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At UN on Syria, France Says It Won't Be 45 Days, Kofi on Consequences

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 11, updated -- After Syria envoy Kofi Annan briefed the Security Council speaking of "consequences," French Ambassador Gerard Araud rushed first to the stakeout, before even Council President Nestor Osorio, to say that a new resolution, countering the Russian draft, would be circulated in the afternoon.

  Inner City Press asked Araud about what it had already exclusively reported, the American position expressed by Ambassador Susan Rice that the US would only support a 45 and not 90 day extension of the UNSMIS mission.

    Araud replied, "You have more information than I have on our proposal, which is NOT a US proposal."

  As a follow up, Inner City Press asked, "Is 45 days the period?"

   "No," Araud said.

Update: but the draft, in Operative Paragraph 9, says "45 days."

  Others say the real rub is whether the resolution will be under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter or not. Perhaps the drafters -- and the Obama administration - could go up to 90 days, as Russia proposes, if Russia agrees to Chapter 7. Or maybe split the difference at 60 days.

  Inner City Press asked Russian Deputy Permanent Representative Pankin if Annan in his closed door briefing had asked for sanctions or Chapter 7. No, Pankin said, he only spoke of "consequences," which doesn't necessarily mean any particular provision of the UN Charter.

  The UK's Mark Lyall Grant had accurately used that word, consequences. Inner City Press asked him if General Robert Mood, whom German Ambassador Peter Wittig said the day was a good opportunity to thank, is in fact leaving UNSMIS.

  (Wittig, as later transcribed by his mission, replied "I have no information about his plans. I just thought since we are approaching the end of the mandated period it would be worthwhile to thank him for his relentless efforts in a very, very difficult environment.")

  Syria's Ja'afari, when Inner City Press asked about Mood, offered praise and then stopped, saying this wouldn't help Mood at all.

  He said Syria prefers at least a 90 day extension, but it is up to the Council. He specifically denounced the Swiss grenades that entered Syria via the UAE (and, the Emiratis claim, the Muslim Brotherhood), and then also Germany selling submarines to Israel.

  Back in, well, whatever, Lyall Grant declined to answer about Mood, and said to watch for the resolution. From the UK transcript:

Inner City Press: how long are you proposing to expand the Mission for, and what percentage of its military component do you think will be reduced and do you think General Mood will stay on? Is that your understanding?

Amb. Lyall Grant: I don’t want to comment on individual tenures. General Mood was taken on in an initial three month mandate and that three months is obviously up in a couple of weeks, but it’s for him and the Secretary-General to decide on the future for him. In terms of the mandate renewal, you will see obviously once the text is circulated and put into blue, you’ll obviously get a chance to see what is included in it.

  But who will sponsor it? As another Council meeting, about West Africa, began in the Council, Inner City Press asked the Portuguese delegation if they were co-sponsors. They said they thought so. We'll see.

Footnote: of those speaking at the stakeout, only Ambassador Rice wouldn't take a question from the Press, although or because it had already reported through other sources her 45 day quote. One would think the US would (want to) reiterate this publicly. But we'll see.

Here's a transcript of Inner City Press Q&A with Russia's Pankin:

Inner City Press: Ambassaor Rice called your draft insufficient, and French Ambassador Araud just now called it toothless.What's your reaction? And did Kofi Annan ask for sanctions in the Council today?

DPR Pankin: Well, the terms toothless or insfuficient. It's not hte first time you hear these expressions. Insufficient: I got a positive signal in that, which means that it is a basis, but something is missing. Unfortunately, what they think is missing is Chapter 7, but while saying that they would not support the Russian draft in its present version, they did not deny that it could be a basis, or its elements could be used for reaching final agreement. About Kofi Annan, Kofi Annan did not ask us to apply sanctions. He just said that the Security Council should speak in a united and single voice and make sure to send a signal that its suggested recommendations and actions have to be implemented, or there will be consequences. That's true. But consequences does not mean necessarily actions under a certain chapter or a certain article. As for presure, I mean, any decision by the Security Council has to be respected and implemented.. in our view it's political and diplomatic pressure equally on all sides,and unfortunately there are sides that are not even reachable, I'm talking about the third side to the Syrian conflict which was mentioned during this discussion, and the question is still in the air, what to do with the third force.

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