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As Brahimi Claims Ceasefire, UK Wants Access in Statement, Russia on Spoilers

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 24,, updated -- As envoy Lakhdar Brahimi proceeds apparently without a full time spokesperson, reportedly saying early Wednesday in Cairo that Syria agreed to an Eid ceasefire, at the UN Security Council in New York a Russian draft press statement is still pending.

  It was deferred on Tuesday in order to get a video briefing from Brahimi on Wednesday morning. Tuesday night at a reception for Hungary's national day, two well placed diplomats predicted to Inner City Press that a press statement on the ceasefire -- not on "terrorists attacks in Damascus" -- would issue on Wednesday, with language urging the Assad government to allow humanitarian access added.

  Wednesday morning in front of the Security Council after UN officials including Oscar Fernandez Taranco filed in for Brahimi's video briefing, UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant was asked about a ceasefire and statement. He said humanitarian access should be included in any ceasefire. And, a wag wondered, in any Security Council press statement?

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin was asked if a ceasefire could hold. He replied there are "too many players, too many spoilers," but said let's hope so.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud was asked about a ceasefire. He said, not for the first time, "the proof of the cake is in the eating." In English that's usually "pudding," but who's counting?

Also discussed on Syria at the Hungarian Mission on Tuesday night is a draft Third Committee resolution, on which Egypt has had the pen and has convened meetings including other Arab states, and some Europeans. The resolution may soon be introduced by an Arab state. Watch this site.

Footnote: after the resignation or end of mandate of Brahimi's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi, a point was made of naming two separate spokespeople in his place. But hours after Brahimi gave a press conference in Cairo, the transcript had not been e-mailed out to the press, as happened under Fawzi.

Update of 10:50 am -- Inner City Press is informed that Syria has submitted another letter to Security Council on 25 civilians killed in Douma in an area it says has no Assad army presence...

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