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Archive for UN

Newsline: Hillary Clinton under consideration for Biden’s U.N. ambassador

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s transition team is reportedly considering installing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as his administration’s ambassador to the United Nations. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that a person familiar with the matter said Clinton was “being discussed” as a potential pick because it would purportedly raise the prestige and standing of the U.S. after President Trump’s time in office. (https://www.foxnews.com/politics/biden-administration-hillary-clinton-for-u-n-ambassador) News of Clinton’s potential nomination came as Biden attempted to alter world leaders’ perceptions of the U.S. in foreign relations. “I’m letting them know that America is back. We’re going to be back in the game,” he said. Clinton famously lost her 2016 presidential bid against Trump and has become a lightning rod for criticism of the left. During the campaign, she testified before Congress over her role in the 2011 attacks on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. That incident has stuck with her as a prominent point line of attack among critics.

Newsline: UK’s Ambassador to China Will Head British Mission to the United Nations

Barbara Woodward, Britain’s ambassador to China, has been announced as the U.K.’s next permanent representative to the United Nations in New York. Woodward succeeds Karen Pierce, who was appointed earlier this year to her new role as the first female British ambassador to the United States. Woodward has served as ambassador to China since 2015. She previously served as the Foreign Office’s head of economic and consular affairs and as the international director of the U.K. Border Force. She joined the Foreign Office in 1994, and her first posting was to the British embassy in Moscow. Woodward said she was delighted to take up the job “at a time when the rules-based international system faces pressing global challenges and a significant reform agenda.” (https://www.news18.com/news/world/barbara-woodward-uks-ambassador-to-china-will-head-british-mission-to-the-united-nations-2765587.html) Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Woodward will bring her “formidable intellect and dynamic diplomatic skills” to the role.

Newsline: Canadian ambassador to the UN named

Former Ontario premier Bob Rae has been appointed Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, the Prime Minister’s Office announced. Rae, who also served as the interim Liberal Party leader between 2011 and 2013, will succeed Marc-André Blanchard as Canada’s representative to the body. The ambassadorial shakeup comes less than a month after Canada failed to secure a temporary seat on the Security Council, losing to Norway and Ireland on the first ballot. Speaking to reporters on Parliament Hill, Rae said “job No. 1” is to convince Canadians of the continued importance of the UN. (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/bob-rae-united-nations-un-ambassador-1.5638840) He said that with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging in some parts of the world, Canada will be central to efforts to “rebuild a successful world order. Nothing short of that will do.” He said Canada shouldn’t retreat from the world scene just because it lost its bid for a Security Council seat.

Newsline: For global diplomats, Zoom is not like being in the room

Spare a thought for the world’s diplomatic elite: they’re prowling around Zoom liked caged animals, deprived of their most potent tool — personal contact — right as the world is looking to them to coordinate the response to a crippling pandemic. Ambassadors normally mix in a world of corridor chats and embassy cocktail parties, building trust and confidence over meals and trading favors over amendments to resolutions and legislation. But that rarified world is over, replaced by an endless series of video conferences that take longer and produce less. This week alone, the G7, G20, International Monetary Fund and World Bank have all convened teleconferences in place of in-person gatherings. At the United Nations Security Council, the apex of global diplomacy, one sitting ambassador says the problems are already piling up. “It took three weeks to get a Security Council meeting on coronavirus. If it hadn’t been online it could have happened much, much earlier,” Estonian Ambassador Sven Jürgenson told POLITICO. (https://www.politico.eu/article/coronavirus-global-diplomacy-on-zoom/) When it comes to high-stakes diplomacy, “WhatsApp chats can’t replace the corridor diplomacy for getting consensus, Jürgenson said.

Newsline: Peruvian diplomat, former U.N. Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar dies aged 100

Former U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, a Peruvian diplomat who played a crucial role in ending the Iran-Iraq war of 1980 to 1988, died at his home in Lima aged 100. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-un-perez-de-cuellar/former-u-n-secretary-general-perez-de-cuellar-dies-aged-100-idUSKBN20S0F0) Perez de Cuellar was a two-time head of the United Nations, which he led from 1982 to 1991 as some of the iciest years of the Cold War gave way to the end of the Soviet Union and greater efforts at international cooperation. Perez de Cuellar was the fifth head of the world body and its only leader from Latin America to date.

