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At UN on Syria, Meeting of "Arab Monarchies," Guatemala, UK, France & (Not) Turkey, "New Resolution Coming"?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 24, updated Jan 25, below -- On his way in and out of the Security Council Tuesday morning French ambassador Gerard Araud was asked if France is working on a new resolution about Syria, to supersede the draft Russia introduced last month. We're always working, Araud quipped. Later he told the press that the Russians' is the only draft.

  But a well placed Security Council source told Inner City Press that France has requested a meeting of Security Council allies and "select Arab countries -- the less democratic ones," listing Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Qatar, along with allies including Council members Colombia and Guatemala and notably non-Council member Turkey.

  Referring to the escalating dispute between Paris and Ankara about France's Armenian genocide denial legislation, one wage asked Araud if there would be a Turkish - French text. That's not a UN issue, Araud said, yet.

  Council sources predict that a new draft resolution on Syria would emerge, late this week or Monday. But would it still be vetoed?

Update of 4:10 pm -- meanwhile, a BRICS meeting at the Permanent Representative level convened inside the Security Council suite of rooms, with the Perm Reps of China and India walking in. One told Inner City Press that the Russian draft is the draft, and that the Arab League mission should be extended for another month. Inner City Press asked, what about the GCC countries dropping out? The representative said there are other in the Arab League who want to continue. We'll see.

Update of January 25 -- Outside Ban Ki-moon's Q&A with member states, closed to the press, Inner City Press was told by two diplomats that Turkey affirmatively did NOT attend the French convened meeting; France's Armenian genocide law was cited, as well as French "arrogance."  See also Inner City Press' BRICS story, here.

  Earlier, UK ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said, "we are having consultations with our Arab colleagues here...further consultations today, both on the timing of a briefing from Mr Al-Araby and the Qatari Prime Minister, and on a Security Council response to the request for support from the Arab League.”

  Sources say Monday evening's meeting was Permanent Representatives, along with the Arab League's UN representative; Tuesday's at the expert level.

  At Tuesday's noon press briefing, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky said that Ban spoke Monday by phone with Arab League Secretary General Al Arabi, but said that no letter had yet been received. Twenty minutes later Nesirky's office said a letter was received, but provided no further information.

  A European Council member's spokesperson said the Council should hear from Al Arabi and "the Qatari prime minister, but not from Al Dabi," the Sudanese head of the Arab League mission to Syria.

  Al Dabi, of course, was a Sudanese military figure active in the Darfur conflict which has given rise to International Criminal Court indictments against Sudanese officials including president Omar al Bashir.

(c) UN photo
Araud & former spokesman: picking Arab partners, vive le roi?

  Inner City Press asked Nesirky, for the second day in a row, about photographs of the UN - African Union envoy to Darfur Ibrahim Gambari attending a wedding reception in Khartoum and greeting Omar al Bashir in the past week, despite his ICC indictment for genocide. Nesirky claimed to still have have seen the photographs, said he still had nothing on it.

   The UN has said it only deals with ICC indictees when "necessary." Was attending this reception for the wedding of Idriss Deby and the daughter of Darfur janjaweed militia leader Musa Hilal "necessary"? Watch this site.

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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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