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CNSNEWS22



 
Serge Beaulieu, United Nations Bureau Chief


IN MEMORIAM

 

  Serge Beaulieu
     "Bouboule"
 
    Le Leader Inconteste
     de la
        Majorite Nationale

       
March 11, 1938 - December 12, 2004 
****

Serge Beaulieu passed away on December 12, 2004 after 2-1/2 year valiant fight against lung cancer.  For much of that time his quality of life was high, he continued his daily activities, and he asked that no one be told he was sick.  Realizing that it had become a losing battle, during the last two months he told people he was dying but continued to enjoy his life to the very end. 


 

A TIME TO HONOR AND REMEMBER  A GREAT  HUMAN SPIRIT


Monday, December 12, 2005 is the first anniversary of the death of our beloved Serge Beaulieu, leader of Haiti's Majorite National, broadcaster extraordinaire on Radio Liberte.  It is a time to honor and remember him. 

At a memorial service for Serge in New York, the priest said that when we find someone to love, it is God who knit the bonds that joined us.  We thank God for having given life to Serge Beaulieu, a man who dedicated his life to make things better in his homeland of Haiti, who stood for what is right and just in the world, who helped everyone he could from all walks of life and who was the voice for those who needed a spokesperson to protect and stand up for them.

To all of our Haitian friends and colleagues who have helped us during the past year to preserve what Serge built, we thank you.  You are true patriots to your country and your people.

Today we received a beautiful letter from Sean Baker, a young American man who knew Serge for many years.  We know that these words from the heart convey what many would like to say, and we want to share the thoughts with you in celebration of the life and good works of Serge Beaulieu.

12.10.05

Sondra,

I don't even know where to begin.  It's hard for me to imagine what this past year must have been like for you.  Serge is gone.  I still don't completely accept it.  As I write the words they don't seem real.  It's been one year, and I still haven't mourned him. 

I'm not sure what I want to say in this letter.  I just want you to know that I feel your pain.  I feel your loss.  Serge meant so much to me.  His existence was so alive and so original.  It may sound crazy, but I remember every conversation we had.  I can still hear his words, even from when I was a kid.  The seeds he planted in my mind and heart continue to grow as I realize more and more the importance of the messages he conveyed.  He was the most human person I ever met.  The more I think about him the more I miss him, the more his being gone becomes real.  He was so great.  He was the kind of person that affected just about everyone he came in contact with for the better.  How may people in history have been like that?  He was such an asset, such a resource, such a guide and inspiration to so many people.  He was an example of how to be a kinder, funnier, more compassionate person.  I love him so much, and I feel like I let him down.  I was never there to say goodbye.  Never there to hold his hand or read to him at the end.  I know he didn't feel that way, it's just something I need to get out.

He meant so much to me, and I just wanted you to know that you are not alone in your grief.

Love,
Sean



Only through a long-term commitment to help [Haiti] can stability and prosperity be assured. Half-hearted efforts of the past have been insufficient. We cannot afford to fail this time.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Ottawa, Canada, 9 March 2004


  Serge Beaulieu, United Nations Bureau Chief


UN's top human rights official calls for end to abuses in western Côte d'Ivoire
10 July The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights today in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, called for an end to abuses fuelled by impunity in the western part of the country. 

 

SRSG Ashraf Qazi
UN envoy to Iraq meets with Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani and Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr
10 July United Nations efforts in Iraq were the focus of separate meetings in Najaf today between the world body's top envoy to the country and the Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani as well as Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al- Sadr. 

 

Iraq reconstruction to top agenda of donors meeting in Jordan – UN
10 July Representatives of more than 60 countries and international organizations, including the United Nations and the World Bank, will gather at the Dead Sea in Jordan later this month to review progress and lessons learned from donor-financed reconstruction activities in Iraq, the UN mission in that country (UNAMI), announced today. 

 

As Sudan inaugurates new unity government, Annan urges settlement for Darfur
9 July United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today hailed the inauguration in Sudan of its Government of National Unity and called for efforts to resolve the country's still-simmering conflicts, particularly in Darfur. 

 

Kofi Annan
Annan welcomes G8 leaders' pledge to boost aid to Africa
8 July Welcoming the agreement by the leaders of the world's industrial powers in Gleneagles, Scotland, on a package doubling overall aid to Africa to $50 billion a year by 2010, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed that it was "only a beginning" and that only sustained commitment would ensure Africa's self-sufficiency.

 

 

****************
Please click on Accent on Haiti for additional updated condolences and tributes for 
Serge Beaulieu

* * * * * *

IF" 
By Rudyard Kipling
  

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

 

 

THE QUIET TSUNAMI—


What the World Needs to Know and Do


By Sondra Singer Beaulieu

 

United Nations, January 17, 2005 (CNS NEWS)

 

“Our generation really can see to it that extreme poverty is ended by 2025,”

Millennium Project Director Jeffrey Sachs said during a press conference that began with the presentation of the project’s final report “Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals” to Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday, January 17, 2005 .  

 

The goal, according to Prof. Sachs, is to make this planet safe and prosperous for all.

The 13 task force reports that were consolidated into the 74-page report rose to a height of over twelve inches. 

 

Investing in development, according to Prof. Sachs, is a way to empower the world’s poorest people in areas of their health, nutrition, family planning; to improve the physical environment in areas of basic infrastructure, electricity, sanitation; and  to help them escape from dependency through economic empowerment and investment. 

 

The report offers practical solutions, not a theoretical discussion.  If African children sleep under mosquito netting, for example, as many lives can be saved as were lost in the recent Tsunami disaster.  “It’s the silent Tsunami of Africa,” said Prof. Sachs in trying to illustrate why people need to see the urgency of the situation and respond in a practical, compassionate way.

 

“One mosquito net, which will last five years, costs only $5.00,” Prof. Sachs said.  “And, often two children sleep under one net.”  He said that African villages want the nets.  It’s now a matter of providing them.  “Mosquito bedding nets don’t end up in Swiss bank accounts,” Sachs said.

 

Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico , said that in terms of security and economic growth, “It’s in the self interest of the rich countries to help the poorer countries.”  He said that it’s cheaper to invest in people than in weapons.

 

The Millennium Development Goals are based on human rights, said Jose Antonio Ocampo, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.  “They deal with the economic and social rights of people.”

 

Geeta Rao Gupta, president of the International Center for Research on Women, stressed the importance of gender equality.  The task force report on which she worked, “Taking Action: Achieving Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women” said that the goal of greater equality goes far beyond parity in education.  The authors identified seven strategic priorities that they said would be a minimum set of actions aimed at creating opportunities for women, particularly in education and employment, while protecting them from violence and sexual abuse.

 

* * *

 

Fast Facts: The Faces of Poverty

 

More than one billion people in the world live on less than one dollar a day.
Another 2.7 billion struggle to survive on less than two dollars per day.
Poverty in the developing world, however, goes far beyond income poverty.
It means having to walk more than one mile everyday simply to collect water and firewood;

it means suffering diseases that were eradicated from rich countries decades ago.

 

Every year eleven million children die—most under the age of five and more than six million from completely preventable causes like malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia.


In some deeply impoverished nations less than half of the children are in primary school, and
under 20 percent go to secondary school.
Around the world, a total of 114 million children do not get even a basic education, and 584 million women are illiterate.

Following are basic facts outlining the roots and manifestations of the poverty affecting more than one third of our world.

Health

Every year six million children die from malnutrition before their fifth birthday.

 

More than 50 percent of Africans suffer from water-related diseases such as cholera and infant diarrhea.

 

Everyday HIV/AIDS kills 6,000 people and another 8,200 people are infected with this deadly virus.

 

Every 30 seconds an African child dies of malaria—more than one million child deaths a year.

 

Each year, approximately 300 to 500 million people are infected with malaria. Approximately three million people die as a result.

TB is the leading AIDS-related killer and in some parts of Africa , 75 percent of people with HIV also have TB.

Hunger

More than 800 million people go to bed hungry every day—300 million are children.

Of these 300 million children, only eight percent are victims of famine or other emergency situations. More than 90 percent are suffering long-term malnourishment and micronutrient deficiency.

Every 3.6 seconds another person dies of starvation and the large majority are children under the age of 5.

Water

More than 2.6 billion people—over 40 per cent of the world’s population—do not have basic sanitation, and more than one billion people still use unsafe sources of drinking water.


Four out of every ten people in the world don’t have access even to a simple latrine.


Five million people
, mostly children, die each year from water-borne diseases.


Agriculture

In 1960, Africa was a net exporter of food; today the continent imports one-third of its grain.

 

More than 40 percent of Africans do not even have the ability to obtain sufficient food on a day-today basis.


Declining soil fertility, land degradation, and the AIDS pandemic have led to a 23 percent decrease in food production per capita in the last 25 years even though population has increased dramatically.


For the African farmer, conventional fertilizers cost two to six times more than the world market price.

The devastating effect of poverty on women

Above 80 percent of farmers in Africa are women.


More than 40 percent of women in
Africa do not have access to basic education.

If a girl is educated for six years or more, as an adult her prenatal care, postnatal care and childbirth survival rates, will dramatically and consistently improve.


Educated mothers immunize their children 50 percent more often than mothers who are not educated.


AIDS spreads twice as quickly among uneducated girls than among girls that have even some schooling.


 
The children of a woman with five years of primary school education have a survival rate 40 percent higher than children of women with no education.

A woman living in sub-Saharan Africa has a 1 in 16 chance of dying in pregnancy or childbirth. This compares with a 1 in 3,700 risk for a woman from North America .


Every minute, a woman somewhere dies in pregnancy or childbirth. This adds up to 1,400 women dying each day—an estimated 529,000 each year—from pregnancy-related causes.


Almost half
of births in developing countries take place without the help of a skilled birth attendant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following is an excerpt from CNS News Caribbean Report published in May of 1999:

 

HIGHLIGHTS

OF

THE ROSENBORG

MISSION  

ECOSOC Meets Again This Week  

Discussing the fate of the world's least developed countries

 

COMPOSITION OF ROSENBORG MISSION TO HAITI

The composition of the Mission as finally constituted is shown below. The fields of special experience of the individual experts are broadly indicative of the particular aspects of the Haitian development problem assigned to the different members for study. All the members, however, were to work in close consultation with each other in contributing to the joint teamwork, and none was expected to report individually.

Members
Ansgar Rosenborg, Chief of the Mission, UnitedNation
William H. Dean, Secretary of the Mission, United Nations
William G. Casseres, expert in Agricultural Development, Food and Agriculture Organization

Carle Fritzle, expert in Tropical Agriculture, Food and Agriculture Organization

Ernest F. Thompson, expert in Development of Fisheries, Food and Agriculture Organization
Edwin R. Henson, expert in Combined Resource Development, United Nations
Adolfo Dorfman, expert in Industrial Development, United Nations
Alexander McLeod, expert in questions of Finance and Credit Organization, International 


Monetary Fund

Elba Gomez del Rey, expert in Public Finance, United Nation

Frederick J. Rex, expert in Fundamental Education, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization
Adolf Kundig, expert in Tropical Public Health Organization, World Health Organization
Una M. Russell, Administrative Assistant and Secretary to the Chief of the Mission, United Nations

 

MISSION TO HAITI  

The United Nations Mission of Technical Assistance to the Republic of Haiti deserves attention as a new departure in United Nations activities. Undertaken at the request of the Haitian Government under Economic and Social Council resolution 51 (IV) of26 March 1947, it gave impetus to General Assembly resolution 200 (III) of 4 December 1948, on Technical Assistance for Economic Development, deliberated on and finally adopted while the experts drawn from the United Nations Secretariat, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the World Health Organization were actively engaged in Haiti in investigation of the country's development problems. This Mission is in a sense a precursor of the ampler efforts which, it is hoped, the international organizations concerned will be enabled to display in realization of the bold programme of technical assistance to underdeveloped countries envisaged by the President of the United States, and the United Nations contribution to which will be discussed at the forthcoming session of the Economic and Social Council.  

