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On Syria, UNclear if Liaison Office Needs UNSC, Jet Not Seen by DPKO

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 15 -- The day before the UN Security Council belatedly meets about Syria and its "suspended" observer mission there, August's president of the Council Gerard Araud of France late Wednesday morning told the press that "tomorrow we'll see if it's possible to have a consensus around having a liaison office of the joint special envoy in Damascus."

  For this, it doesn't seem that any Security Council action would be necessary, since the Joint Special Envoy of Joint between the Secretaries General of the UN and Arab League, and was called for by the General Assembly.

  Inner City Press went to Wednesday's UN noon briefing and  asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey about this, if the Secretariat took the position that Security Council approval would be needed to establish a JSE liaison office on Damascus.

  Del Buey said he didn't know the "legalities" of it, but that "we'll be watching what the Security Council does." As, apparently, will Lakhdar Brahimi. Call him the Hamlet of Homs.

  Inner City Press also asked Del Buey if the UN can confirm or deny that the Free Syrian Army shot down a Syrian jet -- if so, with what weapon?

  But Del Buey insisted that the UNSMIS mission has been "suspended." Inner City Press pointed out that even after the dismantling by French DPKO chief Herve Ladsous there are still 100 observers of the country, and there have been recent visits to Homs and Al Rastan by Babacar Gaye, the replacement for Robert Mood who quit even before Kofi Annan did.

  Del Buey again said the mission is suspended. But didn't Mood talk about the Mission's "contacts on the ground"? Is it that Ladsous' DPKO can't report, or doesn't want to report any more? Watch this site.

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