Category Archives: United Nations

Risks of doing nothing are greater than acting – John Kerry

British Foreign Secretary William Hague and US Secretary of State John Kerry at the FCO today (Monday).

William Hague says the UK and US remain “closely aligned” on Syria, after talks with his US counterpart John Kerry. The British Foreign Secretary said the two were working together to save lives and revive peace talks as well as press for a strong response to the Assad government’s use of chemical weapons. Mr Kerry said the risks of doing nothing were greater than acting. The two countries remained “true friends” despite the UK ruling out any military involvement, he insisted. Their meeting in London comes as the US tries to gather support for military strikes. British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that Parliament’s vote last month means the … Continue reading

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U.N. experts prepare to leave Syria, chemical probe needs time

A convoy of UN cars ferries UN inspectors to areas where the chemical attacks are said to have taken place.

A team of U.N. investigators has finished gathering samples and evidence related to a suspected chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of people in suburbs near Damascus last week and is packing up to leave, a U.N. spokesman said on Friday. The team will be leaving Syria on Saturday but will return later to investigate several other alleged poison gas attacks that have taken place in Syria during the country’s 2-1/2 year old civil war, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said. “The samples that have been collected will be taken to be analyzed in designated laboratories and the intention of course is to expedite the analysis of that sampling that’s been … Continue reading

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Brazil’s Santos Cruz to head UN’s DR Congo mission

The UN has appointed a Brazilian general credited with bringing a Haiti slum under control to lead peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Gen Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz will lead 20,000 troops, including a new combat force charged with targeting rebels in the east of the country. This is the most offensive mandate given to any UN peacekeeping force. Gen Santos Cruz told the BBC his troops would be trained to consider civilians and private property in DR Congo. “The most critical area is nowadays the eastern part of the country,” he told the BBC’s Newsday programme. “I am ready to face the most difficult of scenarios. The … Continue reading

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Syrian and African rebel movements listed as sex predators

The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday heard accusations that Syria’s army and intelligence agency and a pro-government militia are sexual war criminals for rape and assaults on women and children, along with the al-Qaida movement in Mali and various African rebel movements. The “name and shame” tally of alleged sexual predators and outlaws was in a report published as a Security Council document as part of a debate on “Women in Peace and Security.” It was drafted by Zainab Hawa Bangura, the U.N. chief’s Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict. “For too long has war been waged on the bodies of women… for too long have women borne the … Continue reading

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UN issues rare joint appeal for action on Syria crisis

  The heads of five major UN agencies have issued a rare joint appeal to the international community to do much more to end “cruelty and carnage” in Syria. In a statement, the chiefs of the WHO, UNICEF, OCHA, WFP and UNHCR, urged political leaders to use their influence to solve the crisis. They said they were appealing for “something more important than funds”. The UN says at least 70,000 people have been killed and 1.2 million left homeless since the conflict began. The agencies criticised what they described as “an insufficient sense of urgency among the governments and parties that could put a stop to the cruelty and carnage … Continue reading

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U.N. Seccurity Council backs France’s intervention in Mali

All members of the UN Security Council have backed France’s military intervention in Mali to fight Islamist rebels, officials have said. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he hoped the intervention would help restore “Mali’s constitutional order and territorial integrity”. Thousands of African troops are due to join Malian and French forces to help push back the rebels’ offensive. France intervened on Friday after the Islamists began advancing southwards French authorities said they had feared that the rebels would march on the capital, Bamako, creating a grave security threat for the wider region. On Monday, the Security Council convened in New York for an emergency meeting at France’s request. After … Continue reading

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