Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for UN

Newsline: China Blocks U.S. Webcast of North Korea Meeting at U.N.

China blocked the United States on Wednesday from broadcasting on the internet an informal United Nations Security Council meeting on human rights abuses in North Korea, diplomats said. The meeting will be held on Friday, but the 15 council members have to unanimously agree to allow it to be webcast. Diplomats said it is rare for a broadcast to be blocked. The Security Council has regularly discussed human rights in North Korea since 2014 in public formal meetings and behind closed doors. China and Russia have long said they do not believe the council – charged with maintaining international peace and security – should be discussing human rights in North Korea. China told its council colleagues on Wednesday in an email, seen by Reuters, that the discussion – “won’t bring any benefit, and we have been against the holding of this … meeting from the very beginning.” “Therefore, we have to object to the webcasting of this meeting by UN WebTV,” China said. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2023-03-15/china-blocks-u-s-webcast-of-north-korea-rights-meeting-at-u-n) Pyongyang rejects accusations of human rights abuses and blames sanctions for a dire humanitarian situation in North Korea. The country has been under U.N. sanctions over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs since 2006. The aim of the informal council discussion is to spotlight rights abuses in North Korea and “identify opportunities for the international community to promote accountability,” according to a note to council members last week from the United States and elected council member Albania, which is co-hosting the meeting.

Newsline: U.N. appoints Ecuadorian diplomat as envoy to Haiti

The United Nations has named Ecuadorian diplomat Maria Isabel Salvador as the organization’s new Special Representative to Haiti and head of the U.N. Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), the international body said in a statement. Salvador, a former foreign minister and ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), is set to take over from Helen La Lime, the U.N. said. It added that it was grateful to La Lime, who was named to the post in 2019, “for her dedicated service and steadfast commitment to the work of the United Nations in Haiti.” (https://neuters.de/world/un-appoints-ecuadorian-diplomat-envoy-haiti-2023-03-02/) The appointment comes as countries discuss sending a “rapid action force,” requested by Haiti’s caretaker government about six months ago, aimed at helping national police control armed gangs whose growing influence is driving a humanitarian crisis. La Lime had said early this year she was “still hopeful” such a force could be created, stressing the need for urgency.

Newsline: UN diplomats expect row with Russia on Syria aid

The United Nations Security Council will next week discuss if it will allow the UN to deliver aid to rebel-held northwest Syria through more than one Turkish border crossing following Monday’s devastating earthquake – a move Russia does not think is needed. With the death toll in Turkey and Syria passing 23,000, some diplomats expressed frustration on Friday that the 15-member council has been slow to act after Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pressed for more access to northwest Syria via Turkey. “There is frustration with foot-dragging on this. The Secretary-General said we need more crossings. The UN Security Council needs to step up and get it done,” said a UN diplomat familiar with discussions, speaking on condition of anonymity. Since 2014 the United Nations has been able to deliver aid to millions of people in need in the northwest of war-torn Syria through Turkey under a Security Council mandate. But it is currently restricted to using just one border crossing. Brazil’s UN Ambassador Ronaldo Costa Filho said UN aid chief Martin Griffiths – who is in Turkey and will also visit Syria – will brief the council next week and that any action by the body will “depend on an evaluation of the concrete situation on the ground, it cannot be a gut reaction to what is in the press.” (https://neuters.de/world/middle-east/frustration-un-ahead-likely-row-with-russia-syria-aid-2023-02-10/) Following Guterres’ remarks on Thursday and calls by aid groups, the United States is pushing for the Security Council to adopt another resolution “that would allow for additional border crossings so that the UN can access areas in need,” said a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Newsline: Top Diplomats Seek to Improve Peacemaking

A group of diplomats, former statesmen and U.N. officials began seeking political backing this week for a peacemaking framework to shape new standards for resolving conflicts that they say can avoid past mistakes such as in Mali and Afghanistan. But the framework’s proponents, who have just completed a two-year consultation period in dozens of countries, say today’s peace brokers are applying the wrong strategy. “You could say ‘Why the hell are people talking about peace when the whole thing falls apart?’ But there’s not a more important moment to talk about peace,” Bert Koenders, former U.N. envoy for Mali who is the Principles for Peace co-chair, said on the sidelines of a meeting with countries in Geneva. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2023-01-20/top-diplomats-un-officials-seek-to-fix-wild-west-of-peacemaking) There are more than 50 active conflicts in the world, from Democratic Republic of Congo to Ukraine, affecting some 2 billion people – a record for the post-World War Two period.

Newsline: UN envoy encouraged by Yemen truce

The United Nations envoy for Yemen said on Monday he was encouraged by intensified efforts for an expanded truce deal but stressed they should seek an inclusive process for a sustainable political settlement. Hans Grundberg, addressing a U.N. Security Council briefing more than three months after an initial truce pact expired, said “we are witnessing a potential step change” in the conflict’s trajectory though the situation remained “complex and fluid”. Grundberg, speaking from the Houthi-held capital Sanaa, thanked Saudi Arabia and Oman for their diplomacy and said discussions in the past month have developed “options for mutually acceptable solutions to outstanding issues”. But he advised against a “piecemeal approach” focused on individual needs, saying talks on short-term steps should be part of a broader approach toward a sustainable resolution of a multifaceted conflict in which several parties are vying for power. (https://neuters.de/world/middle-east/un-envoy-encouraged-by-yemen-truce-deal-efforts-warns-against-piecemeal-approach-2023-01-16/) The eight-year-old conflict between a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the Iran-aligned Houthi group, the de facto authorities in North Yemen, has killed tens of thousands of people, wrecked the economy and pushed millions into hunger. A U.N.-brokered truce deal agreed in April and rolled over twice delivered the longest stretch of relative calm that has largely held since its expiry on Oct. 2, though the two sides stepped up an economic war.

