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On Syria, Sources Say US Doesn't Want UN Mission Extended, Blame Game

By Matthew Russell Lee, Partial exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, July 20, updated -- After Thursday afternoon's UN Security Council "showdown" on competing drafts to rollover or extend one final time the mandate of the UN observer mission in Syria, Inner City Press was informed of a telling exchange inside the closed door meeting.

  US Ambassador Susan Rice was asked point blank if the US wants the mission to be extended, and said no.

  That really is it. But many of Friday's headlines said it is Russia and China killing the mission.

  Half an hour before the Security Council meeting, Inner City Press asked July's Council president Nestor Osorio is both the UK and Pakistan drafts are "in blue" and ready to be voted on.

  Yes, he said, adding that if the UK draft is adopted, there'd be no reason to vote on Pakistan's.

  And if both are voted down?

  And at 9:50 am Friday, it emerged the vote(s) may be delayed. Pakistan has asked for consultations on its draft.

Update of 10:02 am -- South Africa tells Inner City Press it would vote for either draft, UK or Pakistan. This is after abstaining on UK's Chapter 7 resolution on Thursday. Nuanced....

Update of 10:55 am -- the consultations are over, crowd milling in Security Council chamber.  Inner City Press has obtained the below, as modified UK draft:

Commending the efforts of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS),

1.Decides to renew the mandate of UNSMIS for a final period of 30 days, taking into consideration the Secretary-General’s recommendations to reconfigure the Mission, and taking into consideration the operational implications of the increasingly dangerous security situation in Syria;

2.Calls upon the parties to assure the safety of UNSMIS personnel without prejudice to its freedom of movement and access, and stresses that the primary responsibility in this regard lies with the Syrian authorities;

3.Expresses its willingness to renew the mandate of UNSMIS thereafter only in the event that the Secretary-General reports and the Security Council confirms the cessation of the use of heavy weapons and a reduction in the level of violence sufficient to allow UNSMIS to implement its mandate;

4.Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the implementation of this resolution within 15 days;

5.Decides to remain seized of the matter.

  Dropped is the reference to "full implementation of paragraph 2 of resolution 2043."

   Flash back to late Thursday: Inner City Press asked China's Permanent Representative Li Baodong thirty or forty five days -- that is, UK or Pakistan draft?

"Showdown," Li Baodong exclusively told Inner City Press.

Inner City Press asked Pakistan's Deputy Permanent Representative if his draft has the nine required votes.

"Just trying to help," he exclusively told Inner City Press.

When US Permanent Representative Susan Rice emerged, she said as President Barack Obama's spokesman Jay Carney had on Air Force One that the US does not support any technical rollover of the mission.

On Air Force One, Carney was asked, did the Annan plan fail? Carney replied, "It has failed thus far, yes. And the failure of the Security Council to support this resolution means that it can't go forward."

So Inner City Press asked Ambassador Rice, does Kofi Annan's mission continue?

"Good question," Ambassador Rice replied.

Russian Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin was the most detailed. "It was a funny discussion," he began. "They keep coming back to their ideological position. There is a good Pakistan text that I know I am going to support."

Referring to the UK draft and its supporters, Churkin said "our colleagues want to replay individual elements from the Kofi Annan plan. It's too late in the day to do it." And too late Friday morning? Watch this site.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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