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At UN, Settlement Resolution Undercut by Honduras, Kazakhs & Cameroon Pulling Away

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, February 17 -- With the Israel settlements resolution pending in the UN Security Council, some of its non-Council member sponsors are moving to step back from the resolution, Council sources tell Inner City Press, mentioning among others Honduras, Cameroon, Kazakhstan and Panama.

  “The US is asking them to drop off the settlements resolution,” a well placed source told Inner City Press exclusively on Thursday morning, “in exchange for aid packages.”

  While the buzz on Wednesday was of a counteroffer of a Presidential Statement, a Quartet Statement in March and the Russia proposed Middle East trip by the Council. But while on a resolution members can simply abstain or vote no -- five members have the veto -- on a Presidential Statement members have to agree on every word, which they will not.

  Cameroon voted against include a US sponsored clause on the protection of gays in a recent resolution on extra judicial executions in the UN Third Committee which it chairs -- then did not vote at all in the full General Assembly, apparently at the request of the US, as here.

Obama w/ previous PGA, US working it at UN, SettRes not shown

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who a number of Ambassadors have told Inner City Press does not support the Russia proposed Middle East trip by the Council, held a rare press stakeout on Thursday morning. But no questions about the Middle East trip, or settlements resolution, were allowed.

Ban's spokesman said questions had to be limited to what Ban read a statement about -- democracy movements in Egypt and Bahrain. Meanwhile the nitty gritty work at the UN goes on, of large countries buying off smaller ones with money. Watch this site.

Footnote: a Council source also said that the US opposition to the Russia proposed Middle East trip, announced by Susan Rice, has changed not only as a couteroffer, but because "Rice didn't know that Lavrov had spoken to Hillary Clinton." We'll see.

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As Egypt Ambassador Dismissing Web Crackdown, His UN Job Search Continues, Yemen & Tunisia Perm Reps Compete?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 8 -- Amid continuing protests and crackdowns on media in Egypt, the Mubarak government's Permanent Representative to the UN Maged A. Abdelaziz spoke to the Press on Tuesday. Inner City Press asked him about the blocking of the Internet and social networks and whether these attacks on freedom of expression would continue.

I'm sure you know better than that,” Abdelaziz said. “Now everything is working -- social networks, Internet, Twitters... you have contact with your people back there, you see everything.”

But the fact that television networks can work around restrictions and threats does not answer the question. Abdelaziz said that as Ambassador to the UN in New York, there were questions he could not answer.

Earlier on Tuesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was asked about complaints by Abdelaziz, first to Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar, about comments about Mubarak stepping down. Ban said

I think that there was some misunderstanding about my statement. I hope that there will not be much misunderstanding on that. What I said was that the Government leaders should listen more attentively to the genuine aspirations of the people and there should be a transition, and the sooner the better. And the future of their country and transition process should be something which should be decided by the people.”

Less than an hour later, Abdelaziz seemed pleased when he said that what Ban Ki-moon had just said “is the UN position.” Abdelaziz met with Ban on Monday.

Maged Abdelaziz makes point to Ban: UN job offer not yet shown

Abdelaziz' and the Egyptian Mission's spokeswoman commented to Inner City Press on Tuesday about its reporting that Abdelaziz is seeking a job. She denied he is seeking an IMF job -- which Inner City Press never reported. But there are many sources for his UN job search.

Also, the Permanent Representatives of Yemen and Tunisia are said to be seeking UN jobs -- one effect of what's sweeping the region. But it is like musical chairs. Watch this site.

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As Egypt's IMF Rep Quits, Its Ambassador Wants UN Job Like Choi - & Kouchner?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 6 -- With Egypt's Permanent Representative to the UN Maged A. Abdelaziz set to meet on Monday with the returned Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, there's been scant reporting of a topic the two have discussed for some time now: a top UN job for Maged.

  For many months the UN Secretariat has been abuzz with Maged's demands for a UN job. When the number two post at the UN Development Program opened up, Maged tried to become the African Group's candidate. This lead to a split; the job was awarded to a candidate from Costa Rica.

  Since then, a senior UN official repeated to Inner City Press on February 4, Maged has continued to press for a UN posting, even as his name circulated in the pre-January 25 days as a possible foreign minister. “Now that chance is off the table,” the UN official told Inner City Press. “So Maged will just have to push the UN harder.”

  Meanwhile Egypt's now deposed finance minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali resigned as head of the Monetary and Finance Committee of the International Monetary Fund. He could have tried to stay on, but didn't. A lesson for Mubarak?

  The UN in recent years has handed top posts to a number of former Ambassadors, for example giving its Somalia post to Augustine Mahiga after he was Tanzania's Permanent Representative to the UN. The UN's envoy to Cote d'Ivoire, Choi Young-jin, was South Korea's Ambassador to the UN, along with masterminding Ban Ki-moon's campaign to become Secretary General.

  Now the buzz is that deposed French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner wants to become the head of the UN Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH. Not only NGOs and many Haitians, but even other UN officials, think it would be a “terrible decision,” given France's history with Haiti. But this is Ban Ki-moon's UN. Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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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

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