Friday, March 20, 2009

On Sri Lanka in UN Council, China Blocks March 26 Meeting

UNITED NATIONS, March 19 -- The day after the UN involuntarily admitted counting 2,683 civilian killings in Sri Lanka from January 20 to March 7 of this year, efforts to hold a second UN Security Council meeting on Sri Lanka were described to Inner City Press by a range of Council diplomats. Non-permanent Council members including Austria, Mexico and Costa Rica have requested the meeting for March 26, under the heading "Other Matters" since Sri Lanka is still not a formal item on the Council's agenda.

These members thought they had agreement from other Council members, but now China is "vehemently" opposing any discussion in the Council of the plight of civilians in the Sri Lankan conflict. China argues that it is "merely an internal matter," and not a threat to international peace and security.

Sri Lanka's mission to the UN has contacted Council members to make this same argument. Those requesting the meeting are considering calling a procedural vote, on which there are no veto rights. If they have nine votes for the meeting, it will be held -- unless they don't even call for a vote. The position, and strength of commitment, of Western Permanent Five members is not known at press time. Watch this site.

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