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As Ja'afari Invited Kane and Sellstom to Syria, Popova Cited, Ban Looks On

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 8 -- When Syria's Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari arranged to speak to the press Monday morning in front of the Security Council, the topic was chemical weapons. Sources told Inner City Press it would be about weapons Syria's government says they found with the opposition.

But Ja'afari led with an invitation, saying he had just told Secretary General Ban Ki-moon he was inviting Ban's envoy Angela Kane and expert Ake Sellstrom to Damascus to meet with his foreign minister.

 A reporter asked, so Syria will allow inspection of sites beyond Khan al Assad? Ja'afari noted that he hadn't said that.

  He referred to the evidence of Russian state TV reporter Anastasia Popova, on which Inner City Press has been reported, including when Angela Kane and her colleague were dismissive of the evidence, or at least of their ability to process it.

As Ja'afari was speaking about having just told Ban Ki-moon the news, Ban and his entourage walked by, coming from the Trusteeship Council Chamber. Ban stopped at top of the ramp to watch, or listen, then waved at the press.

After the Ja'afari stakeout, a Western diplomat on the Security Council scoffed to Inner City Press about the invitation, isn't this where we've been all along? Will they have unfettered access or not?

But isn't the UN all about talking, when it is offered?

So one is left wondering: will Kane and Sellstrom go? Watch this site.

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