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At UN, Quotes of Peacekeepers to Syria Point to DPKO Chief & His Country's PR?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 30 -- Amid complaints that Kofi Annan's mission to the Syria is meant to keep Assad in power, the UN has repeatedly refused to answer Press questions about who is part of Annan's team or whether the UN has any role in selecting or vetting them.

  Now there are quotes from a self-described senior Western Security Council diplomat that the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) is sending an advance team to Syria, with an eye to shifting some 250 observers from its UN Peacekeeping Missions UNIFIL in Lebanon and UNDOF in the Golan.

  Because this seems a strange way for the UN to be communicating, Inner City Press on March 30 asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey to confirm these DPKO moves, and to state whether the chief of DPKO is sharing such information with all 15 Security Council members or other the Permanent Representative of his own country, which has appointed the last four Under Secretaries General for Peacekeeping in a row.

  Del Buey paused and then told Inner City Press to ask the Kofi Annan team: "There are reports that are coming from leaks or reported leaks from the Council... I believe that Mr. Annan is coordinating the efforts in Syria and I would leave it to his spokesman to comment on that. "

  While Annan's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi has for example been willing to confirm that Annan recently gave a six month UN contract to Martin Griffiths, who resigned from his last job in Geneva amid an embezzlement scandal, this is a question about UN DPKO and its chief, Herve "The Drone" Ladsous, so named because he had proposed the use of drones and even the interception of communications, without specifying if the information collected would go to all member states or only his own.

  Ladsous pointedly refuses to answer questions about his drone proposal, or other questions about peacekeeping, in Haiti and South Sudan.

  As first reported by Inner City Press, when Annan conducted meetings at the UN with diplomats from among others Syria, China and Iran, he then met with Ladsous, the only one of the meetings the Press was not allowed to photograph.

  Friday Inner City Press asked Del Buey, what is Ban Ki-moon's role in all this? Has Ban, as reported, lost control?

  Del Buey said that Ban and the Arab League appointed Annan, but Annan takes it from there: "Mr Kofi Annan is managing, is directing, is responsible for the peace process in Syria."

   Pro-Assad media, it should be noted, describe Annan as the "UN" envoy, and as Inner City Press first reported, Annan's Arab League selected deputy Nassar El-Kidwa has not been allow into Syria.

  El-Kidwa is in Istanbul, meeting with the opposition and Friends of Syria. Kofi Annan, not surprisingly, has not gone: his moves are not favorably viewed by the opposition.

  Intrigue and secrecy in mediation is one thing. But from a UN peacekeeping chief and his country's Permanent Representative, they may be quite another. 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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