(Reuters) U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has ended talks with President Bashar al-Assad and left Syria with little sign of progress on halting the country’s growing political bloodshed. “I am optimistic for several reasons,” Annan said in Damascus on Sunday. “The situation is so bad and so dangerous that all of us cannot afford to fail.” There was no clear response from Assad to Annan’s “concrete proposals” for a ceasefire, dialogue and humanitarian aid. Assad told Annan opposition “terrorists” were blocking any political solution. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in New York on Monday when the U.N. Security Council holds a special meeting on Arab revolts. Russia, long an ally of Syria, and China have blocked attempts to pass a Security Council resolution condemning Damascus for its attempts to crush a year-old rebellion by force, in which thousands have died. Moscow and Beijing want any international blame for the violence to be apportioned more evenly. China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Ming said in Riyadh on Sunday both Syrian sides should stop fighting and aid should be sent to strife-torn areas – but he also warned other states not to use aid to “interfere”. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have taken a hawkish line against the Syrian government. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Feisal on Sunday repeated calls for the Syrian opposition to be provided with weapons. This was the only way to end the conflict without foreign intervention, he said. “The regime in Syria is committing a massacre of its own citizens,” he added, after talks with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in Riyadh. “We cannot accept the completely unreasonable continuation of the atrocities being perpetrated by the Assad regime against its own people,” Westerwelle said. The United Nations says Assad’s forces have killed more than 7,500 people in their crackdown on protesters and insurgents. Authorities say rebels have killed 2,000 soldiers. Annan’s mission coincided with a Syrian military offensive against opposition strongholds in the northwest. Activists said at least four people were killed in the town of Idlib on Sunday after troops and tanks moved in a day earlier. Three soldiers and a civilian were also killed in fighting in the village of Janoudiya in Idlib province on Sunday morning, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. State news agency SANA said “terrorists” shot dead a former boxing champion, Ghiath Tayfour, in the city of Aleppo and also killed a leading Baath Party member in Homs province. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are both ruled by autocrats and espouse a strict version of Sunni Islam, are improbable champions of democracy in Syria. Riyadh has an interest in seeing Assad fall because this could weaken its Shi’ite regional rival Iran, which has been allied with Syria since 1980. The exiled opposition Syrian National Council ruled out talks while Assad is in power. “Negotiations can never take place between the victim and torturer: Assad and his entourage must step down as a condition before starting any serious negotiations,” it said. (Andrew Roche and Dominc Evans)
oh… but it is diplomacy right? We are merely dealing with moderates… just like the Muslim Brotherhood… and the MoveOn.org and Think Progress people will not stop pushing that idea. They will tell you that you are the radical for having a position, when their position is the radical silencing opinion.
(israelmatzav.blogspot.com)Just how sick is the United Nations? Consider this: On Thursday, they held a moment of silence in memory of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il.
Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, president of the 193-nation assembly, called for a “minute of silence” before the start of a routine meeting at 3:00 p.m. EST in the half-empty UN General Assembly hall.
“It is my sad duty to pay tribute to the memory of the late Kim Jong-il, Secretary-General of the Workers Party of Korea, Chairman of the National Defense Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army, who passed away on Saturday, Dec. 17,” he said.
The minute of silence lasted for 25 seconds before Nasser proceeded with the scheduled meeting. The United States, European Union member states and Japan were among the countries that boycotted the tribute to Kim Jong-il.
North Korea’s UN mission made a similar request to the Security Council, but Western diplomats said it was rejected.
“We didn’t think it would be appropriate,” a diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Several Western diplomats said Pyongyang’s request for Kim to be honored was highly unusual. They voiced surprise that Nassir had granted it and added that their delegations would most likely boycott the moment of silence in the assembly.
Speaking at a news conference, Nasser cited “protocol” as the reason for agreeing to the request from North Korea, a full UN member. One diplomat said the reason for granting the request was probably because Kim was an acting head of state.
A reminder: North Korea is under UN sanctions because of its nuclear program (and ought to be under them for being a nuclear proliferator), and many of its people eat grass because there is nothing else to eat. That the United Nations considers Kim worthy of emulation speaks volumes as to the mentality that pervades the organization.
it should not be as close as it is
Wishing to avoid an American veto at the Security Council, the Palestinian Authority is considering turning directly to the United Nations General Assembly in September in order to gain international recognition of Palestinian statehood.
Palestinian sources and European diplomats say that the Palestinians will give up their effort to be accepted as a full member of the UN – a move that would require approval by the Security Council – and will seek instead recognition by the General Assembly of a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders, which will not be a full member of the organization. via haaretz.com
Following the failed meeting of the Quartet foreign ministers in Washington last week, the Palestinians recognized that the United States will veto any resolution that will be brought before the UN Security Council for unilateral Palestinian statehood. Moreover, the Palestinians have also concluded that turning to the Security Council with a request for full membership in the UN is a more complicated proposition, largely because of time constraints. Palestinian sources and European diplomats said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his aides are increasingly leaning toward a direct appeal to the General Assembly of the international organization. Even though the assembly lacks the authority to offer the Palestinians full UN membership, at the General Assembly the United States is unable to use its veto power against resolutions brought before the plenum for a vote. Also, the Palestinians would like the vote to take place during the General Assembly in the last week of September, and for this there is no need for a great deal of preparation. The vote at the General Assembly could be called with as little as 24 hours notice. A vote at the General Assembly is expected to end with a Palestinian victory and a large majority, as some 140 member states are expected to support recognition of a Palestinian state. Even though a General Assembly resolution is “weaker” than one by the Security Council, the Palestinians are comparing such a decision to Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947, in which the General Assembly approved the plan to partition Palestine. Senior Palestinian officials say that without the decision on dividing Palestine in 1947, Israel would not have had the international legitimacy to declare independence in May 1948.
Except that Israel could have done whatever it wanted in 1948 because the Arabs (there were no ‘Palestinians’ in 1948) rejected the partition plan and determined to drive the Jews into the sea. Moreover, Israel was admitted by the Security Council in 1949. more via israelmatzav.blogspot.com
there was a whole lot of verbal attacks on the U.S. for this need for Palestine to settle for less. Catherine Ashton who is the foreign policy head of the E.U. and a member of labor in the U.K. tried to put forward a version that was rejected by the Muslim Arabs for 6o years and would of ignored G W Bush’s promises of facts on the ground to Ariel Sharon.
Susan Rice: UN Recognition of Palestinian State = "Exceedingly Politically Damaging in Our Domestic ContextJune 23, 2011
Yet, in a video you see that Susan Rice is worried about something else; losing Congress’ financial and political support of the United Nations; an idea first put forth by John Bolton and since supported by a number of different individuals in Congress.
Here is the important quote: And this would be exceedingly politically damaging in our domestic context, as you can well imagine. And I cannot frankly think of a greater threat to our ability to maintain financial and political support for the United Nations in congress than such an outcome.
The video was censored; the quote appears around the 6:30 mark.
what is amusing is in the Reagan administration it was (“Fuck the Jews, they don’t vote for us anyway.”) Baker who threatened to withdraw funding to the United Nations when the United Nations said it would create Palestine.
US to veto Palestinian statehood bid in UNSC, PA Backing Off Declaration of Statehood
The president of the UN General Assembly said there is no way that a Palestinian state could become a member of the United Nations without a recommendation from the Security Council.