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Posted on on September 3rd, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

As Lebanon Heads UNSC, Salam Riffs on Palestine, Doesn’t Defer to NATO

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 2 — With the UN Security Council presidency being taken over by Lebanese Permanent Representative Nawaf Salam for September, the month of the General Debate and when Palestine might ask the Council to join the UN, many of wondered if Lebanon’s complex politics might impact the Council’s plumbing, if not its ultimate decisions.

Lebanon, for example, blocked the first proposed Press Statement on Syria, then disassociated itself from the Presidential Statement adopted  August 3.

While the two dueling Syria resolutions now pending in the Council may pose a problem for Salam — on Friday he said his “good offices” to mediate haven’t been requested — an issue he clearly feels passionate about is Palestine.

During his press conference on Friday, his longest answer concerned the questions of Palestinian statehood. He recalled that Palestine declared itself a state in 1988. He cited the 1933 Montevideo Convention and said that Palestine has all the attributes of a state.

On the question of undefined borders, he compared it with South Sudan, which is still in a dispute with Khartoum for Abyei, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States.

Palestine is not, however, listed on the Council’s program of work for September, even in the footnotes.

Inner City Press asked Salam about Kordofan and Blue Nile. He said they could be addressed at the September 8 consultations on Sudan and South Sudan, and said he would come speak to the press after those consultations.

On Libya, Inner City Press asked Salam about a statement by French president Nicolas Sarkozy on September 1, that the so-called “Group of Friends of Libya” had decided that NATO can keep bombing.

The same is implied in the UN Secretariat’s Libya plan written by Ian Martin, which Inner City Press exclusively obtained and published. Inner City Press asked Salam, but isn’t that the Security Council’s decision?

Salam said that yes, the Council can consider and decide on NATO’s mission, at its Libya consultations scheduled for September 26. That seems late, but at least Salam said it’s not just up to NATO.


Salam & his political coordinator with then PGA Treki, of whom we’ll have more soon


June 10, 2010 — As Libya moves to expel the UN’s refugee agency, Inner City Press has asked the office of UN General Assembly President Ali Treki, former foreign minister and senior adviser to the country’s longtime leader, if Treki is doing anything to avoid a cut of in assistance to refugees and involuntary migrants in Libya.

Rather than describe any efforts, his spokesman said that Treki “is not representing the Government of Libya. He is in his capacity as President of the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly.” But UNHCR is a organ of the General Assembly. Shouldn’t Treki try Something?


Salam is an intellectual, having for example edited and written a chapter in the 2003 book “Lebanon in Limbo.” His review copy inscription says, “Best wishes from a region (and not only my country) in limbo.”

We will be reviewing the book during his month; we’ll see where he comes out between the mere three media stakeouts held in May by French Ambassador Gerard Araud, and the eight full blown stakeouts conducted by Hardeep Singh Puri of India in August.

* * *

At UN on Syria, An “Attempt to Break the BRICS,” To Leave Russia & China Solo

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 2, updated — With dueling Syria resolutions and philosophies competing in the Security Council, the Western side has invited India, Brazil and South Africa to consultations on Friday afternoon. 

Chinese Ambassador Li Baodong told Inner City Press that his county and Russia would not be attending. We had a meeting yesterday of the BRICS, he said with the smile.

Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative Pankin added: the BRICS, you build with them.

Later Russian Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin, when Inner City Press asked him if the BRICs would be broken, said with bravado, “Never!”

Churkin & Li Baodong, between IBSA & the BRICS

Friday afternoon’s session will follow a Thursday afternoon meeting at the UK Mission at which all parts of the European and US draft were discussed except the sanctions provisions. Some have dubbed these faux negotiations; others see an attempt to peal off the so-called IBSA.

Will the BRICS hold?

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