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Originally posted here.

Meet Robert H Serry, the career diplomat from the Netherlands who the Secretary General tapped to lead the UN’s efforts to mediate the crisis in the Ukraine and Crimea.

On paper, he looks to be the perfect person for the task.

Serry has worked in the UN system since 2007. Prior to that he served as the Dutch ambassador to Russia and Ukraine. He’s even written a book on Ukraine!

Serry currently serves as the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, meaning he is Ban Ki Moon’s representative to the “quartet.” The other three members are Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom.  Theoretically, that should mean he has developed a diplomatic acumen in dealing with the United States and Russia on a high stakes political dispute.

Serry left Kiev for Crimea yesterday. He will be the highest ranking international diplomat to visit Crimea since the crisis erupted.  I would imagine that we’ll be hearing a great deal more from — and about — Robert Serry in the coming weeks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  encouraging news !! (3+ / 0-)

    KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

    by fcvaguy on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:28:12 AM PST

  •  Barely a day on the job in Crimea and he's (6+ / 0-)

    already been threatened by "armed men":

    16:40: The UN secretary general's special representative has been "seized by armed men" in Crimea, Interfax reports, quoting the Ukrainian foreign ministry - Reuters. This report has not been confirmed.

    16:53: The UN confirms that its chief representative in Crimea, Robert Serry, is "safe and back at his hotel in good shape". He was not kidnapped but threatened by armed men, says the UN's deputy secretary general Jan Eliasson.

    http://www.bbc.com/...

    It looks like the pro-Russian national chauvinists that are being enabled by the Russian troop presence may be getting a little out of control....

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 08:59:23 AM PST

    •  Just saw that (4+ / 0-)

      He was forced to go straight back to the airport and abandon his mission.

      It looks like the pro-Russian national chauvinists that are being enabled by the Russian troop presence may be getting a little out of control....
      Isn't ironic? And Putin was complaining about Ukrainian thuggery.

      KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

      by fcvaguy on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:43:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  oh gawd... and who verified the identity of these (0+ / 0-)

      "mobs?"

      Serry was stopped by a group of armed men in a coffee shop.

      And the Russian minister said, "... They do not get any orders from us. We have to be consistent without any double standards."

      ... German business is speaking through its powerful collective voice to stress it fears that sanctions against Russia would lead to retaliation, with Western property being confiscated.

      The industry association representing a large section of the German economy warns that sanctions against Russia would cause sustained damage to the European economy. The Eastern Committee of German Industry, which contains some of the biggest corporate names from Deutsche Bank to Volkswagen, fears a spiral of damage if Russia then retaliates with economic measures.

      You have meddlers here in this situation... geo-political meddlers... who really don't give two shits about the best interests of the Ukrainian people.

      This is about strategic energy assets and the corporate neocon worldview bumping up against an alternative choice.


      One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. --Carl Jung

      by bronte17 on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 10:47:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not off to an auspicious start... (5+ / 0-)

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:03:23 AM PST

  •  coffeeshop blocaded by militia ... (4+ / 0-)

    a fine state of affairs.

    just NOW, no kidding, from Live Update via Guardian-UK, and it's getting livelier by the minute!

    TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes? -- Addington's Perpwalk.

    by greenbird on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:18:03 AM PST

    •  curses! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson

      foiled again!

      (where was the coffee from, anyhow...?)

      TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes? -- Addington's Perpwalk.

      by greenbird on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:19:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Seems like a harrowing experience. (4+ / 0-)

      ITV's James Mates was with the UN envoy:

      https://twitter.com/...

      Russian national chauvinism now unleashed, thanks to Putin and rabidly propagandistic Russian media.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:24:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No so harrowing, I've been through a lot (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson, bronte17

        worse.

        And one question, what's with the constant use of 'chauvinism' when you refer to Russians?

        Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

        by InAntalya on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:33:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This: (4+ / 0-)
          Chauvinism, in its original meaning, is an exaggerated patriotism and a belligerent belief in national superiority and glory.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          It's what Putin and the Kremlin-controlled media tap into to control Russia.

          Erdogan and Bush are also familiar with it.

          "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

          by Lawrence on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:43:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am aware of this. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bronte17

            My question is that you only seem to use it and use it often when referring to Russians.

            Are all Russians, and only Russians, chauvinistic?

            Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

            by InAntalya on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 10:10:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Nope. I have Russian friends who are not (0+ / 0-)

              chauvinistic at all.  They're no fans of Putin, though.

              There is plenty of national chauvinism in Russia, however, and the worst kinds are starting to rise now that the Russian Media is trying to whip people into a frenzy.

              "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

              by Lawrence on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 04:44:54 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  What words would you prefer (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          InAntalya, doroma

          to characterize this behavior towards a UN diplomat?

          KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

          by fcvaguy on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 09:44:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  'chauvinism' speaks to motivation. (0+ / 0-)

            The behavior was violent, and/or threatening, and/or an attempt to intimidate.

            How can you, or I, or Lawrence definitively know the motivation behind these actions?

            Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

            by InAntalya on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 10:18:53 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Obviously (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              InAntalya

              the information in the report doesn't give us that insight. But, don't you think its fair to make some assumptions? I doubt the UN diplomat, especially of someone of Serry's stature, wouldn't have behaved in a way that would have elicited such a bullying response.

              KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

              by fcvaguy on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 11:32:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Did the crowd even know who he is or (0+ / 0-)

                why he was there?

                Or was he possibly believed to be an outside meddler who had no business there?

                Making assumptions based on information is generally acceptable but to seemingly label all Russians chauvinistic is something other than that.

                Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

                by InAntalya on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 11:42:57 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  seriously? (0+ / 0-)

                  Don't vehicles carrying UN diplomats have UN insignia and flags all over them? Wouldn't someone present, as in the reporters who were with Serry have told them who he was? And Serry himself, who speaks Russians, I'm sure had credentials with him.

                  KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

                  by fcvaguy on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 12:00:31 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No, some UN vehicles have the (0+ / 0-)

                    UN ensignia, many don't. It depends on the mission and whether or not there has been enough time to bring in or prepare UN vehicles. Many times UN diplomats use locally provided transport.

                    Also it seems that just before this incident he had been in a meeting with the Ukaine military and this may have been provacative to the crowd which blocked his car.

                    Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

                    by InAntalya on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 12:18:09 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It was a motorcycle gang (0+ / 0-)

                      with the crowd shouting Putin Putin Putin.

                      Not even clear they were Crimeans.

                      KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

                      by fcvaguy on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 12:19:11 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  So a motorcycle gang, whose members are (0+ / 0-)

                        probably not that bright, blocks a car with a UN diplomat and this in turn is justification enough for Russians in general to be labelled chauvinistic?

                        Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

                        by InAntalya on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 12:22:44 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

  •  UPDATE: Robert Serry Seized (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson

    The UN Diplomat Robert Serry has been seized by pro-Russian militiamen and taken to an airport where he is being forced to leave the country. The story is breaking on Al Jazeera America now.

    Collect Different Days

    by Homers24 on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 10:08:33 AM PST

  •  at last: we have a meeting ... (0+ / 0-)

    guardian-uk live update link.

    The text of the 21 February deal is here. It arranged for a unity government, early presidential elections, a ban on declarations of martial law, constitutional reform and investigations into violence.
    ... and there's already an update!

    TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes? -- Addington's Perpwalk.

    by greenbird on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 10:46:50 AM PST

  •  Anyone remember the intercepted Nuland call with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lepanto

    Ambassador Pyatt? Serry was mentioned near the end of the recording:

    Nuland: OK... one more wrinkle for you Geoff. [A click can be heard] I can't remember if I told you this, or if I only told Washington this, that when I talked to Jeff Feltman [United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs] this morning, he had a new name for the UN guy Robert Serry did I write you that this morning?

    Pyatt: Yeah I saw that.

    Nuland: OK. He's now gotten both Serry and [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, you know, Fuck the EU.

    Pyatt: No, exactly. And I think we've got to do something to make it stick together because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude, that the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it. And again the fact that this is out there right now, I'm still trying to figure out in my mind why Yanukovych (garbled) that. In the meantime there's a Party of Regions faction meeting going on right now and I'm sure there's a lively argument going on in that group at this point. But anyway we could land jelly side up on this one if we move fast. So let me work on Klitschko and if you can just keep... we want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing. The other issue is some kind of outreach to Yanukovych but we probably regroup on that tomorrow as we see how things start to fall into place.

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 10:47:09 AM PST

    •  Nuland seems to have a disdain for the EU (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lepanto

      "Fuck the EU...?"  

