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On UN's Syria Fund, Ban Not in Position to Disclose, After 10 Chevies, When?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 23 -- Ever since UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon proposed setting up a "trust fund" for Syria chemical weapons work, and the Security Council approved it by a mere letter in return, Inner City Press has asked: what disclosures will be made?

At the October 22 UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: the US State Department yesterday put out a press release saying that they’re providing 10 armored vehicles, Chevrolet Suburbans to the UN’s work in Syria on chemical weapons. It might seem a strange question, but are these fully given to the UN or are they just for use in the mission and would be returned? Are they part this trust fund. How is it going, and is there going to be an ongoing update on who is giving what?

Spokesperson: On the first part, I think you’d need to ask the US Mission on what basis they have provided those vehicles. Obviously, it is extremely welcome, given the precarious security in Damascus and across the country, it is imperative that the joint team members have the safest possible means of transport and to do the work that they need to do in a very tight time frame. And as for the trust fund, I can only speak for the UN trust fund. You’d need to speak to OPCW about their trust fund. We would be intending to provide some details. It has been in the process of being set up, so I don’t have any at the moment. Okay, I am looking to see if there are other questions, otherwise you can ask what it was, Abyei and Trinidad and Tobago, so?

  So of contributions to the UN's work in Syria, Nesirky said "we would be intending to provide some details," put into the future or conditional tense because "it has been in the process of being set up."

  But on October 23 when Ban Ki-moon was asked about Norway and facilities to destroy chemical weapons, Ban answered, "We may need support from the Member States. Norway is one of those countries. I was told by Prime Minister [Helle] Thorning-Schmidt yesterday that the Danish Government would also be ready to provide their full support, whatever it may be, and I really appreciate such kind of very positive support from Member States. I am not in the position to disclose which countries."

So why wouldn't Ban Ki-moon be "in the position to disclose which countries"?

By the Security Council on October 22, Norway's Permanent Representative Geir Pedersen told the Press openly and transparently about Norway and the chemical weapons, emphasizing that the new government has only been put in place recently. So requests, and one must assume actual contributions, are not under any policy not to be disclosed.

Why is the UN choosing not to disclosure them? Or put otherwise, when and where will the UN be disclosing them? The clock is running. Watch this site.


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