Sobering talks at the United Nations

Who knew about all of the drinking at the United Nations?

It seems that cocktails have been key ingredients in helping a lot of those diplomatic negotiations get done. imgres-1But now it seems to party is winding down, as the New York Times reported today:

“When the United Nations began renovating its Manhattan headquarters in 2009, one of the first casualties of the construction was the storied Delegate’s Lounge, where for decades the delicate work of diplomacy was aided by a good stiff drink. The loss of the bar led to protest from diplomats and their staffs, and a temporary outpost was soon established.That bar is also now gone, but the thirst for liquor at the United Nations is apparently still strong.

“This week, an American diplomat offered what he called a “modest proposal” that he hoped would speed along the United Nations’ notoriously protracted budgetary proceedings. He asked delegates to put a cork in it. “The negotiation rooms should in future be an inebriation-free zone,” the diplomat, Joseph M. Torsella, said.

“So far, there seems little chance the suggestion will lead to any change in behavior.“This is roughly the equivalent of when you’re a teenager and your parents embarrass you because you got drunk the night before,” said Richard Gowan, an expert on the United Nations at New York University’s Center for International Cooperation. “I think there is a lot of snickering.”

“Even as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has taken steps to curb the unhealthier appetites of New York City’s residents — whether they like it or not — the United Nations has stood a world apart. The headquarters is not subject to the city’s laws, and for years after smoking was banned all around the United Nations — first in city offices, then in bars and restaurants — delegates puffed away in the corridors and meeting rooms of the General Assembly building. Smoking was ultimately banned at the United Nations in 2008.”

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