Sunday, May 27, 2007

The United Nations, a/k/a the Ministry of Truth

This actually happened, according to Reuters (or did it?):
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad had to reconvene the U.N. Security Council and rerun a meeting on Friday after reading the wrong statement on Sudan, effectively wiping an entire council session out of history.

At the first session, Khalilzad, current president of the council, read out a hard-hitting statement denouncing aerial bombardment in the troubled Darfur region in a clear critique of the Sudanese government.

When the session ended, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin was the first to point out that the statement was not the one that the council's 15 members had agreed, participants said.

After about 10 minutes, officials managed to corral diplomats wandering off for the weekend back into the council chamber. Khalilzad opened a new meeting under the same serial number at which he read out a more anodyne statement that just urged all parties in Darfur, rebels included, to end violence.

"He read an old version" of the statement at the first meeting, U.S. mission spokesman Benjamin Chang said of Khalilzad. "That first one (session) never happened." U.N. officials agreed that in effect the earlier session had been superseded.

Khalilzad's only admission of error at the second meeting was when he concluded by saying with a grin: "The meeting IS adjourned," stressing the word "is."

Afterward, he told reporters: "There were two words that were there in the first statement that shouldn't have been there. It was late in the day, Friday, administration under a degree of stress, but you know, we're all human beings, it happens."
Well, that's certainly inspiring. The statement itself hardly inspires shock or awe.

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