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.
Middle East: During the last 48 hours of the continued ceasefire, humanitarian workers have delivered food to hundreds of thousands of people, repaired water and sanitation infrastructure, re-stocked medical supplies, and some of the 520,000 displaced Palestinians have returned to their homes. However, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator remarked the scale of needs remains “unprecedented in the Gaza Strip.”
Middle East: At today’s informal session of the General Assembly on Gaza the SG remarked that the most recent ceasefire has held since yesterday at 8 a.m. local time. He noted that a durable ceasefire is necessary and UN shelters must continue to remain safe zones. The SG thanked UN staff in Gaza and will fly the UN flag at half-mast tomorrow in memory of those who died in the conflict.
Middle East: The SG commended Israeli and Palestinian parties for committing to a 72-hour ceasefire that took place at 8 a.m. local time today. He urges all parties to abide by the ceasefire and commence peace talks in Cairo to address underlying issues and agree on a durable ceasefire to sustainably stop the violence. The UN lends its full support toward these efforts.
Middle East: The SG condemned yesterday’s shelling outside of an UNRWA school in Rafah that killed at least 10 Palestinian civilians. The SG stated that the attack violated international humanitarian law and UN shelters must continue to be safe zones and not combat zones.
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”.