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UN "Monitoring" Threats to Golan Peacekeepers, Won't Answer on Qatar Role

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 7 -- The day after Austria announced it will pull its troops out of the UN mission in the Golan, UNDOF, the Security Council president of June UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant came out of the Council to read a press statement.

  Lyall Grant said, "The members of the Security Council... noted with grave concern that there have been a number of incidents threatening the safety and security of UN personnel in recent months and underscored they would continue to monitor the situation closely."

  Inner City Press asked Lyall Grant, of this "monitoring," if it included looking into the allegations by Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari of involvement from Qatar in the kidnapping of UNDOF peacekeepers, through the Yarmouk Martyrs Battalion.

  Lyall Grant said that issue -- which Ja'afari raised in an open meeting of the General Assembly -- had not come up in the Council, but noted that there would be a consultation on UNDOF later in the day, including a briefing by UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous.

It was Ladsous to whom Syria presented what it told Inner City Press is evidence of the involvement from Qatar. Both on June 4 and, having no answer, again on June 7 Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky if Ladsous is in fact looking into the involvement of Qatar.

  Syria's representative at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva said so in an open meeting on June 4; later that day Nesirky said he would ask the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, DPKO.

  At the June 7 noon briefing Nesirky said the same thing about asking DPKO. But sitting in the briefing room was DPKO's and Ladsous' lead spokesman Kieran Dwyer. Why not just ask him them? Or have him answer? Dwyer has, on camera, justified DPKO chief Herve Ladsous' refusal to answer Inner City Press questions - video here - and has no provided the update on the 135 Minova raped by the Congolese Army Inner City Press asked Ladsous for on May 29. Ladsous said, "You know I do not respond to you." Nor has DPKO or the UN, since. Zero tolerance, indeed. Watch this site.

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