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In UNGA on Syria, 107 Votes Is "Big Loss for Qatar," Kidnap Email Mystery

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 15 -- After the Syria resolution drafted by Qatar garnered only 107 "yes" votes on Wednesday, compared to over 130 the past two times, many diplomats described it to Inner City Press as a "big loss" for Qatar, "and for France and the UK, the 'brains' behind" the resolution.

  French Ambassador Gerard Araud took the floor to try to get a few more votes. Afterward a Latin American Permanent Representative told Inner City Press that the count would have been below 100 if not for some "last minute arm-twisting."

  Even days before the vote, when Inner City Press asked Saudi Arabia's affable Permanent Representative if he predicted 110 yes votes, he said plus or minus, probably plus. But it was not to be.

  The vote Wednesday was 107 yes, 12 against and fully 59 abstentions. By that count, it seems that 15 countries didn't vote at all -- "got coffee," as one African Permanent Representative put it to Inner City Press before the vote.

  Inner City Press is putting the vote list online here.

The African Group met on Tuesday, asking Qatar to defer the vote. But Qatar rejected this. As Tanzania said, while concerned about Syria, it was not convinced that the resolution would help anything.

On the drama of Syrian Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari waving at the end of his speech an email he said showed that the opposition's "ambassador" in Qatar was involved in the kidnapping of four UN peacekeepers by the Yarmouk Martyr's Brigade, Inner City Press ran to the UN noon briefing to ask.

  Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky said he would not disclose any more about the negotiations to free the peacekeepers.

  Back in front of the General Assembly after the vote, Ja'afari briefly showed Inner City Press a copy of the e-mail, saying he could not give it out. It had on it among other things a telephone number -- presumably the number Ja'afari read out in the GA Hall -- and the word "Milad."

  Ja'afari told Inner City Press it was from a UN person in Damascus, telling headquarters of the involvement of the Syrian opposition ambassador in Doha in the kidnapping.

  Inner City Press asked, a UN person working for Envoy Brahimi's office? Ja'afari did not say yes.

There is much more to ask. Inner City Press ran to cover what was called a stakeout by UK prime minister David Cameron, where it turned out the questioner (Reuters, or UNCA) -- and the Syria question? -- were selected in advance. There are scams everywhere. Watch this site.

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