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Japan's Month Atop UNSC Had W Sahara Rifts, Kishida, North Korea Quotes

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 29  -- When Japan's Ambassador Koro Bessho, at the end of his presidency of the UN Security Council, held a press conference on July 29, Inner City Press asked him about complaints by Uruguay and Venezuela that he had misstated their and the Council's positions on Western Sahara.

   Both countries said that 25 UN personnel returning out of the 83 Morocco expelled is NOT progress, a word that Bessho used. He replied to Inner City Press that while those might have thought him too optimistic, others might think the opposite. But there were not complaints at the Council stakeout by France or Senegal.

  Inner City Press, after thanking Bessho for the stakeout he did during the month, asked about the failing Yemen talks in Kuwait. Periscope video here. Bessho replied that the matter hadn't been discussed in the Council for a few days. Fair enough. But now the talks have failed.

Inner City Press covered the meeting / photo op of Ban Ki-moon with Japan's foreign minister Fumio Kishida, photos here and here.

   Bessho and Japan have focused on the Council's working methods; on July 29 he announced that the process to select chairs of the subsidiary bodies of the Council will be headed up by the UK and... Japan. On North Korea / DPRK, Inner City Press has transcribed this:

“As President of the Security Council, obviously the Council members are very interested in this situation developing in non-proliferation. Norht Korea has conducted a nuclear test in January and followed by missile launches. We've had discussion on it and we have tried to respond to the extent we can. The Council remains seized of this issue and as the Council feels it necessary and appropriate it will respond.

  In my national capacity, we are deeply concerned about the situation. We feel the DPRK should refrain from such actions. We hope that the Security Council can act in unity to send the right message to DPRK in the appropriate manner.
On timing, in my national capacity I'd say as soon as possible. As President of the Security Council I can only say, as appropriate.”

On July 1 when Japan's then-new Ambassador to the UN Koro Bessho held a press conference about the July program of work of the Security Council, which he'll preside over for the month, Inner City Press asked him about the Council's working methods.  Video here, Tweeted photo here.

Specifically, should non-Council members such as the chairs of Peacebuilding configurations be allowed into consultations? Can the press and public have more access?

   Bessho said the purpose of the debate on working methods on July 19 will be to hear the views of non-Council members. No outcome document is planned.

  Inner City Press also asked Bessho about Western Sahara, on the schedule for July 26, and about Burundi, not on the schedule at all. Bessho called Western Sahara, from which Morocco expelled more than 80 UN staff, sensitive and said he did not want to prejudge what will happen.

On Burundi, he said he'd like to see progress, for example on the proposal of a UN deployment there, but acknowledged it is not on the schedule. Neither, we note, is Yemen.

   Eritrea is on the schedule, on July 20, but only as a matter of sanctions. Apparently the letters of June 14 and June 23 sent to French Ambassador Delattre when he was president were not acted on.

  On the selection process for the Next SG, Bessho said there will be a first “straw poll” on July 21; he said the results will be confidential. We'll see. For the Free UN Coalition for Access, Inner City Press asked for stakeouts after consultations, and more access and transparency. We'll be reviewing this closely. Watch this site.


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