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As UK Sees Out Month, Doubts on Syria, Reform Proposal Born of Ladsous

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 27 -- For the United Kingdom's June presidency of the Security Council, the UK came in with class and went out that way as well, in a reception on a penthouse terrace over Turtle Bay with all and sundry invited.

  In the middle of the month there was a fall off, for example when foreign secretary William Hague came to the Council ostensibly on sexual violence and conflict, and then only took questions about Syria.

  But UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, to his credit, held 14 media stakeouts during the month, including rare two-a-days on June 7, 13, 18 and 25. Inner City Press raised this as a standard to September's president; we'll see. It's not like you have to answer every question that is asked. But why not take them?

  Usually the UK reception are held at the Deputy Permanent Representative's Park Avenue abode. This one was chez Consul General, even closer to the UN, with a CitiBike rack just outside no less. Even so Ban Ki-moon came in his $100,000 armor Lexus Equus, a gift from South Korea, with a big black SUV behind it. Security, you know.

  The S-G is so high profile that he was not invited to the more recent G-8 meeting, by the UK no less.

(On that, while Inner City Press accurately reported the UK's appreciated answer to its belated question regarding if Ban had been invited, it understands that another media was told that the non-invite was because David Cameron had met with Ban in May. Whatever. Prime Ministers come and go - just ask Australia.)

  Amid the commotion of France's Gerard Araud, General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic, ECOSOC president Nestor Osorio and others, what Inner City Press found most interesting was the increasing skepticism from other Ambassadors at the Gulf and Western strategy on Syria.

  You see how many more countries abstained last time in the GA, an Ambassador pointed out to Inner City Press. And if they call another vote, they'll get even fewer in favor.

  The proposal floated, there over Turtle Bay, was to make war itself a crime, rather than to use the concept of war crimes as a political tool against presidents the West ends up not liking.

  The example of Laurent Gbagbo was given. Susan Rice denounced him, twice or three times in her final stake out. But as another African ambassador emphasized to Inner City Press, he had and has a lot of supporters in his country. Should he really be in the Hague?

  This was in part a product of France controlling the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, for four time in a row now.

  So Inner City Press has a proposal: just as it's said that the Secretary General cannot come from a Permanent Five member of the Security Council, why not make it that none of the main UN departments -- DPKO, OCHA, DPA, for example -- can go to the P5? At least make them choose a client -- who might in turn go rogue. Just asking, as they say. Next up in the US. Watch this site.

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