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Before 123-13-46 Vote on Syria, Bulgarian Chair Cuts Off Ja'afari, Sartre at UN

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 19 -- Before the vote on the Saudi-drafted Syria resolution in the UN's Third (Human Rights) Committee, Saudi Arabia's Permanent Representative used his speech to predict what his Syrian counter-part, Bashar Ja'afari, would say.

  When Ja'afari was called on by the Committee's Bulgarian chair, he said that Saudi Arabia is interfering in Syria just as its Permanent Representative is trying to interfere in his thoughts. He spoke of Saudi Arabia's human rights record, and of the Al Qaeda bombing of Iran's embassy in Beirut -- and then the chairperson cut him off.

  He protested that he had tried to contact the chair ten times without success, asking him not to take sides. When he was elected, his past as a translator of Jean-Paul Sartre was played out. But which of Sartre's books did this most resemble?

  In the run-up to the vote, Cote d'Ivoire asked to speak only to say that on instructions from the capital, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire should no longer be listed as a co-sponsor of the resolution. (The Rev. 1 of the resolution, still online after the vote, lists Cote d'Ivoire.)

  Nigeria said that the resolution does not point to peace, and it is against country-specific resolutions, and so would abstain.

  These abstentions, though, weren't reported when the result was called overwhelming by the UK's Permanent Representative: 123 yes, 13 no.

  And 46 abstentions. By that logic, leaving out abstentions, the vote in the Security Council on the Africans' resolution to defer for a year the International Criminal Court's Kenya proceedings was yes 7, no zero: overwhelming.

  Earlier Tuesday by the Security Council, Ja'afari asked Inner City Press rhetorically if the UK Ambassador had become a Syrian, to speak of who should lead the country. The UK is everything, the response was, including Sri Lanka.

  As dusk fell on Tuesday, Argentina which was among those abstainers explained its "yes" vote on the Syria resolution by pointing out parts that it does not agree with. Upstairs in the Security Council, speeches continued about Kosovo. Watch this site.


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