Apologies Flow at IWC Meeting in
Still Not Satisfied
By: Tony Best
June 19, 2003
Facing certain ejection from the
annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission, a host
of prominent international environmental organizations
apologized to six
nations for depicting them as "lapdogs" of the
While the Barbados-based Caribbean
Conservation Association denounced the organizations
responsible for "the offensive remarks," the apology
didn't satisfy all of the Caribbean Commissioners who had
complained to the IWC and got the body to threaten to expel
several groups if they didn't apologize after the statements
caused an uproar at the 55th annual IWC meeting in
"I don't think what many of them
eventually did was to apologize," said
's Minister of Agriculture. "It is true that some of them
did apologize and said they were unhappy with the remarks and
disassociated themselves from them. Freedom of speech comes
with a responsibility, and I think that the countries at the
55th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission
felt that way and demanded an apology."
ECO, a newsletter of more than a dozen
major international, national and regional environmental
, published an article which contained a cartoon depicting a
Japanese man in a chair with a Black dog in his lap. The
caption read: "His Excellency the lap dog! Millions of
the master's yen buy many votes."
Commissioners from every country,
, condemned the article and the cartoon, whose key message was
states had sold their votes to the Japanese.
"It was quite offensive, and I
feel that very strongly," said Rolland Schmitten, the
U.S. Commissioner. Valentin
's senior delegate, shared that sentiment. "Although we
have seen and heard name calling before at IWC meetings from
some of the anti-whaling environmental group, this particular
statement was extremely offensive and insulting,"
Ilyashenko said. "We have been the victims of such abuse
in the past, and we share the
Some of the Commissioners, especially
those from the
, branded the article as "racist to the core" and,
therefore, couldn't be allowed to slide.
They directed much of their anger at the Eastern
Caribbean Coalition for Environmental Awareness, an affiliate
of CCA, because ECCEA, which subsequently apologized, was
quoted extensively in the offending article, portraying
Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, and
St. Vincent by name as countries which had sold out to Japan.
"The cartoon and the article were
racist," said Charles. "Why would you paint a
picture of an Oriental and then the other figure is painted in
black. If you didn't feel that Black people were siding with
the Japanese, then you wouldn't use a black figure. It was
extremely distasteful for an organization from the
, one which operates in the region and enjoys the privileges
, to do something like that."
Dr. Joth Singh, CCA's Executive
Director, said that he was appalled that environmental groups,
including a CCA affiliate, would publish such an attack on the
and warned that the incident could set back the region and its
NGOs in their drive to influence change.
"It was really very
unfortunate," he said. "You don't succeed in getting
people to change their thinking or their decisions by
attacking them. I think what has happened is that everyone was
offended and, being a person from the
, I was also offended by what was published. I know that all
of the Commissioners were right to ask for an apology, which
has been provided. I strongly criticize and condemn the action
of publishing such an attack. It was very, very inappropriate.
It sets us back a few steps in terms of looking at what are
the options within the
In its statement of regret, the
International Fund for Animal Welfare, which funds some of
CCA's activities, said it "was not responsible for
producing the editorial, and we wish to disassociate ourselves
from the form in which it appeared. We would like to reiterate
our regret for any offence that may have been caused."
Greenpeace also made it clear that it
"was not involved in composing, editing or reviewing any
material contained" in the offending ECO newsletter and
stated that "had we been aware of the contents of the
material, it would not have appeared in that form."
The World Wildlife Fund stated it,
too, was "sorry for any offence taken" by the
various countries, saying that if had known about the material
"we would have declined to publish (it) in its current
More than a dozen organizations which
were linked to ECO also apologized "for any offence
caused" and disassociated "ourselves from any
's Minister, Claris Charles, Falls Short.
By Tony Best
June 19, 2003
With the International Whaling
Commission hopelessly divided between pro and anti-whaling
's attempt to make history fell short as nations voted along
's Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, along with a host of
other IWC Commissioners had hoped to see her become the first
woman elected vice chairman.
But, when the votes were counted, she had garnered 19
votes, seven less than Carlos Domingez,
's top representative.
"In the end it came down to the
fact that those who wish to prevent any resumption of
commercial whaling had the votes, while those of us who
advocate the sustainable use of the world's marine resources
couldn't persuade some on the other side to see our point of
view," said Charles. "It is a highly polarized
situation where nothing changes. It is a great pity, because
no matter what sort of influences or what discussions you
have, nobody is influenced and the vote remains the
Indeed, in almost every vote, it was
clear that the anti-whaling nations were voting as a bloc, and
their strength carried the day.
