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On Syria, Ban Ki-moon Belatedly Tells Press Assad "Has Not Kept His Word," Harder Crackdown Predicted After Libya

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 22 -- "It is troubling that [Assad] has not kept his word" about stopping military operations, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told Inner City Press on Monday, five days after Ban quoted Assad on August 17 that "military operations had stopped."

  Inner City Press twice last week asked Ban's acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq if Ban believed Assad's statement, despite what was seen even on television. Haq said Ban thought an investigation should take place.

  On August 22, even High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that at least 39 people have been killed by Assad's forces since Ban's quote of him. And so at the end of a Ban Ki-moon media stakeout Monday morning about Lybia, with Haq trying to end the session without the question being posed, Inner City Press asked:

Inner City Press: On Syria, you had said that President Assad said that military and police operations, when you spoke with him. Since then, according to Navi Pillay, 39 more people have been killed. Did you ever believe that statement? Do you believe it now and what should be done?

SG Ban: This is what he clearly told me when I had the telephone talk with him and he assured me that the humanitarian assistance assessment team will be able to visit different places. And, as you know, our team is already in Syria - they are now assessing the situation. It is troubling that he has not kept his word. Many world leaders have been speaking to him to halt immediately military operations that are killing his own people, and he assured me [he would] do that and military operations have already stopped. Now he has seen and he has heard all these serious and urgent calls to him, and I sincerely hope that he heeds the international community’s appeal and call.

  Meanwhile the UN humanitarian assessment team fled Hom under fire.

Ban & Assad, previously, who called who on Aug 17 not shown

A Ban Ki-moon administration official on Monday predicted to Inner City Press that events in Tripoli would make Assad "crack down harder" to avoid Gaddafi's fate. Another told Inner City Press that it was Assad who called Ban, and not the other way around -- Assad called Ban looking for ground cover.

  Given the invisibility at the crucial moment of Ban's two Libya envoys / advisers Ian Martin and Al Khatib, the question of whether Ban will try to appoint an envoy to Syria "is moot," one said -- it wouldn't make any difference. Watch this site.

Click for July 7, 11 re Sudan, Libya, Syria, flotilla

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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