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At UN on Syria, Rift on How to Report, Taranco Got "Reamed Out," Ban Ki-Moon Envoy Only if to London Too?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 10, updated below -- In the run-up to Wednesday's UN Security Council "update" meeting on Syria, there was a preliminary skirmish in the Council as to whether the update, to be given by Assistant Secretary General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, should be given only in closed door consultations, as requested by Russia and some others, or in the Council's larger chamber.

At 3 pm it emerged it would be in the smaller consultations room.

  The split symbolized the ongoing disagreement in the Council about how to deal with Syria and its Assad government.

Even after the supposedly unanimous adoption of a Presidential Statement one week ago -- Lebanon "disassociated" itself from the PRST and said it wasn't helpful -- on Wednesday morning a Western Council members spokesman told Inner City Press the visit to Damascus by vice ministers of India, Brazil and South Africa was "just a delaying tactic."

Click here for IBSA statement, put online by Inner City Press.

In this view, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (who is in South Korea) naming an envoy or special adviser on Syria might also just be a "time waster like the appointment of Al Khatib to Libya."

On the other hand, some even within the UN Secretariat have questioned Ban considering appointing an "Anglo Saxon" envoy to Syria. Click here for Inner City Press' report.  Inner City Press asked Ban's acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq if Ban can appoint an envoy without a Council mandate or the consent of the country concerned. Haq's answer, referring to somewhat similar moves by Ban in Yemen and Tunisia, appeared to be "yes."

But Inner City Press is informed that when Syria Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari returned recently to New York from Damascus, he met with and "reamed out" -- that is, to jump from street to diplomatese, demarched -- Oscar Fernandez-Taranco.

When Ja'afari came out of the Council on August 9 he told Inner City Press he had met with this month's Council president, Hardeep Singh Puri. Inner City Press asked, "About tomorrow's Syria meeting?"

"Not about Syria -- about London," Ja'afari quipped, referring to the riots or unrest there.

What does Syrian think of Ban possibly appointing an envoy, Inner City Press asked.

Ja'afari answered, "An envoy to where -- London?" And so it goes at the UN. Watch this site.

Update of 4:59 pm -- Nearly two hours after the "update" to the Council on Syria began, the closed door meeting continues. Well placed source in the meeting exclusively tells Inner City Press it now concerns a proposal, from the UK, to have another update in seven days time. "Procedural issues," the source says, rolling eyes.

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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