SG in DC: The SG met with new Secretary of State John Kerry this morning. The two leaders discussed the nuclear tests in DPRK, Syria, Mali, and Iran. The SG said that he welcomes plans for both President Barack Obama and Secretary Kerry to visit the Middle East and was very encouraged by President Obama’s call to action on climate change and his intention to pursue reductions in nuclear arsenals. Mr. Ban noted that “U.S leadership would remain critical in the period ahead.” In remarks prior to their meeting, Kerry emphasized US commitment to “strengthen our relationship with the UN even further in the years ahead.” Gaza: UNRWA launched emergency appeal of more than $300 million today for Palestinians in need living in Gaza and the West Bank. The appeal includes $78 million for food assistance for some 750,000 people living in Gaza – an area which has faced a blockade for six years – money for temporary job creation, and a cash assistance program. Ending VAW: The UN today called for global action to end all forms of violence against women and girls. At an event at UN HQ, the DSG urged all governments to send a Valentine message: a concrete commitment of action to end gender-based violence both today and at the meeting of the CSW that begins on March 4. As noted in a statement read on behalf of the SG, “This must be more than a day of advocacy. It must be a day that triggers action.” The event was held in conjunction with One Billion Rising, a civil society campaign focusing on ending gender-based violence, the UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign and V-Day. Somalia: The SC today was briefed on the UN’s presence in Somalia by ASG for Political Affairs, Tayé-Brook Zerihoun. In his latest report to the Council, the SG suggested the establishment of a broader peacekeeping mission in Mogadishu “to simultaneously provide enhanced support to peacekeeping and to meet other development and humanitarian objectives.” Mr. Zerihoun supports this suggestion, noting that the new mission would include good offices, advice and assistance on security, peacekeeping and state-building, the preparation of elections, human rights and the rule of law, and assistance for the coordination of international assistance. Sudan: The SC adopted a resolution on Sudan sanctions today, extending the mandate of the Panel of Experts monitoring UN sanctions in connection with the conflict in Darfur until February 17, 2014. The Council requested the Panel continue coordinating with UNAMID and other international efforts, and expressed its concern that the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of technical assistance and support to the country could be used by the Government for activity violating SC sanctions.