On Sri Lanka, "No Strong
Request" Anymore for Council Meeting, Japan's Mediation Results, N.
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, February 18 -- As
meetings begin on the need to reform the UN Security Council, the
of a member's request for a briefing about the humanitarian
crisis in Sri Lanka
exemplifies flaws in how the body functions.
early February, as the pace of
civilian death escalated in northern Sri Lanka, Mexican
Heller asked for a briefing in the Council on the issue. Russian
Vitaly Churkin responded that such a briefing would be improper. Churkin
confirmed this to Inner City Press, on camera, adding that while
could for example be raised in the General Assembly, it is not on the
Inner City Press last week asked Mexico's Heller for
the status of his
request. He said that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had sent an envoy,
request was still live, and that he and Mexico believe that Sri Lanka
discussed in the Council.
But later on February 18, this month's Council
president, Japan's Yukio
Takaso, replied to Inner City Press' follow-up question by stating that
"at this moment, there is no strong request for a member." Video
from Minute 5:43. Inner City Press asked, weren't
you tasked to mediate
between Mexico and Russia on this issue? Ambassador Takasu said,
am tasked to coordinate this position, this disagreement, I have been
narrow differences." By his account, the result of his narrowing has
to push the issue of Sri Lanka even further from discussion or briefing
Other Security Council Ambassadors have told Inner
City Press that
Takasu has been very solicitous of Russia, for example apologizing
Churkin for not being able to block some uses of the word "Georgia"
with respect to Abkhazia, which Russia, followed only by Nicaragua, has
recognized as independent from that country. (For the record, Takasu is
solicitous of the Press as well, scrupulously takes all questions, at
least as President.) In this scenario, Japan which
wants a permanent seat on the Council is bending over backwards during
month of its presidency to please the existing Permanent Five, Russia
Amb. Takasu, taking Press questions, N. Korea
missile and Sri Lanka request not shown
A close observer of Japanese foreign policy,
speaking on condition of
anonymity because of a need to continue to deal with those involved in
policy, surmises that since Japan's national position is to keep the
issue out of the Council, Takasu's mediation as president was impacted
goals of his nation. Takasu often says, "putting on my chapeau" as
Japanese Ambassador, as opposed to ostensibly non-national Council
But, this close observer said, in the case of Sri Lanka, Japanese
foreign policy may have been implemented in part by its role as monthly
Footnote: In a somewhat similar issue on the
Council's horizon, Inner City Press asked Mr. Takasu if the reports
Korea is moving toward testing a long-range missile have been mentioned
Council members, and how the Council might react to such a test. Takasu replied that the issue, which he is
known to be discussing, has not arising in the Council, and that "it is
useful to speculate" on the "expected response by the Council." Video here,
from Minute 10:25.
Close observers predict that Japan would
request a Security Council meeting, and even draft a
for that meeting, rather than simply relying on the framework of the
Talks on North Korea. Ironically, since Libya will be Council president
March, an implicit position seems to be, if you are going to test the missile,
do it in February...
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
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