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At UN, Pillay Testifies Over Objection of Syria, Which Invokes Al Qaeda

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 13 -- When the General Assembly session on Syria began Monday morning, Syrian Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari made an objection or point of order, that the session was merely on the whim of the Qatari President of the GA, and not in accordance with GA rules.

  He asked for an "independent" legal opinion from the UN, presumably from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's top lawyer Patricia O'Brien.

Not responding to the legal argument, the PGA asked the Syrian if he wanted to object under Rule 71 and have a vote. To some, it was akin to a judge responding to an objection by saying, shall we poll those in the courtroom? And so the meeting proceeded.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay recounted what her office has found. Afterward, Inner City Press asked Pillay what she made of Ja'afari's statements about Al Qaeda killings. She said that can be reviewed by Commisison of Inquiry.

Ja'afari also asked why the PGA hadn't made any statements about Al Qaeda attacks. It is a strange situation, with the US, France and UK sharing with Al Qaeda at least the position that Assad should go. Then again, Syria's supporters in the morning session were Iran and North Korea.

Russian Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin said that peacekeepers, as proposed Sunday by the Arab League, would require not only peace - not necessarily true if one considered the mission in Darfur, where there still is not peace -- and "the consent" of Syria. That seems unlikely.

France, represented by its political coordinator, spoke of Ban Ki-moon's links with the Arab League. But at the day's noon briefing, after Inner City Press asked about the Arab League nominating Al Khatib who clashed with some in the UN while Libya envoy, Ban's spokesman said it is up to the Security Council, he has no mandate.

On Friday Inner City Press obtained and published the draft GA resolution Syria. But now it must be tweaked, as some put it, after the Arab League. Will it go around tonight, for a vote tomorrow? The PGA is scheduled to leave on a trip on Wednesday. Watch this site.

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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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