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For UNSC, Luxembourg Said to Have 150 Promises, Australia Counts on Trips

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 15 -- It's time for a vote count in the race among Australia, Luxembourg and Finland for two UN Security Council seats, in the run-up to Thursday's vote.

  Luxembourg is said to have commitments for 150 votes, which would be a win in the first round. But, as others point out, it's a secret ballot and such promises have fallen apart in the past. Some countries say they support all three.

  Australia, non-Australian sources tell Inner City Press, does not have 129 votes, at least not yet. But others say that the money spent -- which they put not at $40 million but $24 million "allocated," as Foreign Minister Julia Gillard answered Inner City Press-- including on trips by many smaller countries, may serve Australia well if there are multiple rounds.

 Some countries abide by their commitment only for the first round, then release themselves. Some are always released.

  Australia's foreign minister Bob Carr is already in town, wining and dining; Finland is holding a reception next, with minister Erkki Tuomioja working it. Bags of dried blueberries are being prepared for distribution on Thursday, following the blueberry pie chocolate bars earlier handed out, with Martti Ahtisaari's face on them. But remember: Canada tried with maple syrup...

   Cambodia, competing with South Korea and Bhutan for a single Asian seat, is "in mourning" for former King Sihanook, as the country's representative Hor Nam Bora put it to Inner City Press. There was much buzz about his interview with Inner City Press last week. Will a candid presentation of a country's case help it? Watch this site.

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