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In UN's Colonial Dance, from Malvinas to Kashmir, 70 to Speak on W. Sahara

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 8 -- When the UN's Decolonialization Committee started up on Monday afternoon, most of the speakers were from Latin America.

  Pakistan appeared as the last listed speaker, raising Kashmir much to the consternation of India, which said it shouldn't be in this Committee and "rejected the remarks distinguished delegate" of Pakistan -- actually, its Deputy Permanent Representative, who made a point of citing Security Council resolutions.

   While many speeches were the same as last year, as more than one old UN hand pointed out to Inner City Press, the way Kashmir was raised, and defended, in the Decolonialization Committee was something new this year. It came up as well in the General Debate and replies, along with China versus Japan on islands, which was not cited Monday.

The Latins were all about Malvinas, and Puerto Rico too, with Belize on behalf of CARICOM also raising the Turks and Caicos.

  The UK in its right to reply said there had been no indigenous people on the Falkland Islands, and there is a "revised electoral ordinance" in Turks and Caicos.

   Mentioned by all the Latins, as well as Pakistan, was Western Sahara. Morocco had its Permanent Representative, his Deputy and other staffers in the room. But they did not invoke the right to reply. The representative of the POLISARIO Front told Inner City Press he will probably speak Wednesday.

   There are 70 listed speakers on Western Sahara; Gabon as Fourth Committee chair said they will have four minutes each. As one told Inner City Press, it's a long way to travel for this.

  But this is the ritual of the UN, long travel to New York to deliver a speech that in most instance no one listens to. The media, too, get desperate: an Algerian television station, disappointed by the lack of Western Sahara response, asked Inner City Press its view of Chadli Bendjedid. For those view... you must watch Algeria TV. And this site!

Footnote:  In a Pakistan irony, only Saturday night the Association of Indians in America says it awarded its Silver Diwali Bright Light Award with the inscribed names of Pakistan's Abdullah Hussain Haroon, along with a report he "is soon leaving his post."

  Inner City Press has seen Ambassador Khan, said to be coming in from Beijing as Haroon's replacement, at the UN last week. But we note the explanation that he is here as part of the UNGA delegation. Algerian TV may not cover the denouement - so, watch this site.

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