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On Cyprus, As UN Unaware of Plan for 200,000 Syria Refugees, Play for Loans?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 10 -- After the UN Security Council's low key Cyprus session Tuesday morning, Inner City Press asked UN envoy Lisa Buttenheim two questions, about Cyprus' moves to explore natural resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone, and plans for up to 200,000 refugees from Syria.

  Buttenheim said there is a danger of inflammatory rhetoric about resources, while acknowledging that Cyprus has the right to explore in its "E. E. Zed." Of the Syria refugee plans she said "I have not heard that myself."

  She said Cyprus is the "primary safe haven" for nine countries, noting that she is the UN's "designated official" and worked for example on the evacuation of UN families from Egypt in February 2011.

  But Cyprus' former UN ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis told numerous media in Nicosia, "We do not know what will happen in Syria, but in our planning we have estimated up to 200,000 refugees could arrive... It will be a very big strain on us if it happens, so we will need help for sure."

  Cynics say this could be a play for loans not only from Russia -- note that as Inner City Press reported last week Cyprus abstained from the General Assembly resolution on the rights of Georgian IDPs to return to Abkhazia and South Ossentia -- but also from the IMF.

  The IMF has a briefing on July 12 -- which is when "good offices" man Alexander Downer arrives in New York, ostensibly to meet new Department of Political Affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman. Will he like Italy issue a press release? Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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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

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

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