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Chile's UNSC Month Had 7 Stakeouts, Haiti Trip, No Palestine Resolution

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 29 -- When Chile's Ambassador Cristián Barros Melet held a January 5 press conference on the month's Program of Work of the UN Security Council, Inner City Press asked him about a next Palestine resolution, about rapes and expulsions in Sudan and, on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access to hold as many question and answer stakeouts as possible.

  Twenty four days later, when Chile held its End of Presidency reception just north of the UN at the River Club, there was still no Palestine resolution -- no fault of Chile, whose Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz mid-month explained the country's support of, and embassy in, Palestine.

  The mass rapes in Tabit in Darfur had yet to be followed up on by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, whose chief Herve Ladsous refused Press questions, here, unlike Barros.

 On the rapes, the Ambassadors of the UK and Lithuania replied to Inner City Press that they are raising the issue to DPKO, in consultations. Will this bear fruit in February?

  Barros himself held six stakeouts, each time agreeing to take questions even if slightly off camera; Heraldo Munoz held another on January 15, for a Chilean total of seven.

 There were two meetings on Ukraine, and one on Lebanon which a full day later had yet to produce even a press statement. One Ambassador at the end of presidency reception complained to Inner City Press that the killing of peacekeepers should always result in such a Statement, "no matter who is responsible."

 Because we have reviewed other End of Presidency reception, we'll review this one, complete with ceviche on plantains, sliders and one of Ladsous' predecessors, Jean-Marie Guehenno. He was once quoted urging the UN to do more about cholera in Haiti - the failure to raise this issue during the Council's visit to Port au Prince and Cap Haitien is still to be explained.

 There are not enough media questions like this; the head of the old UN Correspondents Association, unquestioning receptor, was seen hailing a taxi for the less than ten block trip to the River Club. What's next, an UNCA faux UN briefing on climate change? But that's another story. For now, hats off to Chile, from which we hope to hear more throughout this year.


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