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Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

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At the UN, Syrian Airspace Fireworks Recall Georgia Missile Crisis, France Bags Gbagbo?

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Muse

UNITED NATIONS, September 14 -- At the UN this week, Syrian Ambassador Bashar al-Jaafari called for Security Council action for airspace violation and munitions dropping by Israel. It recalled, from last month, Georgia's demand that the Council address the missile 65 kilometers from Tbilisi. That missile issue is not even in the footnotes of this month's Council agenda. Will the incident in Syria fall away as quickly?

            Meanwhile at least two New York-based newspapers report that the target may have been North Korean mobile munitions in Syria. Some ask, if that was the case, why Israel wouldn't say what it was aiming at? Cynics reply that perhaps the U.S., which reportedly winked when North Korea delivered tank parts to Ethiopia, would not look favorably on report of North Korea proliferation just as it seeks peace with Kim Jong-il. As with the missile mystery in Georgia, who's doing favors for whom?

            Syria has asked Ban Ki-moon to make a statement; Ban has reported said he'll think about it. But see above. Connecting these two events in more than idea is the report, by non-Permanent Five diplomats, that Russia advised Syria not to push for Security Council action. And on the Russia - Georgia front, Russia had indicated that things will get worse if two of its soldiers capture by Georgia aren't soon released.

The missile in Georgia, mysteriously not on the Security Council's agenda this month

            In another ask, Cote d'Ivoire has asked the Security Council president for September to allow Laurent Gbagbo to address the Council while he is in New York for the General Debate. The answer has so far been negative -- and the Council President is French. To some in Abidjan, these facts appear connected.

            In other shadowy Council maneuvers, Indonesia made a point of deleting the phrase "for past crimes" from the Presidential Statement on Timor-Leste this week. One of the logics proffered is, why worry about the past when there are so many current crimes?  More on those next week.

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Clck here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army.  Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent 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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UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540