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On Syria, As P5 + Morocco Stalls, Pay for Annan Team and Doss "Not the Focus," UN Stonewalls, "Living on Mars"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 9 -- The Permanent Five members of the UN Security Council, plus Morocco for the Arab League, met for nearly three hours about Syria on Thursday, after which Russia's Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told Inner City Press, "No breakthrough."

  Now Inner City Press has learned more about the meeting, and the status of the US drafted resolution. A well placed source tells Inner City Press that first China suggested amendments, then Russia, including on the contentious issue of who would stop fighting and pull out of towns first.

  The US draft would have Assad's forces stopping and pulling out. Others think that is an invitation for opposition "take over" of towns. And so the draft is stalled, with some hoping that the presence in New York on Monday, March 12 of Russian foreign minister Lavrov, along with among others his counterparts Alain Juppe, William Hague and Hilary Clinton, might change things.

  The source predicted that envoy Kofi Annan will be able to meet with Bashar al Assad, and said that the choice of Palestine's former foreign minister Nasser al-Qudwa was not without push-back from at least one Permanent Five member of the Security Council. Others say that Nasser al-Qudwa aspires to replace Mahmoud Abbas and will be distracted.

  Inner City Press at Friday's UN noon briefing asked a simple question: who else is on Kofi Annan's team and who is paying them? Plainly visible in television footage from Cairo was former UN official Alan Doss, who left in the midst of a nepotism scandal. [Click here for the Doss story.]

   Is the UN, whose Secretary General Ban Ki-moon never acted on the Office of Internal Oversight Services report on Doss because Doss retired, now paying Doss again? Video here, from Minute 5:05.

  Ban's spokesman Nesirky refused to ask the question, saying that's not the focus. Answering questions about money and accountability is rarely the focus in Ban's UN.

  Inner City Press asked Nesirky for the UN's response to the Syrian opposition's comment that Annan, with his call for dialogue, is "living on Mars." Nesirky did not respond to this, either -- apparently that's not the focus either. Watch this site.

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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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