--Richard Roth, Senior UN Correspondent
The final week of the year is usually quiet at the United Nations. But my 14 years covering the place has seen several world crises which have prompted emergency meetings.
Today it's Pakistan. I always listen closely as the President of the Security Council for the month of December wishes reporters a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year around December 18.
Then I tell the various ambassadors to be careful, don't jinx the world. It doesn't take long for tsunamis, Iraq crises, and nuclear showdowns to erupt.
Pakistan is not a major item on the Security Council agenda because so far trouble hasn't spread across borders.
But because terrorism is a big issue in the country and certainly also for the US, and others, it's a chance to condemn the assassination of Mrs. Bhutto and tell the 192 UN member countries to cooperate on terror.
By UN custom, the meeting of the UN Security Council was called quite rapidly. Ambassadors walked into a closed door meeting at noon, the U.S, France, and Italy led the call for the Council to issue a statement.
But even a statement following a violent act is not easy for 15 countries to quickly settle on. It can take one word to make diplomats squabble for hours, even days.
An ambassador will leave the room and telephone a higher ranking foreign affairs official in a world capital for instructions and to update on what another nation is demanding.
Sure enough, 90 minutes in, Pakistan, not on the Council, sent word it was not pleased with a few of the words.
A diplomat said Pakistan objected to condemning the act "in the strongest terms." The countries of the UN are very touchy with how the powerful Security Council responds to any action in its own borders.
As of 1:50 pm, ambassadors were reviewing the third draft. All 15 countries on the panel must agree before it becomes official.
US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad told reporters "I knew Benazir Bhutto quite well. She is a friend of mine." The former US Ambassador to Afghanistan said "it's a great tragedy. She stood for moderation, for the rule of law, for democracy in her country."
He appeared shaken. Khalizad has seen his share of violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it was the most emotional I have seen him since he took up the UN post.
The Italian Ambassador Marcello Spatafora, current President of the Security Council said the Council must underline that the assassination is unacceptable.
The Security Council did come together and issue a statement this afteroon. Despite Pakistan's protest, it condemned in the "strongest possible terms the terrorist suicide attack by extremists."
It paid tribute to the late Mrs. Bhutto. The Council called on Pakistanis to exercise restraint and maintain stability in the country.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon echoed the sentiments of the Council saying he was shocked and outraged by the assassination. He termed it a very difficult situation for Pakistan.