Secretary-General: According to Reuters, The Secretary-General issued his strongest statement against Syria yet to reporters, indicating that he did not see President Assad’s promises of reform as credible, and that he hoped the Security Council would eventually weigh in on the question of Syria: “If and when the Security Council takes a decision for their future course of action… in a unified way, that would be very helpful,” he said, adding that he had been speaking with individual council members on the issue.  A senior Western diplomat said on condition of anonymity that Britain, France, Germany and Portugal, backed by Washington, are continuing to negotiate on the draft resolution to break the impasse and have no plans to withdraw the text. The draft resolution would not impose sanctions on Syria but would condemn it for the crackdown and suggest Syrian security forces might be guilty of crimes against humanity.

GA: Next President of General Assembly elected –Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, of Qatar, was elected President of the 66th Session of the General Assembly this afternoon. Mr. Al-Nasser has been Qatar’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York since September 1998 and during that period has served as Chairman of the Group of 77 and China, as well as Vice-President of the GA from 2002-03 and President of the Security Council in December 2006. The President-elect has proposed that “the role of mediation in the settlement of disputes by peaceful means” serve as the theme for the high-level debate slated to be held at the opening of the Assembly’s next session.

Chad: Radhika Coomaraswamy, SRSG on Children and Armed Conflict, briefed the press on her visit to Chad last week, noting that Chad would need assistance in re-integrating into society the child soldiers that are being demobilized under an agreement signed with the UN last week.

Sudan: The USG for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, said in a statement that the treatment of civilians in South Kordofan, including the reported human rights abuses and targeting of people along ethnic lines, is reprehensible. She added that more than 70,000 people have been displaced.  She urged an end to movement restrictions, which are continuing to limit the UN’s ability to assess the situation, to provide people with the aid they urgently need, and to re-supply stocks. She also said that threats to aid workers and peacekeepers need to stop immediately. Ms. Amos expressed her concern that the overall security situation in Sudan is deteriorating at an alarming rate, with severe humanitarian consequences.  She warned that we could be facing a worst-case scenario, with millions of civilians in both North and South Sudan in need of protection and critical humanitarian assistance.

Gaza: Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, welcomed the “significant step” taken yesterday with Israel’s approval of construction projects that are to be implemented by UNRWA. Mr. Serry said that they would continue to work together with the relevant UN agencies to implement these projects in a timely fashion, so as to improve the situation in Gaza. The decision was announced a day after the Secretary-General discussed the matter with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in a telephone call.

Haiti: MINUSTAH today urged the country’s authorities to immediately form a government that will serve the people and fulfill their expectations after Parliament rejected the man nominated by President Michel Martelly to serve as prime minister. The Mission called for the setting up of a government that will work with all concerned parties, including Parliament, politicians, civil society and the international community, to formulate a strategy on education, employment, the rule of law and the environment.

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