By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, May 1 – With the Presidency of the UN Security Council for May being taken over by Uruguay, Ambassador Elbio Rosselli on May 1 took questions from the media about the month's Program of Work. Inner City Press asked him about new envoys for Burundi (Michel Kafando) and Western Sahara (Horst Kohler, apparently Inner City Press' 227th question on Western Sahara according to Morocco's count), and about the May 30 meeting on Yemen. Video here. Rosselli said the envoys are up to the Secretary General and spoke about Morocco's ouster, now reversed, of the MINURSO mission. On Yemen he said the meeting is at the end of the month because it is hard to move these around, it's like Tetris. On behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access Inner City Press asked Rosselli after the month's eight closed door consultations to hold on-camera stakeouts on UNTV. We note that Frente Polisario's April 28 stakeout, unlike that of Morocco's Omar Hilale, is still as of this writing on May 1 not on the UNTV website. We'll have more on this.
Back at the beginning of March, then-incoming UNSC President Matthew Rycroft of the UK answered Inner City Press on Burundi by referring to France as the penholder. On Yemen -- on which the UK holds the pen -- he said sometimes there is a benefit to a closed door discussion. Fine: but what's the problem with an open briefing, then closed consultations? The Free UN Coalition for Access will continue to pursue this.
On Yemen Inner City Press also asked if the UK's findings as it looks into more than 250 incidents of the Saudi led coalition will be shared with the Security Council. It remains unclear.
At the end, Inner City Press asked Rycroft if Nick Kay is still a candidate to be UN Envoy to Libya. Rycroft said the UK supports current envoy Martin Kobler but if he is to be changed, it should be fast, there is momentum.
Rycroft said that civil society will be invited to participate in the month's wrap up session, a first. Boris Johnson will chair the March 23 meeting on South Sudan, and something on Somalia later that day. We'll have more on this.