Saturday, June 18, 2011

Amid Libya Rift, Western UNSC Members Try to Have African Union for Lunch

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, June 7 -- With African Union ministers scheduled to come to New York concerning Libya on June 15, there is a fight in the Security Council about what format to meet them in.

South Africa, which pushed for the ministerial meeting, would like it to be an open, inter-active dialogue. They have support on the Eastern Front of the Permanent Five for this.

Western P-5 members, on the other hand, have despite their stated respect for and even deference to the African Union proposed that interaction with the AU ministers be confined to a non-public lunch, non Western Council sources have complained to Inner City Press.

They say the United States wanted there to be no public meeting with the African Union, and that the UK then proposed it merely be a lunch.

This is “disrespectful to the African Union,” they say. They explain it as an attempt by Western members to avoid airing in public the disagreement the African Union expressed to the Council when it visited Addis Ababa last month.

The Western members of the Council like to “use” the African Union, it's said, until the AU disagrees with them. Then it's time to retire to a private lunch.

Inner City Press asked French foreign minister Alain Juppe to respond to the African Union criticism of how Resolution 1973 is being implemented. Juppe avoided any specifics, merely stating that the actions of France, and presumably of NATO, are in compliance with the resolution. Bon appetit!