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At UN, Quiet Meeting on Syria and Rights, Wheel Spinning on Mali and Haiti?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 12 -- With little fanfare, Security Council ambassadors filed into Conference Room 6 in the UN's North Lawn building Friday morning. The sign outside referred only to a closed Arria formula meeting; no mention of Syria. But that was the topic.

  An inquiry with the Presidency confirmed that this Arria formula meeting was called by Portugal, which told Inner City Press speakers included Assistant Secretary General Ivan Simonovic and two members of the Human Rights Council panel on Syria, chairman Paulo Pinheiro and member Karen AbuZayd (Carla del Ponte was appointed to fill out the panel on September 28 but apparently is not here).

  Inner City Press asked and was told that Pinheiro and Abu-Zaid would hold a briefing for the press on Tuesday, October 16. Apparently they'll be in New York over the weekend until then. Why not speak publicly on Friday? This is the UN.

  This too is the UN - after months of saying how dire the situation in northern Mali is, the Security Council is slated to adopt a French draft resolution later on Friday.

  But this resolution still will not authorize any action in or on Northern Mali, but rather ask for a plan in 30 days, or perhaps not even that specifically.

  Also Friday afternoon the Security Council is slated to extend the mandate of its Haiti mission MINUSTAH for yet another year. A protest is planned across First Avenue, under the banner "UN out of Haiti." But no one seems to hear.

   In the previous evening's US Vice Presidential debate, neither Haiti or even Mali, despite the Al Qaeda issue, were raised. And so it goes. Watch this site.

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