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Palestine Shows It's All States for Arms Trade Treaty, Ban's Lawyer Tries to Block

By Matthew Russell Lee, Partial exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, July 2, updated -- An hour after Inner City Press wrote the first exclusive story about how the opening of the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty Monday morning was stalling by the question of Palestine, Riyad Mansour explained more to Inner City Press in the North Lawn building.

"The whole conference, we had on the side an emergency meeting of the NAM caucus in the Indonesian Lounge... Palestine's name magically floated over the General Assembly chamber and it landed between Palau and Panama."

The issue is whether the ATT is under the "All States" format. The Palestinian say this was decided, in their favor, on February 17, 2012.

But now, they say, the Office of Legal Affairs under Patricia O'Brien is trying to block them. There is talk of negotiating. But if the law is clear, why not just get a ruling?

Inner City Press has reviewed General Assembly resolutions defining the All States format, from 1973: specifically November 16 and December 12 and 14. It is related to the so-called Vienna format: UN member states and members of the specialized agencies (like UNESCO, which Palestine joined.)

As Inner City Press exclusively reported on June 8, Palestine after being voted into UNESCO next participated in the Law of the Sea event, which it had been seeking since 1974. And now the ATT.

Now, more than an hour after Inner City Press first reported it, in the North Lawn the mainstream media is being called for and is calling. The showdown is set for 5 pm in the GA Hall. Watch this site.

Footnote: Inner City Press, in covering the swearing in of Jan Eliasson and Jeffrey Feltman Monday morning, saw that Patricia O'Brien is definitely in New York and in the house today.  One wonders: what is the position and action of Jeffrey Feltman, until recently the top US official on the Middle East, on Palestine's move to be seated between Palau and Panama in the ATT?

Update of 4:13 pm -- as US Ambassador Susan Rice walked into the Security Council for the 4 pm briefing on Libya and human rights, Inner City Press asked her for the US position on Palestine assuming in the ATT its rightful place between Palau and Panama.

  "You gotta be kidding," Ambassador Rice said with a smile. "Rightful place? Nice one, Matt."

  The showdown remains set for 5 pm in the GA Hall. Watch this site.

Update of 5:31 pm - delegates poured into the GA at 5 pm, and then waited. When UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant left at 5:30 pm, he told Inner City Press, it's the first rule of the UN, all the big rows are about process.

Update of 6:19 pm - a Palestinian rep tells Inner City Press they are still letting the Argentine head of ATT try to solve it, but it can only end with Palestine seated beween Palau and Panama.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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