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At UN on Climate, Russia Says Complex, China Speaks of Blue Seats in GA

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 19, updated -- If there is a climate change Presidential Statement in the Security Council on July 20 it will be “so weak as to be meaningless,” several sources told Inner City Press midday on Tuesday.

They described a contentious closed door consultation that morning which began with China saying its position had not changed, it wanted no outcome from the meeting.

  Afterward, Chinese Deputy Permanent Representative Wang explained to Inner City Press that China does not want the Security Council taking over issues from the General Assembly. He said there are already “blue” or empty seats throughout the General Assembly as it loses power.

  Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative Pankin told Inner City Press that climate change is complex and the Germany presidency has not made clear what it proposes the Council do about the issue: send peacekeepers to close down coal mines?

  Brazil's Permanent Representative Viotti told Inner City Press her country was willing to negotiate and had put forward proposed amendments, to limit encroachment and narrow the scope from what had been proposed. But they have not yet included our amendments, she said.

Merkel, Ban Ki-moon and guard, climate PRST not shown

  Colombia is the Non Aligned Movement's representative or coordinator on the Council this month, and conveyed NAM's opposition to the Presidential Statement.

 Colombia in its national capacity proposed amendments. Another source told Inner City Press Colombia said it too suffers from climate change, but nevertheless has these concerns.

  The United States is understood to be favoring the Security Council adopting some Statement on climate change. The Germans remain hopeful, preparing another draft for an experts level meeting at 3 pm on Tuesday.

  But with Russia and China expressing opposition, and Colombia, Brazil and others forwarding amendments, even a weak Presidential Statement is by no means assured. Watch this site.

Update of 1:30 pm -- sources tell Inner City Press a "bare bones" re-drafted PRST has been circulated in advance of the 3 pm meeting. Inner City Press asked German Ambassador Peter Wittig as he came out of the Council after the Iraq meeting -- SRSG Ad Melkert briefed but did not take any press questions -- about the chances for the climate PRST. Anything is possible, he said.

* * *

At UN on Climate, “Small Islands Voted for Us,” Council Member Argues

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 19 -- In the climate change fight in the UN Security Council, a new argument has been raised that is gaining traction. The ten elected members got the votes of the small island states that now face an “existential” threat.

  They deserve support from the Council members, the argument goes, as much as the “obscure” issues that take up some Council agenda spots.

  While earlier on Tuesday several sources predicted there would be no Presidential Statement agreed for the next day's climate session, by the time the Council's Iraq debate began at 11, at least one Permanent Representative and a Deputy came out to tell Inner City Press they thought the statement “has a chance.”

  Perhaps they are simply dreaming. But they believe their arguments are “moving China,” as one of them said. We'll see.

* * *

At UN, China Opposes Climate Statement by UNSC, India Was “Easy” With It

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, July 19 -- In the run up to climate change day in the Security Council, the Germany presidency of the Council summoned Permanent Representatives Tuesday morning for a last try to agree on a Presidential Statement which would call for periodic reports on climate and security.

Several small island states are supporting Germany, the UK, France and others in this. Nauru's president Marcus Stephen, for example, had an op-ed in Tuesday's New York Times calling for a new UN Special Representative on climate and security. Papua New Guinea, too, has expressed a need for Council action.

On the other hand the Non Aligned Movement at the leadership level has opposed “encroachment” by the Security Council and its five Permanent members on the issue. Some questions, who is the underdog here? Nauru or Egypt, a perennial power on NAM, even after Mubarak's fall?

In a sense the debate has a dumb bell structure, with some small island states joined with some large European powers.

These proponents pointed the figure at not only China and Russia, but also South Africa and India as opposing the Presidential Statement or any outcome from the meeting.

But Indian Permanent Representative Hardeep Singh Puri told Inner City Press on his way into Tuesday's consultations that while the “PRST looks difficult, some countries are against it, I am easy with it.”

Moments later, Inner City Press learned that inside the closed door consultations, China said its position has not changed, it is opposed to the Presidential Statement. And that, one Permanent Representative told Inner City Press, would appear to be that.

* * *

At UN on Climate, Statement in Play Amid Encroachment Fears, AOSIS to Meet

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 18 -- While Germany has been pushing on climate change for a Security Council Presidential Statement after the July 20 meeting, numerous Council members expressed doubt to Inner City Press on Monday night.

  “It's as if they think only the Security Council can deal with anything,” one Council member complained. The Non-Aligned Movement has been lobbying against Security Council jurisdiction over climate change.

  Meanwhile some small island states, many in the Pacific, see the seas rising and want the Council and its powers under Chapter Seven of the UN charter to be invoked. That is the tension, within the Association of Small Island States or AOSIS: which ones need the Council's involvement, on issues like their fishing rights even if their land is overrun, and those aligned with NAM.

  "The Brits in 2007 said it wouldn't be a precedent," one member told Inner City Press of a UK sponsored Council meeting in that year. "Now they're citing it. So we say no."

  Germany still believes a Presidential Statement is possible, saying it has been calling Moscow and Beijing. But such a Statement require unanimity, and other capitals must be called. And there it is harder for the administration of Angela Merkel to exert pressure.

  “She was against nuclear power and then for it,” a Council member told Inner City Press. “Now she is against it again. Investors need more constancy than that. We can put words on paper, but what do they want the Council to do?”

 Here is the German mission's concept paper, click here.

  The initial proposal was for a brand new Special Representative of the Secretary General, to report to the Council every six months. Even an AOSIS member told Inner City Press, “too expensive.” Now the idea is Secretary General reports, and language that makes clear the Council is not encroaching on other bodies.

  On July 19 there is an AOSIS meeting at 9 am, then Germany has called a meeting of Permanent Representatives at 10. “If they had a PRST, they wouldn't need a Perm Rep meeting,” a Council member told Inner City Press. But hope springs eternal -- and the seas are rising. Watch this site.

Click for July 7, 11 re Sudan, Libya, Syria, flotilla

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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