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.
Iraq: The SG met with Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki in Baghdad today as well as Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to review the ongoing security crisis. The SG congratulated Fouad Massoum on his election as Iraq’s new President and remarked that a new government “will strengthen the unity of the country, fight effectively against terrorism and ISIS, as well as uproot the seeds of sectarianism and division.”
SG: The SG met with Israeli President Peres in Jerusalem today to encourage dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. Speaking to the press with President Peres, he again underlined the need to stop violence and begin dialogue that addresses the root causes of the conflict.
SG: The SG briefed the SC today from Ramallah where he reiterated his message from today’s earlier press conference in Tel Aviv with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to: “Stop fighting. Start talking. And take on the root causes of the conflict.” The SG will continue travelling this week to Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
SG: The SG arrived in Cairo today where he will meet with the Foreign Minister, President el-Sisi and US Secretary of State Kerry to promote the Egypt-initiated ceasefire in the Middle East. Spokesman Dujarric told reporters today that “the overriding messages that [the SG] brings is, first, that the violence must stop, and needs to stop now.”