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On Syria, France's Vote Prediction False, Conditions for Dialogue Disputed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 29 -- On the way into the Syria consultations of the UN Security Council Thursday afternoon, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the press he was "not optimistic" that a resolution would be adopted. By contrast earlier in the day, French Ambassador Gerard Araud predicted a vote Friday or Monday.

  When Indian Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri left the consultations after 5 pm, he said that two drafts had been considered -- the European and the Russian -- and that a new draft would be circulated by 8 pm.

  Both he and Churkin were asked about Operative Paragraph 9, providing that if the resolution is not complied with sanctions would be considered. "Let's respect the sanctity of negotiations," said Hardeep Singn Puri.

  "I'm not going there," Churkin said, adding that there should be "no ambiguity about dialogue," and no preconditions to dialogue.

  This is similar to the stand off around Darfur in Sudan and the conditions to implement to so-called Darfur Peace Process. As South Africa said about Darfur, Russia said Thursday about Syria: you can't wait for the perfect conditions to have dialogue, it must begin.

Ja'afari at UN, fruitful Ban and tomato-throwing at Ford not shown

China's Deputy Permanent Representative Wang was asked which draft would be negotiated. He paused then said "the current one" to laughter. Wang headed to his Mission, as did the Press. Watch this site.

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On Syria, France Speaks of Friday, Lebanon in Chair - Russia Not Optimistic

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 29, updated -- In the run up to a Syria resolution meeting of Security Council Permanent Representatives Thursday at 4 pm, France's Gerard Araud predicted a vote on Friday or Monday, saying "We've waited too long."

  Russia, meanwhile, indicated Thursday morning that it was not ready to vote.

  Then on his way into the Council at 4 pm Vitaly Churkin of Russia was asked about the chance of passing the resolution. He said he was "not optimistics," that concerns had not been addressed.

   Even others supporting the resolution questioned a vote on the last day of the Council Presidency of Lebanon, which blocked a press statement and disassociated itself from the Presidential Statement on Syria. A Deputy Permanent Representative asked Inner City Press rhetorically, "Why not wait until Nigeria takes over?"

  Sources described further changes to the draft, including extending the time for considering adopting sanctions to 30 days from 15 (and in that earlier draft, reference to adopting, not considering adoption) and changing vigilance over weapons from Syrian authorities to Syria generally, including the opposition.

  There is also talk of urging the opposition to be vigilant about extremism, and the freedom of religion issue still bouncing around. So is the Council ready to vote on Friday, or even Thursday as one Permanent Representative suggested? Watch this site.

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

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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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