Daven Joseph, Antigua's Commissioner, who
sought the vice-chairmanship position three years and lost,
said afterwards that the outcome of the vote was unfortunate
because "Ms. Charles has so much to offer, something that
nations from different parts of the world recognized; and, as
a woman from the Caribbean, she could make a difference"
in the way how things were done in the Commission.
"She lost but she was an excellent
candidate," he said.
Although it was a secret ballot, it is
believed that the
Minister received votes from the seven Caricom states -
- as well as the support of
. Two countries abstained.
"If there was anything that I was
surprised about, it was that on a secret ballot two countries
abstained," Charles said afterwards. "I am
accustomed to the voting patterns in the IWC and, therefore,
there is little or nothing that one can be surprised about. It
has been happening since I attended the first IWC meeting in
's Commissioner and the new IWC Chairman, said that it was
obvious that the organization was polarized, and he was hoping
that the gap could be bridged in the next three years when he
presides over its deliberations.
The Commission's next annual meeting
is to be held in 2004 in
The Commission also agreed to hold the
2005 meeting in
Claris Charles Urges IWC "Get On With the Job"
By Tony Best
Berlin, June 18, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
As she vies for the vice chairmanship of the International
Whaling Commission, Claris Charles, a Grenada cabinet
minister, has urged the body to implement a scheme that would
effectively manage commercial whaling.
On the eve of the election that may see her become the
first woman to hold the number two position in the 50-nation
IWC, Charles, her country's Minister of Fisheries, called on
the body to dismantle the roadblocks which have prevented any
resumption of commercial whaling despite clear scientific
evidence that some species of whales were in abundance.
"For too long, the IWC has found one way or another to
delay the implementation of the Revised Management Scheme that
was developed by the Commission's Scientific Committee,"
she told delegates to the 55th annual meeting of the IWC in
Berlin. "We, as members of an international body, can't
continue like this. The distinguished scientists of the
Scientific Committee have worked long and hard, and yet the
management scheme has not yet been approved and implemented.
Are we going to wait another 10 or 15 years before action is
taken?" she asked.
Charles, who arrived in Berlin on Tuesday evening to assist
in the campaign which Grenada and several other IWC members
hope will result in her election as vice chairperson, said
that the failure to implement the revised management scheme
was unacceptable. "We cannot go on like this," she
declared. "It's wrong."
Charles believes she has a good chance of being elected
when the balloting takes place on Thursday. "I have as
good a chance as anybody," she said.
Caribbean Presence Expanded
By Tony Best
Berlin, June 18, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
The presence of the English-speaking Caricom nations in the
International Whaling Commission got a boost Wednesday morning
when Belize was re-admitted to the organization.
Belize joined the IWC back in the 1980s at the urging of
international environmental groups that wanted Caribbean
countries' support for a moratorium on commercial whaling. It
subsequently left the body, but its representative at the 55th
annual meeting in Germany made it clear that Caricom's lone
member-state in Central America would have a far different
agenda: sustainable use of all marine resources, including
"Like the rest of the Caribbean, we believe in the
sustainable use of our resources, and we will be pushing for
that policy to be fully embraced by the Commission," said
Ismael Garcia, a senior fisheries official in the Belizean
government. "We believe that developing nations must
pursue a policy of sustainable use, and that's what we will be
doing alongside our brothers and sisters in the
Belize's re-admission to the IWC was delayed for about 48
hours after the meeting began in Berlin on Monday because of a
hitch in its application documents.
The presence of Belize is expected to add to the voting
strength of the pro-whaling group of nations, which includes
Antigua, Dominica, China, the Russian Federation, Grenada,
Japan, South Korea, Norway, Denmark, Solomon Islands, St.
Vincent, St. Lucia, St. Kitts-Nevis, Palau, Panama, Benin,
Guinea, Iceland and Nicaragua.
The re-entry of Belize was greeted with a round of applause
during the meeting, but the anti-whaling nations and NGOs are
unlikely to feel happy about it.
"It adds one more country to the list of members
pushing for sustainable use, and that's not a good thing for
our side," said a representative of an NGO. "We
believe that some of these developing countries are coming in
to push a pro-whaling stance, pure and simple."
But Garcia put it differently. "In 1982 we joined the
IWC for a moratorium, but today we have rejoined the
Commission, committed to the same principles of conservation
and sustainable use of marine resources," he said.
