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At UN, Closed Meeting on G20 Trumps Saudi Draft on Syria, Qatar Out in Force

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 31, updated with draft -- When Saudi Arabia's Permanent Representative hosted an "informal consultation" on his draft General Assembly resolution on Syria on Tuesday afternoon, those who came were mostly political coordinators: for example those of Security Council members India and South Africa, which took different positions on the UK Council draft that failed on July 19.

   The Permanent Representative of Qatar arrived, with body guard, who waited outside with a Turkish guard as well. Algeria's Perm Rep, chair of the Group of 77, attended.

   Russia did not sent Vitaly Churkin or his deputy Alexander Pankin but rather the affable Nikita Zhukov. Inner City Press asked him, Any amendments? He laughed.

  Here is the draft Saudi Arabia distributed, put online by Inner City Press.

Update of 4:23 pm -- sources in the meeting say that not only did Russia say it will vote again, and urge others to do so, but that other BRICSA, not coordinated, spoke against the draft and "taking sides," or siding with the Arab League. Game on, they said.

  On the other side, while acknowledging they won't get 137 votes, the proponents expect at least 100. We'll see.

  While the UK expert attended the understandably closed door session on Syria, UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant was on the other side of the North Lawn building listening to Ban Ki-moon's briefing about the G20 in Los Cabos.

  The reason? The UK co-chairs Ban's post-2015 MDGs group, about which some new announcements were promised. While this might be the pretext for closing to the press and public a meeting about the environment, it is a pretext growing thinner.

  Libya's Ibrahim Dabbashi, too, passed by the Syria meeting telling Inner City Press, I am not involved in that. He went into the G20 meeting, which was kicked off by the Qatari President of the GA. So Qatar had its impact on both sides of the North Lawn building.

  Qatar's Permanent Representative left the Syria meeting, with bodyguard, at 3:58.

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