.N. employees sat to the left of the stage. These included Ivan Ferber who has worked at the U.S. Mission to the U.N. for 47 years... Other honored employees included: Bruce Rashkow who has worked at the USUN for 38 years.”

  Raskkow is the US' budget expert. Some wonder if his approach is consistent with the pronouncements of the Obama administration. We'll see.

  Click here for a new YouTube 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.

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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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