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At UN on Syria, "No Vote Tuesday," S. Africa Says, On AU Post, Ban's Bilats

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 30 -- As the UN Security Council convened Monday morning about South Sudan, most of the talk by Ambassadors at the stakeout was on Syria.

  The outgoing President of the Council Baso Sangqu of South Africa told Inner City Press that the agreement last week was to have a meeting this afternoon at the experts' level on the draft resolution(s), then to have Permanent Representatives meet on Wednesday.

  So there's no way a vote on Tuesday, he said.

  Tuesday afternoon's session, he also said, will be open: briefings by Arab League Secretary General Al-Arabi and "the Qatari minister" HBJ, statements by Syria and then the Council's 15 members. "It will be open" to the press, he said, but closed as to other countries speaking.

  Asked which countries' ministers would be coming to what's billed as a ministerial meeting, he listed the US, UK and Portugal. The French Mission to the UN has already announced Alain Juppe will come, and speak to the media.

  One wag has already dubbed it the Council's "Syria Superbowl."

Media crush & reach for UK Lyall Grant Jan 27, by UN Photo

  Germany's foreign minister, it's said, is traveling in the Middle East, as will be UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon after his stops in Davos and at the African Union summit in Davos.

Regarding the vote(s) for AU Commission, Sangqu told Inner City Press that it was a "no confidence vote in Jean Ping," and that Ping must now step down in April, "the deputy can run it" until the summer meeting, as which South African candidate Ms. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma might run. Other reports from Addis Ababa are less clear on what happened next. Watch this site.

Footnotes: While Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson's office refused to answer simple factual questions the Press asked on Friday, it pumped out a stream of read outs of Ban's meetings. He met with Equatorial Guinea's strongman Obiang; the read out doesn't mention human rights. Meanwhile alleged war criminal Shavendra Silva of Sri Lanka is going on Ban's Senior Advisor Group on Peackeeping Operations.

Ban congratulated Chad's Idriss Deby; Ban's and the AU's envoy to Darfur Ibrahim Gambari went to a reception for Deby's wedding to the daughter of janjaweed militia leader Musa Hilal and there greeted Omar al Bashir, indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide in Darfur.

Ban met with the Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau and talked drug trafficking: days after his UN belated admitted finding and quickly ejecting 14 kilograms of cocaine from the UN mail room such that no one can know who might have come to pick it up. Ban's Department of Safety & Security denies knowing about a previous drug arrest in the UN mail room, despite a public 2006 indictment. And so it goes at the UN.

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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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