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Ban Ki-moon's Refugee Calls Let Saudi and Arab Gulf Off Hook, with US & Canada

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 6 -- While many have noted that Saudi Arabia and Gulf Arab countries that have poured funding into the war in Syria have not taken a single refugee, when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made a round of calls on September 6 to (unnamed) leaders, these were only in Europe.

  As on sexual abuse by peacekeepers, "name and shame" is the opposite of Ban Ki-moon's approach. He didn't name the European leaders he spoke to, and didn't call Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar or Bahrain, much less the US, Canada or Australia.

Former UK foreign secretary David Miliband appeared on both ABC This Week and NBC Meet the Press on September 6, talking about refugee flows from Syria only in term of Assad, with no mention at all of ISIS. Even when Miliband cited Aylan Kurdi fleeing from Kobane, he blamed it on barrel bombs.

  Looking back to Miliband's time as UK foreign secretary, one couldn't help noting for example that if he'd put even deployed even half of this advocacy during the slaughter in Sri Lanka in 2009, lives might have been saved.  The argument that he, and Kouchner for example, were constrained on Sri Lanka due to terrorism is put to the lie but Miliband's airbrushing of ISIS now.

  ABC This Week did not asked Miliband about Gulf states taken no refugees, nor about the UK's policies under David "Swarm" Cameron; neither US Sunday show asked about Corbyn and the UK Labor race.

 Last month on the UN Security Council's Syria Presidential Statement,  adopted “unanimously” with Venezuela disassociating itself as Lebanon when it was a member of the Council did on Syria, an issue still unaddressed is the exclusion of Elected Ten members from negotiations.

  Inner City Press asked Nigeria's Ambassador Joy Ogwu about this on August 14, if the Elected Ten members of the Security Council should  be brought into negotiating documents earlier, Video here, from 2:43.

   Ambassador Ogwu said, on UNTV camera, “That’s an aspiration of the ten elected members. There should be more participation.”

  In this case, until Venezuela objected, they were given a mere 18 hours. What is the point of running for a seat on the Security Council if rubber stamping is all that's expected of you?

  This paragraph, and its compliance or non-compliance with Syria's constitution, was and is at issue:

“10. The Security Council demands that all parties work urgently towards the comprehensive implementation of the Geneva Communiqué, aimed at bringing an end to all violence, violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law and the launching of a Syrian-led political process leading to a political transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and enables them independently and democratically to determine their future, including through the establishment of an inclusive transitional governing body with full executive powers, which shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent while ensuring continuity of governmental institutions.”

  Disassociation, allowing it to be adopted as unanimous while a member can disavow it, may solve a problem for this particular text. But other ongoing dysfunctions of the Security Council continue. Watch this site.

Back on August 7 the Security Council on August 7 a resolution to establish a so-called accountability mechanism for the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Outside the Council before and after the unanimous vote on August 7, Russia's ambassador Vitaly Churkin referred to a Presidential Statement he said may be adopted early next week, to support UN envoy Staffan de Mistura's work.

  Inside the Council after the vote, Syria's Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari began his speech with a reference to the 70th anniversary of the US dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. He went to to say the UN never investigated the use of chemical weapons, by rebels he said, in Khan al Asal.

   In its resolution the Security Council “recalls that in its resolution 2118, it decided that the Syrian Arab Republic and all parties in Syria shall cooperate fully with the OPCW and the United Nations.” It seems doubtful that ISIS will cooperate.

   Churkin in his post-vote speech inside the Council said that “the existing mechanics of the UN and OPCW do not have a mandate to identify those participating in such acts. Moreover, we became witnesses of the many politicized statements in this regard, which were clearly meant to be propaganda. It was necessary to eliminate this gap, which was done with the adoption of today’s resolution... Any efforts in the Syrian area must be in line with assisting a search for a political solution to the conflict.”

   Inside the Council, US Samantha Power delivered this speech. At the stakeout, questions were given to Reuters, Al Hurra (really, France 24, by mistake), and Voice of America. (We'll have a separate piece on Power's response to the Press' final question about Burundi. For now, here's previous stakeout, sit-down.

   After the meeting ended, on the steps leading out from the UNSC stakeout, Churkin said “I hope it will translate into our continued joint work on the political front. We are working, I think very well, on a PRST [Presidential Statement] in support of Staffan de Mistura’s efforts. I hope it will be adopted...” More on


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