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Ban's UN Doubts Palestine as Vice Chair in Arms Trade Treaty Talks, Silva Cited

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 19 -- Palestine'd bid to be a vice chair of the upcoming Arms Trade Treaty talks at the UN, first reported by  Inner City Press on February 7, proceeds but now problematized by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Secretariat.

  At the most recent "informals" on the ATT, the UN Secretariat changed its position that it will be in the "all states" format, which since November 29, 2012 includes Palestine.
  Rather, Ban's Secretariat -- on behalf of the US, as several sources put it to Inner City Press -- is pointing to the seating arrangements at the ATT meeting before last November's vote.

  Then, Palestine and the Holy See sat in the corner. That was then, this is now, the Palestinian argument goes. And so far in the Asia Group no candidate has come forward to challenge them.

   If it remains so, the precedent should be Ban Ki-moon's and Herve Ladsous' acceptance as the Asia Group's representative on the Senior Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations of Shavendera Silva, a general depicted in Ban's report on Sri Lanka as engaged in war crimes.

  If Ban deferred to the Group on Silva -- Ban told Inner City Press that was a "decision of member states" -- than it would seem he would have to similarly defer to the Asia Group on Palestine as ATT Vice Chair.

 Or does the US care more about Palestine's placard than war crimes?

  On a story Inner City Press published earlier today, about the one week delay in the UN even answering Inner City Press' February 12 question about Palestinian hunger strikers, another gloss has been offered.

  Rather than that Ban was only moved to answer by protests in Ramallah, the gloss is that "Ban spoke with Bibi [Netanyahu] and it didn't go well, so Ban spoke out." Better late that never, the source said.

 But telling, notes Inner City Press, just as the denouement on the ATT Vice Chair bid will be. Watch this site.

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