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Guinea Bissau Torn Between Togo and Portugal, On SC to 2013, Not on Agenda

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 2 -- After a dispute at the UN last week about who could speak for post-coup Guinea Bissau in the General Debate (no one, as it turned out), the situation in the country was not even listed in the Security Council's program of work for October.

  Inner City Press asked incoming Council president Gert Rosenthal of Guatemala, who had spoken of Mali, about the "other coup" in Guinea Bissau and what the Council would or could do. Video here, from Minute 22:48.

  Rosenthal told Inner City Press that Guinea Bissau is "a perfect example of how the Security Council works best when it's united -- meaning when not united we have difficulty drafting agreements. As you know there are difficult points of view among ECOWAS states, which are represented on the Security Council this year by Togo, and the Lusophones, represented in Security Council this year by Portugal."

  We note that Portugal is leaving the Council on December 31, 2012, while Togo has another year to go. But the Losophone or CPLP position is what it is: will it be heard the same by the Council?

  Continuing, Rosenthal said it had been "difficult reaching a meeting of minds" on Guinea Bissau and this was "unfortunate for most members including my delegation, we think the Security Council should act."

  Responding on pre-coup leader Pereira being listed in the UN Journal as a General Debate speaker for September 28, and then being skipped over, Rosenthal told Inner City Press, "What happened in the General Assembly last week, we were unable to determine who speaks in name of present government of Guinea Bissau, is an example of how these situations can make agreements very difficult."

   Inner City Press asked a Lusophone or CPLP Permanent Representative earlier on Tuesday why Pereira hadn't spoke. He agreed, was the answer, after pressure. But "the other one" -- the post-coup leader -- "is not the one with the credentials." And so it goes at the UN -- at least until the end of the year? Watch this site.

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