Monthly Archives: September 2005
A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary
Moderate Voice: “Afghans flocked to the polls to vote in the country’s first democratic parliamentary elections in 35 years: “…We did see some procedural irregularities but nothing that I consider systemic and which would have influenced the overall conduct of the election,” said Peter Erben, the chief international election officer with the United Nations-assisted Joint Elections Management Board.”
TAPPED: “In a press conference shortly following the adoption of the document on UN reform on Tuesday, Kofi Annan tried to put as positive a spin on the outcome as he could. But he was both unable and unwilling to ignore the conspicuous absence of any mention of disarmament and nonproliferation, which he called “a real disgrace.”
Outside the Beltway: “Because of the diversity of the member states, there is little chance of achieving consensus on even the most fundamental issues. The underdeveloped states see the U.N. as a giant teat from which to suckle money from the prosperous whereas the West sees it as a mechanism for spreading democracy, law, and order. Reconciling those visions is next to impossible.”
Feministing: “Among the MANY newsworthy things going on this week, UN Headquarters in New York is hosting the World Summit, a follow-up to the 2000 Millennium Summit that resulted in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight goals being promoted by the UN, targeting everything from ending world poverty to achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide. While the MDGs have been criticized by many women’s rights organizations for not being inclusive enough of women (for example, check out this great article by MADRE), they are a start.”
MBlog: “The headlines say it all – “Poor nations lose in watered-down UN document.” If you were wondering what sort of impact John Bolton would have at the UN, look no further. From The Guardian: “Final draft a bland version of Gleneagles promises. No new money for aid and debt relief.” What a world we live in. Those that exploit get to argue over the extremity of their usury while those that they exploit must not only struggle to survive, but also politely endure the indignity.”
Today’s Democracy: “I have made it no secret that I thought the UN has need reform for a while. There is a place for the United Nations. In both “Questioning our U.N. Role, organizations like the United Nations, as the primary example, have a role to play. I am not of the opinion that complete abolishment is the right answer nor am I an advocate. Obvious to me, the potential role of the U.N. is enormous. However the UN should be providing military intervention for humanitarian reasons. Humanitarian is the key word.”
“The 2005 World Summit, expected to be the largest gathering ever of international leaders, opened at United Nations Headquarters in New York today with a warning from Secretary-General Kofi Annan that “millions of lives and the hopes of billions” rest on fulfilling the pledges contained in the meeting’s outcome document.” [Read more]
UN News Service: “Secretary-General Kofi Annan today held wide-ranging discussions with United States President George W. Bush at United Nations Headquarters in New York on the eve of what is expected to the largest ever summit of world leaders.
Mr. Bush expressed his support for the world body, and the two leaders discussed Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, African peacekeeping missions and the situation in Sudan’s Darfur region.”
A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary
Counterterrorism Blog: “When the world’s statesmen gather in New York September 14th to open this session of the General Assembly they will grapple with UN reform. Perhaps they will make some progress toward that end. But, they will fail in strengthening the UN’s role in combating terrorism if they fail to lay the necessary common foundation for fighting terrorism that a clear definition would provide.”
Democracy Arsenal (David Shorr): “As the main instrument of international cooperation and the world community’s only meeting place with universal membership, the United Nations has great potential to marshal collective action on today’s challenges from terrorism to poverty reduction to human rights and nuclear non-proliferation. But it can only achieve this potential if the world’s leaders pull together.”
Bildt Comments: “It’s a sunny and nice morning in New York, and leaders are starting to gather for the 60th General Assembly of the United Nations. Over the weekend, talks have been continued in a smaller group to see if it is possible to reach agreement on a document for the summit starting on Wednesday. But the reform process is now down to rather few issues. It will be an important meeting, but I fear we should not expect too much in terms of important results. At the moment, avoiding a break-down is the number one priority.”
Craig Cheslog: “While most Americans are understandably focused on the Katrina disaster, it is worthwhile to take a look at a diplomatic problem being created by UN Ambassador John Bolton. Steve Clemons links to a story in The Guardian: “The British government is mounting a huge diplomatic effort this weekend to prevent the biggest-ever summit of world leaders, designed to tackle poverty and overhaul the United Nations, ending in chaos. The Guardian has learned that Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, has made a personal plea to his American counterpart, Condoleezza Rice, for the US to withdraw opposition to plans for wholesale reform of the UN.”
GOP Vixen: “I had heard about this a few weeks ago from one of my sources … Iranians from all over the United States are merging in New York to protest against the Islamic Republic president Ahmadi Nejad in New York City on Wednesday September 14th 2005.”
Informed Comment: “The final text of the Iraqi constitution has still not been worked out, and so the United Nations cannot begin to print it in several million copies so that Iraqi voters can read it before the October 15 referendum. It is going to be very difficult to get the printing and distribution done with only a month to go.”
Selected summary of United Nations related news and events
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”.