"We are a coastal community, and we believe we have every
right to belong to this organization. There have long been
discussions on migratory species and the impact on all marine
animals and cetacean species. As a nation that has a large
fishing industry, we feel we have a right to belong to the IWC,
and we plan to support our Caribbean neighbors."
Espimendez Diaz, Panama's alternate IWC Commissioner, said
that the entry of Belize into the IWC would boost both the
Caribbean and Central American presence and their role in the
body. "We are all from the Caribbean and Central American
region, and we share the same features as developing countries
which are seeking to spur our economic and social
development," he said. "We have a right to be in the
IWC just like the large and rich nations, and we are strong
advocates of the sustainable use of marine resources. We
expect that other Central American states like Honduras,
Guatemala and El Salvador may soon become full fledged
Claris Charles, Grenada's Minister of Agriculture and
Fisheries, said that Belize's membership would add to the role
of Caricom in the Commission's work. "We in the Eastern
Caribbean have been fighting in the IWC for a policy of
sustainable use for many years, and we naturally welcome the
presence of Belize," she said.
Masayuki Komatsu, Japan's alternate commissioner, hailed
Belize's accession to membership, saying that like its Caricom
neighbors—Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, St. Vincent, St.
Lucia, and St. Kitts-Nevis, that country can be expected to
add to the debate and the decision-making of the Commission.
"We know that Belize will play an important part in IWC
deliberations, and that's good," he said.
International Environmental Groups Face Ejection
By Tony Best
Berlin, June 18, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
Apologize or leave—that seems to be the option that the
International Whaling Commission has given to some prominent
international environmental organizations after they were
accused of insulting several Caribbean and African nations at
the current annual meeting of the IWC in Berlin by referring
them to them as "lapdogs" of Japan.
After the organizations presented what was seen by several
nations as "no apology at all," Greenpeace, the
Humane Society of the United States, the World Wildlife Fund
for Nature, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, RSPCA,
the International Wildlife Coalition, Humane Society, Cetacean
Society International, the Canadian Marine Environment
Protection Society, and several other groups have until
Thursday morning to dissociate themselves from the offensive
remarks or their accreditation to attend the remaining
sessions of the conference may be withdrawn.
"We find the behavior and the statements of these
organizations that were published and distributed to the
delegates and other participants to be insulting and
offensive," said Claris Charles, Grenada's Minister of
Agriculture and Fisheries. "As observers at the meeting,
these groups are our guests, and it was as if you had invited
someone into your home and they turned around and insulted you
by calling you offensive names. We are sovereign nations and
won't be treated that way. It's as if they don't know how to
In a publication of ECO, a newsletter distributed by the
various organizations attending the meeting, Antigua Dominica,
Grenada, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent were
criticized for accepting more than US$160 million in
"Japanese fisheries aid" between 1987 and 2000.
ECO criticized Japan for what the publication called its
"blatant vote buying." Accompanying the article was
a cartoon with a Japanese man holding what appeared to be a
black dog in his lap. It had a caption stating "His
Excellency the lap dog! Millions of the master's yen buy many
Japan, the Caribbean states, and some African nations at
the meeting lodged a formal complaint with the IWC and,
according to people present, the commissioners who attended a
special emergency meeting agreed unanimously to censure and
expel ECO from the current conference.
Bo Fernholm of Sweden, the IWC Chairman, castigated ECO and
the NGOs that published the statements, saying they
"contained language which was, in the view of the
commission, extremely offensive, impugning the sovereignty of
a number of contracting governments to this Commission, and
containing significant factual inaccuracies."
Fernholm told a plenary session of the conference that was
why ECO must print a "formal apology to be distributed
during the course" of the meeting which ends on Thursday.
"In addition to the apology, the publications of this
organization may no longer be circulated within the confines
of our meeting halls and associated areas for the remainder of
this annual meeting," Fernholm said. "The Commission
unequivocally condemns these statements and considers that
they constitute an abuse of the privilege accorded to the
accredited observers," he added.
"The Committee further calls on those organizations
listed as sponsors of ECO to formally dissociate themselves
from the offending statements, failing which their accredited
status as observers may be called into question," he
Two of the groups called on the carpet have links to the
Barbados-based Caribbean Conservation Association. They are
the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which is financing
a special environmental project in the region, and the Eastern
Caribbean Coalition for Environmental Awareness, ECCEA, which
belongs to the CCA.
Leslie Sutty, who heads ECCEA in Martinique, is now in Berlin.
