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Syria Meeting Was On Chemical Weapons Initiative, Resolution Not Shown

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 11 -- After the UN refused to confirm how its planning for Syria changed, from US threatened missile strikes to the Russian-proposed chemical weapons initiative, Inner City Press staked out the Russian Mission during the meeting of the Permanent Five members of the Security Council. Video here, and embedded below.

  As Inner City Press reported from the sidewalk in front of the Russian Mission, the meeting lasted barely 35 minutes, and afterward neither US Ambassador Samantha Power nor France's Gerard Araud said anything. At least the UK's Mark Lyall Grant said that he had no comment.

  But Inner City Press has since learned that the meeting, contrary to spoon-fed Western report, was NOT about the French draft resolution, which some say the US would like to supersede, but rather about the initiative on chemical weapons. Many call it the Russian initiative, but we call it "the initiative." (This is NOT in deference to Poland's claim to be the father of the plan.)

This explains the fast and not happy exit by the Western P3. But how to explain this Reuters report, by a reporter who didn't even go up to the Russian Mission?

"diplomats said. Among the topics to be discussed by U.S., British, Chinese, French and Russian diplomats is a French draft resolution that would give the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad an ultimatum to give up its chemical arsenal or face punitive measures."

  That was NOT among the topics discussed. So who were the unnamed diplomats Reuters' quoted? Not hard to guess.

  Earlier on September 11, Inner City Press asked UN spokesperson Farhan Haq about the UN's planning:

Inner City Press: about this issue of planning, I heard last week that there is planning within DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations] and I saw the answer that was e-mailed to me today saying that there “has been contingency planning for a range of scenarios”, but that it is exclusively up to the Security Council. So, I understand that to implement a plan, it is up to the Security Council, but can you acknowledge that DPKO does planning before it has any mandate from the Security Council and that this planning now involves this new proposal to search for and/or destroy chemical weapons?

Associate Spokesperson Haq: No, I can’t confirm that. We don’t actually talk in detail about contingency planning. What I can say is that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations does do contingency planning for a range of potential scenarios. Ultimately, what plan we adopt depends upon what scenario reflects the present reality.

Inner City Press: And did you have a plan for the contingency of a military strike directed at chemical weapons facilities, as discussed by the United States?

Associate Spokesperson: I wouldn’t comment on the specifics of our contingency planning. It is a contingency, like I said, for a wide range of scenarios.

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