“The latest scientific assessments conducted under the auspices of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) found clear evidence of a reduction in ozone-depleting substances in the lower atmosphere, as well as indications that their destructive impact in the stratosphere was also on the wane, according to the message. But they also push back the estimated date for total ozone layer recovery by 15 years, to 2065.” More
BBC: “Protesters demanding an end to conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region are staging a day of demonstrations around the world…. Seven thousand African Union peacekeeping troops are due to leave Darfur at the end of August, but Khartoum has refused to allow UN peacekeepers to take their place.
The government has stressed that any UN troops entering Darfur would be met with armed resistance. On Saturday 1,000 volunteers from a pro-government militia marched through the streets of Khartoum threatening to kill any uninvited UN visitors, the BBC’s Jonah Fisher reports from the city.
Violence in the region is reported to be rising again, drawing criticism from figures as diverse as the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, and actor George Clooney, who this week implored the UN Security Council to act.
“Sectarian violence and insurgent attacks increased throughout Iraq over the past three months, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said in the most negative report an American envoy has given to the Security Council since the 2003 invasion.
“The insurgency remains potent and viable, although its visibility has been overshadowed by the increase in sectarian violence,” U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said in the latest quarterly report to the council. “The average number of weekly attacks increased 15 percent over the previous reporting period, and Iraqi casualties increased by 51 percent.” More
Washington Post: “U.N. inspectors investigating Iran’s nuclear program angrily complained to the Bush administration and to a Republican congressman yesterday about a recent House committee report on Iran’s capabilities, calling parts of the document “outrageous and dishonest” and offering evidence to refute its central claims.”
“U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said leaders of Middle Eastern nations believe the Iraq war has “been a real disaster” for the region.
His comments to reporters on Wednesday came after a two-week trip through the Middle East and on a day when separate bomb attacks killed at least 22 people in Baghdad.
“Honestly, most of the leaders I spoke to felt the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath has been a real disaster for them,” Annan said. “They believe it has destabilized the region.” More
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.