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On Syria, From Fabius Fumble, Action Shifts to Geneva, Qatar Aid Games

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 30 -- From the UN Security Council Friday night, where after a 15-0 vote on the Syria chemical weapons resolution French foreign minister Laurent Fabius spun his propping up of Saudi-sponsored rebel boss Jarba, the Syria action moved Monday to Geneva.

  The UN's refugee agency held a morning of speeches. Lebanon said that those fleeing Syria have brought prostitution with them -- lacking in class, as one wag noted. Qatar bragging about the aid it is giving, without mentioning that its arming of extremist rebels has played a role in the refugee flows.

  UNHCR allowed Germany to jump the line of speakers because of a need to catch a flight. Donor status has its benefits, apparently. It got the UN three names: William Joseph Burns.

    Norway's outgoing foreign minister Espen Barth Eide, whom Inner City Press observed Friday night at the Security Council stakeout in New York, was there in Geneva.

  (Fabius, meanwhile, followed up his Friday night fumble with "French Morning" on Saturday, a food festival to which he brought his own pack of scribes.)

  Back in the Security Council, there is a draft Presidential Statement on humanitarian access. Qatar in Geneva thundered that access must be unconditional, and without discrimination -- ironic, given its policies. The EU's Kristalina Georgieva called it a "resolution;" this sloppiness is not limited to her.

  Agence France Presse, which like any good state media would never mention Fabius' meltdown Friday in New York, couldn't even keep its calendar straight, reporting that Australia hands over the presidency of the Security Council to Azerbaijan on Wednesday. No, that would be Tuesday October 1.

  But facts were never AFP's strong suit - witness its coverage, past and upcoming, of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. The international machinery was never mobilized in this way for that crisis, much less for Sri Lanka in 2009. We'll have more on this. Watch this site.


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