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Davos meeting between Zaev and Tsipras, of historic importance

in EUROPE/POLITICS by

In an interview with Greek newspaper Khatimerini, Matthew Nimetz, the special envoy for the name issue, stated that the Davos meeting between Prime Ministers Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras is positive and of historic importance. He expressed optimism with regards to find a mutually acceptable solution, thanks to international community cooperation, and the coordination with the UN, US as well as UE. “It’s time that talks are intensified as regards the conditions for a final agreement while treating with caution the issues raised by the two premiers. I’m coming to Athens and Skopje for talks in order to accelerate the process. I believe now there’s a dynamic to find a solution”, declared Nimetz. As Khatimerini reports, Nimetz has proposed the wide use of the new name only once Macedonia integration process into the EU is concluded.  Before that, the new name can be used on the international stage.

Colombia: ‘Despite difficulties, there is recognition of the UN’, said María Emma Mejía

in AMERICAS/POLITICS by

In order to learn first hand the progress in the implementation of what was agreed between the Government and the Farc, the General Secretary of the United Nations (UN), Antonio Guterres, will arrive on Saturday in the country. The Colombian ambassador to that body, María Emma Mejía, told EL TIEMPO that for the UN the normative development of the agreement is one of the most “successful” elements of the process with the Farc and, possibly, Guterres make a new call so that the Government and the ELN return to the table of conversations.

China ready to deliver promises in full: top climate envoy

in ASIA/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

China’s special representative on climate change affairs, Xie Zhenhua, pledged that China will deliver its promises in full, and will continue contributing “Chinese wisdom” and “Chinese proposals” to the global fight against climate change, while addressing a high-level meeting of UN climate talks held here on Thursday. “China is ready to play the role, all along, as a participant and contributor in global climate governance, sustainable development, as well as a guardian of multilateral processes”, said Xie. The special representative pledged that China will work with other countries to speed up works in three aspects, including accelerating follow-up negotiations on the Paris Agreement, making arrangement for facilitative dialogues to be held in 2018, and implementing pre-2020 actions and commitment so as to lay solid foundation for trust-building. “China has over delivered on achieving its targets in fighting climate change, and reversed the rapid rise of CO2 emission that had lasted for years”, Xie said. “This year, we will jumpstart the nation-wide carbon-trading market”, Xie said, adding China has set aside a total of 100 million U.S. dollars for South-South cooperation with 27 developing countries over the years.

Save the Children: 130 Yemeni children die each day due to Saudi blockade

in MIDLE EAST/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

According to prominent humanitarian organisation Save the Children, no less than 130 children die every single day in Yemen due to malnutrition and preventable disease caused by the Saudi-led near total blockade of the country. The organisation furthermore warned that the situation will deteriorate even further if the lockdown of Yemen isn’t immediately lifted. The warning comes less than two weeks after Saudi Arabia announced that it would further restrict all access to Yemen by sea, air and land. The increased lockdown comes after a Yemeni missile was fired at Riyadh in retaliation for the two-year long military campaign the Saudi kingdom has been waging on its southern neighbour. Along with humanitarian organisations, three UN agencies, the World Food Programme, UNICEF and the WHO, have also made an official plea to Saudi Arabia to lift its blockade of Yemen, stating that unless Riyadh complies, “untold thousands of innocent victims, among them many children, will die”.

 

UN Security Council discusses Kosovo

in EUROPE/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

Media, both print and online, cover yesterday’s session of the UN Security Council on Kosovo, most of which highlight ambassador Vlora Citaku’s address where she said that Kosovo remains strongly committed to the EU-facilitated dialogue with Serbia and criticized Serbia for hindering Kosovo’s membership to Interpol and UNESCO saying the decision of Chinese authorities not to grant visas to Kosovo officials largely contributed to the withdrawal from Interpol bid. Citaku disputed figures presented by Belgrade authorities that the number of displaced Serbs is 200,000 saying they were inaccurate. She also requested redefinition of the UN’s role in Kosovo saying the mission is of a peacekeeping nature and peace has already been achieved in Kosovo. Serbia’s Foreign Minister, Ivica Dacic, on his part criticized authorities in Kosovo for not establishing the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities and urged them to do so as soon as possible.Meanwhile, most media highlight the statement of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and UNMIK chief, Zahir Tanin, saying that the time for action now moves ahead of the time for excuses. SRSG Tanin said that signs of political will and commitment to move forward are increasingly evident. Tanin commended the parties for integration of Serb judges and prosecutors to the Kosovo’s justice system while with regards to CEFTA, he underlined that Pristina representatives attend all meetings and that UNMIK’s presence is limited by legal statutes.