The Mission having now submitted its report, the analysis and recommendations of which have been duly brought to the Haitian Government's attention, I have pleasure in making it public in full accord with the President of the Republic of Haiti.  

Trygve Lie, Lake Success June 1949  

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

TRYGVE LIE, elected Secretary-General of the United Nations on February I, 1946.
(This photo was taken in Lake Success, New York, in August 1949.)  

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE ROSENBORG MISSION

NATURE OF THE MISSION'S REPORT

The report as here presented is a product of team work incorporating the contributions furnished by the different experts in consultation with each other. In elaborating their contributions they have naturally taken advantage also of advice from others, and especially from fellow experts in the organizations to which they belong. While the findings, suggestions and recommendations here given represent the consolidated views of the Mission, it does not follow that they are necessarily endorsed in full detail by the various United Nations organs from which the members of the Mission were drawn. In other words, the members have served on the Mission primarily in their capacity of experts in the substantive fields covered by the Mission's investigations.

The Mission has set as its primary task to draw up, in the light of its examination of Haiti's economic conditions and relevant problems, a comprehensive and consistent framework, as it were, for the policy it advises the Government to apply in endeavoring to promote the economic development of the country. Within this general frame we propose various measures, in part of an organizational nature, designed to broaden the scope, hasten the pace, and increase the efficiency of the national developmental effort, and to ensure lasting beneficial results therefrom.

The review here given of conditions in the various fields to be taken in to consideration with reference to the over-all problem of Haiti’s economic development and the recommendations or suggestions made in the report relate to the situation found to obtain at the time of the Mission's sojourn in the country .

 HEADQUARTERS MISSION BASE  

With the Mission headquarters at Port-au-Prince as a base, the members traveled extensively, in groups or individually, making field studies throughout the country .On these field trips they were accompanied by national specialists in the subject matters studied, who shared generously of their knowledge and ensured necessary local contacts. Living, working, and traveling together the experts of the Mission had the opportunity of continuous exchange of views and experience. Observations and conclusions were discussed

with a view to the framing of duly integrated recommendations concerning the difference aspects of the over-all problem studied by the Mission . The general lines of the joint report were laid down before the Mission returned to Lake Success toward the end of December.

PROCEDURE FOR THE MISSION

In confining itself at this initial stage of United Nations technical assistance to Haiti to reviewing problems and conditions, formulating recommendations for policy guidance, and suggesting remedial measures, without entering into details of implementation, the Mission has kept in mind the desirability, not to say the necessity, ofHaiti's having recourse to continued expert assistance in the minute planning and execution of specific projects undertaken in accordance with the advice here proffered. The Mission wishes to draw the attention of the Haitian Government to the facilities for technical assistance in various forms which the Secretary- General of the United Nations is authorized under General Assembly resolution 200 (III) of 4 December 1948 to render (in fact on somewhat more liberal terms than those previously afforded by Economic and Social Council resolution 51 (IV) under which the Mission to Haiti has been operating) to Member Governments in need of such assistance. In addition, technical assistance in the substantive fields covered by the United Nations specialized agencies may be sought directly from these agencies.

The Mission has not engaged in cost estimates for particular development projects, and to attempt any "wholesale" estimate of the costs involved in an over-all programme of economic development of the country would obviously serve no particular purpose. On various points in our report we stress the necessity for the development effort, if it is to be lastingly successful, to rely in the fIrst instance on efficient utilization of the nation's own means. In view of the relative paucity of these means, however, recourse will have to be had to borrowing abroad for the financing of larger Government-sponsored development projects requiring sizable capital investment. It is for the Government to define such projects in precise detail and to decide where, and in what form, to seek the external capital needed. In undertaking projects requiring external financing it is particularly desirable and necessary to proceed by steps and with great circumspection, in order to allow the economy-strengthening results of first priority projects to take effect before adding new foreign debt commitments. Any foreign lender for specific development projects will obviously wish to make his own appraisal of the costs and credit- worthiness of the particular projects involved prior to risking his funds.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GENERAL SITUATION OF THE MISSION

The general situation as regards external trade and internal transport and communications would have to be taken into account in the over-all review of the country's economic development problem without provision at this initial stage of specialists on these questions, as considerations of the costs falling on the Haitian Government imposed certain limitations on the size of the Mission. Nor was any specialist on labour questions included in the team. As the Government had already had the benefit of advice on these matters from the International Labour Organization following a special mission to Haiti by an expert of the organization.

Some time in advance of the date set for the departure of the Mission the members gathered at United Nations Headquarters to study the documentation brought together and prepare the plan the work. The Mission proceeded in the middle of October to Haiti, where it spent two months 1 in intensive investigation of the development problems in the various economic and related fields.2

At this point the Mission wishes to express its great appreciation of the excellent arrangements made by the Haitian Government to aid in its task and co-operate actively in the investigation. For office purposed the Government placed at the Mission's disposal in Port-au-Prince a house adequately provided with equipment and supplies. In addition, the Government furnished to the Mission local secretarial staff and junior research assistants, while the senior officers of the various ministries and technical services readily assisted the Mission experts with information and advice. The Mission also wishes to record its gratitude to the Haitian Government for its solicitude for the personal comfort of the members of the team.

The Mission found great encouragement in the deep interest shown in its work by His Excellency Dumarsais Estime, President of the Republic of Haiti.  

 

1 Some of the members spent less than two months in Haiti. Mr. .Dorfman and Mr. .Thompson arrived somewhat later than the main party of the Mission, and Mr. Thompson concluded his work in Haiti a few days earlier than the other members. Mr. Casseres and Mr. Dorfman interrupted their Mission work for a brief interval each to attend to pressing duties at the F AO and United Nations headquarters. Brief trips to other countries of the region for technical consultations and study of solutions to development problems analogous to those confronting Haiti were made, with the Haitian Government's approval, by the Mission 's specialists in the fields of agriculture, fisheries, small industries, education, and credit organization. Most of these consultations took place in Puerto Rico, where special facilities graciously arranged by the United States Department of the Interior and the Insular Government of Puerto Rico were provided for the purpose.  

2 Valuable advice in the field of fisheries was obtained by the Mission from Mr. Mogens Jul, officer of the Fisheries Division of FAO, who visited Haiti briefly in November in connexion with his regular duties.

 

 

What ECOSOC does    

The Economic and Social Council coordinates the work of the 14 UN specialized agencies, 10 functional commissions and five regional commissions; receives reports from 11 UN funds and programmes (click here for list of subsidiary bodies); and issues policy recommendations to the UN system and to Member States. Under the UN Charter , ECOSOC is responsible for promoting higher standards of living, full employment, and economic and social progress; identifying solutions to international economic, social and health problems; facilitating international cultural and educational cooperation; and encouraging universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. ECOSOC's purview extends to over 70 per cent of the human and financial resources of the entire UN system.

In carrying out its mandate, ECOSOC consults with academics, business sector representatives and more than 2,100 registered non-governmental organizations. The Council holds a four-week substantive session each July, alternating between New York and Geneva. The session includes a high-level segment, at which national cabinet ministers and chiefs of international agencies and other high officials focus their attention on a selected theme of global significance. This year, the high-level segment will cover "Resources mobilization and enabling environment for poverty eradication in the context of the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010". The Council will adopt a Ministerial Declaration, providing policy guidance and recommendations for action.
 

Policy leadership    

ECOSOC has taken a lead role in key policy areas in recent years. Its 1999 high-level segment issued a "Manifesto on Poverty", which in many respects anticipated the formulation of the Millennium Development Goals that were approved at the UN Millennium Summit in New York. The Ministerial Declaration of the high-level segment in 2000 proposed specific actions to address the digital divide, leading directly to the formation in 2001 of the ICT [Information and Communication Technologies] Task Force. Last year, ECOSOC's consideration of African development resulted in the first formal international endorsement of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

Outside of the substantive sessions, ECOSOC initiated in 1998 a tradition of meeting each April with finance ministers heading key committees of the Bretton Woods institutions -- the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. These consultations initiated inter-institutional cooperation that paved the way for the success of the International Conference on Financing for Development, held in March 2002 in Monterrey, Mexico. At that conference, ECOSOC was assigned a primary role in monitoring and assessing follow-up to the Monterrey Consensus.
 

ECOSOC Members in 2004:    

The Council's 54 member Governments are elected by the General Assembly for overlapping three-year terms. Seats on the Council are allotted based on geographical representation with fourteen allocated to African States, eleven to Asian States, six to Eastern European States, ten to Latin American and Caribbean States, and thirteen to Western European and other States.

Full list of members and the expiration date of membership.
 

ECOSOC Bureau in 2004:   

The Bureau of the Economic and Social Council is elected by the Council at large at the beginning of each annual session. The Bureau's main functions are to propose the agenda, draw up a programme of work and organize the session with the support of the United Nations Secretariat.

The members of the Bureau for 2004 are as follows:

President of ECOSOC: H. E. Ambassador Marjatta Rasi (Finland)

Vice-President of ECOSOC: H. E. Ambassador Yashar Aliyev (Azerbaijan)

Vice-President of ECOSOC: H. E. Ambassador Daw Penjo (Bhutan)

Vice-President of ECOSOC: H. E. Ambassador Stafford O'Neil (Jamaica)

Vice-President of ECOSOC: H. E. Ambassador Jagdish Koonjul (Mauritius)

 

 

A RETROSPECTIVE

The following articles and information on ECOSOC was done in May of 1999 by Serge Beaulieu

UNITED NATIONS

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL

(ECOSOC)  

As part of our special series, which includes Mutatis Mutandis, The United Nations: Privileges and Diplomatic Immunities; and United Nations Reform: Two Schools of Thought--Paul Kennedy and Bruce Russett, our UN Bureau Chief, Dr. Serge Beaulieu, former diplomat and Haitian congressman, is following the Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) odyssey and that U.N. body’s prospects of revitalization.   

Dr.  Beaulieu’s radio talk show on U.N. and other issues reaches three million listeners in the Caribbean via CNS’s flagship station, Radio Liberte 94.1 FM and 1360 AM and TVchannel 14.


(L-R) Nitin DESAI,  Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs; Secretary-General Kofi ANNAN; and ECOSOC President Francesco Paolo FULCI ( Italy )

 

 

 

 

HEADS OR TAILS FOR THE SECURITY COUNCIL?
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief  

United Nations, New York , May 19, 2003 (CNS NEWS)  

The war in Iraq may be over, but the Security Council’s troubles have only begun.  Late Monday, a final draft resolution, sponsored by Spain , the United Kingdom , and the United States , was introduced before the other 12 members. The resolution reiterated the determination of the coalition that won the war to remain the “Authority” in Iraq .  

The resolution opened a crack by stipulating that other states in the future may work under the Authority. It still keeps Iraq under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter by calling on member states to deny, among other points, safe haven to those members of the previous Iraqi regime who are allegedly responsible for crimes and atrocities and to support action to bring them to justice.  

As far as the United Nations is concerned, it called for the appointment of a special representative for Iraq whose independent responsibilities shall involve reporting regularly to the Council on his activities under this resolution, coordinating activities of the United Nations in post-conflict processes in Iraq, coordinating among U.N. and international agencies engaged in humanitarian assistance and reconstruction activities in Iraq, and, in coordination with the Authority, assisting the people of Iraq.  The resolution described from points (a) to (i) all the attributions of this special representative.  

The resolution calls for one billion dollars from the oil for food program to be transferred as soon as possible to a newly created development fund, which will enjoy all privileges and immunities equivalent to those enjoyed by the United Nations, except that the privileges will not apply to any legal proceedings in which recourse to such proceeds or obligations is necessary to satisfy liability for damage assessed in connection with an ecological accident, including an oil spill that occurs after the date of the adoption of the resolution.  

Paragraph 18 “decides to terminate effective on the adoption of this resolution the functions related to the observation and monitoring activities undertaken by the Secretary-General under the programme, including the monitoring of the export of petroleum and petroleum products from Iraq .”  

