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On Eve of Vote, Carr Skips UNSC, Cambodia Fires at NYT, Rwanda and Hege

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 17 -- On the eve of UN Security Council elections, several last minute pitches were made, documents leaked, responses made or ignored.

  In the Western European and Other states Group, in which Finland, Australia and Luxembourg vie for two seats, Finland's foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja met at 4:30 pm with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, his chief of staff Susana Malcorra and chief political adviser Jeffrey Feltman.

  Finnish Permanent Representative Jarmo Viinanen on October 16 told Inner City Press his country has 165 commitments. They are also preparing bags of dried blueberries for distribution.

   Inner City Press covered the Finnish photo op and while waiting to go up to the North Lawn's third story spotted Australia's foreign minister Bob Carr cutting through the lobby.

  Unlike his counterparts from Luxembourg and Finland, he did not speak at the day's Rule of Law debate in the Security Council. Nor was he listed on Ban Ki-moon's schedule. But he was working it.

  Australian Permanent Representative Gary Quinlan told Inner City Press he has 162 commitments.

   A well placed diplomat, speaking exclusively to Inner City Press on October 17, mused that Australia is "far from Africa," but is high profile in disarmament, important to the Continent.

  "There's little exchange of support with Africa," he said, "they always have clean slates. So it's about putting in a factory, or even just a football pitch."

   He went on to the next WEOG election, in which New Zealand is slated to face off with Spain and Turkey. "This is bad for New Zealand," he said, "if Australia gets on, there's no way New Zealand will. And if Australia loses, how could New Zealand win?"

  New Zealand's Permanent Representative, in the Security Council on Wednesday, joined Brazil in question the "carve-outs" from referrals to the International Criminal Court, used by the United States in the Libya referral.

   What Ban's spokesman called the leaking of the report of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Group of Experts led by Steve Hege was widely seen as a "dirty trick," as two diplomats from different continents put it. But still no alternative candidate stepped forward in the African Group. Likewise Argentina is unopposed in GRULAC.

  The New York Times ran an op-ed against Cambodia, running against South Korea and Bhutan for a single seat; Cambodia responded with a letter to the editor which we will put online here.

  It seems an opportune time to also highlight and link to a recent study of how various Security Council reform proposals would impact the chances of particularly countries to serve on the Council -- click here for that, "Platform for Change." Watch this site.

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