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March 1, 2011: Libya

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At UN, Thick Syria Draft Circulated "Noting" ICC Referral Recommendation

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 23 -- When the Security Council emerged from closed door meetings Tuesday on Syria and Libya, ambassadors tried to match each other in not making news. Five days previous, the four European members and the US said they would circulate a resolution about Syria.

  And sure enough on Tuesday, they gave the other members of the Council a surprisingly thick draft, including an arms embargo and sanctions, but no explicit referral of Syria to the International Criminal Court.

   Rather the draft welcomes the Human Rights Council's resolution of earlier in the day -- on which Russia and China voted no, and India abstained -- and "notes" the recommendation by High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay that "the Security Council consider referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court." (See photo before of first page, more foreseeably to follow.)

  Inner City Press asked Council president for August Hardeep Singh Puri, India's Ambassador, if the omission of a referral to the ICC might make his country, a proponent of "incrementalism," more likely to vote for or abstain on the draft.

  "I don't like sanctions in the best of times," Puri said, adding that he would study the draft.

  Russia's Permanent Representative Churkin too said as he climbed the stairs up from the Council he would not discuss the draft in the Council, but merely send it back to Moscow. On his way in, he'd said that Russia is "comfortable" keeping things in the scope of the Presidential Statement adopted August 3. He joked with the press about the day's earthquake, saying he was in Moscow for one, and also in Greece.

  When the session was over, the UK's Deputy Permanent Representative Philip Parham came out, speaking off camera "like Churkin did." He was asked if Bashar al Assad is on the proposed sanctions list. He replied that "those responsible" for the crackdown are, and nodded.

  Later the representative of another European country not currently on the Council told Inner City Press that Assad must be scared by what's happened to Gaddafi in Libya. Yes -- but what will it make Assad do?

  Inner City Press asked Parham about Libya: when will the Council ask on Ban Ki-moon's request for a new UN mandate regarding the country?

 Parhan said that Ian Martin -- also from the UK -- is meeting with the National Transitional Council to ask what they want from the UN, and that after that the Council will take it up. There'll be a meeting about Libya in New York on Friday, with the Arab League, European Union, Organization of the Islamic Cooperation and apparently African Union. We'll be there.

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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