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As S. Korea Serves Crepes, Mali Infighting Panned, Russia Focus Kabul

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 28 – South Korea is a country on the rise, and its end of UN Security Council presidency reception Thursday night reflected it. There were not only shrimp and filet mignon tips and sushi, there were crepes and three large rooms full of diplomats.

  There was incoming president for March Vitaly Churkin of Russia - his thematic debate will be on Afghanistan -- and Chinese Permanent Representative Li Baodong, who earlier on Thursday told the Press that any Council message to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea would have to be “proportionate.”

  There was French Permanent Representative Gerard Araud, and in another room there was an acknowledgment that the current chief of UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row in the post, essentially works for France. Jeffrey Feltman of the US, it was said, “less so.”

  Talk turned to Mali, which a well placed source told Inner City Press has begun to resemble a figurative “gang rape,” with Said Djinnit of UNOWA trying to dominate Bamako and relegate Romano Prodi -- literally “he of Rome” to the rest of the Sahel.

  The question arose: who is paying Romano's large Roman staff? It comes from Ban Ki-moon's slush fund, unvetted as yet by the ACABQ. There should be hell to pay - SAhel, that is.

  There were the Permanent Representatives of non permanent Council members Australia, Morocco and Luxembourg.

  There was Masood Khan of Pakistan, who earlier on Thursday as first reported by Inner City Press got a vice chairmanship for the Arms Trade Treaty talks after Palestine dropped out, as well as the Humanitarian segment of ECOSOC after Sudan stood down.

  The latter was largely at the demand of the US, whose budget and reform maven Joe Torsella spent Thursday night tweeting about the upcoming Budget Committee session. He is targeting first class air flights, ostensibly by interns. But what about Ban Ki-moon's own travel costs?

  In the UN Staff Union meeting which voted “No Confidence” in him, the question arose of how much Ban is spending on travel. Shouldn't Joe Torsella be able to extract and publicize this number? Watch this site.

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