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At UN, Myanmar Briefing Looms While Mauritania, Uganda and Sudan Fall Off Agenda

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, September 3 -- The incoming president of the UN Security Council holds a briefing at the beginning of each month and the headline of the story, if one is written, is usually that "Africa dominates Council's workload for the month." This month the president is himself an African, Burkina-Faso's Michel Kafando. Ironically on Wednesday he was more dismissive of African issues than recent presidents, like Belgium in August or Vietnam in July. Questioned by Inner City Press, Kafando opined that the situation in now-military run Mauritania is not a threat to international peace and security, and that not enough information about the Lord's Resistance Army talks in Uganda is available to justify a briefing in September. Video here, from Minute 36:43.

  Kafando said that no one had asked for consideration of the request by International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo for an arrest warrant against Sudan's president Omar al Bashir.  Video here, from Minute 10:23.

Michel Kafando at the UN, writing his name in the book

  Kafando grew more animated speaking about Tony Blair and the Quartet, and about Myanmar. On the former, he downplayed what other sources said were contentious or at least surreal consultations about getting a briefing from Blair; "it's only a matter of timing," he said.  The timing, too, for Ibrahim Gambari to finally briefing the Council about his trip, finished ten days ago, to Myanmar appears to be drawing hear. Kafando said he would meet with Gambari Wednesday or Thursday and choose a date for briefing. Until that takes place, neither Gambari nor Ban Ki-moon (unlike General Assembly president Srgjan Kerim) are saying anything about Myanmar. Strange, very strange.

  The inclusion of "African Peace and Security" as a footnote on the program of work did not refer to Zimbabwe, but rather to the largely forgotten Djibouti - Eritrea fight. Georgia was in the footnotes too, though Iran and non-proliferation were not. Asked about Pakistan, Kafando said maybe it could be considered in connection with Russia's moribund draft press statement on civilian deaths in Afghanistan. Click here for Inner City Press' Q&A with U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad on related topics.

Watch this site. And this (on South Ossetia), this, on Russia-Georgia, and this --


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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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