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UN Evening Has Ban, Syria & North Korea, ICC Intransigence, Rwanda Echoes

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 12 -- In three hours, this is how the UN works. Until 6 pm on Tuesday, the UN Security Council met behind closed doors on the request by 49 African Union foreign ministers for a 12 month deferral of the International Criminal Court proceedings on Kenya.

  Rwanda's Permanent Representative Gasana emerged and said the draft resolution will be put "in blue" and put to a vote before the end of the week. Inner City Press, after speaking to other Council members, wrote a story -- then headed to the ECOSOC Chamber for a movie commemorating the Rwanda genocide of 1994.

  After a speech by the New York representative of UNESCO -- whose chief stands in waiting as the next Secretary General, more on that anon -- the lights went down. Up on the fourth floor, the China Food Festival was starting.

  It was a sit-down affair, with Permanent Representatives ranging from Kenya through Luxembourg and Papua New Guinea to the Permanent Observer of Palestine Riyad Mansour.

  China's Deputy Permanent Representative Wang was master of ceremonies, introducing "Excellencies" and excellent chefs. Permanent Representative Liu Jieyi said he didn't want to stand between people and their Chinese dinner, and so wisely spoke only briefly.

  Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke at a bit more length, then returned to his seat. At the next table, next to him, were the Permanent Representatives of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Sin Son Ho and of Syria, Bashar Ja'fari. Inner City Press photo here.

This truly was a UN moment. But there was no wi-fi.

  Twenty minutes later at a Mission which at its request is of the record, talk turned back to "the Africans' request" to defer the ICC's Kenya case. Why not for seven months? Why not compromise? A major NGO said no, it could never agree - but admitted, this may hurt the ICC for years to come. Yes, it might. It is a classic UN showdown. Watch this site.


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