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In Syria, Nasser Al Kidwa Was Blocked, Guehenno to Be Named, Annan Foundation Stonewall

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 19 -- After the UN refused Monday for the fifth time to disclose who is on the Syria team of Kofi Annan, ostensibly the UN's and Arab League's Joint Special Envoy, a well placed Arab League Permanent Representative confirmed to Inner City Press that Syria said that the Arab League nominated deputy, Nasser Al Kidwa, could not visit Syria.

  "He is a friend," the Permanent Representative said, "but he represents the Arab League, and Syria does not agree to the League's plans or proposals."

  As Inner City Press first reported, it was after Annan unilaterally fingered his former UN peacekeeping chief Jean Marie Guehenno as his deputy that the Arab League rebelled and demand that Nasser Al Kidwa be first deputy.

Now, sources tell Inner City Press that on March 20 the UN will belatedly confirm that Guehenno is another deputy. On March 19, Inner City Press obtained and published the French-drafted Presidential Statement, here.

Here was the Q&A on Monday:

Inner City Press: I saw where Mr. Fawzi was quoted as saying that he couldn’t say, you know, where they are going, but can you say who they are?

Deputy Spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey: No, we cannot say who they are.

Inner City Press: Why not?

Deputy Spokesperson Del Buey: Because we cannot say who they are.

Inner City Press: And, are they being paid with UN money and if so, how can you not say who they are?

Deputy Spokesperson Del Buey: Matthew, the important thing is that we have two teams on the ground. One is following the humanitarian route to see if we can get humanitarian aid to the people who desperately need it. The other one is there to try and find a political solution to the situations, so the violence and killing end. Those are the main themes we are working on. If and when we have administrative issues to discuss, we will discuss them.

Inner City Press: My question is whether Nasser Al-Kidwa, the deputy who was named and appointed by the Arab League, is among those going, and it is not an administrative detail.

Deputy Spokesperson Del Buey: I cannot say. I cannot say, I am sorry.

After the UN thus stonewalled for the fifth time, saying "we cannot because we cannot," Inner City Press sent the questions to the Kofi Annan Foundation, where another team member and disgraced former UN official Alan Doss also works. The questions:

Hello. I'm told you were on list UN gave to Syrian Mission to the UN of those going to Damascus. I am a reporter at the UN who has repeated asked: who is on the team, who is getting paid, what is Mr. Guehenno's status and other questions, without any answers.

So I'm writing to you: Is Mr. Guehenno part of the team?

Did Nasser Al Kidwa seek to go the first time? the second time?

Who has gone on the technical mission which started Sunday?

Which team members are being paid from the $900,000 authorized in the GA resolution? How much?

Is the Kofi Annan Foundation financing any part of the mission? Or receiving fund for the mission to Syria?

While not stated on its web site, has the Kofi Annan Foundation either solicited or received funds from sources with interests in Syria, including but not limited to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, including government affiliated businesses or businesspeople in these countries?

What is the contact information for Mr. Fawzi, the spokesman for the Joint Special Envoy who had retired from the UN?

Please provide answers as quickly as you can, as each become available. Thank you in advance.

Hours later this arrived:

From: [ at]
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at]
Date: Mon, Mar 19, 2012
Subject: Re: Press question re Joint Special Envoy, team, KofiAnnanFoundation, please confirm receipt, thanks

Mr Lee, Thank you for your message which I have passed on to Ahmad Fawzi who will be in touch with you shortly. You might refer your questions to Mr Jared Kotler at DPA who is better placed to answer your questions about the work of the JSE for Syria.

Hours still later, at deadline, still no response at all from Ahmad Fawzi, the UN compensated spokesman for the UN - Arab League Joint Special Envoy.

(c) UN Photo
Guehenno & Ban's incoming DSG Jan Eliasson: is Ban not ready for prime time?

  This follow up was submitted:

Thanks for confirming receipt; I'll wait to hear back from Ahmad Fawzi. Here in NY, UN spokespeople have not provided basic information. DPA chief Lynn Pascoe, when I asked him at a press conference about mediation, did confirm that former UN official Alan Doss is involved, but that's it. With all due respect, the financial questions that relate to the Kofi Annan Foundation and its officials and staff, maybe you can answer?

And still, Fawzi was not heard from, nor these follow up questions answered. Watch this site.

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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

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