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At UN on Syria, May 10 Bombs Condemned, May 9 Left Out, UNIFIL Chided

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 10 -- When two suicide vehicle bombs killed more than 50 people in Damascus this morning, the day after a bomb went off near a convoy of UN observers injuring at least a half dozen Syrian soldiers, a fast UN Security Council press statement was expected.

  On their way into the Council for a previously scheduled open debate on terrorism, Portugal's Ambassador Cabral said nothing had yet been circulated. Germany's Ambassador Peter Wittig while condemning the Damascus bombs said that Assad's "failure to comply" had "fueled" this.

  Inner City Press asked Russia's Ambassador Vitaly Churkin about this moments later; Churkin stopped and pulled out a piece of paper and read the Council's boilerplate language about all acts of terrorism being criminal and unjustifiable. He told Inner City Press he would circulate a draft press statement with this language.

  While the open debate lurched on, with speeches by Israel and Syria, Armenia and the Council's President for May Azerbaijan, a silence procedure was opened on Russia's draft statement.

  While at least one delegation -- Pakistan -- proposed changes, apparently Germany did not. Because as soon as the open debate was over, right after he replied to Armenia's charges about Nagorno Karabakh, the Azerbaijani Ambassador came and read out the press statement, with the "all acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable" language in place.

(Another on again, off again phrase about complying with human rights law while combating terrorism was also in.)

  Inner City Press understands that Pakistan proposed that the statement be expanded to include the May 9 bombing near the UNSMIS observers, but that others opposed the inclusion, saying it is not clear if the UN observers were targeted. Pakistan countered, what does it matter? But they did not break silence, in order to allow this fast Council reaction.

  Meanwhile Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari told the Council that he has a list of 12 terrorists killed in Syria, including one each from France, Belgium and the UK. He chided the UN's Lebanon mission, UNIFIL, for doing nothing to stop a ship of weapons coming from Libya to fighters in Syria.

  Afterward Inner City Press asked Ja'afari what he meant about UNIFIL's inaction. "UNIFIL is only to protect Israel," Ja'afari said. He said the other dead foreign fighters were from Tunisia, Libya and Algeria.

Of the 26 previously mentioned (by Ja'afari) terrorists captured alive, Ja'afari told Inner City Press they are from Libya, Tunisia, Jordan and Palestine.

  Inner City Press asked the Azerbaijani president of the Council if this list, and the brandished CD, has been turned in to the Council.

   "I didn't see it yet," he replied. Earlier, on his own issue, he told the Council he'd submitted a letter yesterday to Ban Ki-moon about Armenia's "bloody terrorism" and "propaganda." Armenia's Ambassador stopped and told Inner City Press that Azerbaijan is "not ready for an open debate."

  Israel's Ambassador Ron Prosor spoke of "draining the swamps of hate," and of plots in Bangkok and Baku. And so it goes at the UN.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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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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