UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says that the US decision to block a former Palestinian prime minister from leading the UN political mission in Libya was “a serious mistake”. Washington blocked the proposed appointment of Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian Authority’s prime minister from 2007 to 2013, a week ago. It said it was acting to support its ally, Israel. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Guterres said: “I believe that it’s essential for everybody to understand that people serving the UN are serving in their personal capacities. They don’t represent a country or a government”. Guterres said that Fayyad “was the right person in the right place at the right time” Palestinians condemned the decision. US ambassador Nikki Haley announced she was blocking the appointment because “for too long, the UN has been unfairly biased in favour of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel”. Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi dismissed the “flimsy excuse” for a move she described as “unconscionable”. “Blocking the appointment of Dr Salam Fayyad is a case of blatant discrimination on the basis of national identity”, she said. Fayyad had been tapped to replace Martin Kobler of Germany, who has been the Libya envoy since November 2015.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Saturday hours after Pence said the U.S. would stand firm with Europe and NATO. In a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday, Abadi referred to the “importance of continued international cooperation against terrorism”; 6000 American service members are currently stationed in Iraq. The counter-ISIS efforts have now reached their “last stages” Abadi added in the call, saying that the courage and sacrifice of Iraqis has inflicted a huge loss on the militant group.
During the meeting, held on the sidelines of the 53rd edition of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Germany, the Foreign Minister Zarif and UN Secretary General Guterres discussed international and regional issues, including the situation in Yemen, Syria and Iraq and the grave conditions of Rohingya Muslims in Mynamar.The Iranian foreign minister called for the United Nations’ more active presence in resolution of these crises. He also voiced Tehran’s readiness to cooperate with the UN and its secretary general’s efforts. Zarif further invited the UN chief to pay a visit to Iran
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov will discuss the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with the co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group (MG), Hikmat Hajiyev, spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, said. Hajiyev noted that the meeting will be held as part of the Munich Security Conference, scheduled for Feb. 17-19. Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian is also expected to meet within the OSCE MG co-chairs within the Munich Security Conference.