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On Syria, Araud Calls Lavrov Rear Guard, Pillay Dodges on 2 Years

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 2 -- After Navi Pillay briefed the Security Council about Syria on Monday, Inner City Press asked her about the long stalled report on the killings at Al Houla that the Council asked for, and whether Ban Ki-moon's decision to renew her for only two years and not four undercut her independence.

  I'll only answer the first questions on Syria, Pillay began. And on that, she referred to a different report, that of the Commission of Inquiry which on June 29 told the Human Rights Council it didn't really know who did the killings. (Pillay said that evidence points to the government.)

  Pillay will be briefing on Libya later Monday, and the Sudan and Palestine on July 3, so we hope to have more.

  Then French Ambassador Gerard Araud came out to speak. Inner City Press asked him about Russian foreign minister Lavrov's statement in Geneva that the modified communique means Assad does not have to leave. Araud called this a "rear guard battle by our Russian friends."

Inner City Press asked Araud about its exclusive last week that the Permanent Five members of the Council were told by the Secretariat of a plan to downgrade UNSMIS in Syria to a political mission. Araud replied that if there is no political process and it remains dangerous, the Council might decide to leave altogether, or to downgrade the mission.

Earlier at Monday's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky about the Houla report, and if Ban agrees with Hillary Clinton's or Lavrov's interpretation of the Action Group communique.

On the Houla report, Nesirky repeated that it is with other UN experts -- but for how long? He said that Ban agrees with what Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan said -- not much -- after the Geneva meeting.

So Inner City Press asked, has Annan followed through and briefed Iran and Saudi Arabia about Saturday's meetings? Nesirky said he didn't know, that because Saturday's meeting went late, perhaps not. Watch this site.

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

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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

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