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On Mali, French Deadline May Shift to Friday, US Bilaterals, Experts to Meet

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 18, updated -- On Monday France's Ambassador Gerard Araud told Inner City Press, on Mali, we are voting Thursday. But other diplomats told Inner City Press no final draft resolution had been circulated, and the vote might well be Friday.

  On Tuesday Inner City Press asked Araud, have you circulated the final draft? He said there have been meetings at the expert level, and of another round of Tuesday afternoon.

  An African Union source excluislvely told Inner City Press, "They are still working things out with the US... The Americans approached us bilaterally and said, don't worry, we're fine with the support package" funding.

   But, the source continued, "That's not the position the US is taking here at the UN."

   Another well placed source told Inner City Press of an "Algerian element" being proposed for the draft resolution, and of French opposition.

  A bemused or disgusted Security Council source told Inner City Press, "These guys care more about finishing in time for their vacations than about the substance." But that does not appear to be true for all of them.

Update of 11:50 am -Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Susan Rice about the resolution. "It's being negotiated," she replied. Inner City Press asked, vote this week, Friday? Ambassador Rice, said, "If it's ready."

  Back on December 12, Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Susan Rice about Mali:

Inner City Press: One quick question on Mali. This resignation, or forced resignation, of the Prime Minister that took place earlier this week -- does it change the U.S.'s thinking at all on how the Council should proceed in terms of authorizing a force to reclaim Northern Mali?

Ambassador Rice: Well, as you, Mali has been and remains a very complex situation and from the United States' point of view we have multiple parallel interests and objectives, one of which, is the swiftest possible restoration of democratic government in Bamako. And indeed, what has transpired over the last few days is yet another setback in that regard. But we also are very much committed to collective effort, to ensure that there is not an enduring safe haven for terrorists in the north of Mali. And the Security Council resolution that is under discussion is yet another in a progression of potential actions and some obviously prior actions that we are working on to address, in particular, the challenge of restoring sovereignty and territorial integrity and ridding terrorists from the north of Mali. So we’ll continue to work with that interest at heart.

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