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On Iraq - Kuwait Tomorrow's News Today, Statements Pre-Reported

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 20, updated -- Iraq and Kuwait have been on the UN Security Council's agenda for years. On Tuesday afternoon they were the agenda item at 3 pm, before the higher profile Syria briefing by General Robert Mood.

  And late Wednesday afternoon, Deputy Permanent Representative Wang of China, which holds the Council presidency for June, came to read out a press statement.

  Inner City Press was the only journalist there and asking questions; while Ambassador Wang read, Inner City Press tried to research the question. The first online article was from the Kuwait News Agency, datelined 10:44 am Kuwait time or 13 hours before Wang spoke.

But the KUNA article reported that "President Li Baodong of China" had already read out the press statement "after the closed-door consultations."

  This was not true - the statement was actually read out the next day, by Li Baodong's Deputy Permanent Representative Wang.

  The KUNA article ended that the Council would "determine if Iraq is ready to exit the Chapter VII of the UN Charter."

  Inner City Press asked Wang if this was discussed and on the table. Wang expressed surprise, reading back section of the press statement but no reference to this review. Video here, from Minute 6:05.

  Later it was explained to Inner City Press that the press statement had "almost been bilateral between the UK and Russia." Later still it was explained that while the UK holds the pen on Iraq and Kuwait, as the US holds the pen on the Sudans (except for the UK on Darfur) and France on Ivory Coast, the UK engaged with a number of parties and not only Russia.

  But the fact remains that the press statement was not final until it was read out after 5 pm on Wednesday by Chinese deputy Wang; it was NOT read out earlier by Li Baodong. As one wag put it, the UK hold the pen, but it is not a magic pen. Or is it?

Footnote: This ad hoc media critique may be of the type that Inner City Press is being prosecuted for, amid demands that its coverage should in the future "not involve other UN correspondents."

  But when things that didn't happened are reported as having happened at the UN, is it responsible to not report it?

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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