Site Meter UN Dispatch - Page 1070 of 1331 - United Nations News & Commentary Global News - ForumUN Dispatch | United Nations News & Commentary Global News – Forum | Page 1070
Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size

All Posts

LRA No More? Ceasefire in Northern Uganda

Via Hilzoy comes this great bit of news

“With whoops and backslaps, Uganda’s government and Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels signed a ceasefire on Saturday, a big step towards a final peace settlement to one of Africa’s longest-running wars.

“It is the laying down of arms. It is the end of the war,” U.N. envoy Joaquim Chissano said after the parties signed the “permanent ceasefire” agreement during their fast-progressing talks in southern Sudan’s capital Juba.

With only a demobilization deal left to be agreed on, negotiators and mediators like Chissano are predicting a final accord will be reached next week to end one of the world’s most macabre and least-understood conflicts.

Fortunately, on UN Plaza last week, I enlisted the help of the Enough Campaign’s Julia Spiegel to help me, and viewers, understand the conflict. As she points out, it is actually not that complicated: an outlaw group that receives support from abroad terrorizes the population of northern Uganda. Government forces, in trying to suppress rebellion, commit atrocities of their own. The people of Northern Uganda lose. Until now, that is.

| Leave a comment

Tuesday Morning Coffee

First the New York Philharmonic, now Eric Clapton has been invited to play Pyongyang.

Top Stories

>>Kenya – Kofi Annan has expressed frustration that parties in Kenya have been unable to reach a final deal, despite weeks of talks. The sticking point seems to be the amount of power that the agreed-on new post of Prime Minister would hold. The opposition Orange Democratic Movement has filed the necessary papers for what it says will be a massive protest on Thursday. Estimates suggest that 1,500 people have died in violence over the past two months.

>>Belgium – The political stalemate that has kept Belgium from forming a government for nearly nine months appears to be almost over. A compromise between the Flemish and Francophone political parties was reached on Monday to devolve powers over industrial policy, housing, and agriculture to the regions. The new government will be led by Yves Leterme, a Flemish Christian Democrat.

>>World Food Programme – Director of the World Food Program (and former US Undersecretary of State) Josette Sheeran has said that, due to the sharp increase in global commodity prices (food increased 40 percent last year), it would need more support from donor countries to ensure it can continue to provide even the current level of food aid. Through voluntary contributions by Member States to a budget of roughly $2.8 billion, the WFP feeds 73 million people in 78 countries. Meanwhile, wheat prices jumped 25 percent in one day to a record high, as major exporter Kazakhstan announced it would impose export tariffs.

>>Thailand – Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister of Thailand who was ousted in a military coup, will return on Thursday to fight corruption allegations. Thaksin ally Samak Sundaravej recently took office as the new Prime Minister.

>>Nigeria – The 2007 election results that put President Umaru Yar’Adua in office have been validated by a five-judge tribunal, created after his rivals asserted that the election was rigged. Observers worried that the nation, a major oil exporter, could have been destabilized had the decision gone the other way.

Quote of the Day

“This is the new face of hunger. There is food on shelves but people are priced out of the market. There is vulnerability in urban areas we have not seen before. There are food riots in countries where we have not seen them before.”
– Josette Sheeran, director of the World Food Program

Yesterday in UN Dispatch

The Rest of the Story
Africa

Americas

Asia

Europe

Middle East

Elsewhere

Leave a comment

Monday Morning Coffee

Joel and Ethan Coen, as well as Daniel Day Lewis and Javier Bardem, took home some well-deserved hardware at the Oscars last night. The NY Philharmonic meanwhile plays Pyongyang.

Top Stories

>Cuba – Raul Castro became the new president of Cuba on Sunday, promising immediately to consult his brother on every major decision. The National Assembly stuck to the old guard when filling other major responsibilities as well, selecting 76-year-old Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, “a Communist hard-liner fiercely loyal to Castros,” to be the First Vice President and 70-year-old Ricardo Alacron to be the Assembly President. Some in Cuba had hoped that the mantle of leadership would pass to a younger generation.

>>Cyprus – Demetris Christofias, leader of the Communist Party, was elected president of Cyprus on Sunday, bolstering hopes that reunification of the island might be a possibility. He agreed to meet with his Turkish Cypriot counterpart, Mehmet Ali Talat, “at the earliest possible date.”

>>Turkey – Several hundred Turkish troops and dozens of tanks entered Northern Iraq at the end of last week, following hours of shelling and bombing by the Turkish military. Reports of casualties vary, but Turkey admits to the loss of one of its helicopters, which the PKK claims to have shot down. The incursion sparked intense criticism from the Iraqi government, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has urged Turkey to keep it short.

Friday in UN Dispatch
  • Bergmann
    on Funding UN Peacekeeping
    by Mark Leon Goldberg
  • href="http://www.undispatch.com/archives/2008/02/quick_plugpeace.php">Stiffing
    the Blue Helmets – by Mark Leon Goldberg
  • href="http://www.undispatch.com/archives/2008/02/secretarygenera_3.php">Secretary-General
    Introduces his Adviser on the “Responsibility to Protect” – by
    John Boonstra

The Rest of the Story
Africa

Americas

Asia

Europe

Middle East

Oceania

Leave a comment

Food Aid Crisis

The World Food Program says that rising costs of food aid and transportation are forcing it to contemplate rationing strategies. From the Financial Times:

The UN’s agency responsible for relieving hunger is drawing up plans to ration food aid in response to the spiralling cost of agricultural commodities.The World Food Programme is holding crisis talks to decide what aid to halt if new donations do not arrive in the short term. Josette Sheeran, WFP executive director, told the Financial Times that the agency would look at “cutting the food rations or even the number or people reached” if donors did not provide more money. “Our ability to reach people is going down just as the needs go up,” she said.

Read more.

| Leave a comment

UN Plaza: Peacekeeper Edition

In the latest UN Plaza installment, I interview Nick Birnback from the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. We discuss the recent surge of current operations and why Americans should care about peacekeeping.

| 1 Comment

Secretary-General Introduces his Adviser on the “Responsibility to Protect”

An important step toward entrenching a bold new international norm to prevent mass atrocities, as reported by the UN News Centre:

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Edward Luck of the United States as his Special Adviser with a focus on the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Currently Vice President and Director of Studies of the International Peace Academy and Director of Columbia University’s Center on International Organizations, Mr. Luck will serve at the Assistant Secretary-General level on a part-time basis.

Agreed to by world leaders in 2005, the responsibility to protect holds States responsible for shielding their own populations from genocide and other major human rights abuses and requires the international community to step in if this obligation is not met.

Mr. Luck’s appointment represents a crucial first step in shifting the paradigm that allows abusive regimes to massacre their own populations. While R2P was adopted unanimously by the General Assembly, it still faces stiff opposition in practice, and Mr. Luck will have an uphill battle toward implementing it. He must assure skeptics that R2P does not simply provide a carte blanche for intervention while simultaneously ensuring that the doctrine possesses sufficient teeth to change dictators’ behavior. With his background working on issues of peacekeeping and UN reform, Mr. Luck seems to understand the need to balance the interests of individual Member States with the imperative of broad international goals. The importance of the responsibility to protect cannot be understated, and Mr. Luck deserves our full support in his efforts to make this bold new theory a reality.

| 1 Comment

Diplo Tweets