Newsline: Former UN ambassador’s daughter charged with murder in the US

The daughter of a former US ambassador to the United Nations has been charged with murder in the death of a Maryland man. Sophia Negroponte, 27, was arrested Thursday night and charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Yousuf Rasmussen, 24, according to Montgomery County police. (https://nypost.com/2020/02/15/former-un-ambassadors-daughter-charged-with-murder/) Officers said they responded to a report of a stabbing at a Rockville City home and found Rasmussen “suffering from what appeared to be a cutting wound.” He was pronounced deceased at the scene, police said. Police said Rasmussen and Negroponte were acquaintances and had been involved “in a disagreement.” Negroponte is the adopted daughter of John Negroponte, who served as the UN ambassador under President George W. Bush as well as the ambassador to Iraq. He was the Bush Administration’s director of national intelligence and the deputy secretary of state under both Bush and President Barack Obama. Sophia is one of five children the couple adopted in Honduras, where John Negroponte served as the US ambassador in the 1980s.

Newsline: Tunisia expels its ambassador to UN

Tunisia expelled its own ambassador at the United Nations, faulting him for not doing adequate consultation on a Security Council resolution he helped draft responding to the U.S. Middle East peace initiative. The official TAP news agency quoted the Tunisian president’s office as saying Moncef Baati was accused of “absence of coordination and consultation” with the foreign ministry and with representatives of Arab and Islamic countries at the United Nations. (https://www.africanews.com/2020/02/10/in-the-name-of-sovereignty-africa-expels-rogue-diplomats-from-western-powers/) Baati is a career diplomat who came out of retirement to take the U.N. post in September. The U.S. plan would allow Israel to annex all its settlements as well as the strategic Jordan Valley. The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, territories seized by Israel in the 1967 war. Baati’s dismissal raised questions as to whether the draft resolution had gone too far in countering the U.S., a long-time ally of Tunisia, even though the Tunisian president lambasted the peace plan just a week ago as “the injustice of the century.”

Newsline: U.S. accuses Russia, China of blocking U.N. statement on Baghdad embassy attack

The United States accused Russia and China on Monday of blocking a U.N. Security Council statement underscoring the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises after a Dec. 31 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Such statements by the 15-member Security Council have to be agreed on by consensus. The U.S. mission to the United Nations said 27 countries spoke out against the attack on the Baghdad embassy “in stark contrast to the United Nations Security Council’s silence due to two permanent members – Russia and China – not allowing a statement to proceed.” (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-security-un-usa/us-accuses-russia-china-of-blocking-un-statement-on-baghdad-embassy-attack-idUSKBN1Z51I5) The U.N. ambassadors of Russia and China both dismissed the U.S. accusation on Monday, saying they condemn any attacks on diplomatic premises around the world. Militiamen and their supporters protesting deadly U.S. air strikes on Iraq hurled stones and torched a security post at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Dec. 31. U.S. President Donald Trump blamed Iran for “orchestrating” the attack on the embassy. On Friday, Iran’s most prominent general, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a U.S. drone strike on his convoy at Baghdad airport, an attack that carried U.S.-Iranian hostilities into uncharted waters. Russia and China said any statement by the U.N. Security Council on the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad should also include the latest developments.

Newsline: Italian diplomat named as Vatican’s new ambassador to United Nations

Pope Francis has named Italian Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia to serve as his new representative to the United Nations. The appointment was announced on Saturday by the Holy See. Caccia will succeed outgoing papal nuncio, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, who has held the post since 2014. Last month, he was named as the nuncio to Spain and the Principality of Andorra. (https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2019/11/16/pope-names-italian-diplomat-as-vaticans-new-ambassador-to-united-nations-do-not-publish/) Caccia now becomes the seventh Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York since the Holy See became a Permanent Observer State on April 6, 1964.

Newsline: Trump Turns U.N. Visas, Travel Restrictions Into Foreign-Policy Cudgel

President Donald Trump’s administration has sought myriad ways to sanction or penalize individuals and countries that are viewed as hostile to the United States, or that simply refuse to comply with U.S. demands. It reinforces the perception among some diplomats that the United States has contempt for the United Nations. Representatives from the U.N. delegations of China, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia, and Syria say their diplomats and support staff are subjected to increasingly restrictive travel limitations, arbitrary denial of visas and driver’s licenses, additional airport security checks, and curtailed access to banking services needed to conduct their diplomatic work and pay their dues at the U.N., according to a report by a U.N. committee that monitors U.S. dealings with the U.N.’s 192 other states. (https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/11/05/trump-administration-un-diplomats-united-nations-makes-life-difficult/) Those measures, they contend, violate the host country treaty, or Headquarters Agreement, signed by the United States in 1947. In many cases, the U.N.’s lawyers agree. In an Oct. 15 statement, the U.N. legal counsel told the committee that U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres is “concerned” by recent measures, including the rejection of a visa for a Russian national hired by the United Nations and new travel restrictions imposed on the Iranian delegation and foreign minister after Tehran refused to participate in talks with Washington. The statement said the U.N. was maintaining its long-standing position that the United States lacks legal authority to impose travel restrictions on states in retaliation for restrictions on U.S. diplomats serving in those countries.