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As Finns Vie for SC, Small 5 Talk Reform & Vote, Colonial Echo in African Trip

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 2, updated -- The UN Security Council need to be reformed - but there is little agreement as to how or when. In the interim countries continue to vie for their two years on the Council.

  All this was on display on May 2 at the UN, when the so-called Small Five held a session in the General Assembly, while Council candidate for 2013-14 Finland showed off its peacekeeping and even chocolates in the Kuwaiti Boat area between the Council and GA.

  Costa Rica, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Singapore and Switzerland make up the Small Five. Unlike the G4, UFC and L69 the Small Five is pushing to reform the Council's "working methods," with a resolution making 21 reform points.

  These include no vetoes of actions aimed at preventing or ending genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, given the General Assembly a greater role in selecting the Secretary General, and improving due process in sanctions lists.

  A proponent Permanent Representative told Inner City Press on Wednesday that it is 90% sure that this resolution will be put to a vote on May 16, saying it requires only 50%. Others say two-third should be required.

Update of 4:07 pm - the meeting is closed, but sources tell Inner City Press Canada is proposing a vote on whether 2/3 should be required. A vote about a vote. Meanwhile a reader replies about Finland's chocolate "Martti Bar," see below, that one shouldn't eat a Nobel Peace Prize winner...

  While some say to call a vote is good -- "enough talk, let's vote" -- others say it is jumping the gun. There are five points to reform, several Ambassadors told Inner City Press, and Working Methods is the last. They should hold off.

Update of 6:20 pm -- After speaking with three of the Small Five Permanent Representatives, Inner City Press gleens that a legal opinon will be sought from the President of the GA. If he says only 50% is needed, a member of UfC may call a vote to overrule the PGA -- a vote that would be simple majority.

  The Small Five -- perhaps they should re-brand themselves the "Strategic"Five -- seem to acknowledge that obtaining 2/3 would be a stretch. So they hope for the ruling of 50%, and that it not be overturned. Opponents have different motives; some but not all take positions in support of one or more of the Permanent Five.  We will continue on this.

  Downstairs Finland's peacekeeping and chocolate display, with a loop of upbeat music and video clips of Martti Ahtisaari, is openly directly to getting elected to the Council in October. It's a rare contested race, with Australia and Luxembourg for two seats.

Australia's pitch is that yes it is WEOG -- Western European and Other Group, to you -- but it is also in Asia, bridging the gap.

  Finland, which gave Inner City Press a tour and, in full disclosure, a chocolate bar we'll call the Martti Bar, in the tradition of the Reggie (Jackson) bar given out at one point in Yankee Stadium, is that for a small non-aligned country they do a lot in mediation, even have a war crimes expert who worked in Libya in April 2012, Helena Ranta. We aim to cover Luxembourg's pitch when we can.

  Meanwhile as Azerbaijan takes over the Security Council presidency in May there is a trip to West Africa. Tellingly, each stop is co-sponsored by the former colonialist or sponsor, paired with an African country.

 The Cote d'Ivoire leg will be led by colonialist France, along with Togo. The Sierra Leone stop will be co-led by the UK and South Africa. And the Liberia leg's by Morocco and the United States.

   Finland went to pains to point out that it never had colonies. Australia, while both funding and some say controlling a number of small island states, was itself a colony in a sense, and now claims to be the country with the highest rate of inter-racial marriage in the world. Again, we aim to cover Luxembourg's pitch, sure to involved peacebuilding, when we can. Watch this site.

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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