Five percent of the oil proceeds, which previously was kept by the Secretariat, will now be transferred to the compensation fund.  

The Iraqi debts have been left in the hands of financial institutions, including those of the Paris Club, to seek a solution.   

Paragraph 24 requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council at regular intervals on the work of the special representative while, at the same time, invites the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America periodically to inform the Council of their efforts under this resolution.  

One can see the hand of experienced diplomatic experts in the writing of this resolution.  

After the Security Council consultation Monday afternoon, while the United States and the United Kingdom were responding to questions at the stakeout, France , Russia , and Germany did not follow their custom to appear.  

Nevertheless, the British ambassador described the atmosphere in the Council as cordial, while the U.S. ambassador stated clearly that he expected a vote by Wednesday. Is it now heads or tails for the Security Council? 

 

U.N. – THE RETURN OF THE “TRUSTEESHIP SYSTEM”
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief  

United Nations, New York , May 11, 2003 (CNS NEWS)  

During the last 58 years, the United Nations trusteeship system has been very successful in providing this organization with more than three-quarters of its membership by granting full independence to countries previously under colonial rule.   The Trusteeship Council, one of the organs of the United Nations, is considered dormant now, since only a few little islands in the Pacific and the Caribbean are labeled not self-governing.  

The U.N. Charter makes it clear in Article 78 that the trusteeship system should not apply to territories that had become members of the United Nations, relationship among which should be based on respect of the principle of sovereign equality.  That was one of the reasons behind the hesitation by the Security Council to authorize the use of force against Iraq .  

Talking triumphantly to his troops aboard a U.S. carrier, the President of the United States said that “the invasion is over and the repugnant regime of Saddam Hussein is no more.”  He stopped short, however, of saying that this was the cessation of hostilities, which would have implied the intervention of the Geneva Agreement, which calls for a return of prisoners of war and also the cessation of hostility against the vanquished authorities.  

In his mind, the “deck of cards” listing the names of fugitives is still operative.  One of the world’s most wanted, Saddam Hussein, is still at large.  In the meantime, Iraq remains without a functioning government and the United Nations without a role.  This cannot continue, since Iraqi oil represents billions of dollars as an operative business.  But how can the situation be legitimized?  

Last week, the Secretary-General of the United Nations convened the members of the Security Council to his office in order to find a solution. The next day, the United States and Britain , the “occupying powers,” distributed a Project of Resolution legalizing their own rule over Iraqi territory and resources, reserving to the U.N. an obscure and indefinite role.  

By the end of the weekend, nobody knew who had conceived the idea to take the Security Council on retreat to further discuss the resolution.   The Security Council can do almost anything except violate the Charter, which perhaps some members are not inclined to do openly.  France , which had been the most vocal during the pre-invasion, has become very conciliatory.  At a stakeout, one was waiting for the French expression: “Nous sommes fouttus.”  

Russia , which still remains an ally of France , is apparently negotiating to see that the Iraqi debt to Russia , which is said to be in the billions of dollars, will be honored by whoever takes charge.  

Germany seems to be using the same approach.  

In the meantime, the Bush Administration is making sure that the war that was fought and won by the coalition gives to the winners the power to make all final decisions.  It is not only Iraq that is under trusteeship, but the U.N. itself.

 



JOHN M. GABOR -- NEW U.N. CHEF
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief
United Nations, New York, May 5, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

While Director General Mohamed El Baradei of IAEA was voicing concern over reports that there had been looting at Iraqi nuclear facilities and asking the United States to confirm the situation, here at United Nations headquarters a change of guard in the restaurant facilities was taking place.

Stories of looting in the main cafeteria and the Delegates Dining Room were denied by the U.N. spokesman at the regular noon briefing, and John M. Gabor, the new executive chef, was at his post early Monday morning to greet his new customers.

Restaurant Associates has been replaced as the catering service by a new company called Aramark. The chef’s table for today was sirloin au poivre with garlic mashed wilted spinach, chuspech onions, and port wine glaze.

Executive Chef Gabor, a 30-year experienced chef with the American Culinary Federation, has received a gold medal for culinary excellence from the American Culinary Institute. He has appeared on the Today Show and Good Morning America and has been featured in the Natural Culinary Review as well as in other media.

Although the menu did not seem to differ from the previous caterer, the presentation appeared more appealing. "The steak au poivre was excellent," said an ambassador, thanking Chef Gabor, who appeared at first to be a little shy, not knowing how to address such dignitaries, although most of the diners today were U.N. staff.

Fresh ground sirloin burgers were served as well as country style southern fried chicken. A sushi station has been added, and flavors of Asia, Latin America, and Northern Africa will be forthcoming. "This is a complete food destination where choices are limitless and change will occur frequently," said Chef Gabor with a smile.

An associate said, "Have you got a sweet tooth? We’ve got mouth watering delectable desserts—chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, freshly baked cookies warm from the oven—everything but sugar plums."

There was a rush to see the delicacies that the new concessionaire Aramark offered. And the prices were good: $8.95 for the steak au poivre and a glass of wine.

There is anticipation that the new U.N. chef will keep his clientele happy. So far so good.

 

 

 


FALL OF THE UNITED NATIONS...
PRECIPITOUS JUDGMENT

United Nations, New York, April 25, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

The war with Iraq created an uneasy feeling about the United Nations, and people are questioning the organization’s relevance. The U.S. media continues to present a darker side of this institution, and U.S. President Bush, himself, appears to have relegated the world body to the sidelines, although from time to time the expression "the U.N. has to play a role" is voiced.

Now that the war is over and has become a fait accompli, the U.N. Security Council is still trying to define its role in a post-Iraq-war situation that it did not authorize. The tendency seems more toward accommodation with the "occupying power" than exercising that body’s authority to question.

When the United Nations was created after World War II, it was a reaffirmation of the vanquishers to prevent another war by keeping the leadership of world affairs. The United States, Russia, England, and China took permanent seats and the right of veto in the Security Council, comprised of eleven members at that time. France, although in a difficult position after the war, was invited to join in with the privilege of veto, giving five countries dominance over world affairs. Without the veto power, there is doubt that the United Nations would have been created.

As soon as the affairs of the organization were set into motion, a Cold War erupted, dividing the world into East and West. The question of Berlin, the long march of Mao Tse-tung expelling the troops of Chiang Kai-shek to Taiwan, the Korean Conflict all precipitated events, sometimes putting the organization on the verge of irrelevance. But the veto power at the U.N. always permitted the Big Five to save face.

Although China’s veto power was given to Taiwan for a long time, the affairs of the organization continued to be conducted as usual. In the process, the U.N. discovered a new mission: decolonization. Most of the African and Asian countries under colonial power gained their independence and became members of the U.N., boosting the General Assembly, where the Big Five had no veto power.

From decolonization, the U.N. went to technical assistance with the creation of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and a multitude of other institutions—including specialized agencies—mushrooming the organization to such an extent that the world government that had been projected seemed to have materialized.

The opening session of the General Assembly in New York was the biggest event each year on the calendar, but little by little the Big Five regained control by making the Security Council more powerful and the General Assembly unable to implement its own resolutions. Today, the opening of a General Assembly session is considered a fait divers.

After the dismantling of the Soviet empire, the United States emerged—among the Big Five—as the sole superpower. This situation has created such an imbalance that the U.S. President considered it unnecessary to have U.N. agreement in order to conduct war, disregarding, in fact, the veto power, which had been for a long time the balancing factor. By destroying the power of the right to veto, the U.S. government itself is putting the U.N. in a situation of irrelevance.

The danger is: Are they ready for that—since a multitude of conflicts around the world could emerge at any moment—the Korean situation, the conflict with Iran, the China/Taiwan dispute, India and Pakistan, the Palestine/Israel question. Will the United States be able to control all those situations without a United Nations? In fact, will the United States be able to control Iraq without the United Nations? The answer is: probably not. Therefore, the relevance of the United Nations as a world body is going to be reaffirmed at a time when a lot of people seem to think that the glass house on the East River could have a better use than harboring diplomats from all over the world.


A
LI  BABIN  IRAQ

United Nations, New York, April 14, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

Watching the destruction of Iraq on my television screen, I could not resist returning in memory to the days of my youth when I listened, frightened, to the odyssey of The Arabian Nights—Le Voleur de Baghdad—Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Scherazade, the Caliph—que sais-je?

The history and artifacts of Mesopotamia, Babylon, and the Wonders of the World—along with centuries of civilization—are disappearing in flames, although an international organization called UNESCO supposedly was created to protect them. I have heard that libraries and museums have all gone up in smoke while we, "the civilized," almost rejoice as we listen to correspondents "embedded" with the occupying power pump us with a minute-by-minute injection of news.

The United Nations, which was created to prevent war, has become so impotent that the Secretary-General found it necessary to send his representative to Washington to discuss his post-Iraq-war role.

Here at U.N. headquarters in New York, diplomats, press, and employees are walking like corpses, not knowing what to do. 

In the meantime, our television screens keep delivering to us the faces of thousands of Ali Babas in the streets of Baghdad, Mozul, Tikrit, Balad, Bayji, and other towns destroying, in the name of the law of revenge, an ancient civilization, a part of us all, while the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein and his companions are still unknown.

 


IRAQ—"THE GAME IS OVER"

United Nations, New York, April 10, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

"The game is over, and now we want peace for the people of Iraq," said a nervous Iraqi U.N. Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri to a pack of reporters Wednesday in front of his mission on East 79th Street in New York City.

Asked if he had heard from Saddam, Aldouri answered, "I have no relationship with Saddam Hussein. I have no communication with Iraq. I am here, I know nothing about what’s going on there."

Early this week, some U.N. reporters were already concerned about Aldouri’s future as news of the war was going badly for his government.

Thursday morning, as he entered the U.N. building, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, was confronted with this question: "Mr. Secretary, why did you call in Iraqi Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri, and what do you understand his status at the moment to be?"

The Secretary-General replied: "I don’t know what his status is, but I did talk to him on Monday. We reviewed the situation in Baghdad and what was happening. He did not have much information. I don’t where he is or what his status is at the moment, but, naturally, we did talk about what happens depending on the evolution of things on the ground."

The exchange continued as follows:

Q: "Did he ask at that point for asylum or discuss the question of asylum or potential need for protection in any way?

A.: "No, he did not ask for asylum or protection. He had indicated some time earlier that he and his staff sometime felt harassed and followed by local authorities and police—this was some time ago, and I think we had raised it with the authorities and that has stopped. When I saw him on Monday, he did not ask me for help with his status."

Regarding the situation in Iraq itself, Kofi Annan said: "Let me first say that from what we have seen in the reports, it appears there is no functioning government in Iraq at the moment. We also saw the scene of jubilation, but, of course, when you think of the casualties—both military and civilian—the Iraqis have paid a heavy price for this. We have also seen scenes of looting and, obviously, law and order must be a major concern.

Kofi Annan also reaffirmed that The Hague Regulation and the Geneva Convention apply to the Iraqi conflict and that the coalition has a responsibility for the welfare of the people of this area.

On Thursday afternoon Mohammed Aldouri met again with Secretary-General Kofi Annan but the Ambassador declined to comment as he left the building.

DAY 20 OF THE IRAQ WAR AT THE U.N.

United Nations, New York, April 8, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

As the war in Iraq enters its 20th day, with the capture of Baghdad by the coalition forces and the control of Basra after a 2-week siege by British forces, the role of the United Nations in a post-war Iraq is not clearly defined.

United Kingdom Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock said at a Security Council stakeout Tuesday that he envisioned three-party control in post-war Iraq, with the coalition playing the main role, the Iraqi people and United Nations functioning at the humanitarian level. This concept leaves many at U.N. headquarters uneasy, seeing the organization minimized to an administrative level. It appears to be punishment of the Security Council for not authorizing the use of force.

