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UN Crowd for Syria Troop Contributing, Ladsous Past Velvet Rope, EU Outside

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 10 -- When UN Troop Contributing Countries met on Tuesday afternoon, the hierarchies of priorities and personalities were on display.

  Ivory Coast TCCs met first from 3 pm in Conference Room 6, with very little interest. Inner City Press set up outside, on a chair with a laptop, under the watchful eye of a UN Security officer.

  But starting around 3:30, more and more diplomats began to arrive with Syria on their minds. They were told they'd have to wait until Cote d'Ivoire was over. "Why are they taking so long?" a European diplomat asked.

  There were at least two from Turkey, the Netherlands -- even some Security Council members were told to wait outside. The chatter got loud like at a sporting event, until the guard call for more quiet. But is this golf or tennis?

  While the growing crowd was kept standing outside, Department of Peacekeeping Operations chief Herve Ladsous arrived and was shepherded to the front and into Conference Room 6, as past the velvet rope outside a nightclub. "A regime change VIP," muttered one wag.

  The number two of of the Department of Field Support, American Tony Banbury, was on the scene as well. Some wondered where his new boss Amira Haq was. UN Security checked diplomats IDs at the door, to make sure only actual contributors got in.

As Inner City Press exclusively reported, Syria attended one such meeting in the past -- which would only make sense, since they are the "host country," but which gave rise to some complaints.

  After the room was full and all seats taken, three diplomats remains glum faced at the door. "We'll have to ask the President," they were told. "The President makes the invitations, not the guards." They waited.

  "You're with the European Union?" they were asked. Yes, they nodded. And they were not let in. "Now they know what Palestine feels like," one wag muttered. But down in the Arms Trade Treaty talks, at least Palestine has a seat in the front row. Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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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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