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Mali Sideshow While P5 Run the Show, Ministers on Bissau & Peacekeeping

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 10 -- On Mali there were a series of ministerial meetings in the Security Council Monday afternoon, with Morocco's Saad Dine El Otmani meeting his counterparts from, among others, Cote d'Ivoire and Togo.

Each spoke to Inner City Press about Mali outside the Council. But it was in a sense a sideshow: the actual Security Council draft resolution on Mali is still limited to the Permanent Five members, with France and the US continuing to argue.

  By day's end a non-Permanent member told Inner City Press proudly that all of the Council's 15 members would finally meet about the Mali draft on December 12, with the goal of finalizing it and voting by December 21.

  And so, what of these ministerial meetings? When Minister Charles Koffi Diby went in, he told Inner City Press his discussions with Otmani would be on bilateral issues between the two countries, then about Mali.

  On his way out, Inner City Press asked Koffi Diby who would pay for the AFISMA mission. He replied, also in French, that "everyone" will pay for the mission, "each will pay his part." Another muttered about "Les Americains." And then they were done.

  Togo's Elliott Ohin said the work continues on Mali, and also on Guinea Bissau, on which the Security Council meets on December 11. Then, ousted envoy Joseph Mutaboba will speak, while the UN claims that he was not thrown out.

  Portugal's foreign minister is coming in for that and the December 12 debate on peacekeeping. This will feature Ameerah Haq of the Department of Field Support, who has visited Somalia, Abyei and Darfur, among other places.

 Also present in his way will be reclusive Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, who refuses to answer basic Press questions about the UN's Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, preferring to summon hand picked journalists into the hall, click here to view. So it goes at the UN.

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