The Arab Group, which has been mandated to call an extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly to discuss the Iraqi question, seems hesitant, although at the U.N. briefing Tuesday reference was made to a letter addressed by this group to the president of the General Assembly. The Security Council president’s spokesman, however, did not acknowledge this letter.

Late Tuesday afternoon a communiqué was issued by the Director-General of UNESCO, Koї hiro Matsuura, deploring the heavy toll paid by the press in Iraq and reminding the belligerents of their obligations to treat journalists as civilians. He recalled Article 79 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Convention, which states that "journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict should be considered as civilians...On no account must journalists be targeted."

Three journalists were killed in Baghdad today, and another, a Kurd journalist, was killed in northern Iraq. The three in Baghdad were: Reuters news agency cameraman Taras Protsyuk, Spanish television channel Tele 5 cameraman Jose Couso, and Al-Jazeera correspondent Tarek Ayoub.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who was scheduled to leave for Europe Wednesday to attend the European conference in Athens on April 17, has said that he has decided not to travel tomorrow as had been previously announced. 

 

Post-Conflict Iraq—U.N. Role

United Nations, New York, April 7, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

Early Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan took it upon himself to call a meeting with the Security Council to discuss post-conflict Iraq and the U.N. role. When asked to explain, he said: "I wanted to discuss with them the developments on the ground and also to discuss the post-conflict situation in Iraq, regardless of how the war ends. And, of course, we will have to see what the post-conflict environment will be. But the Council has been discussing informally, and I have had Mr. Rafeeuddin Ahmed working as my advisor on this issue of post-conflict Iraq, doing some thinking about it, and he will be available to talk to the Council members as well."

Mr. Ahmed, a national of Pakistan, has been part of the U.N. system and has held the positions of assistant secretary-general, under-secretary general, and chef de cabinet of Kofi Annan.

Asked to explain Ahmed’s role, the Secretary-General’s response was "his role will be—actually, he has been doing it already, thinking about the future, thinking about what is likely to happen and what the likely U.N. role will be, and also to be available to the Council members and all the members involved to exchange ideas and then give me some advice."

Last week, the Secretary-General spent a great deal of time meeting with all the regional groups. When asked how his idea of post-conflict Iraq differed or contrasted or was similar to what the United States Administration plans, his response was; "…obviously there are discussions going on, both in Washington and among member states and, as you can see, President Bush and Prime Minister Blair will be talking again this week. And, there has been a series of discussions where the European Union had come up firmly on the side of greater U.N. involvement. I do expect the U.N. to play an important role, and the U.N. has had good experience in this area of political facilitation leading to the emergence of a new or interim administration. We have done quite a bit of work on reconstruction, working with donor countries and with other U.N. agencies. You have seen the work the U.N. has done in human rights and the area of rule of law, so there are a lot of areas where the U.N. can play a role but, above all, U.N. involvement does bring legitimacy, which is necessary for the country, for the region, and for the people around the world."

Monday afternoon, Kofi Annan’s Spokesman issued the following statement: "The Secretary-General today met with the members of the Security Council to inform them that he had formalized the role of Mr. Rafeeuddin Ahmed by appointing him as his Special Adviser. As he has done over the past two months, Mr. Ahmed will continue to consider possible United Nations roles in post-war Iraq and their legal, political, operational and resource implications.

"The Secretary-General and the members of the Council agreed that any role beyond the coordination of humanitarian activities in Iraq, and other activities mandated by existing resolutions, would first require a new mandate from the Security Council.

"The members of the Security Council welcomed Mr. Ahmed’s appointment and expressed satisfaction at the start of a dialogue with the Secretary-General on a subject which would acquire added urgency in the weeks to come."


AT THE U.N.--DAY 16 OF THE IRAQ WAR  

United Nations, New York , April 4, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
UN Bureau Chief

I
t is business as usual at U.N. headquarters in New York on Day Sixteen of the coalition war against Iraq .  Very few diplomats in their limousines are entering the main gate that leads to the courtyard, where they usually park.  Staff members, journalists, NGOs are, however, in their posts, ready to show their ID passes to security officers located from the street entrance to various checkpoints inside.  

At the 45rd Street entrance, visitors in small numbers gather to buy tickets for the regular U.N. tour.  More than ten food stands are serving meals daily, including a main cafeteria, a Delegates’ Dining Room, and a staff café.  From $2.50 to $15.00-- the cheapest and the best in New York--one can choose how you eat gourmet food.  On today’s menu is cheese ravioli for $2.95, chicken Florentine $3.25, baked tilapia $4.80 lamb gyro $6.50, coconut glazed salmon $5.00.  Of course, hamburgers, steaks, hot dogs, a salad bar, and a variety of beverages, including freshly made espresso and cappuccino, are available for a small price.  

In the corridors, TV monitors fixed on CNN were blasting their coverage on the Iraq war, announcing the capture of Saddam’s airport and projecting the end of Saddam Hussein.   Suddenly, someone loudly said: “Al Jazzera, (the Arab TV network) is showing Saddam Hussein in person being cheered in the streets of Baghdad right now.”  Somebody climbed on a chair and switched the channel from CNN national to CNN international and there he was—a smiling, candid Saddam Hussein, against all odds, in the middle of his people, doing his thing.  Automatically, the question that has been persistent over the last few days was asked: “Is it really Saddam Hussein?”  If it is, that is a big public relations coup for his government.  

A few minutes earlier, at a U.N. press briefing, a question was asked if the occupying power forms a government who would be the accepted representative at the U.N., since the United States would normally declare the present ambassador persona non grata.  The spokesman answered that it would be a question for the credential committee to decide.  

At an Arab League conference held recently at the level of foreign ministers, a mandate was given to the group to call for a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly to discuss the situation in Iraq if the Security Council fails to take a decision.  But so far it seems to be just in the discussion stage.  

Whether the government of Saddam Hussein survives the weekend or not, we can soon anticipate seeing diplomats’ limousines filling to capacity the courtyard of the U.N. for an extraordinary session of the General Assembly.   In the meantime, Day 16 is a quiet one at U.N. headquarters, and staff members are anxious to leave for their weekend retreats.  

At the telex booth in the press section, the operator of world.com, Juan Soto, said: “Our telex service with Iraq was cut off a week ago, and no one has been here to send messages there.”  

 

Return of the Cold War

United Nations, New York, April 3, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

As American and British coalition forces advance toward Baghdad, Cold War vestiges of the 1950s are reappearing at the United Nations. After the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1991, relations between East and West improved to such an extent that Russia, under Putin, offered the U.S. help to combat terrorism after the 9/11 tragedy. Nuclear weapons were reduced, and an alliance to work toward common security goals was established. But, as the war against Saddam Hussein intensifies, relations appear to be deteriorating, not only with Russia but also with Germany and France.

At the U.N. Security Council, France threatened to use its veto power on a draft resolution calling for the use of force against Iraq. Germany stated openly that it would vote against the resolution, and Russia joined the other two.

The coalition forces, nevertheless, without authorization from the Security Council, moved against Iraq. The war is now described as being in its final stages: the capture of Baghdad and the dismantlement of the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. Then what?

Resolution 1472 on humanitarian relief to the people of Iraq was voted unanimously on March 28 by the Security Council, but not without mentioning the provisions of Article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (August 12, 1949), regarding responsibilities of an occupying power in ensuring food and medical supplies to the civilian population, in particular, bringing in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles, if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate. 

On April 1, a statement from the Foreign Minister of Russia was circulated at the U.N., in which he reiterated this point and went further to say that Resolution 1472 did not contest the sovereignty of Iraq or its right to determine its own political future and control its own natural resources.

A statement of this nature in the Cold War era would have been the subject of great concern. But, as the only superpower in today’s world, the United States is likely to just take note of it. In the meantime, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell made a trip this week to Brussels and Turkey in an attempt to realign former allies by offering to share in the administration of post-war Iraq with the U.N. He indicated, however, that the final voice will rest with the coalition forces who went along and suffered casualties and financial hardship to oust the Saddam Hussein regime.

The Oil-for-Food program, which has more than $2.9 billion in escrow, is busy signing 450 contracts, according to one of their press releases, without specifying with whom.

 

 

KOFI ANNAN V/S IRAQ

United Nations, New York, April 1, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

A Security Council resolution adopted unanimously on March 28, giving the Secretary-General broad power to amend the oil-for-food program, is being questioned by the Iraqi government.

In a letter dated March 31, and circulated Tuesday at the UN, Iraq's Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said, "Any discussion of an amendment to the memorandum of understanding and the oil-for-food programme without Iraq’s participation is a blatant violation of Security Council resolution 986 (1995) and brooks no justification whatsoever. The programme was operating with full cooperation between the Government of Iraq and the Secretariat of the United Nations until the Secretariat decided on 17 March 2003 to withdraw the programme’s staff from Iraq on the grounds of fears for the safety of international staff arising from an American-British attack on that country. There is no legal or moral basis for such a pretext."

Kofi Annan presented, also on Tuesday, his 6-page report to the Council on the Iraq/Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM), describing the different phases leading to the withdrawal, on March 17, 2003, of the 1,332 staff members of the mission, while keeping in Kuwait City 12 military officers and 20 essential civilian staff.

In his report, Annan remarked: 

1)"While it is clear that UNIKOM is presently unable to fulfill its mandate as a result of the situation on the ground, its personnel have only been dispersed temporarily, and the timing of their return to their assignment will be decided in consultation with the Council."

2) "Owing to the outbreak of conflict on March 20, 2003, it became necessary to withdraw the majority of UNIKOM personnel, who have returned to their countries of origin or to previous assignments."

A press release dated April 1, 2003, from the Office of the Iraq Programme Oil-for-Food, asks global suppliers to speed humanitarian deliveries for Iraq.  It says: "The adoption of Security Council Resolution 1472 (2003) on 28 March gave authority to the Secretary-General for 45 days to facilitate the delivery and receipt of goods contracted by the Government of Iraq through the Oil-for-Food Programme, which has $10.1 billion worth of goods and supplies in its pipeline. These include food items worth $2.4 billion, water supply and sanitation equipment ($506 million) and health supplies ($374 million). There are $5.8 billion in processed contracts that are unfunded. The Programme has $2.9 billion in uncommitted funds in escrow."

In Bagdad, Iraq’s Information Minister Mohammed Said al-Sahhaf rejected the Council’s resolution that renewed the 7-year old oil-for-food program.

 

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL KOFI ANNAN MEETS WITH U.N. ARAB GROUP  

United Nations, New York , March 31, 2003
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan met early Monday morning with the regional group of Arab states in order to discuss the situation in Iraq and assess his own credibility with this group. The meeting took place in the basement of the United Nations building, and no word yet has filtered out about the details.  

Last week, a conflict developed when, at a press stakeout, Iraq ’s Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri, accused the Secretary-General of being biased by removing the U.N. peacekeepers on the Iraq/Kuwait border in order to permit the American invasion of Iraq .  Iraq ’s Vice President went further by accusing Kofi Annan of playing the role of a “high commissioner.”  

At an open meeting of the Security Council, Aldouri renewed his attack on the Secretary-General, and most of the Arab delegations appeared to concur with his view.  That did not prevent the Security Council from pushing aside the idea of condemning the United States for the attack and giving broad authority to the Secretary-General to deal with the humanitarian aspects of the Iraqi question, under Resolution S/2003/381.  

Meanwhile, in Baghdad, the Iraqi authorities rejected the resolution, making it difficult—if not impossible—for the Secretary-General to accomplish his mandate.   

In capital city Amman, Jordan, the U.N. has upgraded its presence in order to prepare full-scale humanitarian assistance for Iraq.  

Early Monday, a letter dated March 26, signed by Iraq’s Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri, was circulated as a document of the General Assembly, reference number A/57/766.  In this document, the Ambassador recalled a resolution adopted by the Council of the League of Arab States at its meeting held at the level of ministers for foreign affairs, during its 119th regular session on March 22-25, entitled “The American/British Aggression against Fraternal Iraq and its Implications for the Security and Safety of Neighboring Arab States and Arab National Security.”  