In their response, the 21 environmental bodies stated that
while "we regret any offense caused" to any country,
the views expressed in ECO "are not necessarily those of
the "sponsoring organizations." But Several
Caribbean and African states rejected the response as being
Bantole Yaba, Benin's Commissioner, said that it didn't
meet with his country's satisfaction and that the entire
episode was unfortunate. The statements in ECO "were
offensive to us," to stated.
Claris Charles commented: "It's really not response to
the IWC's demands."
Acts to Boost Support for Effort to Win IWC Top Position
By Tony Best
June 17, 2003
As the clock winds down to Thursday's
, the Caribbean states are stepping up their attempt to make
history within the International Whaling Commission by getting
minister elected to a top IWC position.
Spurred on by representatives of
's Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, is making a run for
the Vice Chairmanship of the Commission, and
representatives at the 55th annual meeting in
say they are gathering support for her candidacy.
"We have gotten an indication of
increased support for Ms. Charles," said Eistein Louison,
a junior Minister in
's Ministry of Agriculture, who is representing his country at
the meeting. "Some states have said to us that they will
support her. We are heartened by the response we are
's Commissioner, said he, too, was buoyed by the support the
was getting, and while he doesn't predict victory, he thinks
her chances of becoming the first woman in the IWC's history
to be elected to the number two position were very good.
According to the tradition of the IWC, the vice chairman moves
up to the chairmanship when it becomes vacant.
In addition to the
has committed itself to supporting the
Minister, and she is also expected to be backed by
"She is an excellent candidate,
and she should win," said
's alternate IWC Commissioner, who is also Director of the
Resources and Environmental Research Division of the Fisheries
Agency of his country's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and
"It's about time that the IWC
elect a woman, and the fact that Charles comes from the
Caribbean should help to make a difference," added
Komatsu, the author of a number of books on whaling, including
his latest, Whales and
which was released earlier this year.
's Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, said that his
country was backing his counterpart from
. "She knows
the issues and the IWC," he said.
Minister may have to go up against three candidates, all men
from anti-whaling nations.
are rumored to be considering entering the race.
Dominica, Grenada, Antigua, St.
Kitts-Nevis, St. Vincent, and St. Lucia suffered a setback at
the Berlin meeting on Monday when the Commission declined by a
vote of 25-20 to go along with a Caribbean proposal that
secret balloting instead of a public roll call be used to
decide certain issues. "We
regret and are disappointed that we didn't win that one,"
said Daven Joseph,
's Commissioner, who unsuccessfully sought the vice
chairmanship about three years ago.
Less than a month ago, Caricom
countries were successful in getting the United Nations to
elect Julian Hunte,
's Minister of Foreign Affairs, to be the next president of
the UN General Assembly. It
was the first time that a person from the
was chosen to head the body.
's Foreign Minister Samuel Insanally was the first diplomat
from a Caricom country to serve in the prestigious position.
Stung By Criticism, German NGO Says No Threat Intended
By Tony Best
June 17, 2003
Seemingly stung by criticism of its
veiled threat to launch a tourism boycott against
, a German NGO may be pulling back, saying it was all the
result of a misunderstanding.
While Lloyd Pascal, Dominica's
Commissioner to the International Whaling Commission, remains
adamant that a representative of Gesellschaft zu Rettung der
Delphine, an organization dedicated to the protection of
dolphins, had threatened his country because of its stance on
the sustainable use of the world's marine resources, the
Caribbean Conservation Association has denounced the threat,
saying that it couldn't be justified in any shape or form.
"We were kind of surprised that
the question we put was interpreted as a threat, because no
threat was intended," Andrea Steffen, the woman accused
of threatening the
island said through an interpreter, Fabian Ritter. "We
were simply asking if Dominica had given any thought to a
boycott of its tourist industry. We wanted to know if they had
thought about such a boycott because of its voting at IWC
Steffen has spent some time in
But Pascal, a former Minister of
Agriculture, complained to the IWC during the opening of the
Commission's 55th annual meeting in Berlin that his county was
threatened once again because of its voting pattern at the
Commission. His charge triggered negative reactions from other
countries such as
, which complained about the excessive zeal of some NGOs and
warned about the vulnerability of small countries to an act of
"It shows what our brothers and
sisters in the Caribbean face as people from sovereign states
when they stand up for their rights and express their
positions at IWC meetings," said Miguel Marcenco,
Director-General of Fisheries in Nicaragua, who, like Pascal,
is a strong advocate of the sustainable utilization of marine
resources, including whales.
