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Syria Coalition Returns Through UN's Backdoor, UN Told ICP, "Ask UNCA"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 23 -- What is the backdoor through which the Syria rebels try to get into the United Nations?

  It's through the Executive Committee of the United Nations Correspondents Association. In July 2013 they got in, though after questions in September they sent to a hotel. Today they entered again through UNCA. What changed?

  As noted, UNCA's Executive Committee, described by some in the UN as heavy with "Gulf and Western media" such as Reuters, CBS, Al Arabiya and Agence France Presse, previously sponsored Jarba in July, and called it a "UN briefing."

  Now, after questions and taking their show on the road to a hotel during the General Debate, on March 14 the "UNCA Office" under President Pamela Falk announced

UNCA will hold a press conference with the Syrian Opposition's Chief Negotiator in Geneva Mr. Hadi Al Bahra, TODAY, Friday, March 14th at 1:00pm in the UNCA Meeting Room S-310.

Please see Mr. Al Bahra's bio below: Hadi Al Bahra: Mr. Hadi al Bahra is the Syrian opposition's Chief Negotiator in Geneva, Secretary of the Political Committee of the National Coalition of Syrian Opposition and Revolutionary Forces' (Etilaf), and adviser to Syrian Coalition President Ahmad al-Jarba. Bahra received his bachelor's degree from Wichita State University in Kansas. He has been an active contributor to the opposition's media activity and relief and political work in Syria. He will be in DC March 16-19.

   In an abundance of fairness, Inner City Press now publishes what Al Bahra had sent out about his "UNCA Briefing" --

Press Statement, Hadi al Bahra, Member of Syrian Coalition Political Committee, March 14, 2014

Earlier today, the Syrian Coalition briefed the members of the Security Council, one day before the third anniversary of the start of the Syrian uprising. Later this afternoon, we will be briefing several other countries, including the members of the Delegation of the European Union.

Our delegation has separately met with several other countries, including the UK, Saudi Arabia, France, Rwanda and Chad. Later this afternoon, we will be meeting with the US Permanent Representative to the UN, Samantha Power and the Joint Special Representative to Syria.

We have made the following points during our meetings:

Until now, the international community has failed Syria. The Security Council and the broader UN membership have been unable to protect the Syrian people from a brutal dictator.

The Syrian Coalition remains committed to the political process. However negotiations have stalled because the Syrian regime refuses to discuss the core purpose of talks, namely the formation of a Transitional Governing body.

For peace talks to succeed the Security Council must make it clear to the regime that it must comply with the Geneva Communiqué and engage in talks to discuss the formation of a Transitional Governing Body. If they do not, then there must be consequences, including the implementation of coercive measures through the adoption of a Chapter VII resolution.

Free and fair elections cannot be held in Syria in the present violent circumstances. Any attempt to hold elections risks undermining the Geneva talks which remain the only political track to find a solution to Syria’s conflict.

The Syrian Coalition is committed to upholding international humanitarian law and providing urgent humanitarian support, which is why we are working with our allies to swiftly to implement UNSCR 2139 swiftly in the areas we can.

Despite the adoption of UNSCR 2139, the Syrian regime continues to obstruct and violate international law. As a result, the humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate and millions of people remain in critical need.

   Back on September 23, 2013 Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's then  spokesperson Martin Nesirky's office to explain whether an event in UN Room S-310 with Jarba could properly be called a UN briefing.

Ban's spokesperson's office under Nesirky replied, "Your question on briefings in Room S-310: please direct your question to UNCA."

But UNCA has yet to explain, for example, documents Inner City Press obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act from Voice of America and others showing that its first vice president, Louis Charbonneau of Reuters, gave UN accreditation official Stephane Dujarric an anti-Press internal UNCA document three minutes after promising not to. Story here, audio here, document here.

  UNCA's 2013-2014 president Pamela Falk of CBS, who sent out the July and September, 2013 Jarba invitations only to those who pay money to UNCA, has not explained the organization's role in, well, spying for the UN.

 Inner City Press quit UNCA and co-founded the new Free UN Coalition for Access, @FUNCA_info -- and, as the UN works, soon had its accreditation threatened with suspension or withdrawal for merely hanging a FUNCA sign on the door of its shared office, an elevator corridor away from "UN briefing" room S-310.

  Shouldn't the UN answer about the use of a UN room, one story above the Security Council, to host a "UN briefing" by a Saudi-sponsored rebel, the one now dubbed as "Jarbucks" or perhaps better as "JarBUNCA"?

Back on July 26, Inner City Press asked:

Inner City Press: currently, there is a meeting in the North Lawn Building of the Syrian coalition with members of the Security Council. I’ve seen, although it wasn’t sent to me, a notice of a press conference in the UN building by the Syrian Coalition in room 310 of the United Nations, and I wanted you to describe what this press conference is. Is it a UN press conference? Is it only open to individuals who have paid money in order to attend it? And I saw one of the speakers described as the Special Representative of the Syrian Coalition to the United Nations, and I wanted to know, is there such a thing? Is there official representation to the United Nations by the Syrian opposition and on what basis does the UN give a large room to the UN Correspondents Association for meetings of this type, which they only promote to members that pay them money?

Deputy Spokesperson Del Buey: Well, I’ll have to check on that, Matthew. I don’t have the information with me, but we’ll check on that and get back to you.

Inner City Press: Okay, I’d really like an answer soon, before the meeting takes place would be ideal.

Deputy Spokesperson Del Buey: Well, we’re going to try.

Now under new UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, demonstrably close with the UNCA "leaders," basic questions about the spending of UN money have done unanswered for his entire first week. The SNC is back in the room the UN gives to its Censorship Alliance. Where is this headed? Watch this site.


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