Paragraph 6 of this resolution reads as follows:  “To mandate the Arab Group, in the event that the Security Council does not meet or fails to adopt a decision required to halt the aggression and secure withdrawal, pursuant to the contents of the paragraph above, to call for an extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly to discuss the attack on Iraq with a view to calling for an immediate halt to the attack, the withdrawal of hostile forces from all Iraq’s territory, and respect for its territorial integrity.”

*************************************

[Security Council resolutions]

[Oil-for-Food]

 

UNIFIED SECURITY COUNCIL VOTED ON HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN IRAQ

United Nations, New York, March 28, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

The war is not yet over, but the future of a post-war Iraq is being discussed at the U.N. by the big powers. Condoleezza Rice, Assistant to the U.S. President for National Security Affairs, Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom , and even Mohammed Aldouri, Iraq 's Ambassador to the United Nations, were guests of Secretary-General Kofi Annan in order to make sure that things will go smoothly.

Early Friday afternoon, Louise Frechette, Vice Secretary-General; Carol Bellamy, Director of UNICEF; Kenzo Oshima, Coordinator of Emergency Aid of the U.N., along with a representative of the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) made an emergency appeal for millions of dollars for humanitarian aid for
Iraq .

Since 1976, UNDP has managed development projects throughout
Iraq . More than US$4 billion in Iraqi petroleum revenue was invested in U.N.-administered development projects in northern Iraq . The UNDP role in a post-war Iraq , said the representative, will be focusing on humanitarian aid.

UNICEF, according to Carol Bellamy, is seeking US $160 million to help Iraqi children.

The appeal for support came at a time when this organization is attempting to set up a tanker truck operation to bring clean water to towns in southern
Iraq , where more than one million people are thought to be without safe water.

Gunter Pleuger, Ambassador of Germany to the U.N., met with the press after introducing a draft resolution in the Security Council to reinstate the "oil-for-food" program, which was discontinued when the Secretary-General removed U.N. personnel just before the outbreak of war. Although this resolution has been adopted unanimously, there were feelings expressed in the discussion before the vote that it might be interpreted as legitimizing the invasion of
Iraq . However, after the vote, each delegation expressed relief that the U.N. will be playing a part in a post-war scenario.


# # #


IRAQ UNDER U.N. "PROTECTORATE"?

United Nations, New York, March 28, 2003 (CNS NEWS) 
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

The war is not yet over, but the future of a post-war Iraq is being discussed at the U.N. by the big powers.  Condoleezza Rice, Assistant to the U.S. President for National Security Affairs, Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and even Mohammed Aldouri, Iraq's Ambassador to the United Nations, were guests of Secretary-General Kofi Annan in order to make sure that things will go smoothly.

Gunter Pleuger, Ambassador of Germany to the U.N., introduced a draft resolution to reinstate the "oil-for-food" program, which was discontinued by the war.  The draft may be voted on by consensus, although France and Russia are reluctant, stating that such a resolution may be regarded as legitimizing the invasion.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, may be transferred to the position of "Governor of Iraq," considered a dream job in that region.

In the meantime, the war continues, Baghdad has not yet been captured, and the government of Saddam Hussein is still in power.  There is a French proverb: Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l'ours avant de l'avoir tue.  (Don't sell the skin of the bear before killing him.)

# # # 



TONY BLAIR at the U.N.

United Nations, New York, March 27, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair is scheduled to meet Thursday with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan at United Nations headquarters to define the role of the organization in a post-war Iraq.

The United States and the United Kingdom are giving priority to humanitarian questions, while the Non-Aligned countries and the Arab League are asking the Security Council to halt the invasion.

A memorandum on the humanitarian question, prepared by the Secretariat, is being circulated, but the mood at the U.N. is toward condemnation of the U.S. and the U.K. If such a resolution should be introduced in the Security Council, however, the United States will most certainly use its veto power. The last resort would be to bring the matter before the General Assembly, where the U.S. has no veto power. The Non-Aligned group is considering such a move as the next step, even if the regime in Iraq falls in the interim.

 

 

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON IRAQ

United Nations, New York (CNS NEWS), March 26, 2003
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

On Wednesday, for the first time since the outbreak of hostilities between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Iraq, the U.N. Security Council met--at the request of the Arab League and the Non-Aligned Movement. Along with the 15 regular members of the Security Council, more than 50 non-members requested authorization to participate in the debate.

Although the original idea was to discuss humanitarian assistance to a post-war Iraq, based on suggestions from the Secretary-General, it appeared that the Arab League and the Non-Aligned countries were more interested in stopping the conflict and condemning the aggressors, referring to the United States, the United Kingdom, and their allies.

The Council president, Ambassador Mamady Traore of Guinea, requested that intervenants give a five-minute summary of their written speeches but noted that the entire texts would be entered on the record.

The Secretary-General was the first speaker and began by saying: "…during that week we have all been watching hour by hour, on our television screens, the terrifying impact of modern weaponry on Iraq and its people."

He continued by saying: "Many people around the world are seriously questioning whether it was legitimate for some member states to proceed to such a fateful action now—an action that has far-reaching consequences well beyond the immediate military dimensions—without first reaching a decision of this Council."

The Secretary-General went on to ask all belligerents to respect their obligations and to abide by the Geneva Convention. "I will recall in particular the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention under which those in effective control of any territory are responsible for meeting the humanitarian needs of its population, and are required to maintain dialogue and cooperation with international organizations engaged in humanitarian relief," he said. "No one on either side must obstruct that relief."

Speaker after speaker--from Malaysia, Algeria, Cuba, South Africa, Libya, Egypt, and other countries--denounced the invasion of Iraqi territory as a violation of the U.N. Charter. For a moment, the action on Iraq returned as a matter before the Security Council, which had not been able to prevent the invasion of Iraq.

 

 

Condoleezza Rice at the U.N.

United Nations, New York, March 25, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

Very early Tuesday morning, Condoleezza Rice, Assistant to the U.S. President for National Security Affairs, paid a call at U.N. Headquarters to Secretary-General Kofi Annan to discuss humanitarian assistance to "post war" Iraq.  

Later on, in his regular briefing, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer indicated that human rights was one of the issues discussed, as well as the role of the U.N. in the aftermath of the conflict.

Earlier, in Geneva, UNICEF had expressed renewed concern for children caught up in the war in Iraq and had urged the parties to the conflict to ensure that civilians are being protected adequately both from the battles and from the serious health risks brought about by damage to basic services. Carol Bellamy, Director of UNICEF, had urged the parties to abide by their humanitarian obligations under international law. Early today, Iraq’s Minister of Information had echoed in Baghdad the urgency of this humanitarian emergency.

More than 200 UNICEF staff members are still working inside Iraq.

There was no indication whether Dr. Rice and Kofi Annan discussed the criticism of the Secretary-General by the Iraqi authorities over the last few days.  

The impromptu visit Tuesday from a permanent member of the Security Council certainly helped morale at the United Nations. In the U.N. corridors, however, although the loud speaker announces from time to time that the Security Council is in consultation, diplomats, staff members, and the NGOs are busy watching live reports on the television screens.


KOFI ANNAN’S 
CREDIBILITY QUESTIONED


United Nations, New York, March 24, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

Upon his arrival at U.N. Headquarters Monday morning, Secretary-General Kofi Annan encountered journalists asking intensive questions regarding statements made by Iraq’s Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri last Friday and the Vice President of Iraq, Taha Yasin Ramadan, accusing him of being a colonialist high commissioner.

The Secretary-General responded by saying: "I think I can understand the anger, the frustration, the exasperation of Mr. Ramadan, and maybe other Iraqis. Their country is at war, and these sentiments and anger are something that is understandable…The U.N. or I have no interest in becoming a high commissioner. And it is ironic that as a former colonial subject I’d be accused of being a colonialist."

As for the alleged violation of international law in his proposals for the oil-for-food program and his action of pulling workers out of Iraq, he answered: "…it has to be clear that the U.N. workers were the last to leave. Quite a lot of governments had pulled out their diplomatic staff before we did because of the impending war.... And we normally do remove our staff out of harm’s way."

He continued: "60% of [the Iraqis] have been dependent on the oil-for-food scheme…the Council and myself are determined to do whatever we can to keep that pipeline open.

Later on, at a press briefing, the Secretary-General’s spokesman, Fred Eckhard, was asked, once again, about Article 99 of the U.N. Charter, which gives the Secretary-General the authority to draw to the attention of the Security Council matters breaching peace and security. The answer was that since the Security Council was already seized if the matter, the Secretary-General did not feel it necessary to send a letter.

A journalist made a comparison between a strong statement made by the Secretary-General regarding a massacre in Kashmir over the weekend and a complete silence about the situation in Iraq. The Spokesman indicated that the Secretary-General has made his voice heard.

Since the United States had indicated that it was making pressure to remove Iraqi diplomats worldwide, a question was asked about the Iraqi Ambassador at the U.N. The answer was that, as of Friday, there had been no communication about any such request.

After the press briefing, a spokesperson for the Secretary-General confirmed that the Swiss authorities are the depository of the Geneva Convention, which has been a subject of controversy regarding the presentation of American POWs by Iraqi television.

This was one of the few times that a press briefing has come so close to questioning Kofi Annan’s credibility.

 

IRAQ'S DELEGATE ACCUSES KOFI ANNAN OF BIAS, WORKING WITH THE BRITISH AND THE AMERICANS AGAINST HIS COUNTRY

United Nations, New York, March 21, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu and Sondra Singer Beaulieu

Iraq's Ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammed A. Aldouri, read a statement to the press at 5:40 P.M. Friday evening, accusing U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan of collusion with the U.S. and Britain in order to eliminate Iraq as a sovereign nation.

Ambassador Aldouri said that Article 99 of the U.N. Charter makes it imperative for the Secretary-General to bring to the attention of the Security Council matters threatening the maintenance of international peace and security. This letter was never sent, he said, although the Secretary-General was quick to introduce a draft resolution regarding humanitarian issues, in conjunction with the United States and its allies, in essence removing the State of Iraq from existence. 

He further accused the Secretary-General of quickly removing the peacekeepers on the Iraq-Kuwaiti border, eliminating the buffer, enabling the United States and its allies to invade Iraq.

Ambassador Aldouri went further and referred to Article 100 of the Charter, Paragraph 1, which states that in the performance of their duties, the Secretary-General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the organization. They shall refrain from any action which might reflect on their position as international officials responsible only the Organization.

This statement came at a time that reports indicate that the Iraqi leadership is in complete confusion. 

A spokesman for the Secretary-General informed correspondents that Kofi Annan will give his response on Saturday.

Most of the members of the press were already gone from the U.N. building, where the action on Friday seemed to consist of everyone watching the events in Iraq on television.

 

                                                                                                                                                      

FINAL HOURS

United Nations, New York, March 19, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

With less than 12 hours before the showdown on Iraq, the United Nations Security Council met Wednesday to hear the work program proposal by head inspector Hans Blix and the representative of the Director General of the IAEA, Gustavo Zlavvinen. Since the report has been circulated already, they simply made brief introductory remarks.

Although the meeting was called to be at the level of the foreign ministers of the permanent members and others, the United States and the United Kingdom chose to be represented at the ambassadorship level.

Once again, the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, and Russia showed unity by deploring the idea of using force to solve a problem while the inspection process was working.

The Foreign Minister of Germany went further by saying that no country had any authorization to use force outside a mandate of the Security Council or the Charter.

The Foreign Minister of France, once again, drew applause by magnifying the ideals of the Charter.

But, all of this was an exercise in futility, confirmed by the U.S. Ambassador who reaffirmed that the work program introduced is a non-starter. His country is only interested, he said, by the humanitarian aspect of the crisis and is prepared to assume its part of the responsibility.

The President of the Council reaffirmed that each delegation was bound to the limit of a seven-minute statement, but the U.S. and the United Kingdom did not use the full time allotment.

Wednesday’s meeting, nevertheless, was a clear indication that the United States and its allies are isolated. 

