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Ban Floats Syria Envoy, In Wake of Al Khatib Fiasco, No Q on Lavrov or Silva

By Matthew Russell Lee, News View

UNITED NATIONS, February 8 -- After telling the Security Council about his recent trips, including to Gaza where he was protested and had shoes thrown at him for not meeting with the families of prisoners, Ban Ki-moon emerged and told the media he is discussing a joint observer mission and envoy to Syria with the Arab League.

  Ban's envoy to Libya, Jordanian businessman and senator Abdel-Elah Mohamed Al Khatib, flew around on private planes, replete with potential conflicts of interest until he was unceremoniously separately from the UN.

   It is not clear if on Ban's recent trip to Jordan he sought out his former envoy. Inquiring minds want to know: where is Al Khatib now? And has Ban learned anything from that failure, if and when he ever actually appoints an envoy to Syria?

  Even Western-side diplomats expressed skepticism to Inner City Press. It doesn't seem very well thought out, one said, referring back to the Al Khatib "fiasco." One wondered of a reverse "dream team" of Al Khatib and Observer chief Al Daby of Sudan.

   Let's see what the Arab League says on Sunday, added another, opining that Ban should not have "blabbed" his call with Nabil Elaraby of the Arab League so quickly.

 Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky chose who could ask the four questions, naming two at a time. No question involved, for example, what Ban thought of Russian foreign minister Lavrov's trip to Syria, which was presented in the meeting with Ban, much less when Ban knew that the US Mission in South Sudan had no military helicopters, before "hundreds" were killed in Pibor in Jonglei state or why he is accepting alleged war criminal Shavendra Silva as a "Senior Adviser on Peacekeeping," despite Silva's appearance in Ban's own Panel of Experts' report on Sri Lanka. [We will have an update on Ban and Silva.]

(c) UN Photo
Ban & previous envoy Al Khatib: with Al Daby, next step Syria?

  The first question on Syria, at least it was assumed to be about Syria, was whether President "Bashir" should step down. Omar al Bashir is the president of Sudan, with whom Ban's envoy Ibrahim Gambari recently took pictures, despite Bashir being indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide.

Interestingly, the Secretariat air brushed this gaffe in its transcript. But they can't change the video - or can they?

  Bashar al Assad of Syria, meanwhile, remains in power in Syria. Ban named a UN system task force on Syria headed by a former minister of Yemen dictator Ali Saleh, something Ban's spokesman said he would look into and confirm or deny but hasn't. Then he ensures that Ban himself can't be asked. This is Ban's UN. Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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