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As Ban Meets UAE & Arab League, Roed-Larsen at Both, Ladsous UAE

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 21 -- As this Fall's UN General Assembly begins, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and different members of his team met back to back Friday with the United Arab Emirates' foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan then with an Arab League delegation led by Nabil Elaraby.

  Inner City Press covered both as photo-ops, being confined between the two in a holding room with an Egyptian videographer in the office of Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson. Questions arose about Ban's different line-ups for the two meetings.

  Ban's uncommunicative top Peacekeeper Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row to hold the post, attended the meeting with the UAE but not with the Arab League.

  Since the UAE is hardly big in UN Peacekeeping, one thought the rationale would be to talk about Syria. But Ladsous was absent from the more Syria-focused Arab League meeting.

   Terje Roed-Larsen, whose mandate under Security Council resolution 1559 Syria has repeatedly sought to reign in, was present for both meetings.

  Ban's top lawyer Patricia O'Brien, also uncommunicative in that she has repeatedly refused requests to do a press conference or take questions, arrived for the Arab League meeting, of which Inner City Press made a 3-minute video, on YouTube here and below.

  The head of the UN Department of Political Affairs, former US State Department official Jeffrey Feltman, was understandably present for both meetings. The UAE foreign minister called out to him, "Jeff, I just sent you a text message," which Feltman acknowledged receiving. For Iran - LOL?

  Here was Ban's spokesperson's office's read-out of the UAE meeting:

"They discussed several regional issues including Syria, and the Middle East Peace Process. The Secretary-General thanked Sheikh Abdullah for hosting the UN presence in the UAE and welcomed the newly established UNOCHA Gulf Office. He also noted the important role the UAE is playing in humanitarian financing through its Office for the Coordination of Foreign Aid."

So that's why the UN's top humanitarian Valerie Amos was there. But why was Ladsous at the UAE meeting? Watch this site.

Update of 6:36 pm -- the UN spokesperson has put out this read out of the Arab League meeting:

They discussed first and foremost the situation in Syria, with its political impasse, widespread human rights abuses, and growing humanitarian crisis.

They expressed serious concern about the question of Palestine, the lack of progress in peace negotiations, and the alarming economic situation as well as the absence of hope in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Finally, they discussed the rioting that recently erupted following the posting of the irresponsible and provocative video on the Prophet Mohammed, which they condemned, while deploring the violence that ensued.

But what about France Banning even peaceful protests? Click here for that.

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