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan addressed the Security Council and said: "I fully share the regrets expressed by many members of the Council at the fact that it has not been possible to reach a common position.  Whatever our differing views on this complex issue may be, we must all feel that this is a sad day for the United Nations and the international community."

"Under international law," the Secretary-General said, "the responsibility for protecting civilians in conflict falls on the belligerents; in any area under military occupation, responsibility for the welfare of the population falls on the occupying power."

What is the future of the United Nations?  No one knows.


# # # # #


U.S. AT WAR

New York , March 17, 2 002   (CNS NEWS)  

48 Hours for Saddam Hussein and his sons to leave Iraq —that’s the ultimatum given by President George W. Bush in his speech Monday night after a draft resolution before a deadlocked U.N. Security Council was not presented for a vote.  

The U.S. President has raised the nation’s terrorism alert from yellow to orange, which is the second highest category of risk. 

Speaking from the White House, President Bush said that American forces will wage war “at a time of our choosing.”  He told the Iraqi people: “The day of your liberation is near.”  

Saying that war could lead to retaliatory strikes by terrorists on U.S. interests at home and abroad, President Bush said he had ordered increased security at airports and along U.S. waterways.  

President Bush said that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction he might share with terrorists, has a history of hating America , and is a destabilizing force in the Middle East .  Moving toward war with the United States is a group Bush called “the coalition of the willing,” which includes Britain , Spain , Australia and a handful of other nations.  

“Instead of drifting along toward tragedy,” President Bush said, “we will set a course toward safety.  The tyrant will soon be gone.”

 


 

 


U.N./IRAQ

U.S. NOT PRESSING FOR VOTE  

By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief  

United Nations, New York , March 17, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
Facing veto power from France and Russia and the prospect of not even getting the necessary nine votes, the United States and its allies indicated early Monday that they will not be pressing for a vote on the draft resolution before the Security Council asking for the use of force to disarm Saddam Hussein.  

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, feeling the danger, promptly informed the Security Council of his decision to withdraw U.N. personnel from Iraq , including the inspectors, tacitly putting an end to the inspection process.  Although this was not specifically requested, members of the Council took note of his decision.  

The British delegation indicated that although they are not pressing for a vote, the draft resolution is on the table.   

Responding to a question about France ’s negative attitude toward the resolution, the French Ambassador said: “The atmosphere in the Council is that they did not want the use of force to disarm Iraq when the inspection was going so well.”  

“As a matter of fact,” he added, “the expected presentation of Dr. El Baradei and Dr. Blix will show that some of the amendments presented by Britain last week to the draft resolution are being covered in their work program.” Therefore, France ’s attitude reflects the position of the Council, he said, and added that there is a projected meeting at ministerial level by France , Germany , and Russia on this subject.  

The German Ambassador reflected a similar opinion.  He even went further by quoting his Chinese colleague, saying, “At this late hour, even if there is a one percent chance, we have to make a 100 percent effort to achieve peace.”  

The U.N. is shadowed by a looming war.  

The White House has announced that President Bush will address the nation Monday evening.   

Outside the U.N., people are going about their daily activities, seemingly without being preoccupied by an imminent war.  It is St. Patrick’s Day, and New York is celebrating.  

 

BENCHMARK DIPLOMACY AT THE U.N.  

By Serge Beaulieu
with Sondra Singer Beaulieu

and Linda Baker  

United Nations, New York , March 13, 2003 (CNS NEWS)  

The British, who have mastered the art of diplomacy, introduced in the Iraq debate before the Security Council a series of six tests to a draft resolution which calls on the President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, to disarm.  

One of tests, for example, would require Saddam Hussein to admit on television that he has weapons of mass destruction and that he will give them up.  

Known in the corridors of the U.N. as benchmark diplomacy, those tests found resistance, although they were introduced as a compromise to permit the United States to win the nine necessary votes without a “no” from one of the five permanent members. Early Thursday evening, after a three and one-half hour discussion, members of the Security Council approached the press stakeout to give their views.  

The first was Russian Ambassador Sergei Lavrov, who indicated that there was no consensus and hinted that, if introduced, the resolution would confront a Russian nyet.  

British Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock said he believes that the benchmarks are still open for discussion.  

He was followed by French Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, who stated that any resolution containing an ultimatum will be vetoed.  The French diplomat answered questions in both English and Spanish.   

German Ambassador Gunter Pleuger reinforced the French position.  It was a clear indication that the Security Council remains deadlocked and, if a vote were requested today or tomorrow, the resolution—with or without the benchmarks--would have no chance to pass.  

U.S. Ambassador John D. Negroponte keeps repeating that he is not in business to count votes but to disarm Iraq in accordance with Resolution 1441.  He also said that his government is fully in agreement with the British benchmark initiative as a way to unify the Council.  He reiterated the intention of his government to put the resolution to a vote, maybe not on Friday but at some point.  

Early Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan took the exceptional step of inviting each Security Council ambassador to his office for one-on-one meetings, without revealing the contents of the talks.  When his spokesman was asked if the Secretary-General envisioned a last resort trip to Baghdad , similar to U Thant’s trip to Cuba in 1962 to defuse the Cuban missile crisis, his answer was vague.  

Now that all approaches seem to have come to dead ends, it seems that the only solution would be for someone to step in and help all parties save face as U Thant did in his meeting with Fidel Castro decades ago. However, at that time there were two superpowers, the United States and Russia , and Kennedy and Khruschev were negotiating directly. 

Jacques Chirac, President of France, has called for such a meeting to avoid the outbreak of an all out war that will certainly be perceived as a conflict of civilizations and religions.  

In the meantime, UNMOVIC, which continues the supervision, states that since March 1, sixty-one Al Samoud 2 missiles and 35 warheads have been destroyed and additional Al Samoud 2-related materials and components have also been destroyed.  Another report is expected on Monday.  

 

 

VETO POWER AT THE U.N.

United Nations, New York , March 10, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief  

The U.N. Security Council, one of the main organs of the United Nations, is comprised of 15 country members. Five of them are permanent members with veto power.  They are the United States, China, United Kingdom, France, and now the Russian Federation .  The ten others, referred to as nonpermanent members, are elected for two-year terms.  Currently they are Angola, Mexico, Chile, Guinea, Cameroon, Bulgaria, Syrian Arab Republic, Germany, Pakistan, and Spain.   

For a long time, Taiwan had occupied the seat of China , acting as one of the permanent members.   

After the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , the Russian Federation assumed that seat in the Council, although Article 23 of the Charter still names the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as a permanent member.  No one has ever introduced this as an issue.  

What is the veto power?  According to Chapter V, Article 27(1) of the Charter, each member of the Security Council shall have one vote.  (2) Decisions of the Security Council on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members.  (3) Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members, including the concurring votes of the permanent members.   

The resolution on Iraq before the Council requires not only nine affirmative votes but also necessitates no negative vote from any permanent member.  They can abstain and not affect the outcome, but a “no” vote is considered a veto.  This is the dilemma facing the United States , which is courting the nonpermanent members while France and the Russian Federation continue their threat to use their right to veto.  Of course, legally someone can say that the Russian Federation is not a permanent member because it is not specifically named in the Charter, but the name of France is in the Charter, and that veto would stick.  

In the past, if the Security Council was deadlocked, for a question of such magnitude the General Assembly, with a two-third majority, could intervene.  The precedent was established on the questions of Korea and the Congo.  However, the Charter, in its ambiguity, restrains the General Assembly from intervening when the Security Council is seized of a matter.  

Now, what would happen after a veto?  Can a country, or a group of countries, on their own use force to settle the difference?  There is no such provision for this type of action.  The Secretary-General, although it is not his function to interpret the Charter, hinted at a recent press conference the consequences if such action were to be taken.  Nevertheless, the United States, through its president, is insisting that, vote or no vote, they are going to use their mighty power to disarm Iraq.  

The League of Nations became irrelevant when Italy sent its force into Abyssinia/Ethiopia. There is talk in the corridors of the U.N. that the United Nations as it is now will not remain the same if decisions regarding threats and breach of peace are taken outside of the Council.

 

FRANCE WILL NOT AUTHORIZE THE AUTOMATIC USE OF FORCE

United Nations, New York , March 7, 2003 (CNS NEWS) 
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief  

At a regularly scheduled United Nations Security Council meeting on Iraq Friday, the Foreign Minister of France, Dominique de Villepin, reiterated his country’s intention to not allow a resolution to pass that authorizes the automatic use of force in Iraq .  

This statement was in response to a draft resolution introduced last week by the United States , Spain , the United Kingdom , and Bulgaria citing Iraq in noncompliance of Security Council Resolution 1441, which called for Iraq to disarm or face “serious consequences.”

 President George W. Bush Thursday night stated at a White House press conference that in matters of security the United States does not need permission to use force, a clear indication that a war against Iraq is imminent.  

At the Security Council Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell reiterated that the U.S. draft resolution would be put to a vote, since Iraq is not disarming.   

At the meeting, Dr. Hans Blix, Chairman of UNMOVIC, indicated in his quarterly report that although some progress has been accomplished in disarming Iraq , Iraq has not been fully complying with Resolution 1441.

He indicated that thirty-four Al Samoud-2 missiles, including four training missiles, two combat warheads, one launcher and five engines have been destroyed under his supervision.  Two reconstituted casting chambers used in the production of solid propellant missiles have been destroyed and the remnants melted or encased in concrete.  

The U.N. chief inspector noted that although intelligence authorities have claimed that weapons of mass destruction are moved around Iraq by truck, the Iraqi side states that such activity does not exist.  

The Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Dr. Mohamed Elbaradei, straightforward as always, stated that his organization has now conducted a total of 218 nuclear inspections at 141 sites, including 21 that had not been inspected before.  He also said that Iraq has provided a considerable volume of documentation, and he has concluded that there is no indication of resumed nuclear capability.  He suggests, however, the continuation of evaluating Iraq ’s capabilities on a continued basis as part of a long-term monitoring and verification program, in order to provide the international community with ongoing and real-time assurance.  

The meeting provided every member of the Security Council seven minutes to intervene in this debate.  However, the intervention of France , once again, seems to have attracted the most attention—although this time the audience refrained from applauding.  

The Foreign Minister of France made a three-point proposal:  

(1) “Let us ask the inspectors to establish a hierarchy of tasks for disarmament and, on that basis, to present us as quickly as possible with the work program provided for by Resolution 1284.   We need to know immediately what the priority issues are that could constitute key disarmament tasks to be carried out by Iraq .”  

(2) “We propose that the inspectors give us a progress report every three weeks.  That will make the Iraqi authorities understand that in no case may they interrupt their efforts.”  

(3) “Finally, let us establish a schedule for assessing the implementation of the work program. Resolution 1284 provides for a time frame of 120 days.  We are willing to shorten it if the inspectors consider it feasible.”  

Members of the Council were cautioned by the French Foreign Minister to be aware of not playing into the hands of those who want a clash of civilizations, a clash of religions.  “War,” concluded the Minister, is always an acknowledgement of failure.”  

Will the United States still call for a vote?


 

TEN MORE DAYS…  

United Nations, New York , March 7, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Sondra Singer Beaulieu  

While members of the United Nations Security Council continued to debate Hans Blix and Mohamed Elbaradei’s report on Iraq ’s material breach of its obligations under Resolution 1441, an amended draft resolution on the same question was circulated, giving Iraq a deadline of March 17.    

Although presented as a compromise by the British Foreign Secretary, some members felt that it is, in fact, an ultimatum.  Other members of the Council expressed the opinion that this grace period represents a way to give diplomacy a chance.  

Iraq ’s Ambassador, Dr. Mohammed Al-Douri, intervening in the debate under Article 37, accused the American and British administrations of creating evidence and facts in order to accuse Iraq of having possession of weapons of mass destruction.  But they failed to convince the international community, he said.  

