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In Syria, OPCW Cites Lack of Safety, UN Says "We" Won't Comment, Joint?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 17 -- The UN says its mission in Syria with the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons is a "joint mission." But is it? Do the two organizations have the same policies for the mission? No.

The UN's refused Thursday to answer Press questions about (joint?) inspectors having been "forced to turn back at one site after failing to receive assurances that they would be safe."

Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky from whom assurances were not received: the government, or the armed opposition? 

Nesirky said "we do not talk about operational details."

But who is this "we"? Because the quote above about the lack of assurances was from OPCW spokesman Michael Luhan. UN spokesperson Nesirky not only won't comment - he says the UN has a POLICY against speaking on these matters. The OPCW doesn't. Some "joint" mission.

  Thursday after Inner City Press managed as its first question to ask the inspector blockage in Syria question (after Nesirky twice called on the same France 24 journalist to ask about Syria, video here at Minute 7:58), Nesirky declared that how many or few questions are taken at the UN briefing is entirely up to him.

  Inner City Press, having been cut off previously, asked if it could ask two questions: on Somaliland's airspace and a report following the UN's inaction in Sri Lanka in 2009 as 40,000 civilians were killed.

   Nesirky said it is up to him, he won't just stay "until the middle of the night" and answer questions.

  Many member states' foreign ministries do -- one might think that the UN, ostensibly covering the whole world, would want to be at least as responsive as these countries. But no -- often the briefing is abruptly ended without reason. It is up to Nesirky.

  So is the refusal of the UN to comment on this blockage, while its "joint" mission partner the OPCW comments on the record -- it is UN policy? For the reasons stated, it is for now UNclear. We will have more on this, and on the Sri Lanka report, which Nesirky's associate Farhan Haq seemed to previously implicitly confirm, now rescinded by Nesirky: further failure on Sri Lanka. Watch this site.


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