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At UN on Syria, Will Pillay Brief on Zintan, of Assad's Big 6 & Kosovo

By Matthew Russell Lee, Partial exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, June 26 -- When the Syria consultations of the UN Security Council ended midday Tuesday, Ambassadors Gerard Araud of France and Vitaly Churkin of Russia jousted about whether High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay should brief only about Syria, or about Libya as well as Russia is requesting.

  Inner City Press asked Churkin about Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari's statement late Monday, reported by Inner City Press, that there are training camps in Zintan, Libya which are funded by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Churkin replied:

"you may recall that I raised that even in the official meeting of the Security Council while the Prime Minister of Libya was here. We believe that if this is true, this is wrong. We have heard also of training camps in Kosovo, in other places.

"This is something that is directly contrary to Kofi Annan's plan. From the outset of his activity, he said to us that further militarization of the Syrian conflict would be a mistake, and would not be in line with his actions. So that of course is very deplorable if this is the case. And of course, Libya has so many domestic issues that for them to return to the old Qaddafi pattern of exporting revolution would be a tragic irony, if you will, of history."

  As a follow up, Inner City Press asked if the UN missions UNMIK and UNSMIL, run by Ian Martin, could have any role in proving or disproving the existence of these training camps.

  Churkin said, "I'm afraid it's not their mandate." Then again, the Security Council sets the mandates of its missions.

  Afterward, the Syrian side exclusively told Inner City Press they are counting on at least six votes in the Council, those who are committed to a June 30 meeting without preconditions: Russia and China, India and Pakistan, Azerbaijan and South Africa.

  South Africa will leave the Security Council in December, to be replaced in all likelihood by Rwanda. How would Rwanda vote on this? Then again, a high official in the UN predicted to Inner City Press on June 22 that "this will be over in July." 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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