Saturday, November 26, 2016

On Syria, Egyptian Draft In Blue Urges 10-Day Pauses & Separation of Groups, SG Report in 14 Days

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, November 23 -- After the failure of two resolutions on Syria, New Zealand on October 13 circulated a draft resolution, which Inner City Press published that day, here.

Now on November 23 Inner City Press is exclusively informed of an “Egyptian draft put in blue on Aleppo,” which would demand a “ten day humanitarian pause around Aleppo with 72 hours advance notice.”

It would also call for a ceasefire throughout the country and “the separation of Security Council designated group from other armed groups” and “request that the Secretary General report to the Security Council on the implementation of the resolution and provide options for the preservation of the cessation of hostilities in the city of Aleppo within 14 days of the adoption of the resolution” - but will it be adopted?

It is ironic in that Egypt not only cracks down on media at home, but has its state media Akhbar al Yom operating for Ban Ki-moon and his Gallach to Occupy the longtime work space of Inner City Press, restriction it to minders while Akhbar al Yom's Sanaa Youssef rarely comes to the UN, never asks questions.

On October 26 the Security Council's session with UN Relief Chief Stephen O'Brien turned into theater, including when Syria's Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari took the floor the latest walk-out by the Ambassadors of the UK, France, US and Ukraine. Inner City Press rushed to the photo booth to film it, then back to the stakeout to ask about it.

   Spain's Román Oyarzun Marchesi spoke briefly off-camera, then Russia's Vitaly Churkin, the Council's president for October (as  Oyarzun Marchesi will be in December) spoke at more length on the steps. Inner City Press asked him about the walk-out and he said, it is a tool in the hands of diplomats -- in the absence of other tools.

  He said the Yemen session on October 31 will be open, and that Stephen O'Brien should speak about Yemen. YouTube of Periscope here, with analysis at end.

On October 27, along with asking UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft if the UK supports the October 31 session on Yemen being open - Yes, he said, swan song Vine here - Inner City Press also asked French Ambassador Delattre about the walk-out.

   He said it was spontaneous, he didn't want to hear what Ja'afari had to say. Inner City Press pointed out that the UK, US and Ukraine also walked out. “France is an independent country,” Delattre said. Video here. And Inner City Press' photo of the walk-out shows that Rycroft and US Deputy Michele Sison were standing up and Delattre was still sitting down. We hope to have more on this.

   On October 27 at noon former UK prime minister, now UN Special Envoy Gordon Brown called for the referral to the International Criminal Court of the school bombing in Idlib. Inner City Press asked Brown about the bombing - by UK supported Saudi Arabia - of schools in Yemen; Churkin was asked about what was said by Gordon Brown. After asking, perhaps in jest, Gordon Who, Churkin said the UK is a member of the ICC and should have its files there. On Yemen?

 (Inner City Press earlier in the month asked incoming Secretary General Antonio Guterres about Yemen, story hereBeyond the Vine video here.)

  Here's New Zealand's draft resolution on Syria:

The Security Council

Recalling its resolutions 2042 (2012), 2043 (2012), 2118 (2013), 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2175 (2014), 2191 (2014) 2209 (2015), 2254 (2015) 2258 (2015) and 2268 (2016),

Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Noting discussions in September between the Russian Federation and the United States on Syria and deeply concerned at the breakdown of the agreed pause in hostilities and series of steps to reduce violence, enable unimpeded humanitarian access and set the conditions for the resumption of a Syrian-led political process,

Distressed that, as a result of this breakdown, there has been a sharp increase in the level of conflict in Syria, accompanied by an intensification of the devastating humanitarian situation, renewed impediments to the delivery of humanitarian assistance and intensified attacks against civilians and civilian objects contrary to international humanitarian law,

Distressed also that the resumption of conflict has seen an intensification of attacks against medical facilities contrary to international humanitarian law and to its resolution 2286,
Convinced that, in these circumstances it is incumbent on the Security Council to act;

