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From Syria, Letter to Ban, Race for Relevance Has E10 in Lobby, No Briefing

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 3 -- On Syria, after US President Barack Obama said he's comfortable proceeding without the UN chemical weapons inspection report and without the UN Security Council, the UN has been all Syria, all the time in what we've dubbed its Race for Relevance.

  On this Tuesday after Labor Day, the UN has canceled its normal noon briefing because Ban will speak on Syria at 1 pm, apparently for only 15 minutes. So, no Q&A with the UN about its billion dollar peacekeeping missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Sudan, nor Mali nor Haiti: all dropped like a hot potato -- or yam.

  The UN press corps swarmed the lobby Tuesday morning seeking comment from the Elected Ten members of the Security Council on their way up to meet with Ban about Syria. Tweeted cell phone photo here.

  On the way down, the Permanent Representatives of South Korea -- Ban's golfing buddy, click here for Inner City Press story on that -- and Argentina, last month's President of the Council, referred all questions to this month's Council chief, Gary Quinlan of Australia.

  Quinlan at least stopped, and Inner City Press filmed. But he made no substantive comment, saying that he will hold a press conference on September 4 at 12:30. That's supposed to be on the Council's September Program of Work.

  Meanwhile, the Free UN Coalition for Access @FUNCA_info put online the UN General Assembly debate speakers' list, version 2 sent to member states on August 30, here. Notably, Qatar now has a spot in the first, opening morning with Obama on September 24.

  Inner City Press obtained and put online Syria's August 31 letter to the UN, here, which among other things notes that Syria in March asked the UN to determine WHO used chemical weapons at Khan al Asal, but says that the US, France and UK opposed that. Turn, turn, turn. Watch this site.


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