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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

As UN Security Council Takes Up Ethiopia-Eritrea at Portugal's Request, Empty Thai Cambodia Talk

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 17 -- Alongside Yemen in this afternoon's Security Council consultations are two other conflicts: Ethiopia and Eritrea, and Thailand - Cambodia.

Portugal requested that the Department of Political Affairs provide the first briefing, based on reports of escalation received from its embassy in Addis Ababa, sources say, and the United States backed Portugal's request.

DPA's Pascoe and Araud,  answers to question not shown
Numerous Council members were dismissive of the UN briefing about Thailand and Cambodia, given no little role the UN has in resolving that conflict. (Some say that UNESCO granting of a unilateral application for heritage status of border temples helped cause the conflict.)
On Monday evening, two Security Council members' political coordinators told Inner City Press that it was Russia, often described a blocking Council meetings, which provided the initial support for Cambodia's request for a formal meeting.

“This is actually bullets across borders, what the Security Council was formed for,” one of them said, contrasting it to recent Council action on Libya, and talks without action on “internal” conflicts in Yemen and Syria.

Another joked that if the Thai - Cambodia conflict were in Africa, the UN would be all over it.

Meanwhile, as the Council ended one of its Tuesday morning sessions, President Gerard Araud as has become his practice refused to take questions. He even read a press statement on Haiti -- only in French -- and refused to take questions on it.

Portugal's Ambassador Cabral consented to speak on camera, about North Korea sanctions. He dodged questions about what he called the “independent” panel.

Inner City Press asked him about reports that one of the experts on the panel, at the behest of the government of his country, was refusing to sign off on the report. “I've heard that,” Cabral said, then maintained again that these sanctions panel members are independent. There are allegations flying all in directions. Watch this site.
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