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At ATT, Woolcott Accused of Breaking Word Until Russian Point of Order

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 28 -- During the Arms Trade Treaty talks which failed on Thursday night, many called president Peter Woolcott fair and an honest broker.

  But according not only to Syria but other countries, it broke down at the end.

  Syria's Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari exclusively told Inner City Press that Woolcott had committed that once an objection was made “crystal clear,” he would announced there was no consensus, no adoption.

But after it was clear that Iran was blocking consensus, then North Korea and Syria, Woolcott gave the floor to Mexico and others to argue that the ATT should be adopted nevertheless, “since there is no definition of consensus.”

These arguments continued until Russia made a point of order, that it IS clear what consensus means, and that none existed here.

Then and only then did Woolcott say that he'd always thought it had to be by consensus, and none existed.

Ja'afari told Inner City Press he asked to speak again, and was told that if he did, he would be “last.”

Afterward a number of other countries, including some not opposed to the ATT, said that Woolcott was a tool of the big countries. “He let Mexico speak to try to change the atmosphere in the room... You see he only stopped when a big country like Russia spoke up,” one arms expert told Inner City Press.

Another said, we can't just change the rules. Another said, the US pushed for the ATT to be under the rule of consensus, to be able to block it -- then “pushed Iran to block it.”

Inner City Press asked the head of the US delegation about this; he did not disagree, including saying, it's not a criticism. Alright then. Watch this site.

Update of 9:30 pm - We'd be told there would be a Woolcott stakeout, to get his side. But it's canceled. To be fair we'll make his argument: there was a list of speakers.

Update of 10:26 pm - after a long stand off resulting in the phrase, “there was no consensus and the draft decision was not adopted.” There's laughter, cheering - and a cloud over the UN.


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