"We join our
neighbors in insisting on a policy of sustainable use and for
a secret ballot at IWC meetings," declared Marenco.
Dr. Joth Singh, Executive Director of
the Barbados-based Caribbean Conservation Association, said
that the threat to
didn't come as a surprise to him, because of the way some
foreign NGOs operate.
"We are not very surprised to
hear that this may be happening," he said. "We
recognize that the various countries which are anti-whaling or
not supporting whaling would try to influence the vote of the
Caribbean countries at the IWC meeting in Berlin. I would say
that the Caribbean Conservation Association does not really
support that type of way of getting the
countries to change their position. It should be a matter of
providing them with the appropriate information so they can
make informed decisions.
"Certainly to threaten countries
with regards to their economic situation is not a method the
CCA condones or supports," Singh added. "We have
expressed that view very, very clearly to the International
Fund for Animal Welfare, with whom we have recently formed a
partnership arrangement, indicating that our mode of operating
is to provide the governments and the public within the
with the right information on the alternatives to whale
Pascal repeated his complaint Tuesday
morning, saying that a woman from the NGO sought him out at
the meeting in Germany and tried to get answers to several
questions, one of which was how Dominica would feel if a
tourism boycott was launched against it if the island-nation
voted against the "Berlin Initiative," a plan
designed to get the IWC to focus more attention on the
protection of whales instead of on the management of the
various species. The Initiative was approved by a 25-20 vote
"We have been threatened before
by international NGOs, such as Greenpeace and the
International Wildlife Coalition, and we know a threat when we
hear or see it," he told reporters. "Some countries
and organizations believe that because we are experiencing
some serious economic problems in Dominica and are on the
verge of signing an agreement with the International Monetary
Fund that we would bend to their threats and go along with
their policies. But we are a sovereign nation."
As if to show its determination to
follow its stated course,
voted against the Berlin Initiative after the
"threat" was made.
's Minister of Agriculture, described the threat by the German
NGO as a form of "economic terrorism."
Puts House In Order With New Whaling Regulation
Demanded by IWC
By Tony Best
June 17, 2003
With the International Whaling
Commission paying increasing attention to the
, the region's lone whaling nation has put its legal house in
order to meet international demands.
Edwin Snagg, St. Vincent's IWC
Commissioner, has told the more than 50 nations that belong to
the international body that just last week his country
approved legislation, rules and regulations demanded by the
Commission as a condition of giving the country an expanded
quota of whales it could catch during the next few years.
"One of the pre-requisites to the
Vincent & the
was allocated in 2002 was that there should be aboriginal
subsistence whaling regulations," he explained. "We
have put those regulations in place. They were approved in
cabinet last Friday. They make provisions for certain aspects
of whaling and cover whaling permits; the closed season;
certification of whalers; area and size restrictions of
humpback whales; procedures for conducting whaling; and the
use and monitoring of whale products."
Snagg made his statement after the
Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Panel of the IWC's Scientific
Committee had reported to the 55th annual meeting in Berlin
that the catching of two whales in March last year by
Vincentians didn't pose any problems to the stock of humpback
whales in the West Indies.
had also asked if
had lived up to its commitment to enact legislation that would
provide for the effective management of whale stocks.
"In terms of management advice,
the Committee agreed that if the humpback whales are part of
breeding population, this catch limit will not harm the
stock," stated the panel.
Snagg said afterwards that the
regulatory steps taken recently by his country "were
consistent with the draft regulations deemed to be appropriate
by the Commission" at its meeting in
"We have lodged the regulations
with the Secretariat of the IWC," he said. "What
this means is that we are in full compliance."
The regulatory steps were drawn up
after considerable consultations with the country's whalers
and others interested in the traditional and cultural
activity, which dates back to at least 100 years in the
in general and
"I don't believe the new
regulations will make any significant difference to how
whaling is conducted," Snagg said. "There are
certain stipulations now, like the question of whaling
permits. As such, one has to apply to the Chief Fisheries
Officer but, in truth and in fact, the whalers in Bequia would
have had some good idea of what was coming in the regulations.
There was consultation with the whalers of Bequia, and they
agreed with what was in the regulations."
Snagg said he was disappointed that
the IWC on Monday rejected the
's appeal for the introduction of secret balloting in order to
protect the region from economic threats issued by NGO.
"We believe secret balloting is a
democratic process, and it removes the possibility of threats
and attempts at intimidation that are linked to the way the
region votes at IWC meetings," he said.
