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UN Upbeat on Guinea Bissau, Council Might Visit, Send 200 Guards in Libya

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 26 -- Twice in Guinea Bissau since the 2012 coup the election have been put off. When UN envoy Jose Ramos-Horta emerged from the UN Security Council on Tuesday evening, Inner City Press asked him if he thinks that this time they will happen, in March 2014, and if military chief of staff Antonio Indjai will in fact relinquish power.

 Ramos-Horta was upbeat, saying he thinks this time it will happen. When Inner City Press asked about the proposed Amnesty Law for the authors of the 2012 coup, Ramos-Horta expressed support for it only if there are iron-clad commitments by the military to stay out of politics. So: a conditional amnesty that would end if that commitment were broken?

 The West African States in ECOWAS want to send two formed police units, and want international support - read, money - for it.

Sources in the Council's consultations told Inner City Press there is discussion of a Security Council trip to Guinea Bissau in January, and of a Presidential Statement to be drafted by Togo which "has the pen." Inner City Press asked Togolese Permanent Representative Kodjo Menon and he said yes, this might be his last big act on the Council (Togo leaves in December, to be replaced by Nigeria).

  On the trip, the idea was "floated," along with statements about Guinea Bissau's resources including, yes, cashews. Less than two million people -- and forty political parties.

  In a stealth session after Ramos Horta left, Council diplomats heard a plan from the UN to send some 200 guards for its mission in Libya.

  Inner City Press has been writing about the Council's failure to even get a briefing on the killing of dozens of civilians in Tripoli by militias, and now the state of emergency in Benghazi. Tellingly, the Security Council only heard on Libya now when it came to protecting the UN itself.

  In terms of procedure, Inner City Press asked and is informed this is the kind of thing done through an exchange of letters. Watch this site.


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