By Matthew Russell Lee, for InnerCityPro.com
UNITED NATIONS, July 1 -- When Japan's new Ambassador to the UN Koro Bessho held a press conference about the July program of work of the Security Council, which he'll preside over for the month, Inner City Pro asked him about the Council's working methods. Video here, Tweeted photo here.
Specifically, should non-Council members such as the chairs of Peacebuilding configurations be allowed into consultations? Can the press and public have more access?
Bessho said the purpose of the debate on working methods on July 19 will be to hear the views of non-Council members. No outcome document is planned.
Inner City Press also asked Bessho about Western Sahara, on the schedule for July 26, and about Burundi, not on the schedule at all. Bessho called Western Sahara, from which Morocco expelled more than 80 UN staff, sensitive and said he did not want to prejudge what will happen.
On Burundi, he said he'd like to see progress, for example on the proposal of a UN deployment there, but acknowledged it is not on the schedule. Neither, we note, is Yemen - but Bessho did say Yemen is being monitored. This video also has his answers on DPRK and South China Sea. Some had questioned why he was replacing PR Yoshikawa so suddenly, right before Japan's presidency. That question remains, but his first press conference went well.
Eritrea is on the schedule, on July 20, but only as a matter of sanctions. Apparently the letters of June 14 and June 23 sent to French Ambassador Delattre when he was president were not acted on.
On the selection process for the Next SG, Bessho said there will be a first “straw poll” on July 21; he said the results will be confidential. We'll see. For the Free UN Coalition for Access, Inner City Press asked for stakeouts after consultations, and more access and transparency. We'll be reviewing this closely. Watch this site.