[NEWS AND VIEWS]
« More credit please. | Home | Kofi comes home. »
December 06, 2003From Zimbabwe, mildly feverish reports of unilateral withdrawal proved to be no more than speculation. Still, it gave a little relief to the ennui pervading the media centre. The BBC's veteran foreign correspondent, Brian Hanrahan, was seen at the People's Forum today in search of a story, any story to pep the news, or lack of news, from CHOGM.
With the leaders in retreat at Aso Rock, the Presidential Villa, and public briefings few and far between, most hacks are happy the Zimbabwe issue has given them an line or two for tomorrow's papers.
I expected chaos and confusion. But in fact it's been rather stately and slow. If you miss the intermittant briefings by Tony Blair's soft spoken official spokesman, that's it. The well equipped briefing rooms (two of them) have yet to be fully worked. Maybe we'll get more on Sunday and Monday when the communique breaks and the delegates are released from their collective vows of silence.
In the meantime, it seems that any quote will do to beef out the column inches being sent home. New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark's annoyance at the absence of Zimbabwe from the Leaders' meeting is lept on with gusto. One UK journalist compares it to the time he spent in Qatar during the Iraq war, which was worse and for six weeks.
The Canadian Prime Minister Chretien was a hit and widely appreciated for the wit and humour of his floorshow. "They seem to be more open in direct relation to their lack of importance", remarked another. "The Bush Whitehouse is notoriously difficult, and extremely unleaky. Though the Pentagon is less so for some reason."