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To "Dismantle" Syria Mission, Ladsous Had Planes Waiting in Beirut, -Sources

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 26 -- Even before UN Peacekeeping boss Herve Ladsous sent half of the UN's Syria observers home this week amid anonymous quotes to Agence France Presse that, "they will not come back," he had prepared a total pullout and dismantling, sources told Inner City Press late Thursday.

   Well placed sources in the Security Council and Secretariat described UN Peacekeeping mission planes being moved to Beirut to wait to remove all of the observers.

  When on July 20 the Security Council unanimously extended the UNSMIS observers' mission for thirty days, this planned total pullout was no longer possible.

  But mere days later, Ladsous directed half of the observers to leave the county. While Ladsous and his spokesman are, as they put it, "on the record" that they will not answer any Inner City Press questions, other pro-DPKO sources argue that even if strange, Ladsous was entitled, in the name of Ban Ki-moon, to order this reduction.

  But again, compare it to when UNMIS in Sudan expired: the UN took weeks and months to pull out, even while the Sudanese government wanted them all to leave. Here, the Syrian government has not asked UNSMIS to leave.

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

  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."

  Inner City Press at the UN noon briefing on Wednesday 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?

  What do Ban Ki-moon, his deputy and chief of staff think of and do about Ladsous, his acts and stonewalling? Watch this site.

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