Monday, February 28, 2011

Geneva Feb 27-28


With the Libya crisis unfolding, Clinton took a last minute trip to Geneva to address a session of the Human Rights Council. We left on Sunday, flew all day, and arrived at midnight.

The drama of Libya certainly seems far away from the placid streets of Geneva, and we spent most of the day holed up in Clinton's hotel where she met a series of European colleagues..the British, the German, the Turk etc. The Security Council has already voted on sanctions and the Human Rights Council has already called for Libya to be expelled...so presumably what they were talking about were the operational details of how to press Gaddafi and his clan, particularly financially.

There is lots of talk, but thus far no action, on the idea of a "no fly zone" such as that imposed on northern Iraq when Saddam Hussein was attacking the Kurds. I think they are worried about another "you broke it, you own it" situation, especially when there is so little clarity about who or what might replace Gaddafi.

We are now at the Palais des Nations in Geneva -- the Human Rights Council is at one end (a big round room with a peculiar multi-colored papier mache roof..I wanted to get a picture but didn't have time). And now we are at the other end at the Conference on Disarmament, where Clinton is giving another speech that nobody is listening to.

She does a press conference before departure, and we are supposed to get back to DC around midnight. Tiring! But she must be even more tired, as is usually the case. Weird thing is I haven't eaten anything except for a croissant all day, in this city of good food! Grrr.