Monthly Archives: April 2005
A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary
Chez Nadezhda: “With all the ink spilt and airwaves filled about John Bolton and UN reform, very little in the way of “what exactly do we mean by reform” has been discussed by either proponents or opponents of Bolton’s nomination.”
Democracy Arsenal: “It’s extremely healthy for the policy blogs like Democracy Arsenal to expand beyond Bolton himself to the specifics of UN reform.”
Fire of Liberty: “Bolton possesses the qualities that most effective diplomats need to have in order to get things accomplished.”
Outside the Beltway: “If Bolton’s chief flaw is that he is sometimes rude to subordinates who turn in subpar performances, I don’t see that as a disqualifier.”
War and Piece: “Perhaps not surprisingly, there’s little sunlight between the Annan reform proposal and the ideas discussed by Condoleezza Rice’s UN advisor.”
Washington Note “There is a large group of people — liberal, conservative, and centrist — who have each played a key role in bringing the opposition to John Bolton’s nomination where it has come.”
From President Bush’s press conference, 4/28/05:
“I think the United Nations is important. As a matter of fact, I’ll give you an example. Today I met with the United Nations representative to Syria, Mr. Larsen. He’s an impressive fellow. Now, he’s delivered — to Lebanon, excuse me — he’s delivered a very strong message to the Syrian leader, though, that the world expects President Assad to withdraw not only his military forces, but his intelligence services, completely from Lebanon.
And now he is in charge of following up to make sure it happens. I think that’s a very important and useful role for the United Nations to play. We have played a role. France has played a role. A lot of nations have played roles. But the United Nations has done a very good job in Syria — with Syria in Lebanon of making sure that the world expects the Lebanese elections to be free in May, without Syrian influence. He’s an impressive fellow. I applaud him for his hard work.
But there’s an example of why I think the United Nations is an important body.”
“The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has reduced child mortality significantly over the past decade and has expanded its mandate to cover protecting youngsters from exploitation, the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the consequences of extreme poverty, outgoing Executive Director Carol Bellamy said today.
In a farewell news Conference at UN Headquarters in New York, she summed up UNICEF’s work in recent years, saying global child mortality had dropped by 16 per cent in the last 15 years – and by 34 per cent if AIDS-devastated sub-Saharan Africa’s data were excluded.” Read more…
From UN News Service: “As part of a United Nations-backed effort to rid the planet of some of the worst pollutants tied to cancer, birth defects and immune system damage, 800 government officials and observers from 130 countries will gather next week in Uruguay for the first meeting of a treaty banning the world’s most dangerous pesticides and chemicals.”
“UN agencies in the Horn of Africa have launched a major relief operation after days of torrential rains caused severe flooding in Ethiopia and Somalia and left more than 40 people dead, swept away entire villages and destroyed critical farmlands.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the relief agencies have been scrambling to get food and basic supplies to desperate families after crashing floodwaters from the cresting Wabe Shabelle River and driving rain had battered both Somalia and Ethiopia for the past two days.” LINK
“Bill Clinton says the response to the Asian tsunami could serve as a model for future disasters if donors make sure the stricken region recovers. The former US president, who is now the United Nations envoy for tsunami relief, told a New York conference of senior American executives yesterday that the recovery stage was just beginning to diversify seafront economies and build houses.” Full Story
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”.