“The inspectors proved the nonexistence of such weapons and the falsity of such allegations,” Ambassador Al-Douri said.  “As to what Mr. Powell argued regarding Iraq ’s VX Program, there were no weapons of VX to be declared and no VX agent remains to be declared… Iraq never produced stable VX and never weaponized it,” he continued.  

France ’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dominique Villepin, keeps stating that war is always an acknowledgement of failure, but he may be in no position to prevent the invasion of Iraq if by March 17 an acceptable solution is not found.  

The amended draft resolution, in paragraph 3, calls for Iraq to demonstrate full, unconditional, immediate, and active cooperation in accordance with its disarmament obligations under Resolution 1441. 

President Bush has already alerted the world that a no vote by the Council would not preclude him from defending United States interests, meaning disarming Saddam Hussein by force.  

As the scenario unfolded in the chamber of the Security Council, the New York City police permitted a limited number of demonstrators to stand in the freezing cold in Ralph Bunche Park across the street from the U.N. building to voice anti-war slogans.



 

CHECKMATE AT THE U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL

United Nations, New York , March 1, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

By Serge Beaulieu, U.N. Bureau Chief

The United Nations is experiencing a revival of the Cold War of the 60s as the Iraqi crisis evolves.  The 15 members of the Security Council are now deadlocked, after playing such a dominant role over the other U.N. organs, particularly the General Assembly. 

After the return of China to its permanent seat on the Security Council and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union, a new world order has emerged, creating a new diplomatic concept, downgrading the power of the General Assembly in favor of the Security Council, dominated by the Big Five permanent members.  On several occasions in the past, conflicts between those two organs ended in favor of the General Assembly’s decision.  The Congo peacekeeping operation of the 1960s, for example, although vetoed by the Soviet Union in a Security Council decision, was later on authorized by the General Assembly with a two-third majority.  In protest, since that time, the Soviet Union did not pay its dues.

Those were the days when lobbying for votes was the “diplomatic game.”  Member countries felt important by becoming an integral part of the U.N. decision making process.   One still remembers Counsellor Katz and, later on, Ambassador Donald McHenry from the U.S. Mission lobbying Third World diplomats in the corridor of the Diplomatic Lounge.  That was diplomacy at its best.

Today, non-member countries of the Security Council get their information at the news stakeouts.  Who is to blame?  The Charter of the United Nations created an ambiguous situation by giving the General Assembly, in Chapter IV, Articles 10 and 11, the same attribution as the Security Council regarding matters of peace and security.  At the same time, Chapter IV, Article 12, removes the power from the General Assembly by stating that while the Security Council is seized with a question, the Assembly should not make any recommendation.  Consequently, the Council supersedes the General Assembly by ending each of its resolutions with the statement: The Council remains seized of the matter.

Now, can the Assembly intervene after a veto?  Yes, if one takes the Congo peacekeeping operation as a precedent. In the case of Iraq , if a veto has been imposed, will the powerful nonaligned nations take the case to the General Assembly, even if the United States and Great Britain have launched an invasion against Iraq ?  The answer is probably yes.  If the United States has assurance that one of the five permanent members will veto the new resolution, as the foreign minister of Russia has indicated, the U.S. may not press for a vote, leaving Resolution 1441 “seized of the matter.”  There is no indication, however, that this resolution authorizes a member state to supercede the Council and take unilateral intervention.  But President Bush seems to think that it does.

The General Assembly, once again, may find itself in a position to regain its authority by intervening in a deadlocked Security Council matter regarding peace and security.  If not, the United Nations may become irrelevant, as did the League of Nations

 

WORLD POPULATION 
WILL BE 8.9 BILLION BY 2050


By Serge Beaulieu, U.N. Bureau Chief
and Sondra Singer Beaulieu, Correspondent


United Nations,
February 26, 2003 (CNS NEWS) -- In a synopsis of the report
2002 Revision of the official world population estimates and projections,
Joseph Chamie, Director of the Population Division at the U.N., gives us a
shocking report of our planet's trends.

By 2050, from 6.3 billion our world, despite devastation by low fertility
and the impact of HIV/AIDS, will nevertheless grow to 8.9 billion.  (A
previous estimate of 9.3 billion has been lowered.)  Growth will be at a
rate of 1.2 percent, translating to 77 million people per year.

Six countries account for half of that annual increase:
India with 21
percent,
China with 12 percent, Pakistan with 5 percent, and
Bangladesh/Nigeria/U.S. with 4 percent.

The study grouped countries into six major areas:
Africa ; Asia ; Europe ;
Latin America and the Caribbean ; Northern America ; Oceania .  For statistical
convenience, we were told, the regions are classified in two categories:
more developed or less developed.

The more developed are
Australia, New Zealand; Europe, Northern America , and
Japan .

The less developed include all the regions of Africa and Asia (excluding
Japan); Latin America and the Caribbean; Melanesia and Polynesia.

The study grouped 49 of the less developed as least developed, among them
Afghanistan and Angola.

Fertility at the world level is expected to decline from 2.83 children per
woman (1995-2000) to 2.02 in 2045-2050.  The life expectancy at birth is
expected to increase from 65 years to 74 years.  The study anticipates a
more serious and prolonged impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the most
affected countries.

The population of the 53 affected countries in 2050 is projected to be 480
million lower than it would have been in the absence of AIDS.  Africa will
be hit the hardest.  Of these countries, 38 are in Saharan Africa (Angola,
Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic,
Chad, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti,
Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea,
Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia,
Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda,
United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe).  Five are in Asia
(Cambodia, China, India, Myanmar, and Thailand).  Eight are in Latin America
and the Caribbean (Bahamas, Belize, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Guyana,
Haiti, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago).  One each is in Europe (Russian
Federation) and Northern America (U.S.A.)  Of the 37.1 million adults in the
world infected by HIV by 2001, 34.6 million (93 percent) resided in these 53
countries.

The population of the world will age faster in the next 50 years than during
the last half century.  In 2000, 69 million persons were age 80, and this
number is projected to reach 377 million by 2050.  China currently has the
largest number of people aged 80 years (11.4 million), followed by the U.S.
(9.1), India (6.1), Japan (4.8), Russia (2.9), and Germany (2.9).  Those
countries account for 54 percent of today's oldest people.

The 22-page synopsis presented by the Population Division is in advance of a
3-volume report that will be issued as a working document by mid-2003.

Joseph Chamie always gives a clear presentation, knowing well what he is
talking about.

 

Disarmament and War

By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

United Nations,
February 24, 2003 (CNS NEWS)


Early afternoon on Monday, February 24, the U.N./U.S. delegation introduced before the members of the Security Council a draft resolution giving the regime of Saddam Hussein one more opportunity to disarm.

Sponsored conjointly by the
United Kingdom and Spain , the draft resolution recalled resolution 1441, warning that Iraq will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violation of its obligation.   The text went on to say that Iraq's noncompliance with this Council resolution and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long range missiles pose a threat to international peace and security. 

The wording of this draft resolution, however, did not follow the rhetoric of President Bush of imminent attack against
Baghdad .  It was done deliberately to invite hesitant members to join in a yes vote, hoping to give the U.S. administration the nine votes necessary for adoption, if one of the five permanent members does not use its veto power.

Then what?  The Council still has to determine the form of action that will be taken in case of noncompliance by Iraq.  The Bush administration appears to consider a vote as a go-ahead not only to invade Iraq but also to install a new regime, replacing Saddam Hussein.  Not, so, say the French and the Germans.

At a joint press conference in Europe a few hours after the introduction of the resolution, France's President Jacques Chirac and Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schroder reiterated that there is no need for a new resolution.  1441 is sufficient, they maintain, for the disarmament of Iraq.  For the first time, the French president even hinted at the veto power at the disposal of his country, without any indication that he was prepared to use it.

In the meantime, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is canvassing the world looking for support. 

A new date has been set.  March 7 is when Hans Blix is due to report to the Council on progress accomplished by Iraq, especially the destruction of long-range missiles not permitted by the Iraq Sanction Committee.

Everyone is hiding behind this deadline in order to give diplomacy a chance.  In the meantime, U.S. forces in the Gulf are getting closer to their objective, an armada of 200,000 troops with tanks, planes, and missiles in order to strike Baghdad and eliminate Saddam Hussein and his associates.

 

WE ARE IN THEIR HANDS....................

HANS BLIX—MOHAMED ELBARADEI—WE ARE IN THEIR HANDS  

United Nations, New York, February 11, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

By Serge Beaulieu

U.N. Bureau Chief  

Never in the history of the United Nations have two men carried such a weight, upon which will depend the future of this organization.  

The 74-year-old Swedish-born Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), and Egyptian-born Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be presenting their report on Iraq to the Security Council on Friday, February 14, upon which the United States will decide to go to war against Iraq, with the clear idea of toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein.   

Who are these men, and who gave them such power?  Certainly not the U.N. Charter, which hesitates to concentrate any power in the hands of an individual, including the U.N. secretary-general, with the exception of an obligation to give notice to the Security Council of any question which can be a threat to international peace (Article 99).  

After World War II, together with the creation of the United Nations, the world had to try to contain the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.  The contest was between East and West, with the United States confronting the powerful Soviet Union , the two winners of World War II.  

The U.N. General Assembly introduced three conventions. The first was the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction, Opened for signature at London , Moscow , and Washington on April 10, 1972 and entered into force on March 26, 1975 .  

The second was the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction, signed at Paris on January 13, 1993, and entered into force on April 29, 1997.  

The third, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), was opened for signature at New York on September 24, 1996, and is not yet in force.  

Such conventions normally lead to the creation of institutions of control, such as UNMOVIC and IAEA.  It was not until the question of Iraq emerged that those institutions—and their heads—became household names, and suddenly the world found itself in their hands.  

How did it happen?  In 1990 Saddam Hussein decided to invade oil-rich Kuwait and make it part of his Empire.  The United States and England, which have interests in Kuwaiti petroleum, reacted quickly by forming a coalition to contain the pretensions of Iraq over Kuwait.   Saddam Hussein’s army was defeated, but he was able to save his regime by accepting restrictions and sanctions imposed through various resolutions by the U.N. Security Council.  UNMOVIC was created as the organ of supervision of those resolutions.  

For 12 years, Saddam Hussein has been able to play cat and mouse with UNMOVIC, not responding fully to accusations made against his regime, especially about biological weapons in his possession, by not permitting full access to the inspectors.  Richard Butler, a former chairman of UNMOVIC, decided on his own to pull the inspectors out of Baghdad, creating a vacuum that led to the situation the world is facing today.  

In the meantime, George W. Bush, whose father was the U.S. president at the time of the Gulf War, was elected President of the United States and decided to settle this unfinished business.  The dreadful 9/11 terrorist attack on New York, credited to Arab extremists under the leadership of Bin Ladin, further inflamed the situation.  Bush quickly reacted by leveling Afghanistan and getting rid of the Taliban regime. Iraq became his next priority, while the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1441, calling on Saddam Hussein to disarm.   

The last report before the Security Council presented by Blix and ElBaradei complicated the situation even further by providing ammunition to the Bush Administration to issue a final ultimatum—even to the Security Council to take its responsibility or face the consequences.  Bush went further and stated that the United States and a coalition will disarm Saddam Hussein.  “The game is over,” said Bush.

France, Germany, China, and the Russian Federation reacted by asking for more time to permit the inspectors to complete their work.  The situation has become so complicated that a serious rift has occurred in the NATO alliance as some powerful countries in Europe are challenging Bush’s do-it-alone approach.    

In the meantime, pressure is being exerted on Iraq to open up in order to avoid a war that could lead to disaster.  Men make history, but sometimes they don’t know the history they are making.

THE REVELATION
UPDATE 2:00 P.M.

United Nations, New York, February 5, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

By Serge Beaulieu, U.N. Bureau Chief
and Leo Byam

It was 10:30 A.M. when a jovial Secretary of State Colin Powell walked through the packed Security Council chamber shaking hands with all diplomats on his way to occupy the permanent seat of the United States.

