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Syria Progress Cited But How Far Can Support of Arab League Be Downshifted?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 1 -- The day after the UN "Syria Superbowl" complete with foreign ministers, Wednesday afternoon the regular Permanent Representatives met for three hours after the draft resolution.

  US Ambassador Susan Rice on the way in -- after earlier speaking about Yemen to Inner City Press, click here for that -- told the media "I don't put my red lines on the table."

  Just outside of the UN as the meeting started, Syrian Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari told Inner City Press, "There are four red lines," holding up four fingers before proceeding toward the UN's North Lawn building.

But mostly, sources tell Inner City Press, the big issue is Operative Paragraph 7. As Inner City Press obtained and published the draft done by the experts on Monday evening, it began

"7. [Fully supports in this regard the League of Arab States' initiative set out in its 22 January 2012 decision to facilitate a political transition ...]including] (b) delegation by the President of Syria of his full authority to his Deputy"

   Earlier on Wednesday, China's Li Baodong told Inner City Press this was a "subtext of regime change." Now, according to sources, there is consideration of changing "fully supports" the Arab League to "endorses" -- or, on perhaps not well placed Council source said, just "takes note of" (this seems unlikely.)

  Given the speeches given in and around yesterday Syria Superbowl, how much of a down-shift could be sold or accepted?

At stakeout on Syria, whole lotta filming going on by UN Photo

  In the middle of the negotiations, groups of three Chinese girls in costume ran by the Security Council, preparing for a musical performance at 7 pm in the General Assembly, on "intangible" cultural heritage.

  Meanwhile a next text was supposed to be finished and circulated by 8 pm -- Inner City Press asked, without answer, with track changes by whom? -- and consultations to resume as early as 10 am on Thursday, when the Council members meet to finalize February's program of work under the new Togolese presidency. Only at the UN.

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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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