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On Syria, Saudis Say Latins Will Be on Board, Ja'afari on OMIC, Sri Lanka General Speaks

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 24 -- The proposed UN General Assembly resolution on Syria, drafted by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, was the main subtext outside the Security Council's debate Wednesday afternoon.

  Inner City Press asked the Saudi Permanent Representative about the concerns about welcoming recognitions of the opposition raised for example by Latin American countries. (See letters published by Inner City Press, here.)

They'll be on board,” the Saudi ambassador replied jovially. But others were not so sure.

  A Western country which told Inner City Press it would vote for the resolution today said it should not, however, be put to a vote in the current form, asking, Isn't the point of the General Assembly to show wide-spread support?

  That wouldn't happen on the current draft, and “if it's modified down any further, what's the point?”

  Beyond “the Latins” and India and South Africa, concerns were expressed to Qatar by Malaysia.

  Sources told Inner City Press Qatar will meet with the Western European and Other Group on Friday -- after WEOG meets with UN Department of Political Affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman.

   Wednesday afternoon's original schedule had the United Arab Emirate speaking between Syria and Iran. Perhaps to avoid this squeeze, the UAE switched spots and went before Bashar Ja'afari, Syria's ambassador.

   Ja'afari in his speech proposed re-naming the UN the “Organization of Major Influencing Countries” -- which Inner City Press shortened to OMIC. Ja'afari said that Saudi Arabia & Qatar don't allow any political opposition, “even formal.”

  Norway's Geir O. Pedersen said all countries should stop flow of weapons into Syria. Afterward he told Inner City Press that his country does all it can to make sure funds don't go for weapons.

  But what is the European Union going to do, on the oil sales questions in the morning by Russia as likely to flow to the benefit of the Al Nusra Front?

  Sri Lanka had signed up to speak -- and was represented not by Permanent Representative Palitha Kohona but by its Deputy Permanent Representative and General Shavendra Silva, whose acceptance on Ban Ki-moon's and Herve Ladsous' Senior Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations caused such controversy.

  Now Shavendra Silva is inside the Security Council, amid all the speeches. Here is his speech, put online by Inner City Press with his name on it. What is the UN coming to? Watch this site.

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