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At UN on Syria, Europeans Go Off Camera, Ja'afari Chides TV, Says Wait Til March

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 10 -- After the UN Security Council heard about Syria behind closed doors on Tuesday, a series of European Permanent Representatives came out and spoke to the press, off camera but on the record.

  UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said that Russia, which preemptively put out a draft resolution in December when it was president of the Council, has been asked to circulate a new draft, updated with the many suggestions made.

  He said the Council should take action before January 19, when another Arab League statement is expected, or immediately after that.

  Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin emerged and told the press that action before January 19 is "unlikely." He called the Arab League the "game" in town, and said that all Council members agreed on that.

  German Ambassador Peter Wittig said some have proposed that the Secretary General of the Arab League come and brief or engage with the Security Council.

  After these off camera semi-engagements, US Ambassador Susan Rice and then Syrian Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari took to the stakeout, in (strange) context the main event.

Ja'afari chided two television networks for "jumping to conclusion" that the Arab League observers were attacked by "supporters of the government." He asked, "How do you know they were supporters of the government? These things can be prefabricated."

Ja'afari went on to describe letters he has written to the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, complaining that some of this information was never "transpired to the Security Council."

(c) UN Photo
Ban Ki-moon & Assad: information not transmitted?

   While Churkin has said wait until (at least) January 19, Ja'afari said that Bashar al Assad was saying wait until March, which Ja'afari called "tomorrow." He said that Egypt still has an emergency law; he described reforms and said that countries which allow on their territory armed opponents of the Assad government, to talk about their military plans, are violating the UN Charter. And then he was gone.

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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

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