Newsline: U.N. Security Council to vote on Myanmar Wednesday

The U.N. Security Council is likely to vote on Wednesday on a draft resolution demanding an immediate end to violence in Myanmar and urging its military junta to release all political prisoners, including ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, diplomats said. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/un-security-council-likely-vote-wednesday-myanmar-2022-12-19/) The 15-member council has long been split on Myanmar with diplomats saying China and Russia would likely shield the junta from strong action. So far it has only agreed formal statements on Myanmar, where the army also led a 2017 crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, forcing more than 700,000 to flee to Bangladesh. Negotiations on the British-drafted resolution began in September. The initial text – seen by Reuters – urged an immediate end to the transfer of arms to Myanmar and threatened U.N. sanctions, but that language has since been removed. To be adopted, a Security Council resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, France or Britain. The draft resolution, seen by Reuters, expresses “deep concern” at the ongoing state of emergency imposed by the military when it seized power and its “grave impact” on the people of Myanmar.

Newsline: U.N. shelves bid by Myanmar, Afghanistan and Libya for representation

The United Nations General Assembly on Friday approved postponing – for the second time – a decision on whether the Afghan Taliban administration and the Myanmar junta can send a United Nations ambassador to New York. The 193-member General Assembly approved without a vote the decision by the U.N. credentials committee, which also deferred a decision on rival claims to Libya’s U.N. seat. The nine-member committee includes Russia, China and the United States. The postponement of decisions on Myanmar, Afghanistan and Libya leaves the current envoys in place. But the credentials committee said it could “revert to consideration of these credentials at a future time in the seventy-seventh session” of the General Assembly, which ends in September next year. (https://neuters.de/world/un-shelves-bid-by-afghan-taliban-myanmar-junta-representation-2022-12-16/) Competing claims were again made for the seats of Myanmar and Afghanistan with the Taliban administration and Myanmar’s junta pitted against envoys of the governments they ousted last year. U.N. acceptance of the Taliban administration or Myanmar’s junta would be a step toward the international recognition sought by both. A rival claim was also made this year for Libya’s U.N. seat – currently held by the Government of National Unity in Tripoli – by a “Government of National Stability” led by Fathi Bashagha and backed by a parliament in the country’s east.

Newsline: Afghan Taliban, Myanmar ambassadors not allowed into United Nations

A decision on whether the Afghan Taliban administration and the Myanmar junta can send a United Nations ambassador to New York has been postponed for a second time, but could be reconsidered in the next nine months, according to a U.N. credentials committee report. (https://neuters.de/world/afghan-taliban-administration-myanmar-junta-not-allowed-into-united-nations-now-2022-12-15/) The 193-member U.N. General Assembly is on Friday due to approve the report, which also deferred a decision on rival claims to Libya’s U.N. seat. The nine-member U.N. credentials committee includes Russia, China and the United States. The deferment of the decisions leaves the current envoys in the seats for their countries, diplomats said. Competing claims were again made for the seats of Myanmar and Afghanistan with the Taliban administration and Myanmar’s junta pitted against envoys of the governments they ousted last year. U.N. acceptance of the Taliban administration or Myanmar’s junta would be a step toward the international recognition sought by both. The U.N. General Assembly last year backed postponing a decision on the credentials of Myanmar and Afghanistan.

Newsline: UN rights council to focus on Iran

The UN Human Rights Council is holding an urgent meeting Thursday to discuss whether to launch a high-level international investigation into the deadly crackdown on mass protests rocking Iran. The special session on Iran’s “deteriorating human rights situation” is due to kick off at 10:00 am (0900 GMT) in Geneva, with the new UN rights chief Volker Turk set to open the proceedings in his first appearance before the council. (https://news.yahoo.com/iran-crackdown-spotlight-un-rights-064528438.html) The meeting, requested by Germany and Iceland with the backing of more than 50 countries, follows two months of protests in Iran sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, after she was arrested for an alleged breach of the country’s strict dress rules for women based on Islamic sharia law.

Newsline: Thousands of global diplomats gather in Egypt to discuss climate change

The United Nations’ latest annual climate change conference, COP27, is set to kick off Monday at the luxurious resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, where thousands of leaders will engage in wide-ranging policy discussions. The conference comes one year after COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, where leaders from around the world, including nations with the highest emissions, signed a non-binding climate agreement resembling previous pacts. Shortly following the agreement, though, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres downplayed the agreement and paved the way for COP27. “It’s an important step, but it’s not enough,” he said at the time. “It’s time to go into emergency mode.” (https://www.foxnews.com/politics/cop27-thousands-global-diplomats-descend-ritzy-five-star-resort-egypt-solve-global-warming) Groups, including Greenpeace International, similarly criticized the agreement, calling it a “polite request.” Ahead of this year’s summit, which is scheduled to begin Monday and conclude on Nov. 18, high-ranking officials in the U.S. and other Western nations have reiterated the importance of solving global warming, which they characterized as the biggest threat facing humanity.