Monthly Archives: March 2005
Guardian: “France said it expects the U.N. Security Council to vote Thursday on a resolution that would authorize the prosecution of Sudanese war crimes suspects by the International Criminal Court – with approval virtually certain after the United States apparently dropped its objections.
Administration officials in Washington said Wednesday night that the United States was dropping its objections to using the court after concluding that opposition to the U.S. stand was too strong, particularly among Europeans.”
UPDATE: “The Security Council voted Thursday night to send any war crimes suspects from the Darfur region of Sudan to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, after the United States obtained amendments to exempt Americans from the tribunal’s jurisdiction.” – NY Times
“The emergence of new diseases, sudden changes in water quality, creation of coastal “dead zones,” the collapse of fisheries and shifts in regional climate are just some of the potential consequences of humankind’s degradation of the planet’s ecosystems, according to a new United Nations-backed report launched today.
Humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively in the last 50 years than in any other period; some 60 per cent of ecosystem elements supporting life on Earth, such as fresh water, clean air or a relatively stable climate, are being degraded or used unsustainably; and the situation could become significantly worse during the first half of this century, according to the study.”
“A senior United Nations bird flu expert has gone to North Korea to try to prevent the spread of the virus.
North Korea confirmed on Saturday that bird flu had been detected in several farms near the capital, Pyongyang.
State media said hundreds of thousands of chickens had been destroyed to prevent the virus from spreading, and no humans had been affected.
From the Financial Times: “[T]he tsunami showed that only the UN has the universal legitimacy, capacity and credibility to lead in a truly global humanitarian emergency. Days after initiating tsunami relief efforts, regional groups and other core group nations handed over the reins to the UN, in recognition that it alone could co-ordinate some 60 donor countries, military assets from 26 countries and hundreds of international, national and local humanitarian partners….
As we approach the 60th anniversary of the UN’s founding, we must summon the courage to listen carefully to our critics and learn from not only our well-publicised failings but also our less-heralded successes. Some of the criticisms are justified, some are not. As Kofi Annan, UN secretary-general, has affirmed, we must fundamentally ramp up our performance, upgrade and modernise our management culture and become the transparent, accountable and effective 21st century institution the world expects the UN to be.”
From today’s WH press briefing:
QUESTION: Scott, two questions. First, Paul Volcker’s report on the oil-for-food scandal at the U.N. is out. And while it shows that Secretary General Annan was not directly implicated in this scandal, it suggests strongly that he was at the very least negligent in his oversight of it and obtuse about the role his own son, Kojo, played in the fraud. Should he stay or should he go?
MCCLELLAN: Well, first of all, let me back up. We’ve always felt it was important for there to a full investigation of the allegations of corruption and fraud in the oil-for-food program. We appreciate the work that the Volcker Commission is doing. We look forward to seeing the final results. This is another report that they are putting forward today.
There needs to be a full accounting. We have always said that it needs to be an open, transparent and full investigation. And so we appreciate the work that’s been going on by the Volcker investigation. We have just received a copy of the report today. It’s just been made available today. We’re going to carefully study that report and look at what it says.
It’s also important that we continue to move forward on reforms at the United Nations to make sure that it is addressing the challenges that we face in the most effective way and that things like this are prevented from happening in the future.
STATEMENT BY TIMOTHY E. WIRTH, PRESIDENT OF THE UN FOUNDATION, ON TODAY’S INTERIM REPORT ISSUED BY THE INDEPENDENT INQUIRY COMMITTEE ON THE OIL-FOR-FOOD PROGRAM
“Today’s report from the Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) brings us a step closer to getting to the bottom of the problems with the Oil-For-Food Program (OFFP) and the steps needed to fix them. The UN has kept its promise to fully and fairly investigate OFFP and let the chips fall where they may. Today’s report makes important findings regarding the Secretary-General, his son, and his former chief-of-staff among others. But the report also makes clear that, despite some significant shortcomings on the part of the Secretary-General, the investigation did not find that he engaged in any wrongdoing.
Now the most important priority for the UN and the U.S. is to work together to reform and strengthen the institution and ensure it is prepared to help confront the 21st Century challenges of terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, infectious disease, poverty and more. The Secretary-General’s recent report provides an excellent start on these UN reforms and we encourage the Bush Administration and the Congress to support these efforts.”
The SG: In Ethiopia over the weekend, the SG is now in the United Arab Emirates. Today he met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, where the two discussed developments in the region, including Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, and in the Middle East Peace Process.