Saudi Arabia: UN’s support of Houthi militias is unacceptable

in MIDLE EAST/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

Saudi Arabia expressed its deep condemnation of the report by a UN committee stating that the United Nations has provided $14 million to the Yemeni Ministry of Education run by the Houthi militia in Yemen; as the militias are planting thousands of mines inside Yemen and on the Saudi border. Saudi Arabia asked the committee to reconsider the submitted report, and reflect facts that has been ignored asking for the commitment of all involved United Nations organizations, regarding resolution 2216, stressing that United Nations support for the Houthi militias was unjustifiable and unacceptable. Saudi Arabia confirmed that the Houthi and Saleh’s militias has planted and deployed at least 50,000 mines on the Saudi-Yemeni border, engrained tens of thousands of mines in populated Yemeni cities and villages, and laid mines in the Red Sea near the Saudi border. This came in a speech delivered by the Saudi delegation to the United Nations on Wednesday to the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee) on Mine Action section number 50. In addition, the delegation of Saudi Arabia expressed its appreciation for the efforts of the United Nations in the area of mine clearance, and the efforts to achieve the United Nations’ Mine Action Strategy for the period 2013-2018. This is to ensure the safety of people from mines and explosives, and in line with the achievement of the goals of the United Nations’ Plan for Sustainable Development 2030.

North Korea: cargo ships tracked in Chinese waters after UN imposes all-ports ban for violating sanctions

in ASIA/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

The UN Security Council has banned all nations from allowing four ships that transported prohibited goods to and from North Korea to enter any port in their country. Hugh Griffiths, head of the panel of experts investigating the implementation of UN sanctions against North Korea, announced the port bans at a briefing to UN member states on Monday. Griffiths later told several reporters that “this is the first time in UN history”. He identified the four cargo ships as the Petrel 8, Hao Fan 6, Tong San 2 and Jie Shun. According to MarineTraffic, a maritime database that monitors vessels and their moments, Petrel 8 is registered in Comoros, Hao Fan 6 in St Kitts and Nevis, and Tong San 2 in North Korea. It does not list the flag of Tong San 2 but said that on October 3 it was in the Bohai Sea off north China. Griffiths said the four ships were officially listed on October 5 “for transporting prohibited goods”, stressing that this was “swift action” by the sanctions committee following the August 6 Security Council resolution that authorised port bans. Griffiths told UN diplomats that: “is continuing its attempts to export coal” in violation of UN sanctions.

Iraqi forces advance in Hawija as UN says over 70,000 civilians trapped by IS

in MIDLE EAST/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

Military officials say Iraqi forces captured an air base from the Islamic State (IS) near the city of Hawija on Monday, as the UN announced that up to 78,000 people could be trapped in the town. The US-backed Iraqi troops, supported by the Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia and the Kurdish Peshmerga Forces, retook the strategic position as they continue to progress on the IS-held town. However, Iraqi security officials say the militants prevent some residents from leaving, while others are afraid of escaping toward government forces because of the explosives that might have been laid by the extremist group around the city. The Hawija operation was launched on Sep. 21 to dislodge the jihadist group from its last stronghold in northern Iraq, west of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

Putin urges global community to pitch in to demine Syria and provide humanitarian aid

in EUROPE/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that all countries should join the process of providing humanitarian assistance to Syria and demining efforts in that country. A pressing task today is increasing the supply of humanitarian aid and demining the liberated territories”, the head of state said at the presentation of foreign ambassadors’ credentials ceremony. According to the Russian president, “everyone who sincerely wishes peace to Syria and its people, who sincerely wants refugees to return to their homes should join these processes with the leading role played by the UN and without any preconditions”. Putin recalled that the agreements on four de-escalation zones in Syria reached with the participation of the guarantor countries – Russia, Iran and Turkey – had been finalized in the Astana format recently and supported by many other countries. He stressed that “these agreements create conditions for making progress in implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on the basis of a direct dialogue between the government and the opposition, pooling efforts in the interests of eliminating the hotbed of terrorism at an early date, establishing peace and preserving Syria’s unity”. The Russian leader noted that “the process in the capital of Kazakhstan is to create favorable conditions for approaching a political settlement within the framework of the Geneva talks”.

Egypt found by UN

in AFRICA/ASIA/PRESS RELEASE/REGIONS by

In an investigation led by the United Nations, it was discovered that North Korea and Egypt had struck a secret weapons deal worth 23 million dollar. The UN investigators revealed that Egypt had ordered 30,000 weapons from North Korea. UN officials and Western diplomats revealed that as part of the deal, Egyptian business executives ordered millions of dollars worth of rockets from North Korea for their country’s military. According to reports, business executives planned to keep the transaction hidden. The investigation also found that its cargo was hidden by large, heavy tarps. The ship entered Egyptian waters, customs agents boarded and discovered a stockpile of more than 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades concealed underneath bins of iron ore. In a statement quoted in the Washington Post, the UN said it was the “largest seizure of ammunition in the history of sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”. The Egyptian Embassy in Washington, D.C., said Egypt will “continue to abide by all Security Council resolutions and will always be in conformity with these resolutions as they restrain military purchases from North Korea”.

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