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As France Announces UNSC Schedule Before Bilaterals, What of Somalia?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 2 -- As France takes over presidency of the UN Security Council for December, before it has even held the traditional bilateral consultations with the other 14 members of the Council later today, foreign minister Laurent Fabius has already made public announcements about the program of work not yet agreed to.

  Fabius said France has four priorities, set forth below. But he has also announced the date and topic of debate not yet agreed to. No other Security Council presidency, including by the four other Permanent members, has done this.

  On December 18, France says the Security Council "will" have a debate about drug trafficking particularly in West Africa and the Sahel. This comes amid reports from Ghana that French ally Alassane Outtara's government in Ivory Coast has set hit-men to kill or kidnap supporters of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo. Inner City Press will have more on this.

  Citing the murder of two French journalists in Mali, which the Security Council nearly immediately denounced in a Press Statement, Fabius says that the Security Council on December 13 will debate the protection of journalists.

  While laudable, Inner City Press and the Free UN Coalition for Access question why the Council has not issued any press statements about the murder of other journalists for example in Somalia.

  In Mogadishu, the parliament has now voted out Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid, with fully 184 of 250 parliamentary voters present against him. What will the French presidency of the Security Council do? Somalia is NOT among France's priorities for the month.

France's priorities, according to Fabius, are former French colony the Central African Republic, and Syria, which France declared Ahmad al Jarba the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

  We will have more on both of these topics as well. But it is noted: Fabius made date-specific announcements about the Security Council's program of work for December even before the French Mission to the UN holds bilateral consultations with the Council's other 14 members. Faux pas? Watch this site.

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