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Syria Commission of Inquiry Extended, Terrorism Amendment Rejected, Kofi Qs

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 23 -- Before the UN Human Rights Council voted to extend the mandate of its Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Russia proposed amendment, including on the "terrorist acts in Damascus and Aleppo."

 Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Belgium spoke against the amendments, and they failed with only four votes in favor, nine abstaining and 33 against.

  At least one wag remembering 9/11 noted the irony of Saudi Arabia voting against language condemning terrorist attacks. But the place of terrorism in Syria has become a political football, including when the UK Presidency of the Security Council for March is said to have delayed the Russian drafted press statement until the March 21 Presidential Statement also passed.

In Geneva, the resolution extending the Commission of Inquiry on Syria based with 41 in favor, three against and two abstaining, including Ecuador which spoke citing the Universal Periodic Review as the appropriate mechanism for these issues.

An argument raised against the Russia amendments was that terrorism is a subject for the Security Council in New York, whose members got a closed door briefing Thursday from the members of the Commission of Inquiry. As Inner City Press reported, Security Council members were told that Kofi Annan should push to get the Commission access to Syria.

Inner City Press has asked the spokesman for Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan:

yesterday outside the Security Council's Arria formula meeting with the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, a number of Permanent Representatives told me of calls that the JSE should both insist that any monitoring mechanism include human rights monitoring and reporting AND that the JSE should be pushing the Assad government to allow entry into Syria by the International Commission of Inquiry. Please respond.

Also, is there any answer yet to the question of whether the Kofi Annan Foundation has solicited (and if so, if it has received) funds in the past three years from Qatar, Saudi Arabia or the UAE or government aligned business interests or businesspeople in these three countries?

Can you disclose any more of the individuals in the JSE's box of consultants, even if not yet deployed or paid, but certainly if deployed or paid? What is Mr. Nicolas Michel's status?

When responses are received they will be reported on this site.

Footnote: there is more than a little duplicity in the Human Rights Council. Thailand, for example, which spoke and voted against yesterday's resolution on Sri Lanka, whose government killed some 40,000 civilians in 2009, loudly voted "yes" against Syria, of which Amnesty International says it has 7200 names of killed civilians. Is the difference just the region in which the killing took place? 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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