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At UN, Ehud Barak Tells Press Assad Killed 2000 & Lost Legitimacy, Says IHH Has Gaza Flotilla Blame

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 29 -- After Israeli Defense Minister met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday, he told the Press he had discussed “the region.” Inner City Press asked him, “Did you discuss Syria with the Secretary General?”

  Barak replied, “I mentioned the fact that we are watching it. We do not intend to be an influence on what happens there... We cannot ignore, what we see there is illegitimate behavior -- Assad if using weapons and his armed forces against his own citizens in a way that's caused the loss of two thousand lives. I believe he has lost his legitimacy.”

  Then Barak looked at the spokeswoman for the Israeli Mission to the UN and said he was being whisked away by the young lady. She had not called on Inner City Press which has a follow up questions that will have to wait for next time.

  Israel, or most Israeli politicians and diplomats, have tried to say little about Syria, thinking that to attack Assad would only help him domestically. But Barak has gone further.

  Asked about the Palmer report on the nine Turks killed on last year's Gaza flotilla, Barak said it is mostly the fault of the IHH, but he hopes something can be agreed between now and August 20.

Ban & Barak on July 29, 2011, Palmer report not shown

   While Barak did not say it about the Palestinians' possible moves in September, a long time Permanent Representative gushed to Inner City Press that even with a US veto in the Security Council that could block UN membership, Palestine could ask for statehood, or what could be called statehood, in the General Assembly. We'll be here - watch this site.

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Near End of German UN Month, of Israel and Serbia, Nubans & N. Korean Nukes

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 27 -- A specter hung over the Germany end of Security Council presidency on Wednesday night, or perhaps three or four specters: Vuk Jeremic of Serbia, the dead Nubans of Southern Kordofan, a visiting North Korea minister and disputes in the Middle East including Israel, whose Permanent Representative Ron Prosor was in the house.

  The house in this instance was the German Ambassador's residence, off Fifth Avenue in the Seventies, with rooms large, even too large, one of the residents told Inner City Press.

  Prosor for his part opined that if Israel were to speak in favor of a Council resolution on Syria is would “just help the regime” of Bashar Assad.

  But why is the US letting the Council's European members take the lead on Syria? Good question, he said.

  US Ambassador Susan Rice was not present, as she has not been this week. Deputy Rosemary DiCarlo was there. The French, it seemed, dispensed not only with Permanent Representative Araud but also his deputy, leaving their political coordinator to represent La France.

  Araud was seen the night previous, closer to the UN at the farewell of an Asian permanent representative, furiously pitching the Elysee's position on the injury to six French peacekeepers in Lebanon, which resulted in statements from the UK and US Missions, Alain Juppe and at day's end the UN Security Council.

  It was hard not to note that in Darfur, for example, the death and injuries to UN peacekeepers from the Continent gives rises neither to a Council press statement nor a meeting.

  Meetings are political, of course. Take for example the request of Serbia, supported by Russia, for an open meeting on Kosovo's closing of the border. Western members said they needed more information, that an open meeting might just inflame. That this is the same argument they oppose when opposed to places like Ivory Coast did not seem to bother them.

Even after the decision that Thursday's session would be closed, Serbian Vuk Jeremic headed to New York from Beirut, and will meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday.

  Perhaps Vuk will get an open meeting in the Council Friday, depending on what the Secretariat says behind closed doors on Thursday. Some say the information will come from K-FOR. But if the UN is spending money on UNMIK in Kosovo, shouldn't it have its own information?

  While the German presidency is not over, already Ambassador Peter Wittig easily surpassed the number of press stakeouts of May's presidency, France, at only three.

  Wittig often did not substantially answer questions asked. But he stood and listened to them, and this reporter missed his stakeout about the Lord's Resistance Army - though only after Wittig merely circulated a press statement about the Central African Republic earlier in the month. Call it a draw, and hope that it's productive.

Wittig & his able spokesman at July's beginning, end not yet seen

  One point often made is that while "some delegations" at the beginning of July vowed there would be no outcome to the German's climate meeting, in fact there was one. One Deputy Permanent Representative Wednesday night took particular credit, perhaps not unfairly. Another E-10 delegation claimed credit for the Kosovo compromise and this was confirmed, though also criticized on timing.

  Earlier on Wednesday night, the Chinese mission was full of military men and women celebrating the People's Liberation Army. Many in attendance were just there for the food -- which was excellent, featuring duck and jellyfish -- but in the crowd stood Democratic People's Republic of Korea ambassador Sin Son Ho, eating dumpings and cherries and spring rolls.

 Inner City Press asked him when his Minister Kim's talks with the US will happen, and what he hoped from them. We'll see in the next two days, he answered, saying even he hadn't yet been told the list of US attendees. Stephen Bosworth? Human rights rep King? This too was a specter. Watch this site.

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India, Brazil & S. Africa Move Toward Joint Communique on Syria, European Members Grumble at UN

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, July 27 -- As the crackdown has intensified in Syria, the so-called IBSA countries -- India, Brazil and South Africa -- have been under increasing pressure to “do something about Assad.”

  France's UN Ambassador Gerard Araud, for example, wrote an opinion piece in the Brazilian press urging Brazil to support the long pending draft Security Council resolution on Syria circulated by the European members of the Council.

  UN sources have for some time been telling Inner City Press that IBSA has been moving toward taking action.

 Now on July 26 several European members complained to Inner City Press that the action the IBSA countries are moving toward is not through the Council but rather a communication, or demarche, directly to Syria.

  This new development is not unexpected. As the Council's two resolutions on Libya have been cited after the fact as authorizing not only airstrikes but even the parachuting of weapons into the Nafusa mountains by France, opposition to a Syria Council resolution has grown.

  But India, Brazil and South Africa, each for its own reasons, wants to take some action on Syria. Internally, each of the three government faces pressures from some groups to do more about human rights in Syria, and from others not to allow “another Libya.”

  As to Brazil, on a recent Council on Foreign Relations conference call Inner City Press asked, “what do you make of Brazil's position on Syria being portrayed as... obstructionist?”

  Former US Ambassador to Brazil Donna Hrinak responded that the

Brazilian congress certainly is playing more of a role. Itamaraty at one time had, you know, virtual monopoly on foreign policy making. Civil society is a lot more vibrant in Brazil in also speaking out on foreign policy. You could do quite well by looking at what players are active in U.S. foreign policy and seeing those same groups reflected in Brazil.”

   How would an op-ed by a French diplomat seeking to impact US foreign policy play out?

Brazil's PR Viotti, India's (3d from left), Araud behind Susan Rice in shades, IBSA letter not shown

  CFR's Latin America director Julia Sweig also replied:

with respect to Syria, there was a great deal of conflict with France over that, but there were a couple of resolutions, I believe, that passed in the Brazilian congress, which is becoming more and more active in weighing in on foreign policy, condemning 1973, that resolution [on Libya], and also a great deal of resistance on the Syria front that I believe Itamaraty is increasingly sensitive to, as our foreign-policy operatives are themselves when they conduct foreign policy. So in foreign policy, domestic politics and voices will impinge.”

Things are not so different in India and South Africa. So for the three to act together is not unexpected, despite the grumbling from European members of the Security Council. Watch this site.

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

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

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

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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