On Sri Lanka, Japan Wants UN Briefing, Austria
Concerned about Killing by Both Sides
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
March 23 -- As Sri Lanka's
government continues to ignore UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon's month-old call for a
suspension of fighting in the north, it also bragged
of China's blocking of a
Security Council briefing requested by the Council's European Union
along with, at least Mexico and the U.S.. Pro-government media claimed
over the weekend that Japan, along with six other Council members
including Turkey and Uganda,
was also opposed to any briefing of the Council.
Monday outside the Council, Inner City Press asked Japan's
Ambassador to the UN, Yukio Takaso, if this is Japan's position. "No, I
don't think that is accurate," Ambassador Takasu said of the report
does not want a Council briefing. "We are still hoping for consensus,"
position had been more openly misrepresented, as their support for a
briefing being based only on the actions of the LTTE or Tamil Tigers.
spokesperson for the Austrian Mission to the UN, Verena Nowotny, in the
of a ten minute clarifying interview with Inner City Press offered the
following on-the-record quote, that "because of concern about the
humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka, we [Austria] want to make it part
agenda of the Security Council."
Press asked Marty Natalegawa, the UN Ambassador of Indonesia which was
on the Security
Council last year, why some countries are opposing a briefing in the
about the conflict in Sri Lanka. "It always starts with a humanitarian
he said, referring among others to Zimbabwe and Myanmar, which
briefings led to formal inscription on the Council's agenda and, in the
Zimbabwe, sanctions resolutions proposed by the United States and UK,
20, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice told Inner City Press that "the
United States feels strongly about and concerned about Sri Lanka and we
the provision of it to the Council- a full and updated information on
humanitarian situation." (Strangely, India's
National Newspaper the Hindu
sourced this quote to a Tamil website, when it is available on-camera
Internet, and through
the US Mission to the UN.)
UN's and Japan's Takasu, with former
US Amb. Khalilzad, Susan Rice and follow-up not yet shown
on Monday noted that "every country has its list of priorities," and
that for the U.S. that for now is Sudan. The U.S. expended political
get a Council meeting on Sudan on March 20; how hard the U.S. is
pushing for a
briefing of the Council with "full and updated information on the
humanitarian situation" in Sri Lanka is not clear.
while UK minister David Miliband has said that the UK would like a
on Sri Lanka but has held off because it is worse to get resolutions
as China and Russia have apparently threatened to do -- it is noted
that the UK
pushed forward supporting the Zimbabwe draft sanctions resolution even
and Russia vetoed it. Every country has its priorities.
A senior UN
official opined to Inner City Press that even those countries which are
troubled by the killing of civilians in northern Sri Lanka, including
government, are nevertheless reticent to too openly call for a
they do, the official continued, and the Tamil Tigers bounce back and
the Sri Lankan government will blame those who called for the ceasefire.
summarize -- can't tell the players
without a scorecard -- those Security Council members which say
they are in favor of a Sri
Lanka briefing in the Council have the nine votes they would need to
meeting, if they pushed forward and called the procedural vote they are
entitled to, which is not subject to the veto power of China or Russia. But these ostensible supporters, or at least
some of them, are "waiting for consensus," as Japan's Takasu said.
Such consensus seems unlikely, unless some countervailing concession is
to, at least, China. What might that be? Watch this site.
Footnote: Japan's priority in the
Council for now
is the threatened April 4-8 launch by North Korea of a satellite or
While Japan said it wanted a Council meeting, it now appears they want
meeting only after the scheduled launch. Japan would like a condemning
but others, including China, want only a less powerful Presidential
Negotiations have already begun -- some have ever mis-reported that a
Presidential Statement is already being drafted -- and one wonders how
effects Japan's presentation of its ostensible support for a Council
on Sri Lanka...
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
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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