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Pakistan Ends Month with Speeches Under High Ceilings, Syria & DPRK Await

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 31 -- Even with five hours left in Pakistan's UN Security Council presidency for January, the jokes and chick pea dishes flowed Thursday night on 65th Street at the country's End of Presidency reception.

  The second floor ballroom with its high ceilings was packed and noisy. Downstairs the coat racks collapsed. Guests ranged from, as they say, from DPRK and DPKO -- from Sing Son Ho of North Korea to Herve Ladsous the UN Peacekeeping.

  The former jovially lined up for food, even as South Korean Permanent Representative (and February's Council president) Kim Sook prepared to speak. The latter droned around, as one wag remarked.

  Drones were in fact a theme of the evening. It emerged that the compromised reached that led to Masood Khan's January 22 letter was that Ladsous can ONLY use drones in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

  But more than one diplomat, noting the publication by Inner City Press of Ladsous' procurement for West Africa in November 2012 before he had any approval, predicted he would try to use drones there.

  Israel's bombing of Syria and the expected response was also a hot topic. Syria's Bashar Ja'afari was in fine form, greeting all and sundry. Photo here. But what would the response to the bombing be?

  Once Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson arrived the speeches started. First Masood Khan, quoting Virginia Woolf and then thanking each member of his team, by name.

  Khan spoke of 7 pm stakeouts, to which Inner City Press can attest. There was more than one, every Friday night it seemed. And those who most try to control the press corps, while being spoonfed in the hall by and defending Ladsous, were rarely there.

   Khan then gave the floor to February's president Kim Sook of South Korea, who said with only one month so far on the Council, they would do the best then can. Their thematic debate will be on protection of civilians. Some wonder, what will North Korean do?

  Then Jan Eliasson spoke, trying as always to represent both member states (since he was President of the General Assembly) and the Secretariat.

  Some wondered, where is Ban Ki-moon, if the Kuwait pledging conference for Syria ended a day and a half ago? He's back, another said. The UN Staff Union is still trying to put a price on all this travel.

  The topic of pledges not being fulfilled came up: a Pakistan pledge conference in Geneva was not fully fulfilled; some wonder if for Syria and Mali it will be the same.

  Why not require ten percent down at the time of pledging, like at auctions of art? Why not indeed. Watch this site.

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