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On Syria in Senate, Kerry Dismissive of UN & Its Mandate, After Setting It

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 3 -- On Syria in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry was asked why not wait for the UN information on chemical weapons?

  Kerry first replied, "what information?" Then he explained that the UN won't report, he understands, for "three weeks," and complained that the UN has no mandate to determine WHO used chemical weapons, only that there were used.

Earlier today Inner City Press published a copy of Syria's August 31 letter to the UN, and will now quote from it:

"Mr. Kerry has stated that the investigative team is not responsible for identifying the party that used chemical weapons and that its task is solely to determine whether such weapons were used. The purpose of that statement is to justify the American administrationís circumvention of the Security Council. It should be recalled that, in its letter to the Secretary-General of 20 March 2013, the Syrian Government officially requested that the investigation should determine who it was that used chemical weapons in Khan Asal. That request, however, was rejected by at the time by the delegations of the United States of America, Britain and France."

  Kerry wasn't asked about that in the Senate. What is the UN's response? Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday took only two pre-selected questions, one given in advance to the UN's Alliance which sponsored a faux "UN briefing" with Saudi sponsored rebel boss Jarba.

  Kerry answered a question by saying, "I hope President Jarba" answers that. He cut off Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy. When Kentucky Republican Rand Paul asked him to commit that Obama wouldn't go ahead and use force if not approved by the Congress, Kerry would not. Paul said, so this debate is meaningless.

  But it's the UN that most feels that fear, of irrelevance. Ban spoke with Kerry, but there is no read-out. The UN won't provide a list of who Ban Ki-moon has called, which the US State Department does for Kerry.

  Inner City Press asked who Ban golfs with, beyond the Permanent Representatives of South Korea and San Marino; the answer so far is only the UK. The Free UN Coalition for Access @FUNCA_info will pursue this need for transparency.

  The hearing ended with New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez saying that in the tough neighborhood he grew up in in Bayonne, he was attacked by a bully until he picked up a stick from a construction site and hit him. Is that really the analogy here? Watch this site.


 

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Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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