      What a comment from the US Assistant Secretary of State for Eurasian's Affairs.

      In particular... is she really saying "Fuck the German's concern over sanctions?"  

      And this "intercepted recording" revels that the US has been meddling in Ukrainian affairs... after all the accusation lobbed at Russia.

      The purported recording also pulls back the curtain on Washington's behind-the-scenes efforts in Ukraine, in contrast to its suggestions of Russia wielding its influence in the political crisis, experts say.


      One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. --Carl Jung

      by bronte17 on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 10:59:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No kidding. I wrote a diary about it when it was (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bronte17

        released to the public. It was especially ironic because the first part of the trip was arranged so that Kerry & Nuland could meet with Angela Merkel on Jan 31.  That was supposed to restore the trust that was damaged by the NSA's mass surveillance.

        From there they went to meet with the Ukrainian opposition leaders at the Munich Security Conference Feb 1-2. It was covered in the press, not a secret they were talking to opposition. At the end of the week, Nuland went to Kyiv and the intercepted call recording was released while she was there. She's a neo-con married to a neo-con.

        The date the call was recorded is unknown but the article you linked says it must have been before Jan 28-30. That makes sense because Yanukovych had offered the PM job to Yatsenyuk on January 25 That's probably what Nuland was discussing. Is that meddling if it was Yanukovich who made the offer. It sounds like the State Dept wanted to convince Yatsenyuk to accept the position but he didn't. If Ban Ki Moon and Robert Serry were involved too, was it meddling or mediating?

        It was Putin who gave Yanukovych an ultimatum to cancel the EU Affiliation Agreement or else Russia would cut off the natural gas supply. That's what brought the protesters into the street in November.

        There is no existence without doubt.

        by Mark Lippman on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 01:46:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tweet from reporter travelling with Serry. (0+ / 0-)

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 10:58:43 AM PST

  •  More from ITN (UK) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina

    Transcription of ITN report (RS= Robert Serry, JM= James Mates, ITN's chief Europe Correspondent)

    JM (Live): (in answer to a studio comment that it "was an extraordinary episode in an extraordinary crisis") It really was. We were waiting for Robert Serry, a 64 year old Dutch diplomat, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to come and give a press conference when word started appearing on Twitter and other social media that he had been kidnapped by armed men.

    Well, we quickly got a call in, found that was not quite the case but he had been forced out of his car and was taking refuge in a coffee shop; so we immediately went down there found him in there. Now we can show you the scene there but have a listen to the beginning You can hear how pleased he and his female assistant were that we had arrived to witness what was happening.

    (Cut to video of interior of coffee shop)

    RS's assistant (apparently to camera crew): No no, don't leave please.

    RS (on phone): ...but we are not leaving here please come as soon as possible because I am afraid that otherwise we ... (indecipherable_

    JM (voiceover): Well we talked with him for a while. He was desperately trying to get New York, to get Kiyiv, to get the local officials here to come and get him. All the while I think you can see outside this mob of men, some of them in paramilitary, some of them not. They were preventing others from getting in but also preventing him from leaving.

    While we sat there he gave a full description of what had happened to him.

    RS: .. and when I left, my car was blocked and somebody who did not identify himself that he had orders to bring me immediately to the airport. I refused. I sat in the car. There was a standoff. At some point these people were ..actually took the driver out and put another in, tried to put other people in the car. I managed to get outside the car and I walked and I found this cafe and since then I am here.

    JM: Well of the most worrying things is that one of the men who got in the car with them and started giving orders was dressed in the same combat fatigues as the Russian soldiers  we have been seeing here.  

    (over video of RS leaving having to push through crowd )
    Well anyway, thoroughly frightened by this they decided to abandon the mission here, head straight to the airport/ Eventually some local officials did arrive shovel them out of the door; we were able to follow and get out with them and into a car.

    But even then, once in the car, they were held for, what five, six, seven minutes while the local police tried to disburse the mob who were shouting "Crimea is Russian" and shouting Vladimir Putin's name. The air of threat remained until eventually the local police were able to part the crowds and they headed off for the airport where they are now, awaiting their departure, the two of them.

    Apologies for any errors as typed this direct from the video of the news bulletin. Blockquote used only for formatting purposes.

    "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 11:08:12 AM PST

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