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After Egypt & UK Predicted 70 Votes, Saudi Dumped Sanctions & Assad Leaving

By Matthew Russell Lee, Partial exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, August 2 -- In the wake of Kofi Annan quitting as Syria envoy, more detail on how and why the Saudi Arabia drafted General Assembly resolution was amended has emerged.

  Multiple sources tell Inner City Press that after Saudi Arabia on July 31 presented a draft General Assembly resolution on Syria urging sanctions and Bashar al Assad to step down, it was pressured by among others Egypt, the UK and France to drop those elements to gain a higher vote count.

  Not only the opposition by BRICSA -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- on which Inner City Press first reported was determinative: the position of, for example, Argentina carried weight.

   If even the Argentines oppose it, an involved source told Inner City Press, we had to change it.

  And so not only a major Western country, but also Egypt, told Saudi Arabia they might get only 70 votes for their draft.  One particpant actually thought 85 to 90 votes were possible. But "moving" Saudi Arabia was the key. And Saudi moved.

   Most interesting, the sources tell Inner City Press, was the position of the United States. Unlike the UK and France, the US was not pushing as hard to take out the references to sanctions and Assad stepping down. It was speculated, as one sources put it, that this was because "what if the Romney camp found out the US wanted these out?"

  The prospect of US support for keeping these elements in made Saudi Arabia take longer to agree to make the amendments, but finally they did.  Now, the proponent sources told Inner City Press they predict a vote count of 110, while internally hoping for 125.

  But, as French Ambassador Gerard Araud told the press midday on Thursday, August is a month of vacations with many absences in the General Assembly.

  The philosophic underpinning of the opposition is not only that the General Assembly shouldn't be asked to call for "regime change" in a country among the early founders of the UN.

  Also, Saudi Arabia was told, unilateral sanctions like those of the Arab League are not celebrated by many in the General Assembly.  And so both provisions were dropped.

   The new draft, which Inner City Press obtained from a well placed member state after 5 pm on August 1, is now set for voting August 3 at 11 am. Inner City Press is putting the draft online here.

  Most contentious in the previous draft, opponents said, was the last perambular paragraph

"welcoming the relevant League of Arab States’ decisions, including its 22 July 2012 resolution, in particular its appeal to the Syrian President to step down from power."

  Now that language is goneAn opponent late Wednesday exclusive also told Inner City Press, they're afraid of us. They'd also pointed to operative paragraphs 20 and 21, which called on countries to adopt sanctions like the Arab League. That too is gone.

  For now still in however is Paragraph 20which a non-BRICSA diplomat told Inner City Press, is "disrespectful" to Kofi Annan, directing him to "focus his efforts."

   With Kofi having quit, will that paragraph change? Watch this site.

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