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On Syria, As Ban Talks Movement & Nationality, Stonewalls on TCC Invites

By Matthew Russell Lee

UN System, April 19 -- Seeking face time with the media about Syria, but tightly controlled, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon late Thursday morning read a statement then took three questions. There was little news: the Secretariat's letter to the Security Council proposing 300 military observers for Syria had already been reported.

  Ban emphasized freedom of movement and no restrictions on the nationalities of the observers, as well as air assets a/k/a helicopters. Unasked and unanswered is why Ban has both accepted and covered up, under pressure from France and Morocco, restrictions on the UN peacekeepers in Western Sahara, as detailed even in the recent twice watered down report.

  While Ban now says that Syria should not have imput into the natioality of peacekeepers, when Inner City Press exclusively covered the meeting for Troop Contributing Countries multiple attendees said it was "by invitation only."

  Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesperson's office which countries were invited and which not, and why, but has yet to receive an answer. Likewise questions are now pending with the spokesman for Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan, Ahmad Fawzi.

  The focus on air asset also merits a question. Even where the UN has a full peacekeeping mission, such as South Sudan, it was unable to quickly fly up to Jonglei earlier this year and stop tribal violence. If the UN can't do it there, how much less in Syria? 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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