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On Syria, Saudi Draft Drops Sanctions & Assad Stepping Down, for Friday Vote

By Matthew Russell Lee, Partial exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, August 1 -- The day after Saudi Arabia presented a draft General Assembly resolution on Syria urging sanctions and Bashar al Assad to step down, a new draft dropped both, and the vote was pushed back one day.

   The new draft, which Inner City Press obtained from a well placed member state after 5 pm on August 1, is now set for voting August 3 at 11 am. Inner City Press is putting the draft online here.

  Most contentious in the previous draft, opponents said, was the last perambular paragraph

"welcoming the relevant League of Arab States’ decisions, including its 22 July 2012 resolution, in particular its appeal to the Syrian President to step down from power."

  Now that language is goneAn opponent late Wednesday exclusive also told Inner City Press, they're afraid of us. They'd also pointed to operative paragraphs 20 and 21, which called on countries to adopt sanctions like the Arab League. That too is gone.

   Saudi Arabia has been opposed on sanctions and "regime change" by, among others, BRICSA -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- and some Latin American countries.

  Still in however is Paragraph 20which a non-BRICSA diplomat told Inner City Press, is "disrespectful" to Kofi Annan, directing him to "focus his efforts."

One BRICSA representative after Tuesday meeting said that Saudi Arabia put these in so as to negotiate. It looks like they were right.

   But since Saudi Arabia, like Qatar, is already giving weapons to the opposition, adopting a resolution even like this could be seen to provide a further pretext.

  The amendments come after Saudi Arabia at 10, 11 and 12 on August 1 held scheduled briefings for the Western European and Others States Group, the Asia Pacific Group, and the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States.

  This stood in contrast to the African Group, which on July 31 received a briefing from Syrian Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari.

   After Inner City Press mentioned this meeting in its July 31 analysis the Saudi resolution, it was told that Egypt too addressed the African Group, and added it to the piece.

  Then a participant noted that Egypt just spoke as a member; only Syria can a briefing. But why was the format for the other groups so different?  Watch this site.

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