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For 2-Day Syria Superbowl, Ja'afari On Right to Reply, Reclusive Brahimi, Seats

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 28 -- Syria remained the focus of most in the UN's North Lawn building on Tuesday afternoon. Inner City Press observed Syrian Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari going into a meeting at 3:30, and exiting at 4:15.

  He used different doors, however, than those used by new Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi and his bodyguard.

  "He is trying to avoid you," Ja'afari joked, of Brahimi's genial sleight of door. Last Friday Brahimi was trailed like a rock star on a different route.

  Some wondered if Brahimi was in the office of the President of the General Assembly. The PGA, however, is in Tehran for the Non-Aligned Movement meeting, Inner City Press has learned.

  Inner City Press asked Ja'afari, to make sure, will you be speaking at Thursday's Security Council meeting under the right of reply?

  "Of course," Ja'afari said. "We always have that right."

  And Gerard Araud of France, Council president for three more days, told Inner City Press same thing, of course Syria can speak at Thursday's session.

   Four non-Council members will also be speaking, or briefing, on humanitarian issues: Turkey and Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon. There is as noted a fifth neighbor -- but it's been pointed out (not by them) that they do not take refugees.

    Regarding the August 29 informal meeting the question remains, one trade or scalp the tickets for the UN's biggest show?

  The Council will meet with Brahimi, but it will not be in the Council chamber or its consultations room. It will be in a smaller room in the Department of Political Affairs, in the UN's North Lawn building.

  On August 27, before heading to Iran, DPA chief Jeffrey Feltman wrote to this month's Council president Gerard Araud of France, inviting the Security Council member to a meeting with Brahimi "in NL 2062."

  Inner City Press has obtained a copy of the letter, and now exclusively puts it online here.

  Feltman wrote, "Due to limited space, participation will be limited to one principal and plus [sic] one adviser."

  Araud, of course, already met with Brahimi in the North Lawn on Friday, August 24. But what about the others? US Ambassador Susan Rice gave a speech on August 28 in India, but is expected back in New York for this push on Syria. Who would be the two from the US Mission?

  Council members not only like France and the UK but also Morocco and Colombia are sending their foreign ministers. If they arrive by Wednesday afternoon, would the Permanent Representatives become their advisers?

  Morocco recently failed in its bid to get Ban Ki-moon to oust his envoy on Western Sahara, Christopher Ross. Ban will be in Iran during these meetings, leaving his Deputy Jan Eliasson behind.

  The UK's Mark Lyall Grant has been away, as has Portugal's Ambassador Cabral. China's Li Baodong is expected back; Deputy Wang has handled the file in his absence. Would he be the adviser?

   Or might Feltman's rules be bent? Watch this site.

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