Recognising the importance of the continuation of armed action against terrorist entities in Syria designated as such by virtue of Security Council resolutions,

Determining that the situation in Syria continues to constitute a threat to peace and security in the region,

Underscoring that Member States are obligated under Article 25 of the Charter of the United Nations to accept and carry out the Council’s decisions,

1. Demands an immediate and complete end to all attacks which may result in the death or injury of civilians or damage to civilian objects in Syria, in particular those carried out by air in Aleppo;

2. Demands also the immediate commencement of steps towards the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2268 and the Cessation of Hostilities outlined in it;

3. Demands that all parties allow and facilitate immediate, unimpeded and sustained access to besieged and hard to reach areas throughout Syria for humanitarian relief on the basis of needs determined by the United Nations;

4. Calls upon all parties to adhere, within 24 hours of the adoption of this resolution, to a 48 hour pause to the fighting and to regular 48 hour pauses thereafter until full implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities required under resolution 2268 is achieved, so as to allow the UN to provide humanitarian assistance to all those in need and reinforces that this obligation is in addition to the requirements under Security Council Resolution 2268;

5. Calls also on the United Nations to work with relevant parties to agree operational modalities for the pauses described in Paragraph 4 of this resolution and to ensure the necessary security guarantees for humanitarian assistance;

6. Calls upon the parties to the conflict to conclude as expeditiously as possible local agreements for the evacuation of wounded and sick, the elderly, children and maternity cases from besieged and hard to reach areas based solely on urgency and need and requests the United Nations to facilitate such agreements as appropriate;

7. Demands that all combatants not designated as terrorist entities by virtue of Security Council resolutions take steps to separate expeditiously from combatants designated as terrorist entities by virtue of Security Council resolutions while in this regard emphasising that efforts to counter terrorism must be carried out in accordance with international law, including international humanitarian law, and in particular with regard to the protection of civilians;

8. Notes the initiative of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Syria of 6 October 2016 on addressing the situation in Aleppo and requests the Secretary-General to present to the Security Council within two weeks a detailed plan for its implementation for the purpose of the endorsement by the Security Council;

9. Reiterates that the only sustainable solution to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and in this regard supports the intention of the Secretary-General, through his good offices and the efforts of his Special Envoy for Syria, to convene formal negotiations as soon as possible;

10. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Back on October 8, French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault came to the UN for a Saturday vote on the French-Spanish draft resolution on Aleppo, which Russia had already said it would veto. That is what happened. Venezuela also voted no; China and Angola abstained.

    Afterward Ayrault came to the stakeout. Inner City Press asked him, loudly, if he thinks the Saudi bombardment of Yemen should also be taken up by the Security Council, after an airstrike on a funeral most recently. He did not answer, despite the question being repeated. He left.

   While Ambassador Matthew Rycroft of the UK, which holds the Council's “pen” on Yemen, also did not answer, Vine here, New Zealand's ambassador when Inner City Press asked if his country also thinks the Saudi-led coalition should stop bombing Yemen said, “I do.”Vine here.

  Speeches went on. Then Russia's draft failed: four in favor, nine against, two abstentions. Egypt said the Security Council is becoming only a media platform. And not only that - the UN is trying to hinder Press coverage. More on that to follow.

Just before the UN Security Council met about Aleppo, with a briefing from envoy Staffan de Mistura on October 7, French Permanent Representative Francois Delattre told the press that the moment of truth, to vote on the Franco-Spanish draft resolution, was near -- Saturday at 2:30 pm, just for the drama, it seemed. The Franco-Spanish draft is below.

Now Russia has submitted its own draft, which Inner City Press has obtained and puts on Scribd, here. As Inner City Press was reporting this and other UN legal stories it was told by the UN that it, but not other correspondents, had to leave. We'll have more on this.

Delattre was asked of the analogy of Aleppo to Rwanda and did not respond on that, Periscope video here - understandable to some given, for example, then French diplomat (now taciturn UN official) Herve Ladsous' 1994 memo obtained by Inner City Press, here.