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At UN on Syria PRST, Online Here, Silence Extended to 2:30, Probe Dropped

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, August 3 -- On Syria a series of compromises in the UN Security Council led to a Presidential Statement, not resolution, slated forpossible adoption at 3 pm on Wednesday.

  Inner City Press has obtained the final draft, and puts it online here.

  At 12:45, Hardeep Singh Puri, the Council's president for August, told Inner City Press that the silence procedure on the draft had been extended from 1 to 2:30. He called adoption "doable."

The European members had proposed a resolution, but settled for a Presidential Statement. Russian Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin told the press that this so-called PRST was a format more appropriate for the situation of Syria.

Brazil, operating on the principles of its IBSA grouping with India and South Africa, had on Tuesday proposed a text which condemned violence against security forces. As UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant explained to the Press, the only remaining reference in this direction is a call to end violence by all sides and against "reprisals against state institutions."

The so-called blended text by the UK and Brazil had called for an investigation of human rights violations. This has been removed, Churkin said, adding that it was not a Russia's request.

Inner City Press asked the UK's Mark Lyall Grant about it. He said it came out at the request of "one member... not Russia or China." He declined, at least on the record, to identify which country demanded it come out.

Inner City Press asked Hardeep Singh Puri which country asked for it to come out. It's more complex, he said. The question was who would conduct the investigation. If you say the Syrian authorities are committing the violations, how can they investigate themselves?

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

A Presidential Statement is said to require 15-0 unanimity: that is, the concordance of Lebanon, which blocked the first proposed Council statement on Syria. Wednesday there was talk of precedents to get around this, talk of China disassociating itself from decision on the demarcation of the Iraq - Kuwait border, and of a UN disassociation "in another way."

Council members were given until 1 pm -- now 2:30 -- to break silence, and if not, to come to a formal meeting at 3 to adopt it. Watch this site.

* * *

Here is the text with five brackets sent to capitals Tuesday night:

Express grave concern at the deteriorating situation in Syria, and express profound regret at the death of many hundreds of people.

Condemn systematic violations of human rights and the use of force against [unarmed] civilians [by the Syrian authorities].

Call for an immediate end to all violence [, including violence against security forces], and urge all sides to act with utmost restraint, and to refrain from reprisals.

Call on the Syrian authorities to fully respect human rights and to comply with their obligations under applicable international law, and call for a credible and impartial

national investigation into the violence in Syria. Those responsible for the violence should be held accountable.

Note the announced commitments by the Syrian authorities to reform, and regret the lack of progress in implementation, and call upon the Syrian Government to implement their commitments.

Reaffirm its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Syria.

Stress that the only solution to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process, with the aim of effectively addressing the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the population which will allow the full exercise of fundamental freedoms for its entire population, including that of expression and peaceful assembly.

Call on the Syrian authorities to alleviate the humanitarian situation in crisis areas [by ceasing military operations against affected towns], to allow [immediate and] unhindered access for international humanitarian agencies and workers, and cooperate fully with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [mission].

[Request the Secretary-General to update the Security Council on the situation in Syria within 7 days.]

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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