Threatened by German NGO at Whaling Conference
By Tony Best
June 16, 2003
terrorism" may be an emotive word, but some
countries are using it in
to describe what they face from environmental NGOs, which
disagree with their voting patterns at meetings of the
International Whaling Commission.
Dominica, often called the
"nature island" of the Caribbean, reported Sunday to
the IWC that it had been threatened with a tourism boycott if
it voted against a plan, the "Berlin Initiative,"
proposed by about 20 members of the IWC and designed to create
a "conservation committee" within the international
body that would oversee the protection of whales around the
"The threat was made
by a woman who sought me out at the meeting and wanted to know
if I would answer a series of questions which she had written
in German," said Lloyd Pascal, a former Minister of
Agriculture who is now
's IWC Commissioner.
"Among the many
questions she wanted to raise was how I would feel if a
tourism boycott was called against Dominica because of the way
it participates in the IWC and if my position here was
independent," explained Pascal. "It's the kind of
economic terrorism to which many of us in the
have grown accustomed in recent years."
Pascal immediately drew
the meeting's attention to the "threat" and later
said that his country wouldn't be intimidated by the incident.
And as if to show its determination, Dominica and four other
Eastern Caribbean countries—Antigua, St. Kitts-Nevis, St.
Vincent and St. Lucia— joined with Denmark, the Russian
Federation, China, Japan, Benin, Guinea, Nicaragua, the
Solomon Islands, Panama and 10 other nations in a failed
attempt to block the creation of the Conservation Committee.
declined to participate in the voting on the grounds that the
Initiative was probably illegal under IWC rules and,
therefore, it didn't want any part of the process.
vigorously opposed the establishment of the Committee.
"We are not opposed
to conservation, but we believe that the creation of the
special Committee is not only wrong, but it doesn't conform to
the rules and the regulations of the IWC," said Pascal.
"These are the same kinds of threats that have gone on
is the nature island of the
, dependent on agriculture and tourism. We have suffered
greatly because of the initiatives in the World Trade
Organization for our banana regime, our marketing in the
. We have virtually lost that market along with the rest of
. We have lost our offshore banking, because
was put on a blacklist [by the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development] in
. Because of these factors, we are in a tight economic
situation, and we are on the verge of signing an agreement
with the International Monetary Fund."
Pascal said that some
countries and NGOs believed that
was "up to its knees" in financial trouble and was
therefore vulnerable to threats. "The organizations think
this is the best time to make further threats to get Dominica
intimidated to the point where we will do their bidding by
voting for a Berlin initiative" at the expense of the
nation's sovereignty, he said.
"They are threatening
us with a cutting off of aid and all of those kinds of
But Pascal wasn't alone in
complaining about "economic terrorism."
Calixte George, St.
Lucia's Minister of Agriculture who is attending his first IWC
meeting, said that what happened to Dominica was tantamount to
a threat of "economic terrorism," which he stated
must be deplored and condemned.
"We in St. Lucia
weren't threatened, but what took place was wrong,"
George said. "To my mind, it was a very dirty kind of
act, a behind-the-scenes attack, which I would describe as
economic terrorism. Some of the NGOs are very emotive on some
of the issues. They don't rely on science. To be threatened
simply isn't right."
Initiative" calls for the creation of a Committee that
would prepare a "Conservation Agenda" to be
considered at the IWC's next annual meeting in Italy in 2004.
All of the Eastern Caribbean spoke out against it,
complaining that it was designed to divert the IWC's attention
from its mandate of regulating commercial whaling.
"The IWC wasn't set
up to get into the conservation of whales at the expense of
strict management of the sustainable use of whale
resources," said Eistein Louison, Parliamentary Secretary
in Grenada's Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Cedric Liburd, St.
Kitts-Nevis' Minister of Agriculture, who is leading his
country's delegation, agreed with both Pascal and George.
"It's a diversionary tactic away from what the IWC was
established to do," he said.
Daven Joseph, Antigua's top representative and perhaps the
Caribbean's most vocal advocate of the sustainable use of
marine resources, said after the delegates voted by 25-20 to
set up the "Conservation" panel that "it was a
sad day for the IWC” and for those nations which believe
that the world's resources should be utilized but not
plundered and destroyed.
48 Hours for Saddam Hussein and his sons to leave
—that’s the ultimatum given by President George W. Bush in his speech Monday
night after a draft resolution before a deadlocked U.N. Security Council was not
presented for a vote.
