Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg AJE, FP, Georgia, NYT Azerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .


Home -

Follow us on TWITTER

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


ICP on YouTube

UN: Sri Lanka


Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

To Extend Syria Mission, West Drops Troops to Barracks Condition

By Matthew Russell Lee, Partial exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, July 20 -- In order to avoid a second day of vetoes, the European sponsors of Friday's Syria mission resolution made a significant change to their draft.

  As Inner City Press first reported, putting the new draft online prior to the vote, they dropped the condition that Assad's troops should leave cities and return to barracks. Click here to view the final text, compared to the draft. Also see below.

  Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Susan Rice about dropping the condition of "pullback of military concentrations in and around population centers, as well as to withdraw its troops and heavy weapons from population centers to their barracks."

  Rice emphasized that the US was not a sponsor of the resolution -- in fact, as Inner City Press first reported, Rice on Thursday when asked if the US wanted the UNSMIS mission extended said no -- and urged Inner City Press to "speak to the author, who I think will be coming behind me.  We frankly prefer the text that included all of paragraph 2 [of Resolution 2043], but we were able to accept the draft that was voted today."

  The UK's Mark Lyall Grant was next, and to his and his spokesman's credit took the question. Lyall Grant said Syria must comply with all aspects of the Six Point Plan, including "paragraph two which as you rightly say... including return of troops to the barracks."

  He said "some Members of the Council argued that we were setting the bar too high for a possible extension of UNSMIS, so we decided to focus that condition on the one posed a direct threat to the Security of the mission."

  Germany's Peter Wittig followed, and also took the Press question, unlike previously. He said, we had consultations this morning, so we tried our best to come together. That was a change in the spirit of compromise to get everybody behind the draft.

  Inner City Press asked China's Permanent Representative Li Baodong about the change. He said, there are a lot of new developments, we want to see Kofi Annan's mediation continue.

  When Russia's Vitaly Churkin came out, Inner City Press asked him about Thursday's statement by US President Obama's spokesman Jay Carney that the Annan plan "failed thus far, yes. And the failure of the Security Council to support this resolution means that it can't go forward."

  Churkin disagreed, saying "Kofi Annan continues his work, the key ingredient is to try to put together a dialogue between the government and the opposition."

  Churkin was told that he'd said "this extension gives Kofi Annan a chance," and was asked if "the new meeting of Friends of Syria might disrupt this process." Churkin scoffed, let's not make a rigid linkage between Kofi Annan and the monitoring mission.

Later Inner City Press asked Churkin specifically about what was deleted from the UK draft, and why. He smiled and said, "Matthew, the Security Council holds closed consultations to keep some secrets. You want us to give you all the secrets about the work of the Security Council. Then we could invite you... to answer all your questions." Well, why not?

  From the outside it seems that faced with the threat of a second day of vetoes, and with the prospect of the UN and Security Council become even more irrelevant to the Syrian crisis, the European agreed to this change, and the US went along, while calling it 30 days to pull out. So the can is kicked down the road; there will be more Security Council fights around Ban Ki-moon's 15 day report, and whether to extend further in 30 days. Watch this site.

  Here is the modified draft approved on July 20, 2012:

Commending the efforts of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS),

1.Decides to renew the mandate of UNSMIS for a final period of 30 days, taking into consideration the Secretary-General’s recommendations to reconfigure the Mission, and taking into consideration the operational implications of the increasingly dangerous security situation in Syria;

2.Calls upon the parties to assure the safety of UNSMIS personnel without prejudice to its freedom of movement and access, and stresses that the primary responsibility in this regard lies with the Syrian authorities;

3.Expresses its willingness to renew the mandate of UNSMIS thereafter only in the event that the Secretary-General reports and the Security Council confirms the cessation of the use of heavy weapons and a reduction in the level of violence sufficient to allow UNSMIS to implement its mandate;

4.Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the implementation of this resolution within 15 days;

5.Decides to remain seized of the matter.

  Dropped is the reference to "full implementation of paragraph 2 of resolution 2043."

  From the US Mission's transcript:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask-it seems like this paragraph 2 of the
resolution 2043 was in the UK draft and got dropped, and it's-among the
things getting dropped are pullback of military concentrations out of
population centers and withdraw to barracks. Does this compromise mean
that the U.S. doesn't expect those things to take place? Or what's the
significance of the change?

Ambassador Rice: Well, as you know, the United States was not the author
of the resolution.  I'd let you speak to the author, who I think will be
coming behind me.  We frankly prefer the text that included all of
paragraph 2, but we were able to accept the draft that was voted today.

 From the UK Mission's transcript:

Inner City Press: It seems like you had initially proposed as a condition for possible, you know, extending beyond the 30 days, full implementation of this paragraph two and looking at what’s left in the resolution, as passed, it seems to drop out the idea of pulling back military concentration for population centres and returning troops to barracks, so I mean I understand that compromise is necessary, but what message does this send and is that still a kind of an unspoken condition for the UK for extending the Mission, of what does it mean that it came out? How can you explain that?
Amb Lyall Grant:  I would make two points about that. Firstly, there is a clear obligation on the part of the Syrian authorities to comply with all aspects of the six point plan and one of the early points of the six point plan is this paragraph two of resolution 2043, which as you rightly say, has a number of demands on the Syrian authorities, including the cessation of use of heavy weapons, but also the pullback of troops to the barracks. However some Members of the Council argued that we were setting the bar too high for a possible extension of UNSMIS, so we decided to focus that condition on the one posed a direct threat to the Security of the mission, because clearly, if the government is using heavy weapons, including now in Damascus, then it puts the lives of UNSMIS at risks and that why we focussed it on there, but we have also said, and this second condition is extremely important, that the overall level of violence must be reduced in this 30 days to a level which would allow UNSMIS to carry out its original mandate and I would like to remind you that its original mandate was to oversee the ceasefire and secondly, to monitor implementation of the six point plan. That is still the purpose of UNSMIS and we hope that over the next 30 days that there will be some change in the dynamic which would allow it to fulfil that function, but if that does not happen, then obviously it will be withdrawn after 30 days.

Share |

Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-253, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2012 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]