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UN Met Syria on New Rep to Damascus, Bank Blockage Raised, Sarin Suspicions

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, May 31 -- Syria's Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari was summoned Thursday to meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's chief of staff Susana Malcorra, topic undisclosed. See Inner City Press story of Thursday morning, here.

So at the May 30 UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey:

Inner City Press: Syrian Permanent Representative [Bashar] Jaíafari said he wrote to the Secretary-General to complain about Robert Serryís briefing, that it didnít mention sufficiently from his view the Golan Heights and the kidnapping of peacekeepers. Can you confirm the receipt of that letter? And also, he was summoned to meet with Susana Malcorra, and Iíd like to know, one, if itís true, and two, what the purpose of the meeting was.

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, Matthew, I donít have any information on the receipt of a letter that you refer to, and secondly, we donít have any information on any meeting that may have taken place. As Mr. [Hervť] Ladsous said yesterday, the meeting between United Nations officials and members of the diplomatic corps of the Permanent Missions, we donít usually report on them.

  But we do, and exclusively: Malcorra's topic to Ja'afari was to notify or seek approval of a new UN system official in Damascus, for the UN Development Program. And Ja'afari raised again the UN's duty to ensure that the Host Country, the United States, made it possible for all UN diplomatic missions to have bank accounts. "They are trying to use it as leverage," Ja'afari told Inner City Press.

  After reports of Al-Nusra arrests in Turkey, having sarin gas, Inner City Press asked Ja'afari what he made of it. He said, the US trying to distance itself from Al-Nusra.

  When US Ambassador to Geneva Eileen C. Donahoe announced she had met Friday with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Inner City Press posed the question: did CoI member Carla Del Ponte say anything about her "strong suspicions" of rebel use of chemical weapons, which the Al Nusra arrests in Turkey seem to support? So far, no response. It's called social media, not a one way street. Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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