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On Syria, Power Changes Sequence of Stalling & Requests, US Blocked Statement

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 6 -- After US Ambassador Samantha Power took only three questions at the on September 5, from CBS, Reuters and a Gulf media, some thought she would take more during her hour-long appearance today at the Center for American Progress in DC. In this they were disappointed.

  It was supposed to run from 2 pm to 3 pm. But Power's appearance was 20 minutes late. The speaker who introduced her was openly pro missile strike. Then Samantha Power began.

  It was an edited and selective history of the Syria issue at the UN, to say the least. Power said that the US worked to set up the UN chemical weapons inspection team -- but did not mention that Syria was the first to ask for a UN probe, of chemical weapons at Khan al Asal, Syria says by the rebels.

Power said that Russia and sometimes China blocked press statements, but did not mention for example the draft press statement on a car bombing in Damascus that, as Inner City Press covered, the US blocked in February of this year.

The promised Geneva Two talks had already long been delayed before the August 21 incident. But Power said that diplomacy was stalled BY the August 21 incident at Ghouta.

The day after the US invited Security Council members and some other states, those that asked the UN to focus on Ghouta, to the US Mission to see evidence, Power spoke of countries being convinced. But as Inner City Press reported yesterday, one attendee said he was not convinced by the evidence; another said it was the same shown "back in the capital."

Since then other attendees have told Inner City Press the US invitation was directed beyond the Security Council members to those countries which wrote to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asking for an investigation into the August 21 incidents.

That's the same group the UN's Angela Kane invited to a stealth meeting in the North Lawn building earlier this week -- but that, Syria's Permanent Representative Ja'afari also attended (and spoke afterward, see Inner City Press YouTube here.)

While some make much of a Saudi draft General Assembly resolution, other interested countries tell Inner City Press "that's on hold" and speak of another, quite different resolution.

There's also this question, for the US: would it support a Uniting for Peace resolution which could empower to act on the issues the US uses its veto for in the Security Council?

  These are questions that should have been, and should be, answered. But well before 3, when Samantha Power stopped talking, she walked out stage left. The last line? "Watch for a Replay at" President Barack Obama will give a speech on the evening of September 10. Watch this site.

Footnote: left as a footnote because Darfur is now being turned into one, Inner City Press asked the UN on Friday about reports of deadly Sudanese army bombing in East Jebel Marra. For UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos the UN spokesperson said, "Syria only." Is that the case at the Mission too?


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