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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 25th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 

 

  From the line of Matthew Russell Lee

 

UNITED NATIONS, January 25 — With Syria talks in Geneva surprisingly going forward, with the two sides in the same room not speaking to each other but only to Lakhdar Brahimi –  on January 25 “The Elders” made an announcement.

 

  Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, as well as Martti Ahtisaari, Desmond Tutu and Ernesto Zedillo, will go to Iran from January 26 to 29, to discuss among other things “mutual respect” and peace in the region: that is, Syria.

 

  This comes after current UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on January 20 reversed his “decision” of the previous day of inviting Iran to the Syria talks in Montreux. The contrast, some say, couldn’t be clearer.
{BUT REALLY WHAT DOES THAT MEAN IN PRACTICE? – that is our question}

 

   In Geneva Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Bashar al Ja’afari, is speaking for the government.

 On January 20 in the Security Council, Ja’afari complained again of inaction on complaints by Herve Ladsous, the fourth French head of UN Peacekeeping in a row.

 

Ending the Syria speeches in Montreux on January 22, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called them “productive.” Then his spokesperson accused some non-Western media of being “disrespectful of the Secretary General of the UN,” after he gave the last two questions to Bloomberg and NHK (the Japanese  government run television network.)     How was it productive?

   Even before the afternoon session began, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius took to the Montreux stakeout to say Syrian foreign minister Moallem was “aggressive.”

 Fabius in September, at the UN, declared Ahmad al Jarba the leader of the Syrian people, and refused to take critical questions from the media including about his country’s practices.

   Australia was represented not by foreign minister Julie Bishop but rather its Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Peter Woolcott (who also chairs a humanitarian high level group on Syria, it’s been pointed out to Inner City Press.).  Bishop is in Washington, and soon to be in New York.

   Ahmad al Jarba spoke before the last, thanking Saudi Arabia, viewed as his sponsor, as if in an Oscars speech. Ban Ki-moon wrapped up, calling it productive and asking the assembled (hand-picked, without Iran) ministers to “wish [him] luck” as he went to speak to the media.

  There, the questions were chosen much as they are at the UN in New York, as documented and critiqued by the Free UN Coalition for Access — but in Montreux, this was actively protested. (FUNCA also questioned the UN citing Ban’s press conference as a basis to cancel its noon briefing in New York, on South Sudan, Central African Republic, Mali and other countries in which the UN is at least somewhat less marginal, or less US dominated.)

  When John Kerry held his press conference, only four questions were taken: CBS, a Turkish media, BBC and Al Hurra, on whose Broadcasting Board of Governors John Kerry himself serves.

After the UN’s reversal on including Iran in the Syria session in Montreux, it has turned out to be a series of speeches mostly by countries significantly less important to that conflict and the region.

   In the morning session on January 22, Italy and Spain spoke and Japan offered money. Turkey spoke without mentioning the Kurds — but neither did supposed representative of the range of Syrian opposition leaders  – Mr. Ahmad al Jarba.

CAN THE ELDERS OBTAIN THAT MAGIC FROM TEHRAN THAT IS NEEDED TO ALLOW THEM A PLACE AT THE SYRIA NEGOTIATIONS’ TABLE FROM WHICH THEY ARE KEPT AWAY BASICALLY BECAUSE THE NEGOTIATIONS ON THEIR NUCLEAR WEAPONS HAVE NOT MADE THEM CLEAN YET? CAN KOFI ANNAN PROVIDE THEM THE NEEDED “RESPECT” SO THEY CLIMB DOWN THE NUCLEAR LADDER SAYING THAT A REGION OF PEACE IS WHAT THEY WANT?


 

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