The U.S. President has raised the nation’s terrorism
alert from yellow to orange, which is the second highest category of risk.
Speaking from the White House, President Bush said that
American forces will wage war “at a time of our choosing.”
He told the Iraqi people: “The day of your liberation is near.”
Saying that war could lead to retaliatory strikes by
interests at home and abroad, President Bush said he had ordered increased
security at airports and along
President Bush said that Saddam Hussein has weapons of
mass destruction he might share with terrorists, has a history of hating
, and is a destabilizing force in the
. Moving toward war with the
is a group Bush called “the coalition of the willing,” which includes
and a handful of other nations.
“Instead of drifting along toward tragedy,”
President Bush said, “we will set a course toward safety.
The tyrant will soon be gone.”
DIPLOMACY AT THE U.N.
By Serge Beaulieu
with Sondra Singer Beaulieu
and Linda Baker
The British, who have
mastered the art of diplomacy, introduced in the
debate before the Security Council a series of
six tests to a draft resolution which calls on the President of Iraq, Saddam
Hussein, to disarm.
One of tests, for example,
would require Saddam Hussein to admit on television that he has weapons of mass
destruction and that he will give them up.
Known in the corridors of
the U.N. as benchmark diplomacy, those tests found resistance, although they
were introduced as a compromise to permit the
to win the nine necessary votes without a
“no” from one of the five permanent members. Early Thursday evening, after a
three and one-half hour discussion, members of the Security Council approached
the press stakeout to give their views.
The first was Russian
Ambassador Sergei Lavrov, who indicated that there was no consensus and hinted
that, if introduced, the resolution would confront a Russian nyet.
British Ambassador Jeremy
Greenstock said he believes that the benchmarks are still open for discussion.
He was followed by French
Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, who stated that any resolution containing
an ultimatum will be vetoed. The
French diplomat answered questions in both English and Spanish.
German Ambassador Gunter
Pleuger reinforced the French position. It
was a clear indication that the Security Council remains deadlocked and, if a
vote were requested today or tomorrow, the resolution—with or without the
benchmarks--would have no chance to pass.
U.S. Ambassador John D.
Negroponte keeps repeating that he is not in business to count votes but to
in accordance with Resolution 1441.
He also said that his government is fully in agreement with the British
benchmark initiative as a way to unify the Council.
He reiterated the intention of his government to put the resolution to a
vote, maybe not on Friday but at some point.
Early Thursday, U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan took the exceptional step of inviting each Security
Council ambassador to his office for one-on-one meetings, without revealing the
contents of the talks. When his
spokesman was asked if the Secretary-General envisioned a last resort trip to
, similar to U Thant’s trip to
in 1962 to defuse the Cuban missile crisis, his
answer was vague.
Now that all approaches seem
to have come to dead ends, it seems that the only solution would be for someone
to step in and help all parties save face as U Thant did in his meeting with
Fidel Castro decades ago. However, at that time there were two superpowers, the
, and Kennedy and Khruschev were negotiating
Jacques Chirac, President of
France, has called for such a meeting to avoid the outbreak of an all out war
that will certainly be perceived as a conflict of civilizations and religions.
In the meantime, UNMOVIC,
which continues the supervision, states that since March 1, sixty-one Al Samoud
2 missiles and 35 warheads have been destroyed and additional Al Samoud
2-related materials and components have also been destroyed.
Another report is expected on Monday.
Showdown on Iraq
Stevenson - Powell
40 years later
The Great Revelation
UPDATE 9:00 A.M.
United Nations, New York, February 5, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief
The temperature was below freezing, and the muted, winter-blue sky was
dotted with fluffy, white clouds as reporters scurried Wednesday morning to
prepare their coverage of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech
before the U.N. Security Council.
The New York City Police (NYPD) blues were lightly visible in front of the
U.N. building, where several police cars were parked without blocking the
uptown traffic on First Avenue.
The United Nations did not double its security at the 42nd Street staff
entrance, and diplomats in their limousines continued to use their regular
entrance to get to the U.N. building. The U.N. cafeteria, which offers a
full breakfast for less than $5.00, comprised of two eggs, home fries,
coffee, and toast, was packed with hungry reporters, cameras hanging around
their necks, anxious to finish their food in order to apply for a special
pass for access to the 2nd floor, adjacent to the Security Council chamber,
where the action will take place.
At 8:00 A.M., a U.N. information officer said, "So far, so good,"
security personnel with dogs were performing their last check before letting
the reporters into the special area reserved for them.