Although the meeting was scheduled for 10:00 A.M. under the chairmanship of Germany, it was not until 10:35 A.M. that Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer pounded the gavel to announce the opening of the meeting.

On each aisle of the chamber was a large screen with the caption: Iraq Failing to Disarm, February 5, 2003. The setting was reminiscent of the October 22, 1962 meeting of the Security Council on Cuba. Everyone’s eyes were on Colin Powell when he began his presentation with the standard: "Thank you, Mr. President." In a clear and firm military voice, Secretary of State Powell introduced the case of his government against Iraq’s failure to disarm by providing the history of more than twelve years of a cat and mouse play by the government of Saddam Hussein.

What everyone expected arrived soon enough. The Secretary of State played taped voice exchanges between a commander of the Iraq National Guard to his subordinate, giving instructions to hide chemical weapons before the arrival of the inspectors. The audio quality was clear, and Secretary Powell went on to explain in detail the meaning of those instructions. Once again, he reiterated Iraq’s intention to deceive the international community.

A second tape, similar to the first one, showed the intention of the Iraqi regime to hide forbidden stores of ammunition. The presenter went on to show satellite photos illustrating storage of forbidden ammunition and tankers in a town called Faji. Other photographs showed Iraqis moving material believed to be biological weapons.

Powell went on to accuse Iraq of having factories on wheels for biological weapons, crediting reputable sources reporting that more than 18 mobile trucks with mobile labs are moving all over Iraq in order to avoid discovery by the U.N. inspectors. Powell further accused Iraq of destroying or moving evidence. Some of the intercepted phone conversations talked about nerve agents.

On nuclear weapons, Secretary of State Powell insisted that Iraq is still conducting experiments in order to produce nuclear bombs. He indicated that Iraq was in already in possession of two out of the three necessary components to fabricate a bomb.

His last subject was the link between Iraq and the terrorist organization Al Qaeda. The Secretary stated that several members of that organization were the guests of the government of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, and he provided the names of some members who were actively pursuing well-known terrorist activities.

For close to one hour, Secretary of State Powell relayed his message.

One has the impression that there were a lot of reservations in his presentation to neither divulge sources nor expose the manner in which the activities were conducted. The Secretary kept repeating that Iraqi intelligence has an enormous capacity of collecting information.

After the meeting, China was the first permanent member of the Security Council to take the floor, indicating that the information giving by the American delegate should be transferred to the weapons inspectors so they can conduct further investigation.

The United Kingdom was the next speaker, corroborating the evidence presented by the United States.

Russia’s foreign minister intervened by saying that his government took very seriously the allegations of the representative of the United States and reiterated the concern of his government. He offered to put planes at the disposal of the inspectors, if necessary, for aerial surveillance.

All eyes were turned to France because of its previous position vis-a-vis the United States. The foreign minister stated that France, also, had listened carefully to the presentation of the United States and remained convinced that the work could be done better if, instead of choosing the path of war, we work with unity among ourselves by providing more data, even augmenting the number of inspectors, creating some permanent, sealed sites of inspection and conducting more aerial surveillance.

Germany, which was presiding over the Security Council meeting, took a similar stand as France, asking that the inspectors be permitted to do their work.

Speaking later, Iraq argued that that the only reason for Powell’s presentation was to sell the war to the American people.

One thing emerged at this meeting—both parties, the Americans and the Iraqis, referred to Hans Blix, the representative of the U.N. Secretary-General, as the credible expert upon whom their case rested.

Secretary-General, Kofi Annan was present at the meeting. Sitting directly behind him were Hans Blix and Mohamed El Baradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

One thing that should be noted was the presence among the 15 members of the Security Council of two female foreign ministers, one from Chile and the other from Spain, each speaking on behalf of their delegations.

(see earlier stories below)


                              

    Adlai Stevenson                                           Colin Powell
Showdown on Cuba                                      Showdown on Iraq

Stevenson - Powell

40 years later
The Great Revelation


UPDATE 9:00 A.M.

United Nations, New York, February 5, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief


The temperature was below freezing, and the muted, winter-blue sky was
dotted with fluffy, white clouds as reporters scurried Wednesday morning to
prepare their coverage of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech
before the U.N. Security Council.

The New York City Police (NYPD) blues were lightly visible in front of the
U.N. building, where several police cars were parked without blocking the
uptown traffic on First Avenue.

The United Nations did not double its security at the 42nd Street staff
entrance, and diplomats in their limousines continued to use their regular
entrance to get to the U.N. building.  The U.N. cafeteria, which offers a
full breakfast for less than $5.00, comprised of two eggs, home fries,
coffee, and toast, was packed with hungry reporters, cameras hanging around
their necks, anxious to finish their food in order to apply for a special
pass for access to the 2nd floor, adjacent to the Security Council chamber,
where the action will take place.

At 8:00 A.M., a U.N. information officer said, "So far, so good," while
security personnel with dogs were performing their last check before letting
the reporters into the special area reserved for them.

At around 10:00 A.M., the 15 members of the Security Council will convene to
hear U.S. Secretary of State Powell deliver what people believe will be a
knockout punch to Saddam Hussein.  Everyone is waiting, everyone hopes that
he will knock out his adversary, in the manner of Ambassador Adlai Stevenson
during the Cuban Missile Crisis, against his Soviet counterpart, Valerian
Zorin, on the morning of October 22, 1962. (see earlier story below).....


United Nations, New York, February 4, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief


U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is scheduled to address the U.N. Security Council Wednesday in order to deliver a final knockout to the credibility of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.  Insiders speculate that Powell will use the same method that U.S. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson did in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis against his counterpart, Soviet Ambassador Valerian Zorin.

Stevenson: "Do you, Ambassador Zorin, deny that the U.S.S.R. has placed and is placing medium and intermediate range missiles and sites in Cuba?"

Zorin: "I am not in an American court room, sir, and therefore I do not wish to answer a question that is put to me in the fashion in which a prosecutor does."

Stevenson then gave a presentation with satellite photos, charts, and data confirming that the Soviets did have offensive missiles in Cuba, putting the world for the next 48 hours on the brink of a full scale war between the two nuclear superpowers.

The difference today is that Iraq is neither a superpower nor a member of the U.N. Security Council.  After the 15 members finish their debate, Iraq will be able to be part of the list of countries permitted to address the Council on that topic.  It is not a right, it is a privilege.

So what is it all about?

To this day, three conventions have been submitted to the United Nations.  The first is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction.  (Opened for signature in London, Moscow, and Washington on April 10, 1972. Entered into force: March 26, 1975.)

The second is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, signed at Paris on January 13, 1993 and entered into force on April 29, 1997.

The third is the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), opened for signature on September 24, 1996 and not yet in force.  In the meantime, France, India, Israel, Pakistan, and now North Korea have joined the atomic powers.

Where does Iraq fit into those three conventions?  After the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq and the subsequent coalition war by the United States and its allies against Iraq, one of the conditions of peace was for Iraq to destroy its stockpile of chemical and nuclear weapons, subject to inspection and verification by the U.N.

Since the end of that war, Iraq has been using a cat and mouse strategy with the United Nations inspectors, although Hans Blix himself, the Secretary-General's representative, has clearly indicated that Iraq is no longer capable of producing and delivering mass produced nuclear material.  Although ambiguous in his analysis, Blix has left open the possibility that the Iraqis may still be hiding some of their known bacteriological and toxin weapons, thus providing the president of the United States the ammunition to claim that Iraq is not disarmed.

In fact, what happened is that the two parties are not talking the same language.  President Bush is talking about disarming and a change of regime in Iraq, warning that it is the sovereign right of the United States to make Iraq comply and, if possible, to do it alone if the United Nations refuses to authorize it.

At the United Nations, especially in the Security Council, most of the delegates are talking about inspection verification and non-compliance by Iraq.  The two languages are not the same.

France and Germany, especially Germany, which was burned by the Nazi atrocities in World War II, refuse to embark on a war which, from time to time, takes the tone of a religious war against the Muslim faith, with the possibility of a nuclear strike by a superpower.  France was a colonial power, ruling over Arab lands, and finds itself uneasy in this situation. Consequently, those two countries have been characterized as in defiance  against the mighty power of the United States, which, since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, has become the sole superpower. 

Germany, which is not a permanent member of the Security Council, nevertheless serves as its president for the month of February, making its situation more ambiguous.

At a press conference Tuesday, German Ambassador Gunter Pleuger, speaking as president of the Security Council, was bombarded with questions about the position of his own country, although he began by giving details of the activities of the Security Council for the month of February.  The press even asked him to anticipate his position on Wednesday, if delegates want to engage in a Stevenson/Zorin-style 1962 debate.  The press conference was a prelude to what may be happening on Wednesday.

A calm Gunter Pleuger said, "I will be in the hands of the Council."

The Wednesday meeting will be at the level of foreign ministers, making behind-the-scene negotiations very difficult.  There will be no possibility for a Stevenson/Zorin-like debate, since Iraq is not a member of the Security Council, unless France, as a permanent member of the Council, decides to challenge Colin Powell's presentation.

Already, some high level officials in the Bush Administration are questioning the viability of France as an ally.  U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has been quoted as stating that France and Germany are old Europe.

 

 

 


 

Space Shuttle Columbia crew, left to right, front row, Rick Husband, Kalpana Chawla, William McCool, back row, David Brown, Laurel Clark, Michael Anderson and Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon

 

All humankind affected by loss of US space shuttle, Annan says

1 February – Offering his sympathies to those affected by the tragedy which struck the United States space shuttle Colombia, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said all humankind suffered a loss in the incident.

In a statement released by his spokesman, Mr. Annan said he was "deeply saddened" by the tragedy which took the lives of seven astronauts on board.

"His thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who perished on this mission," the spokesman said, voicing condolences to the Government and people of the United States, as well as to the Governments and peoples of India and Israel, which also lost crew members. "Because the exploration of space knows no national boundaries, the loss of the Columbia is a loss to all humankind."


 

 


Patrick Manning
Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago

TRINIDAD AMBASSADOR JOHN S. DONALDSON
PAYS A CALL TO THE U.N.

United Nations, New York, January 30, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu, Bureau Chief

John S. Donaldson, a special envoy of the government of Trinidad and Tobago, a small, rich Caribbean country, paid a courtesy call to the U.N. early Thursday to explain his country’s disapproval of travel advisories circulated by the United Kingdom and Australia denouncing his country as a possible terrorist threat.

The United Kingdom’s advisory says: "British nationals should exercise vigilance, particularly in public places frequented by foreigners, such as hotels, restaurants, shopping malls.

The government of Australia issued a similar advisory.

The special envoy went further to accuse the United Nations of having followed by adding Trinidad to its Phase One Security Listing. The minister indicated that the fallout from those actions has the potential to snowball and cause incalculable harm to Trinidad and Tobago. He explained that the government of Trinidad and Tobago had to send his Minister of Foreign Affairs to to London, the Minister of Public Administration and Information to Washington, D.C., and himself to United Nations headquarters to shine a light on the misinformation and explain that Trinidad and Tobago is safe to visit and invest.

Said the special envoy: "Our country depends on trade for its economic development, it depends on national and international investment to develop its rich natural resources. Trinidad and Tobago, but particularly Tobago, has to ensure that the tourist industry, with all its promise, prospers. For those reasons, and others, the government assures the international community that it has spared no effort, nor expense, to make the country safe."

As far as the United Nations advisory note is concerned, Ambassador Donaldson said: "It was a source of immense gratitude to be assured only yesterday by the responsible official of the United Nations that it in no way judged Trinidad and Tobago to be a state which was likely to experience instances of international terrorism, and that the caution that its staff was advised to exercise was an internal directive only. The directive was issued with no prior knowledge of advisories emanating from the United Kingdom and Australia."

Later on, Fred Eckhard, spokesman for the Secretary-General of the United Nations, confirmed the official’s statement.

Carnival celebration in Trinidad and Tobago is from March 2 to 4th, and visitors are important to the country’s economy.