At UN on Sri Lanka, Russia
Blocked Mexican Request for Briefing, Ban's Contradiction
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: Exclusive
NATIONS, February 5 -- While
in Sri Lanka the army's assault on Tamil Tiger areas continues, in
closed door UN
Security Council meetings this week Mexico asked that the
Council get a briefing about the situation in Sri Lanka. The Permanent
Representative of a Council member favoring Mexico's request tells
Press that the request was formally opposed by Russia, which argued
Lanka is not on the agenda of the Council. "Russia in January tries to
intimidate the new Council members," this Ambassador told Inner City
This month's Council president, Yukio Takasu, said he would engage the
two sides -- Mexico and Russia -- in bilateral consultations. Now
said it will raise the issue again next week. But on the ground, how
civilians will be dead?
Russia may not be the only Permanent Five
the Council wanting
to keep Sri Lanka off the Council's agenda. Inner City Press asked
Kingdom Ambassador John Sawers, when he spoke about Sudan's assault of
Darfur town held by rebels of the Justice and Equality Movement, to
difference between Sri Lanka and Sudan. They are not comparable,
Sawers said, adding that the Tigers are on sanctions lists. Video here.
Justice and Equality Movement is known by the UN to have recruited
soldiers, including for its offensive that reached Omdurman just
UN's Ban and Sri Lankan President's brother,
Jan. 26, no ceasefire call shown
So to state the obvious, the UK likes the
government of Sri Lanka more than the Sudan's. But a requested Council
on the situation in Sri Lanka is being blocked, on a technical
assertion it is
not on the agenda. Zimbabwe wasn't on the agenda, until the UK pushed
it included under the name "Peace and Security in Africa." How about
"Peace and Security in Asia"? What's in a
The UN's Ban
Sri Lanka's president, and after Inner City Press requested it, his
Spokeperson's Office provided this meager read-out of what he talked
Readout of the SG's phone call with the President of Sri Lanka
unspokesperson-donotreply [at] un.org
Inner City Press
2/5/2009 3:52:35 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
Secretary-General spoke by phone on Thursday with President Mahinda
of Sri Lanka. They discussed the humanitarian situation in the country.
to that, the Secretary-General's position on Sri Lanka was described
recently in a statement issued last week.)
Ban raised only
situation in the country,"
the same phrase used by the UK's John Holmes? For
comparison's sake, Ban called
for a ceasefire in Democratic Republic of the Congo on October 10, 2008:
October 2008 – Voicing "increasing concern" at developments in the
border areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda,
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on rebels and the Congolese
Government to immediately observe an effective ceasefire and cooperate
United Nations peacekeepers to achieve a separation of forces.
for a ceasefire in Gaza on January 15, 2009:
January 2009 -- My demand is just to stop fighting now - immediately -
fire immediately. You can discuss this matter to make the ceasefire
sustainable, which can be respected fully by the parties concerned. If
more time then more people will have to be killed. That is an
situation. We are almost 20 days since this fighting began. The number
casualties has reached an unbearable point. There is a strong wish and
expectation and call from the international community that this
stop and establish a durable, sustainable ceasefire so the Gazan
can live in peace and security.
As it turns
back in March 2007 called for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka:
March 2007: The Secretary-General is disturbed by the extensive and
violations of the cease-fire in Sri Lanka, which now includes an air
this week by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
He deeply regrets that air raids, military
confrontations on the ground, and suicide bombings have become a daily
occurrence, prompting massive displacement and suffering for civilians.
Secretary-General appeals to the parties to the conflict to break this
cycle of attack and retaliation, which only leads to more bloodshed and
victims. He urges them to return to the negotiating table as soon as
That was then, this is now. On February
4, Ban's Deputy Spokesperson when twice asked by Inner
City Press if Ban is asking for a ceasefire declined to confirm such a
Watch this site.
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
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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.
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