Tags: Curious | Guests | Highlight | Bush | Bash | U.N.

Curious Guests Highlight Bush Bash at U.N.

Friday, 15 September 2006 12:00 AM

UNITED NATIONS -- As if George W. Bush's visit to the United Nations next week isn't controversial enough, his "reception" for the visiting VIPs has now led to confusion.

It all started Wednesday.

First, White House press secretary Tony Snow released a statement saying Bush will hold a Tuesday evening "reception for the heads of visiting [U.N.] delegations." At the same time, the U.S.-U.N. mission released a "schedule" of the presidential visit that made no mention of the Bush reception.

Second, U.S.-U.N. mission press spokesman Ben Chang, who later confirmed Tony Snow's statement on a Bush "reception," was not sure who would attend.

Said Chang: "You can assume that nations we have no diplomatic relations with will not be invited . . . Then, there are those we do have diplomatic relations with like Belarus and Syria who we don't expect to attend . . ."

When NewsMax asked for clarification, Chang replied: "I will get back to you."

Friday, U.S.-UN mission director of communications, Rick Grenell, told NewsMax.com: "We are not going to say who is not invited, nor who is."

The U.N. diplomats who have been "invited" to the Bush bash spark curiosity.

On the requirement of diplomatic relations: Palestine will attend, yet the U.S. has no diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority. Needless to say, Iran, North Korea, and Cuba won't be at the party.

On the issue of those with diplomatic relations: Venezuela and its "colorful" President Hugo Chavez, are not expected to be on the reception line.

The U.S. State Department and Venezuela are battling over the number of visas they will grant to the combative leader and his entourage who want the attend the U.N. General Assembly in New York City.

Said Chavez, who is determined to attend the gathering no matter what: "I will come to New York City on horseback . . . if I have to."

Syria, because of its "support" for international terrorism, is also banned from the Bush bash.

The former Soviet republic of Belarus, which has a "strained" relationship with Washington, is also missing from the guest list along with President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, who has repeatedly labeled Bush "a war criminal" for the conflict in Iraq.

But, the criteria in this respect seems to be floating: Libya, formerly viewed as a "terrorist state," namely for the downing of Pan Am 103 in December 1988, has since "reformed" and will be on the Bush reception line Tuesday evening.

The former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan will also be a prominent presence Tuesday night.

Its president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the last holdover from the old Soviet politburo, has "won" elections three times since the collapse of the Soviet Union under conditions Human Rights Watch has called "questionable."

Nazarbayev's human rights record has also been blasted by Russian president Vladimir Putin who criticized a visit earlier this year by Vice President Dick Cheney to the central Asian nation.

What does Kazakhstan have that may alter its presence on the U.N. party list? Large deposits of oil being drilled under numerous multi-billion dollar contracts with several major U.S. oil companies led by Chevron/Texaco. It is also the home of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the old Soviet spaceport, which — in lieu of the space shuttle's problems — provides the only reliable ground-to-space link to the international space station.

Controversial African nations with human rights issues such as Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Somalia are also said to be on the U.S. guest list.

The White House has also not decided on how much access, if any, media will be granted to the Tuesday night reception.

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UNITED NATIONS -- As if George W. Bush's visit to the United Nations next week isn't controversial enough, his "reception" for the visiting VIPs has now led to confusion. It all started Wednesday. First, White House press secretary Tony Snow released a statement...
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2006-00-15
Friday, 15 September 2006 12:00 AM
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