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March 1, 2011: Libya

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At UN on Syria, IBSA Strangely Upbeat, Grumbles from Russia & China

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 2 -- After all other Ambassadors had left the Security Council's Syria meeting on Tuesday night, this month's president Hardeep Singh Puri of India emerged with staff from his mission.

  Inner City Press asked him about the rift around the final paragraph of the working text on Syria, about the Council receiving reports from the Secretary General.

  "It's down to one single report after fourteen days," Ambassador Puri told Inner City Press. "Someone said let's make it seven days then someone made a joke of it and said every day. I think it's only the figure of fourteen days that's there."

  Inner City Press asked about the fight about if and how to condemn, and where in the test to place reference to, violence against Assad's security forces.

Ambassador Puri replied, "It's like this: this is standard in a negotiations. When you've got square brackets around something, they always add one or two extra to have negotiating chips."

Given that Lebanon blocked the first attempt at a Council statement on Syria, Inner City Press asked about Ambassador Puri's floated idea of a "decision" not subject to such blockage.

Ambassador Puri said, "I continue to remain confident that this is doable."

It occurs that as President of the Security Council, India may have (even) more of an agenda than its IBSA partners South Africa and Brazil to be seen has accomplishing an output on Syria. Brazil is bought in now, having had its "points" largely accepted.

South African Permanent Representative Baso Sangqu was also upbeat, telling Inner City Press that a Presidential Statement could be agreed to.

As Inner City Press reported earlier on Tuesday, Chinese Deputy Permanent Representative Wang was far less upbeat. Later, Russian Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin was the only diplomat to go to to the official UN TV stakeout, in order to express frustration at the resolution's proponents' "overreaching."

So, as a preliminary view, the IPSAs got positive, Russia and China less so, which was a stated goal of the Western powers earlier in the Syria standoff. But will it work for them?

Amb. Maria Viotti of Brazil, with Hardeep of India and Churkin: Brazil points now shown

The backdrop is the (over?) use of the Council's Libya resolutions. Here's what Ambassador Puri said on the topic earlier on Tuesday:

"We are deeply worried about the situation in Libya... Security Council resolution 1970 was unanimously passed by the Security Council. Resolution 1973 was more problematic. That was passed on March 17. Military operations began on the 19th, that is almost immediately after. I don't want to go into a blame game. But let me share with you what I think was the intellectual construct of those who wanted the Council action on 1973.

At a political level, many people thought that what Libya was facing was a large uprising, popular discontent, and that all it required was a little edge from the international community a nd the political dispensation would topple. Now clearly that has not been borne out. It is more than four and a half months of military operations in Libya, and with the start of the month of Ramadan, prayers and fasting, no one today is able to say with any certainty that, you need military operations for only this or that amount of time.

1973 clearly calls for a cessation of hostilities, and our position, therefore, has been that there should be a cessation of hostilities.

There should be an inclusive political dialogue. Because in this country which is deeply divided, including on tribal lines, you require a process of rapprochement, of people sitting down and working out the future scenario, after this operation is over.

The fact of the matter is we are not able to get a ceasefire. There are some attempts, and very useful attempts, by the African Union, through the AU roadmap. There are efforts being made by the special representative of the Secretary General. But I cannot say with any certainty that we are looking at a ceasefire in the immediate future. As events are unfolding, the Council's attention is on other areas. But in Libya, the situation continues to be deeply worrying. And I would encourage all those who have a role to play to find a way to get the ball rolling."

We'll see - watch this site.

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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