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Rice Disputes "State of Palestine" Placard, Malki Urges Respect, Serry Mute on UPR

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 23 -- After Riyad al-Malki was welcomed to the UN Security Council Wednesday as the Foreign Minister of the State of Palestine, US Ambassador Susan Rice objected.

  Rice said that "the use of the term 'State of Palestine' on the placard in the Security Council or the use of the term 'State of Palestine' in the invitation to this meeting or other arrangements for participation in this meeting, do not reflect acquiescence that 'Palestine' is a state."

  Afterward, Inner City Press asked Malki about Rice's objection. Malki said that all member states must respect and adhere to what was approved in the UN General Assembly on November 29, 2012, even if they voted against it or abstained.

  Inner City Press asked Malki about the visit of US envoy David Hale. Malki nodded and said he hopes that John Kerry will make Palestine his first visit as Secretary of State.

  Kerry, of course, is not yet confirmed: his hearing is on January 24 in the Senate. There on January 23, Hillary Clinton was parrying questions from Senator Corker about the killings in Benghazi, including about Rice's statements on Sunday morning television shows about them.

  To watch the UN Security Council "debate" in person, and the Senate's Benghazi hearings on the Internet was surreal. Hillary Clinton recounted discussing Benghazi while at the UN for a meeting about the Sahel and Mali - before France's Serval.

  As Rice left the Security Council she was asked if her objection had been spontaneous. She shook her head and said sarcastically, sure, I freelance in the Council.

  But Russia's Vitaly Churkin, who immediately followed Rice with a reference to the State of Palestine, indicated that he had modified his presentation to address what had just occurred.

  UN envoy Robert Serry, asked about what some call Placard-Gate, said that the UN Secretariat is guided by member states and their vote on November 29.

  He said he had to leave; on his way out Inner City Press asked if he as UN envoy thought Israel should not put off its scheduled January 29 Universal Periodic Review in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

  Serry smiled but declined to answer the question -- strange for a UN official, given the claims made about what a reform the UPR process is, or was.

 Israel for its part, through its Permanent Representative Ron Prosor, said it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes or the NYPD to find the fingerprints of senior PA officials on the protests in E1. And so it goes at the UN. Watch this site.

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