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Serbia PM Answers ICP on Voting, Asks Kosovo Journalist Where He's From

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 19 -- When Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic came to speak with the media after Tuesday's UN Security Council session about Kosovo, only three journalists asked questions.

Inner City Press asked why the OSCE had taken the ballot boxes away, and to where. Dacic said this will be raised in Brussels, as it casts doubt on the results.

Dacic's statement to the Council noted that four candidates from the Serbian minority were immediately charged with war crimes once they stepped forward to run. Inner City Press asked Dacic if he might suggest some solution, such as coming up with a comprehensive list of war crimes suspects so that charges couldn't later be brought as a pretext against candidates. Dacic's answer, translated, referred to "Albanian" candidates who are war criminals.

The third questioner asked about discrimination in Serbia. Dacic asked him, where are you from?

From here, he replied. America. Then he added, Kosovo television RTV 21. Kosovo national television.

Dacic smiled, and soon said, I am here to answer questions, not to hear speeches or your opinion. The stakeout was over.

A larger crowd gathered, to discuss after the fact if this is permissible. The Free UN Coalition for Access has questioned it. In the past, the UN let France limit a press conference in the UN briefing room to "French journalists" -- even making one journalist for a pro-Western newspaper in Lebanon show her passport.

More recently, the UN affirmatively let France mark many of the seats in the new briefing room "Reserved" for French traveling journalists. Perhaps most outrageously, the UN has let its Under Secretary for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous openly refuse to answer any answer from Inner City Press. Video compilation here; UK coverage here.

This evening, Ladsous takes questions outside of the UN - an event by RSVP only for those who have paid dues money. An inquiry as to whether even these can bring a non-dues paying guest was conveniently not answered by the deadline. And so it goes in and near the UN. Watch this site.


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