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After Heat in Rights Committee, USUN Canapes Have Palestine and Eritrea, Not Syria

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 18 -- This is the season of the UN committee, and in the Third (Human Rights) Committee on Thursday evening things came to a head.

  The representative of Syria said children in her country are being hurt by sanctions, depriving them of vaccinations. She said that a previous US speech should have admitted the abuses committed by the anti-Assad armed groups.

  The US did not reply, but Israel did, calling Syria's response absurd and also denouncing the Palestinian observer mission's speech, replying that Hamas blocks UNRWA schools from teaching the Holocaust.

  Palestine exercised its right of reply, emphasizing Israel's 2200 calorie count for the Gaza blockade.

Ironically, scheduled to start at 6 pm was the US Mission to the UN's annual reception for the Third Committee. The food there was fine -- chicken on skewers, vegetable dip and cheese cubes -- but what Inner City Press wanted to see was if Syria was present.

This did not appear to be the case, and it was explained to Inner City Press that the US does not invite countries with which it does not have relations and that the US pulled out of Damascus and so "that's it." Eritrea, another US target, was at the reception; Palestine's Observer Riyad Mansour greeted Inner City Press on his way out.

In the reception room facing the UN and East River, talk turned to when Palestine will apply to the General Assembly for observer state status. "November after the election, either way the voting goes," it was said. A pro-Israel source noted that Tel Aviv released money to the Palestinian Authority this week, without fanfare. This was not heard in the Third Committee, but that's not what the committee if for.

Sudan spoke there, stating that the SPML-North recruits child soldiers. Chile's Permanent Representative sung his country's praises. Soon there will be a resolution introduced on Syria. Meanwhile Syria on Thursday prepared a submission to the Security Council.

One block north at the farewell for Turkey's Permanent Representative Apakan, he was appropriately called a humble ambassador. As Inner City Press left, with North Korea's Perm Rep, UN official Kim Won-soo, sometimes called "Ban's Brain," spotted him and spun 360 degrees in the Turkish mission's revolving door to speak with him out on the sidewalk. It's a Peninsula thing. Watch this site.

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