Monthly Archives: November 2008
Ban Ki-moon on the tragic events in Mumbai:
“Such violence is totally unacceptable,” Ban’s spokeswoman said in a statement. “The Secretary-General reiterates his conviction that no cause or grievance can justify indiscriminate attacks against civilians.”
“He calls for the perpetrators to be brought to justice swiftly,” the statement said, expressing sympathy for the families of the victims and solidarity with the people and government of India.
Note that in addition to hotels, a train station and a popular cafe, the attackers targeted hospitals.
Video from MSNBC:
For those of us in the United States, Thanksgiving is a time for reuniting with family over an enormous feast. It is also a time to think of those less fortunate. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo right now, over 200,000 people have been recently uprooted from violence. Day to day survival is a struggle and a peace process so far is elusive. Fortunately, international organizations like the World Food Program and UNICEF are fighting to keep up with humanitarian demands. It is an uphill struggle, but without their involvement the situation would be much, much worse. If you are looking for ways to help, the World Food Program’s Fill the Cup campaign is a good way to get involved.
The police in Kandahar have arrested 10 Taliban militants they said were involved in an attack earlier this month on a group of Afghan schoolgirls whose faces were doused with acid, officials in Kandahar said Tuesday.
The officials said that the militants, who were Afghan citizens, had confessed to their involvement in the attack on the schoolgirls and their teachers on Nov. 12 and that a high-ranking member of the Taliban had paid the militants 100,000 Pakistani rupees for each of the girls they managed to burn. [emphasis added]
The girls were assaulted Nov. 12 by two men on a motorcycle who were apparently irate that the girls dared to attend high school. The men drove up beside them and splashed their faces with what appeared to be battery acid.
A great initiative (and good use of technology):
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today called for people from all walks of life to join its online “virtual wall” to fight hunger, an initiative that will provide free meals for nearly 60 million children worldwide who go to school hungry.
For a small donation “The Wall Against Hunger” allows individuals to post their picture on a website – which several celebrities and sports personalities have already pledged to join – and email their wall images to friends as well as bookmark them to their social networking websites.
ABC News is reporting that Obama confidant, former Assistant Secretary of State and member of President Clinton’s National Security Council, Susan Rice is slated to be the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations. This is great news. The fact that President-elect Obama is entrusting US diplomacy at the United Nations to such a close adviser is a sure sign of the high priority to which the new administration will place US-UN relations. Deeper still, her background as a regional Africa expert will come in handy. About 2/3rds of all discussions at the Security Council are about situations in Africa.
More broadly, Rice is known in foreign policy circles as an innovative, forward thinking foreign policy wonk who pays special attention to the connectivity of today’s threats and challenges. As a diplomat, I expect her to be fairly sharp-elbowed, which is not a bad quality for Turtle Bay!
Here is how UN Foundation head Tim Wirth described Rice to Spencer Ackerman a couple of weeks ago.
Rice saw connectivity in the world’s problems, instead of viewing them through the traditional prism of individual state power.
“She was one of the few people to live in the foreign-policy world who understood global issues, transnational issues like human rights, climate change and terrorism,” said Wirth, who worked with Rice when she was at the NSC and who now heads the United Nations Foundation. “The foreign-policy community is largely about political relationships. That’s what drives the [typical] foreign-policy world. But the new one is transnational problems, problems that don’t have passports.”
UPDATE: I should also note that Rice has been a leading critic of the current administration’s Darfur policy, which she described as a policy of “bluster and retreat.” When she sets foot at first avenue, I expect her to focus like a laser beam on Darfur. The fledgling peacekeeping mission and stalled peace process could certainly use the help.
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.