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On Embassy Attacks, Wittig Won't Answer on Denigration of Religion, Araud

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 14 -- After two days of protests of an anti-Islamic YouTube video at embassies not only of the US but also the UK and, notably, Germany in Sudan, this month's UN Security Council president Peter Wittig of Germany came to the Council stakeout at 8:30 pm on Friday to read a Council statement. Video here.

  When Wittig finished reading, Inner City Press asked him about what several other Council members had told it earlier in the afternoon: that the September 12 statement on the killing of US diplomats in Libya had initially included a condemnation of the denigration of the religion -- that is, of the murky film -- but that France's Ambassador Gerard Araud blocked it, saying he was proud to have the freedom to denigrate religion.

Wittig answered, you certain don't expect me to speak about internal and confidential deliberations of the Council." Then, brushing off Inner City Press' follow up, he said that Germany's position is reflected in the Council statement. Video here.

  But what several other Security Council members raised to Inner City Press is that France and other European countries -- including Germany -- now cite freedom of speech as a basis for not condemning the YouTube video, but have laws against other forms of speech.

  It gets divisive, and could be distinguished, but the comparison is inevitable. Dodging it may not be the best approach.

  Also on September 14, the US had its Vice President Joe Biden make the call to his Sudanese counterpart, Vice President Taha.

  Since President Barack Obama himself called Egypt's Morsi and then Yemen's Hadi, it seemed clear that Obama wanted to avoid any talk with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide.

  But while the US seemed to excuse Libya for the attack, even as anti-aircraft guns roared in Benghazi, in Sudan as it would be in Iran, protests were blamed on the government, even as it killed protesters. On the other hand, Sudan did bus protesters to the embassies. Watch this site.

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