At around 10:00 A.M., the 15 members of the Security Council will convene to
hear U.S. Secretary of State Powell deliver what people believe will be a
knockout punch to Saddam Hussein. Everyone is waiting, everyone hopes that
he will knock out his adversary, in the manner of Ambassador Adlai Stevenson
during the Cuban Missile Crisis, against his Soviet counterpart, Valerian
Zorin, on the morning of October 22, 1962. (see earlier story below)......
United Nations, New York, February 4, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is scheduled to address the U.N. Security
Council Wednesday in order to deliver a final knockout to the credibility of
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Insiders speculate that Powell will use the
same method that U.S. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson did in 1962 during the Cuban
Missile Crisis against his counterpart, Soviet Ambassador Valerian Zorin.
Stevenson: "Do you, Ambassador Zorin, deny that the U.S.S.R. has placed and
is placing medium and intermediate range missiles and sites in Cuba?"
Zorin: "I am not in an American court room, sir, and therefore I do not
wish to answer a question that is put to me in the fashion in which a prosecutor
Stevenson then gave a presentation with satellite photos, charts, and data
confirming that the Soviets did have offensive missiles in Cuba, putting the
world for the next 48 hours on the brink of a full scale war between the two
The difference today is that Iraq is neither a superpower nor a member of the
U.N. Security Council. After the 15 members finish their debate, Iraq will
be able to be part of the list of countries permitted to address the Council on
that topic. It is not a right, it is a privilege.
So what is it all about?
To this day, three conventions have been submitted to the United Nations.
The first is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production
and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their
Destruction. (Opened for signature in London, Moscow, and Washington on
April 10, 1972. Entered into force: March 26, 1975.)
The second is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production
and Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, signed at
Paris on January 13, 1993 and entered into force on April 29, 1997.
The third is the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), opened for
signature on September 24, 1996 and not yet in force. In the meantime,
France, India, Israel, Pakistan, and now North Korea have joined the atomic
Where does Iraq fit into those three conventions? After the invasion of
Kuwait by Iraq and the subsequent coalition war by the United States and its
allies against Iraq, one of the conditions of peace was for Iraq to destroy its
stockpile of chemical and nuclear weapons, subject to inspection and
verification by the U.N.
Since the end of that war, Iraq has been using a cat and mouse strategy with the
United Nations inspectors, although Hans Blix himself, the Secretary-General's
representative, has clearly indicated that Iraq is no longer capable of
producing and delivering mass produced nuclear material. Although
ambiguous in his analysis, Blix has left open the possibility that the Iraqis
may still be hiding some of their known bacteriological and toxin weapons, thus
providing the president of the United States the ammunition to claim that Iraq
is not disarmed.
In fact, what happened is that the two parties are not talking the same
language. President Bush is talking about disarming and a change of regime
in Iraq, warning that it is the sovereign right of the United States to make
Iraq comply and, if possible, to do it alone if the United Nations refuses to
At the United Nations, especially in the Security Council, most of the delegates
are talking about inspection verification and non-compliance by Iraq. The
two languages are not the same.
France and Germany, especially Germany, which was burned by the Nazi atrocities
in World War II, refuse to embark on a war which, from time to time, takes the
tone of a religious war against the Muslim faith, with the possibility of a
nuclear strike by a superpower. France was a colonial power, ruling over
Arab lands, and finds itself uneasy in this situation. Consequently, those two
countries have been characterized as in defiance against the mighty power
of the United States, which, since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, has
become the sole superpower.
Germany, which is not a permanent member of the Security Council, nevertheless
serves as its president for the month of February, making its situation more
At a press conference Tuesday, German Ambassador Gunter Pleuger, speaking as
president of the Security Council, was bombarded with questions about the
position of his own country, although he began by giving details of the
activities of the Security Council for the month of February. The press
even asked him to anticipate his position on Wednesday, if delegates want to
engage in a Stevenson/Zorin-style 1962 debate. The press conference was a
prelude to what may be happening on Wednesday.
A calm Gunter Pleuger said, "I will be in the hands of the Council."
The Wednesday meeting will be at the level of foreign ministers, making
behind-the-scene negotiations very difficult. There will be no possibility
for a Stevenson/Zorin-like debate, since Iraq is not a member of the Security
Council, unless France, as a permanent member of the Council, decides to
challenge Colin Powell's presentation.
Already, some high level officials in the Bush Administration are questioning
the viability of France as an ally. U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has
been quoted as stating that France and Germany are old Europe.