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On Syria, Ladsous "Dismantling" Mission, Osorio With Malcorra, Sudan Contrast

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 25 -- UN Peacekeeping boss Herve Ladsous and his spokespeople have not answered the questions that have arisen at the Security Council about UN officials quotes, to Agence France Presse, that, "one hundred and fifty observers left Syria on Tuesday evening and Wednesday and they will not come back."

  And so late Wednesday afternoon Inner City Press asked outgoing Security Council president Nestor Osorio about the quote, and what he has heard from the UNSMIS mission.

  On camera, Osorio said that he has arranged to speak with new Mission chief Babacar Gaye tomorrow, July 26.

   Off camera, Osorio told Inner City Press that he spoke earlier on July 25 to "Susana Malcorra." While she used to be the chief of the Department of Field Support, she has been replaced in that by Amira Haq. Still, it with her that Osorio spoke, and arranged a call with Gaye on July 26.

  To some, including at least two large Troop Contributing Countries, it seems strange what Malcorra is doing, and Haq not doing or being allowed to do.

  But since Haq's DFS shares the same spokesman as Ladsous, who refuses all Press questions, it has not been possible to get a direct response.

  Instead, Inner City Press waited to speak with another well placed (in the North Lawn) UN source, who said that for now, it is "Malcorra uber alles," speaking for Ban Ki-moon. Malcorra is if nothing else an effective and hard-charging person. It is unclear what her position is on a Team Ban USG who refuses all Press questions based on the content of coverage.

  Off the record from the Western side, it was admitted to Inner City Press that Ladsous is "dismantling" the UNSMIS mission, despite the language of the resolution agreed to on July 20.

  This stands in contrast, for example, to the UNMIS mission in Sudan which after expiration stayed months in the war zone of Southern Kordofan.

   The rush to get out of Syria and "not come back" is a political one, consonant with France's position on the July 20 resolution but not its language.

  Again, as one Security Council member put it to Inner City Press, "that is not for Ladsous to decide, whether they will come back. There is a report to be written -- by the way, where has Ladsous put the UNSMIS report on Houla? And then it's up to the Security Council to consider it."

  Another Ambassador told Inner City Press that Ladsous is "intentionally misinterpreting Resolution 2059," which extended the mission for 30 days.

  Inner City Press went to the UN noon briefing on Wednesday and asked for more information about Ladsous sending the observers home, and even on how the announcement was distributed. "By DPKO," said Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey.

  But since DPKO pointedly did not send the transcript of Ladsous' and Babacar Gaye's to all UN correspondents who actively report on Syria, Inner City Press asked Del Buey why his Office routinely re-sent out the announcements of Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan and his spokesman Ahmad Fawzi, but does not do so with the more "selective" DPKO of Herve Ladsous?

   These are questions we will continue to ask.

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