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On Syria, Ladsous' DPKO Plans Further Cut to 100, Carla Del Ponte's Name Floats

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 9 -- With a feeling of finality, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations held a Syria Troop (or observer) Contributing Countries meeting on Thursday afternoon in the North Lawn buildings large Conference Room 4.

  Inner City Press asked DPKO deputy chief Edmond Mulet on this way in, so this is it, everything must go? He took the question seriously, replying that while it is up the Security Council, that looks to be the case.

  France sent its Deputy Permanent Representative Martin Briens; other countries were represented at a lower level, which does not necessarily mean less knowledgeable.

  There were more and higher level Security Council Affairs staff than usual; it was deemed an official meeting of the Security Council, the 6821st, with "troop- and police-contributing countries." What about observers?

  When the meeting ended, word was that DPKO under its fourth French chief in a row Herve Ladsous will further reduce the number of observers, now from 150 down to 100, by August 13. All this before any Security Council vote, or even meeting, on the UNSMIS mission's mandate.

  Meanwhile after Inner City Press this morning published names buzzed about to replace Kofi Annan as envoy -- Lakhdar Brahimi, Mohamad El Baradei (unrealistic) Gro Harlem Brundtland, now 72, and Sadako Ogata, sources came forward with another "wacky" name: Carla Del Ponte.

  While she did allege the theft of organs, she has "other issues," as do the Spaniards, one of whom has long NATO roots.

  There was some laughter about more people, like Annan's team, coming out of retirement for one last caper in Syria. But who else would want this job? Watch this site.

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