By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, July 3 – With the Presidency of the UN Security Council being taken over for July by China, Ambassador Liu Jieyi on July 3 took questions from the media about the month's Program of Work. Inner City Press asked him if UN Secretary General Antnio Guterres will be briefing the Council about his trip to Afghanistan, and fly-by the Cyprus talks, about the the Burundi session set for July 26. Periscoep video here.
The 226 UN Police mandated a year ago have not been deployed. Ambassador Liu said that the Council will hear from new part-time envoy Michel Kafando, and from Willian Mkapa. It is not clear if or when Guterres will brief the Council about Cyprus much less Afghanistan. (Inner City Press has asked Guterres' top two spokesmen including when Guterres will give his political reforms retreat for member states, July 15 or July 22-23, without response). Liu answered at least ten questioners, mostly on North Korea, on which he reiterated China's suspension for suspension proposal. There wer no other questions on Africa. We will stay on this, including the (unlisted?) briefing on Somalia - Eritrea sanctions and the long delayed Western Sahara envoy, throughout the month.
On behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, Inner City Press asked the affable Liu to do stakeouts throughout the month. Watch this site.
Back in May with the Presidency of the UN Security Council being taken over by Uruguay, Ambassador Elbio Rosselli on May 1took 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' 227thquestion 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.