GA Passes Resolution on Syria: The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning the increasing use of heavy weapons by authorities and urging all sides to immediately cease armed violence on Friday, August 3. Its four-part resolution drafted by the Arab Group and sponsored by scores of other countries covered accountability, the humanitarian situation, political transition and follow-up. In it, the Assembly stressed that rapid progress on a political transition represented the “best opportunity” to resolve the 18-month-long crisis peacefully. The resolution itself has no coercive power, but stands as a symbol of the GA’s frustration with the deadlock over Syria within the Security Council. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke to the General Assembly during their meeting on Friday, stressing the UN’s responsibility to Syria and stating that the conflict is “a test of everything the UN stands for.” The US Mission, voting in favor of the resolution, also issued a statement in support of the action taken by the GA and the cessation of violence in the region.
USG for Safety and Security: The USG for Safety and Security, Gregory B. Starr, has stated his intention to leave his current post towards the end of 2012 due to personal and family reasons. The Secretary-General has accepted Mr. Starr’s decision with regret, and will initiate the process of selection to identify a suitable successor.
OCHA Chief to DRC/Rwanda: Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, travels to the DRC and Rwanda today until August 9. The three-day visit aims to highlight the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and its effect on the region, particularly on neighboring Rwanda.
Sudanese Oil Deal: The SG welcomes the deal reached by the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan on oil and financial arrangements, according to Mr. Ban’s spokesperson, though regrets that the two sides have not met the August 2deadline set by the Security Council in endorsing the Roadmap put forward in a communiqué from the African Union’s Peace and Security Council at a ministerial meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in April. The two countries reached agreement this past weekend on how much South Sudan will pay to transport its crude oil through Sudan’s pipelines.
DESA: The new USG for DESA, Mr. Wu Honbgo of China, assumed his position August 1, replacing Sha Zukang.
This week at the UN:
- Tuesday, August 7: SC members are scheduled to be briefed in consultations by the head of the Department of Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, on Somalia and Camp New Iraq (formerly Camp Ashraf). This will be the first “horizon scanning” meeting held since March.
- Wednesday, August 8: The Security Council will be briefed by the Secretary-General on possible steps to ensure the full restoration of constitutional order and territorial integrity in Mali, including a military deployment by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). There is no Council decision expected following that meeting, but there is a possibility that ECOWAS may subsequently request the Council to authorize the deployment of an ECOWAS force in Mali.
- Friday, August 10: SG Ban Ki-moon leaves NY for Korea and Timor-Leste. He will be away until August 17.