By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, September 25 -- After Pope Francis in his General Assembly speech denounced "usury, especially where developing countries are concerned," Inner City Press later on September 25 asked new General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft about the comment and the process in the GA, at least in the last session, on sovereign debt restructuring. Video here.
Lykketoft said that he didn't think the issue would be dealt with within the UN's walls -- strange, given that resolutions sponsored by Argentina, Bolivia and the Group of 77 and China on just his have passed by substantial majorities. Perhaps Inner City Press will have the opportunity to ask Lykketoft about this again: getting a question in to him is proving less straight forward that it should be, but we remain optimistic. Watch this site.
The issue of sovereign debt restructuring was taken up at the UN on December 5, 2014 with a resolution on modalities for negotiation sponsored by Bolivia for the Group of 77 and China put to a vote in the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly.
The US spoke against the resolution and in favor of dealing with it through the International Monetary Fund -- note that the US is blocking IMF reform -- and was one of 16 countries to vote "no." 34 countries abstained and fully 128 countries voted yes.
Afterward Bolovia's Permanent Representative Sacha Llorenti and his counterpart from Argentina Maria Cristina Perceval held a press conference in the UN Press Briefing Room.
Inner City Press thanked the duo for the Free UN Coalition for Access-- tellingly, the old UN Correspondents Association wasn't there, though the UN Secretariat insists on setting aside question for what's become its UN Censorship Alliance -- and asked about the IMF, and a growing investors in Argentina's debt.
Llorenti emphasized the greater legitimacy of the UN General Assembly -- one country, one vote -- over the pay to play environment of the IMF. He contrasted the 16 "no" voting countries as a percentage of those in the GA, versus their power in the IMF.
Perceval joined and expanded in this comments, and declined to comment on the company Inner City Press had asked about, Highland Capital. She said this is not about Argentina's problem but the multilateral process. She said that Argentina took a lead on the issue of the disappeared, though it was too late to help Argentina.
While understandable, there's nothing wrong with a particular country's problems being an engine for raising an issue of wider import. This is how things get changed, if they do, says the Free UN Coalition for Access. We'll have more on this.