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On Syria, Division of Labor to Block Statements, Aid Bazaar, 4 NGOs on Ice

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 27 – After the Security Council got Syria humanitarian briefings on Wednesday morning, the briefers and then Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari came out to speak take questions from the press.

  Inner City Press asked the UN's top humanitarian Valerie Amos not only about Syria -- how many international NGOs have gotten in and how many are waiting -- but also about Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states in The Sudan.

  Amos confirmed the three additional NGOs allowed in -- Mercy Corps, NRC and Merlin -- adding that seven more groups are waiting, which she would not name since they are still being considered.

  Inner City Press asked Syria's Ja'afari about it and he said that three of the seven are being considered. So who are the other four?

  Ja'afari also complained that the UN Secretariat of Ban Ki-moon took three full months to distribute an “urgent” letter he had turned in with the names of 143 international terrorists. In Arabic he complained about Reuters and the New York Times. He said the draft press statement about the car bombing in Damascus that was blocked was a shame.

  Inner City Press asked if it was only the US which blocked, or more. Ja'afari said there is a “division of labor,” that Germany when it was on the Council used to block, along with the UK and France.

  Ja'afari called the pledging conference for Syria a “bazaar,” with Saudi Arabia immediately undercutting its own pledge, saying the money had already been given.

  UN sexual violence in conflict expert Bangura told Inner City Press that the talked-about UK team of specialists is “on the ground,” but she did not yet have information.

  Inner City Press asked her about the UN's failure to act yet, under its Human Rights Due Diligence policy, on the 126 rapes by its partners in the Congolese army in Minova in November. She replied that she is about to visit the Congo, as she did the Central African Republic. Will she bring implementation?

  The representative of UNHRC told Inner City Press that its communications with Jordan are good. They better be -- the government has discussed closing its borders in the future to those who may flee reprisals. Watch this site.

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