The US and EU sanctions on the Iranian economy, which have taken a hard toll on common Iranians, have also adversely affected Afghans – both in the refugee community in Iran and families in Afghanistan dependent on income from their breadwinners working in the Islamic republic next door.
Later this month, the Palestinians will ask the UN General Assembly to upgrade their status at the United Nations to become a non-member observer state. This would put them on the same membership level as the Vatican. It would not change very much about how the UN operates.
12:22. Kerry concludes, “the UN is too valuable, and the issues are too urgent.” He expects to have Rice sworn in by next Wednesday at the latest.
12:20. Kerry’s message to the UN: “this is a new moment,” and it’s time for the UN to reform. He seems to be addressing those few countries that frustrate reform efforts to “stick it in the eye of the UN.” It’d be important to remember that this “new moment” may decrease the numbers of those countries.
12:13. Senator Casey brings up the General Assembly vote on decriminalizing homosexuality. Good for him.
12:06. Casey says “Lugarrrr” a day after Clinton does. A mutiny in the SFRC?
12:02. This is newsworthy: Rice says the incoming administration has not yet made a decision on whether or not to join the Human Rights Council.
12:00. “What might have been different with U.S. participation and leadership” in the Human Rights Council? A worthwhile question.
11:53. Wyoming Senator Barrasso asks the black helicopter questions on guns and global taxes. Rice responds that the UN can’t change the U.S. constitution nor impose taxes on American citizens absent the consent of Congress. So your guns are safe, Senator Barrasso, and a UN “global tax” is about as likely as a UN attempt to raise an army of giant green swamp monsters.
11:50. Rice navigates a tricky answer about involving U.S. personnel in UN operations; they will not operate under UN “command responsibility,” but can contribute to UN missions.
11:47. Boxer likes her International Human Rights Convention on the Rights of the Child. Rice calls it a ” shame” that the United States stands only with Somalia in not ratifying the treaty.
Moments before Susan Rice’s confirmation hearing to become the next U.S. Ambassador to the UN (which we’ll live-blogging shortly, as we did so vigorously with Secretary of State-designate Clinton’s) begins, it seems appropriate to reflect on some of current Ambassador Khalilzad’s pragmatic points from his “exit interview” at the New America Foundation yesterday.
And finally, Khalilzad admitted: always have a resignation letter tucked away in a drawer somewhere, just in case.
(cross-posted at On Day One)
A sneak preview of an ad, signed by dozens of Republican and Democratic foreign policy luminaries, that will run in Thursday’s New York Times.
In today’s rapidly changing world of interdependence, globalization, and transnational threats, the United States must balance a strong military with creative diplomacy to secure America’s interests. We must recognize that the United Nations is a critical platform and partner for advancing international cooperation on today’s global threats and challenges, such as poverty and disease, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and climate change.
The UN cannot succeed without strong U.S. leadership and support. The next President has a unique opportunity to revitalize the U.S.-UN relationship as a symbol of America’s commitment to constructive international cooperation. This investment will pay off substantially by helping to enhance our standing internationally and strengthen our ability to keep America safe and strong.
The letter, sponsored by the Partnership for a Secure America and the UN Foundation and spearheaded by former Democratic Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Republican National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, also includes the signatures of various high-profile Senators, Representatives, and officials from both parties. These foreign policy experts express a UNanimoUS (UN-U.S., get it yet?) consent that the incoming Obama administration should, among other important steps, pay U.S. debts to the UN on time, seek a seat on the Human Rights Council, and provide concrete support for UN peacekeeping.
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.