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Chad Atop UNSC Held 12 Stakeouts, Palestine Inched Forward, Bullseye on Ladsous

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 22, more here -- During the three working weeks of Chad's UN Security Council presidency for December -- the week between Christmas and New Years is off -- the country held a dozen question and answer stakeouts, more than most Security Council presidencies, as urged and tallied by the Free UN Coalition for Access.

   Nine were by Chad's Permanent Representative to the UN Mahamat Zene Cherif, one by his Deputy and two by Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat. Inner City Press asked questions at each of them, sometime yielding only the answer, That did not come up in consultations, and sometimes a bit more.

   A resolution for a five country force against Boko Haram, involving Chad, Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger and Benin was not adopted, with others wanting more information. We will be pursuing whether it will be adopted under January's president, Chile.

  Chad's End of Presidency reception, held early on December 22 in a large room in what's called the Teachers (or TIAA-CREF) building on Third Avenue, was well attended, complete with pasta and an open bar, large screens with Chadian flags in the front.

  That a resolution on Palestine and Israel's occupation did not come to a vote was not up to Chad. And the request made by 123 non governmental organizations and Sudan experts for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to fire Ladsous was directed to Ban, and not to the Security Council (expects its Western Permanent Three members). But it'll get there -- talk turned to the letter at Chad's reception, by the pasta bar no less. Watch this site.

 When Mahamat Zene Cherif held his Program of Work press conference as Security Council president on December 2, Inner City Press asked him about a vote on a Palestine resolution during the month, and about the rights of refugees from the Central African Republic.

  Mahamat Zene Cherif said he is not yet seized of a draft resolution on Palestine but that it might happen. On CAR refugees, he said there are 100,000 in Chad and more in Cameroon. In his national capacity, he said they should be allowed to vote and participate in CAR, that will be a gauge of the process. He mentioned mobile voting places and a role for the UN.

  Before these first questions of the press conference, Inner City Press for the Free UN Coalition for Access thanked Mahamat Zene Cherif for the briefing. It has been absurdly argued that there is some rule or precedent that the old UNCA, become the UN's Censorship Alliance, gets a set-aside first question. From today, that is no longer the case. (Earlier on December 2, FUNCA asked the UN about censorship in Libya, here.)

  Mahamat Zene Cherif fielded questions on North Korea (that was UNCA's, as second), Libya, Security Council reform, Syria, Ebola and others. He announced that only that morning five soldiers from Chad were injured in Mali by a mine: news, when a Troop Contributing Country holds the Security Council presidency.

  During the month, the Sahel, the African Union, the delayed Kosovo debate and Afghanistan, among others, will be considered, and covered on this site.

  Amid calls for UN Security Council reform of the powers of the permanent five members, there are also slights among the elected ten members.

With Chad set to take over Presidency of the Security Council on December 1, on November 13 it bristled when this month's President, Australia, circulated a “Program of Work” for December, Chad's month.

Chad's protest, which multiple sources exclusively provided to Inner City Press and which it is publishing here in redacted form, tells the Australian Mission's Political Coordinator Michael Bliss that

Chad is surprised by your email circulating the December POW. The procedure is that the mission assuming the presidency of that month is the one authorized to do so. We think it is a profound lack of responsibility by the Australian Mission. I hope that we will continue to respect ourselves as non permanent members of the Security Council.”

  That is, Chad not only challenged the violation of procedures, but noted that it was one non-permanent member doing it to another.

  The email of Michael Bliss of the Australian Mission angered those who provided it to Inner City Press. In a reference to Bob Geldof's “Do They Even Know It's Christmas,” Bliss wrote that

“in respect to that question asked long ago by Bob Geldof, and friends of some other Africans, the Chadian mission do know that it is Christmas time in the week of 22/12 but, I am told, has resisted SCAD's strenuous attempts to arrange the program so that scheduled work concludes by 19/12.”

  SCAD is the UN Department of Political Affairs' Security Council Affairs Division. On the one hand this seems to be a problem between member states, elected members of the Security Council from different continents, of different religions and different cultures.  Inner City Press reached out to the Australian mission and understands that the joking reference was to wanting a quiet Christmas, and is now to their credit acknowledged as ill-considered.

  But on the other hand, Inner City Press is informed, others up to the level of Permanent Representative wonder who gave Chad's Program of Work to Australia - whose Bliss said it came from "off the back of a truck." Which truck? We'll have more on all this.


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