Monthly Archives: March 2005
UN News Service reports: “Late Saturday, an explosion in Beirut killed two people and injured at least eight others. In a statement released in New York, a spokesman for Mr. Annan said the Secretary-General was “especially saddened that this latest attack, the third in Lebanon in only a week, was carried out on the eve of Easter, just as many of the nation’s Christians were preparing to attend mass.”
Urging an end to the bloodshed, the statement stressed that the Lebanese people should be allowed to decide their country’s future free of violence and intimidation.”
“Secretary General Kofi Annan has begun that [reform] process by calling on member states to approve a wide range of reforms at a special General Assembly meeting this September. We strongly endorse Mr. Annan’s agenda, especially his call for developed countries to establish timetables for living up to their promises to commit 0.7 percent of their gross national incomes to development aid by 2015 (the United States now contributes 0.18 percent) and for poor countries to come up with strategies for putting this aid to effective use.” Read More
“Syrian President Bashar Assad threatened former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri with “physical harm” last summer if Hariri challenged Assad’s dominance over Lebanese political life, contributing to a climate of violence that led to the Feb. 14 slayings of Hariri and 19 others, according to testimony in a report released Thursday by a U.N. fact-finding team.” Full Article
From MSNBC: “A U.N. report into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri concluded that Lebanon’s investigation into the killing wasn’t satisfactory and a new international investigation is needed.
The report, released Thursday, says there was a “distinct lack of commitment” by Lebanese authorities to investigate the crime, and the investigation was not carried out “in accordance with acceptable international standards.”
“A major drive is under way to provide employment for an estimated 40,000 job seekers in the tsunami-hit Indonesian province of Aceh.
International agencies have laid out plans to engage Acehnese in rebuilding their homeland in the next 3 to 5 years.
Three months on, Banda Aceh’s river mouth seems ready to breathe life again to a once bustling fish market.
[CNN'S JOHN] KING: United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is calling for a broad reform of the United Nations, including expanding the Security Council and increasing its emphasis on development, security and human rights.
Joining me to discuss Annan’s proposals and more is the former secretary of state and the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright. She’s now with the Albright Group.
Madam Secretary, thank you for joining us. Let’s start from one of the big issues, at least from the United States’ perspective, or the Bush administration’s perspective, in these U.N. reforms. Kofi Annan says he wants to find a more polite way, if you will, for the U.N. to debate and to have an actual mechanism, if there is a question, as there was in Iraq, of whether the United Nations should endorse military force. Can he make that work?
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I think it’s difficult. I’m very much in favor of the things that the secretary- general has suggested and the fact that he really has come out with a full reform package.
He did a lot of work in getting opinions from this high level panel, and he’s talked to a lot of people. And so I think he’s come forward with a full package.
But the hardest issue is always about the use of force. And the Security Council is supposed to deal with issues that are threats to peace and security. And I think, for the most part, it would be good if we were able to come to some general agreement about it.
But ultimately, the United States will act unilaterally if it has to. We used to say multilaterally if you can, unilaterally if you must. But I am all for having a discussion about this. I think it’s a very…
KING: Is it a waste of time, though, to try to create a mechanism, like a rules of Congress in which you debate force, or is it just as it’s always going to be, if somebody disagrees, move on?
Middle East: During the last 48 hours of the continued ceasefire, humanitarian workers have delivered food to hundreds of thousands of people, repaired water and sanitation infrastructure, re-stocked medical supplies, and some of the 520,000 displaced Palestinians have returned to their homes. However, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator remarked the scale of needs remains “unprecedented in the Gaza Strip.”
Middle East: At today’s informal session of the General Assembly on Gaza the SG remarked that the most recent ceasefire has held since yesterday at 8 a.m. local time. He noted that a durable ceasefire is necessary and UN shelters must continue to remain safe zones. The SG thanked UN staff in Gaza and will fly the UN flag at half-mast tomorrow in memory of those who died in the conflict.
Middle East: The SG commended Israeli and Palestinian parties for committing to a 72-hour ceasefire that took place at 8 a.m. local time today. He urges all parties to abide by the ceasefire and commence peace talks in Cairo to address underlying issues and agree on a durable ceasefire to sustainably stop the violence. The UN lends its full support toward these efforts.
Middle East: The SG condemned yesterday’s shelling outside of an UNRWA school in Rafah that killed at least 10 Palestinian civilians. The SG stated that the attack violated international humanitarian law and UN shelters must continue to be safe zones and not combat zones.
SG: Last night the SG spoke at a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister of Costa Rica where he repeated his call for an unconditional and extendable humanitarian ceasefire. Speaking about yesterday’s shelling of a UN shelter he said: “Nothing – nothing – justifies such horror” and demanded “that all parties immediately respect UN premises”.
SG: The SG met with President Ortega yesterday in Nicaragua where he visited a wind farm and praised the country’s commitment to renewable energy. The SG arrived in Costa Rica today where he is expected to lecture about “Costa Rica and the United Nations: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century”.