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At UN, Australia Campaigns with Small Arms, Nigeria Talks Peacekeeping

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 30 -- If the UN is genuinely about peacekeeping and disarmament, then Wednesday evening was the nigth for it. After two canceled stakeouts by French Ambassador Araud and a Brahimi no-show, four countries gave speeches about small arms and light weapons.

  Click here for Inner City Press first story on SALW confab.

  The venue was the former cafeteria, long closed under Ban Ki-moon. The MC was Australia's deputy, who made sure to mention her country's $1 million contribution and that her Permanent Representative Gary Quinlan is in Tehran at the Non-Aligned Movement meeting.

  Australia is running for the Security Council, and remembers the lesson last year of Canada.

  Speaking for Cote d'Ivoire was the Mission's counselor named Ouattara; there was also Guyana and Papua New Guinea. Working the crowd was the Perm Rep of Fiji, for an upcoming election. Still, the tenor was against weapons and war, what (most of) the UN is about.

  Two blocks north and one block west, Nigeria was feting its outgoing military adviser Audu. The speeches were pushed back for the arrival of Perm Rep Joy Ogwu. The food was spicy, the vodka Russian. In the crowd was China's Navy adviser.

  The mood, when Inner City Press asked, was that the UN should not have left Syria. Just like what Rwanda's foreign minister told the Press was the UN's "abandonment" of her country in 1994, the flight from Damascus struck more advisers as short sighted. But they do not make policy.

  Under a portrait of Goodluck, Audu reflected on this three years, and introduced his successor. He was given a plaque signed by his colleagues from Chile and Norway, and the entire African group. The talk as so often in Casa Gambari turned toward Ibrahim's next move. Could he take the OIC? He could. Watch this site.

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