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Syria Calls Doha Process Partial, Feltman Monitors w/o Details, France on Lebanon

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 6 -- After UN political chief Jeffrey Feltman briefed the Security Council on Syria, he came to take press questions at a televised stakeout, the first time since he's had the job.

  Feltman primarily conveyed the work and views of Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, mentioning that his deputy Nassar Al-Kidwa is "monitoring" the Syrian opposition process in Doha.

  Inner City Press asked Feltman what he makes of the criticism that the United States, whose State Department Feltman until this year served, is dominating or "picking a Syria opposition to supersede the failed Syrian National Council."

  Feltman replied rather implausibly, or diplomatically, that he is "not sure the role that governments are playing" in Doha. He went on to note that any transition should be Syrian led, and for that, the opposition must come together, "reflective of what's actually happening on the ground." Video here, from Minute 11:28.

  Moments later Inner City Press asked Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari for his view of the Doha process. He shook his head and called it "partial" and "not implementing the Geneva document," which he said required the opposition to acknowledge the need to negotiate with the current government.

  After popping into the Security Council suite of rooms, Ja'afari re-emerged and told Inner City Press that what is important is to pressure countries which arm and support the armed groups, which he said are affiliated with Al Qaeda.

  He mentioned the Al Nusra Front and "booby [trapped] cars," saying that the Security Council didn't react to or condemn such bombings.

   You can't be against terrorism in Mali and Afghanistan and support it elsewhere, Ja'afari says. But it seems that some can.

   A subsequent read-out to Inner City Press had the US, in closed door consultations, alluding to pushing for "further measures" -- that is, sanctions -- after Brahimi briefs the Security Council later this month; the UK saying it must be under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter, and France insisting that Syria be condemned for moves on Lebanon, which President Francois Hollande just visited. And so it goes.

  Inner City Press also asked Feltman about the Golan. Video here, from Minute 7:10. He described it as "Syrian on Syrian" fighting, but could spread the conflict into "areas which had been immune from fighting." On this he was quite detailed; for what it was, it was a good first stakeout. Watch this site.

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