The Miami Herald is reporting that the UN will make an official announcement tomorrow.
“It is an honor to accept the secretary general’s invitation to become special envoy to Haiti,” former President Clinton said in a statement to The Miami Herald. ‘Last year’s natural disasters took a great toll, but Haiti’s government and people have the determination and ability to `build back better,’ not just to repair the damage done but to lay the foundations for the long-term sustainable development that has eluded them for so long.”
He’s been there before, of course (and with pretty distinguished company), and has long been interested in the country. Laura Rozen has more, and to Spencer Ackerman’s legitimate question — will Haiti’s government suppose that this provides it with a diplomatic “backchannel” to the White House? — I can only answer relatively pro forma: Bill is the UN‘s envoy to Haiti, not the United States’. And while, sure, the United States is the major player on the world stage (and especially on quasi-neighboring Haiti’s), Clinton provides no greater official connection between Haiti and the U.S. than, say, Kai Eide does between Afghanistan and Norway. Eide’s wife is not Norway’s foreign minister, of course (not that I know of, at least), but I can easily envision Obama making it pretty clear to his Haitian counterpart that Bill will not be playing unofficial go-between for Haiti’s government and his wife.
* Smart Guardian editorial on why Burma needs aid, not sanctions.
* A video recorded by slain Guatemalan attorney Rodrigo Rosenberg accuses the Guatemalan president of having a hand in his murder. The U.N. International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala will take up the case. ( Via, The Los Angeles Times.)
* The official United Nations Environment Program twitter feed says “UNEP will plant one tree for every twitterer who follows UNEPandYou between now & 5 June, World Environment Day.” Follow them!
A globe-spanning U.N. digital library seeking to display and explain the relics of all human cultures has gone into operation on the Internet for the first time, serving up mankind’s accumulated knowledge in seven languages for students around the world.
Here’s the money quote:
Like Theodore Roosevelt, among others, my allegiance and sympathies have always been with the men and women in the arena, struggling with courage and determination to win the day.
It may be easier to criticize those efforts from afar, but it does not advance the universal cause.
SG: Last night the SG spoke at a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister of Costa Rica where he repeated his call for an unconditional and extendable humanitarian ceasefire. Speaking about yesterday’s shelling of a UN shelter he said: “Nothing – nothing – justifies such horror” and demanded “that all parties immediately respect UN premises”.
SG: The SG met with President Ortega yesterday in Nicaragua where he visited a wind farm and praised the country’s commitment to renewable energy. The SG arrived in Costa Rica today where he is expected to lecture about “Costa Rica and the United Nations: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century”.
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.