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On Syria Sarin, UN Tells ICP Sellstrom & Del Ponte's Probes UNrelated, Why?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 6 -- Does the UN even want to know if chemical weapons have been used in Syria, and if so, who used them?

  At Monday's UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky if Ban's prober Ake Sellstrom would at least look at the evidence UN Human Rights Council appointee Carla Del Ponte cited over the weekend, from "victims, doctors and field hospitals" in neighboring countries, as offering strong suspicions of the use of sarin gas by the Syrian opposition, not the government.

  At noon, Nesirky told Inner City Press, " I would simply refer you to what the Commission of Inquiry said in its press release," which he summarized as "clarifying that it has not reached conclusive findings about the use of chemical weapons in Syria by any parties to the conflict. And, as a result, the Commission said it is not in a position to further comment on the allegations at this time."

  As Inner City Press wrote later on Monday, it's one thing for this UN "Independent International Commission of Inquiry" to not have public comment -- but shouldn't two arms of the UN, the Commission and Sellstrom's team, as least share evidence?

After that was published, and Inner City Press reported further on it on for example Pacifica's KPFA radio station in San Francisco, this came in:

Subject: Your question on the chemical weapons investigation
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Mon, May 6, 2013 at 8:28 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

On your question on the chemical weapons investigation:

Both investigations are independent and unrelated.

Mr. Sellstrom is conducting the investigation in accordance with the guidelines and is making an analysis of all information which is made available to him.

Mr. Sellstrom reports to the Secretary-General and is not authorized to share any information with outside entities.

Once the Secretary-General receives the report from Mr. Sellstrom, he will report to all Member States.

  We appreciate and publish it. But it sure doesn't say that Sellstrom will consider the evidence his fellow UN system prober Del Ponte has and cited to.

  Last week, Nesirky told Inner City Press that Sellstrom would be willing to look at video footage collected by Russian state TV reporter Anastasia Popova. Why consider that, and not information from another UN system body? SHOULD these two inquiries be UNrelated? Watch this site.

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