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Mogherini Tells Press Ukraine Has Overshadowed Syria, Of ICC Carve-Outs

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 16, updated -- Syria has been overshadowed by Ukraine, Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini told Inner City Press on May 16, expressing unequivocal support for the Franco-American draft resolution for the UN Security Council to refer parts of the Syrian conflict to the International Criminal Court.

   Inner City Press asked Mogherini if Italy, like Argentina and Chile and other non-Council members, believes that the carve-outs in the draft resolution for citizens of countries (other than Syria) which not members of the ICC and for the Golan Heights and Israel, undermine international law.

  Mogherini did not address that in her answer. Inner City Press also asking about ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's call this week for key partners of Libya to form a contact group.

  Mogherini replied that of course Libya is a key partner of Libya -- some would point out how far back to the pre-revolutionary period that partnership goes -- but did not address Bensouda's contact group proposal.

  In her opening remarks Mogherini brought up Italy's opposition to the death penalty and specifically in the case in Sudan, also condemned by the US State Department's Marie Harf, in which Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag has been sentenced to death for apostasy and to flogging for adultery.

  Having met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Mogherini was on her way to meet New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, accompanied by the Italian language press corps that attended her 12:45 pm press conference at Italy's Mission to the UN. Many were interested in the fate of the two Italian sailors held in India; some opined that Modi's election makes their release or transfer even less likely.

  The Italian press corps at the UN is a mixed bag, some energetically covering issues like the death of migrants and others more in a ceremonial, even entrepreneurial role: eminence gris, en italiano. If via Italy's advocacy for Security Council reform the country ever were to get permanent or more frequent representation on the Council, one imagines things would pick up. Watch this site.

Update: after publication of this story, the UN put out this read-out:

The Secretary-General met today with H.E. Ms. Federica Mogherini, Foreign Minister of Italy. The Secretary-General expressed appreciation for Italy's lead role in the International Support Group for Lebanon in support of the Lebanese Armed Forces. He thanked Italy for its cooperation with the United Nations on Libya and called for sustained support to the country. The Secretary-General also called on Italy to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers crossing the Mediterranean are treated with dignity.

   The death penalty and the case in Sudan are not mentioned, much less the sailors in India. And so it goes at and with the UN.


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