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Bahrain Silent on US But Protests Vague Statement from UN, Which Ignored Syria

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 16 -- After the UN issued a vague statement about Bahrain, not mentioning its official Terje Roed-Larsen's friendly visit there, now Bahrain had fired off an angry memo to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, blaming his spokesperson Martin Nesirky. One wonders how the UN will respond, given that it has yet to respond to Syria's protest note verbale, on which Inner City Press exclusively reported on December 19, 2013.

  The Khaleej Times has just reported:

Bahrain has addressed a memo to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in response to a statement by UN Spokesperson Martin Nesirky.

Minister of State for Information Affairs and Government’s Official Spokesperson Samira Ibrahim bin Rajab submitted the memo to United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) director for the Gulf Countries, Nejib Friji, on Saturday. The letter highlighted that Bahrain, a full UN member, has been confronting for years a systematic terror campaign, perpetrated by a misled group directly condoned and harboured by extremist religious figures and backed by foreign parties...

  Blaming outside interference for internal opposition is widely pilloried in Syria, less so in Sri Lanka -- but will the UN accept it from Bahrain? Ironically, US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf also commented on Bahrain, but it is unclear if Bahrain has protested this, from February 14:

QUESTION: Leaving the country? Bahrain – this is the third anniversary today of the uprising in Bahrain --

MS. HARF: It is.

QUESTION: -- and so everybody seemed to agree that the national reconciliation talks have failed, but the repression continues. And the U.S. is criticized by human rights groups for not doing enough in Bahrain to try to resolve the crisis, so what is the state of you conversation with the regime there?

MS. HARF: Well, without getting into details about what we talked to the regime about, just a few points here. We do – we have seen the opposition at many times be receptive to initiatives, working with the government in terms of resuming a dialogue in Bahrain. Obviously, we believe that dialogue is the critical mechanism to move beyond the current period of unrest, and we would encourage all parts of Bahraini society to participate in such a dialogue. Look, a few other points. Obviously, we would call on security forces to exercise restraint as we see some of these demonstrations, but also would condemn all acts of violence in Bahrain. And we are concerned that some Bahrainis have embraced a path of violence at the expense of this dialogue process that we think is so important. So we would encourage both sides to refrain from violence and show restraint, and try to move the dialogue forward.

   So where is Bahrain's protest to that?

  On Syria: Back on November 7, Inner City Press asked UN spokesperson Farhan Haq about Irish UN peacekeepers getting shelled in the Golan -- who did it?

Haq said, " In this case, the firing was by the Syrian Arab Armed Forces and protest was made to the Syrian Arab Armed Forces.

But as Inner City Press pointed out even that day, "Ireland has said that it was a firefight between the Government and opposition forces in Durbol."

  On December 16, Inner City Press asked Syrian Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari about the Golan, including statements by Israel's defense minister that Israel was delivering aid into Syria through the Golan, reportedly "mediated" by the UN mission UNDOF. Inner City Press YouTube video here and embedded below.

  Ja'afari said his country had protested to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations under Herve Ladsous, who previously refused to follow up on involvement from Doha in the kidnapping of UN peacekeepers by the Yarmouk Martyrs brigade rebels.

  Ja'afari said his Mission would be writing to the UN about what he called the Office of the Spokesperson of the Secretary General's misstatements.

  Inner City Press immediately e-mailed the top two UN spokespeople, asking them for their response to what Ja'afari had said. The first day, there was no response. The next day, a discussion took place trying to determine the complaint, and get a response. Still, no response.

Now Inner City Press has obtained and is exclusively publishing the Note Verbale dated December 16 from the Syrian Mission, here. It addresses the November 7 (mis) statements, the aid from Israel including statements by the Israeli defense minister, and the "missed" -- kidnapped -- nuns of Ma'aloula.

Now will the UN Spokesperson's office respond, as Inner City Press requested on December 16?

Update: Inner City Press asked UN Spokesperson Farhan Haq about this at the December 19 noon briefing. He confirmed receipt of the Note Verbale and said his Office is checking with other UN offices -- that is, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations which gave out the information that Syria's government did it. Haq said he would inform of any needed correction or amendment. Watch this site.


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