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Syria Blocked Annan Deputy Nasser Al Kidwa, Sources Tell ICP, UN Stonewalling on Alan Doss & Kofi's Trip Explained?

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 13, updated -- For Kofi Annan's trip to Syria as Joint Special Envoy of the UN and the League of Arab States, his Arab League deputy Nasser Al Kidwa was not allowed in, sources told Inner City Press on Tuesday. "Assad only accepted Kofi wearing a UN hat," a source said. "Nasser al Kidwa was blocked." Others have argued that the blocking was by the delay of paperwork. Nasser al Kidwa was named deputy, at latest, on March 7.

  A major Arab League Permanent Representative acknowledged to Inner City Press that Nasser Al Kidwa "was not seen" in Damascus on March 10.

  Another told Inner City Press that "after Annan choose [Jean Marie] Guehenno as his deputy, the Arab League rebelled and pushed for Nasser Al Kidwa." And now Syria blocks Nasser Al Kidwa - why name him the Deputy if he wouldn't try and go?

  This would show the tension between Syria's Assad and the Arab League, at a time when some in the UN Security Council say they will only accept a resolution which calls for the "political transition" away from Assad in Arab League plans.

  Even after speeches by foreign ministers at the UN on March 12, it seemed that countries had not changed their positions but were only waiting to see what Annan can achieve. While the UK, as President of the Council, brought up in a closed door Council meeting on Tuesday getting a briefing quickly from Annan, the other side says Annan should visit particular capitals before even thinking of briefing the Council.

For days the UN spokesman has refused to answer Inner City Press' question of who traveled to Syria with Kofi Annan, described as the Joint Special Envoy of the UN and the League of Arab States.

  This continued March 12 and 13, even after UN Department of Political Affairs chief Lynn Pascoe told Inner City Press that Annan's team included former UN envoy to the Congo Alan Doss, who left the UN amid a nepotism scandal. From the UN's March 13 transcript:

Inner City Press: What’s the Secretary-General’s understanding of how Kofi Annan upon his either return to New York or from afar will provide information, beyond the press availability that he has done? As was said by one of the foreign ministers yesterday, will he brief the Secretary-General, who will in turn brief the General Assembly? Is that the understanding of how it will work? And I want to ask again if it is possible to know who traveled with Kofi Annan to Syria and who they met with.

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: Yes, I am aware of your request relating to the last question. I think you will also be aware that they have been rather busy the last couple of days. As soon as we are in a position to help you with that, we will do. On the question of reporting back, of course, there is a requirement to report back in some form to the Member States, and I think that that is being considered right now.

Inner City Press: On the Alan Doss question, Mr. Pascoe said he was going to go. I asked him here at a briefing on Friday, he is busy too, I just wonder, can you confirm as seemed to be clear from television that former UN official Alan Doss traveled to Syria with Kofi Annan, and if so --

Spokesperson: As I say, when I am in a position to help you with that, I will do, okay?

   Now the UN's stonewalling may be more understandable .Watch this site.

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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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