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US suspends destruction of chemical weapons under invented pretext – Defense Ministry


Under an invented pretext, the United States has first suspended and now stopped destructing own chemical weapons, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday. Earlier, a senior State Department official said that Russia has allegedly “used every opportunity at its disposal to protect the Assad regime in its continued use of chemical weapons”. “In line with the commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Russian Federation has in advance completed destruction of the entire stockpile of its chemical warfare agents. In the meantime, the United States under invented pretexts has first suspended and by now has stopped implementing its commitments due to ‘lack of funding’ and thus keeping about ten percent of their stockpile of toxic chemicals and special munitions battle-ready”, the Russian defense ministry said. “Therefore, before coming forward with evidence-free accusations against Russia, moreover, before lambasting anyone at international forums, US counterparts should themselves be – but not pretend to be – an example for the world concerning a responsible attitude to the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention”, it said.

UN Security Council discusses Kosovo


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.

Iraqi army, tribal troops advance to last Islamic State haven in Iraq


A military source announced to Alsumaria News that forces from the 7th division and tribal troops from Anbar province headed Tuesday towards the city of Rawa (230 Km West of Ramadi) on Syrian borders, considered the last area held by Islamic State militants in Iraq to liberate it and end a three-year-old war. The source also said that the forces are backed by Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition aviation. Since October, Iraqi troops took over IS’s major bastions in Iraq: currently only Western Anbar’s town of Rawa remain in militants’ grip. IS members have frequently been accused of booby-trapping civilians’ houses to hinder assaulting troops, and of using civilians as human shields: it is believed that a few thousands of civilians in Rawa have been holding by militants. According to the United Nations statistics, the war against the Islamic State has displaced at least five million people since 2014 and a monthly count by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq said that during October, excluding security members deaths, 114 Iraqi civilians were killed and 244 others were wounded as result of terrorism, violence and armed conflicts.

Iran deal proves diplomacy can replace war: Official


In a speech on 72nd anniversary of the UN foundation in Tehran, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs, Abbas Araghchi, said that the United Nations has been turned into one of the cornerstone of international cooperation in recent decades, a silent platform for member states and other entities committed to spread peace and security. The deal JCPOA is a clear example of how diplomacy can replace the prospect of conflict and war. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is an international agreement on the nuclear program signed by Iran and by the world major powers in which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. The recent drastic changes in the internal politics of the United States has put JCPOA under pressures, giving rise to voices seeking crisis and conflicts. The radical approach of the US on the global issues and the negation of collective diplomacy could be considered a serious threat for the whole world, for this reason the Iranian official underlined how the UN had to throw its power on JCPOA because its implementation should raise hope for a peaceful and understanding world. “The UN gives us the sense that we are not just states seeking our selfish goals, with no considerations of other opinions and needs and sufferings; It gives us the hope that we can and should try to make a better world through peaceful means, understanding and dialogue” Araqchi said. During the ceremony, the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister also expressed his special thanks to the UN Resident Coordinator in Iran, Gary Lewis, for his devotion and hard work in Iran, primarily on the development projects and humanitarian assistance.

China’s trade with North Korea slumped after nuclear sanctions


China’s trade with North Korea slumped in September, amid United Nations sanctions aimed at deterring Kim Jong-un from pursuing his missile and nuclear weapons programmes. Exports to the restive state in the month fell 6.7 per cent from a year ago, while imports fell 37.9 per cent, customs administration spokesman Huang Songping said at a briefing in Beijing. North Korea’s deficit with China in the first nine months more than tripled from the same period of 2016, to US$1.07 billion, he said, without elaborating. With China’s support, the UN has agreed on two rounds of sanctions since the beginning of August, including bans on North Korean exports of iron, coal, lead, seafood, textiles, and oil import restrictions.  China’s overall trade with North Korea for the first nine months of the year rose 3.7 per cent year on year to US$4.03 billion, slowing from 7.5 per cent for the January through August period. China’s exports to North Korea from January to September rose 20.9 per cent to US$2.55 billion while imports fell 16.7 per cent to US$1.48 billion. The customs agency said it would publish details of its trade in specific products with North Korea on October 23.

UN “the main coordinator” in settling the Libya crisis


Russia says it takes no sides in Libya and is convinced that the only way to achieve peace and stability in the country is through national reconciliation mechanisms that come from the Libyans themselves, not ones imposed from outside. However, it firmly believes that the United Nations must remain the main coordinator in attempts to settle the crisis and that while help from international, regional and neighbouring states are valuable, these must be harmonised. In an interview with the Libya Herald, Deputy Russian foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov, who has specific charge over Middle East and African affairs, explained the fundamentals of Moscow’s policy towards Libya and what it hopes can be achieved.

Afghanistan strongly reacts at Pakistan PM’s speech at UN General Assembly


The Afghan government’s mission in the United Nations strongly reacted at the allegations of the Pakistani Prime Minister regarding the terror sanctuaries in Afghanistan by raising questions regarding the safe havens and places where the Al-Qaeda and Taliban founds were killed or died as well as the killing of the former Taliban supreme leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor. “My delegation is exercising its right of reply because of an erroneous claim by one member-state regarding the presence of safe-havens and sanctuaries in Afghanistan”, the Afghan mission in UN said in a statement. The statement further added “Such reference is a deliberate attempt by the government of Pakistan to divert international attention over Pakistan’s longstanding failure to take effective action against various terrorist groups and sanctuaries on its territory. It remains evidently clear to the global community that the propagation of terrorist activities by State and non-State actors in neighboring Pakistan constitutes the main source of insecurity in our country Afghanistan and the wider region”.


Maliki rejects UN-sponsored initiative on planned KRG referendum


Iraqi Vice President Nouri Al-Maliki has rejected an initiative sponsored by the United Nations regarding a planned independence referendum in northern Iraq, saying that it contains several elements that are against the country’s constitution. The U.N.-sponsored initiative had aimed at finding a solution to the disputes between Baghdad and Arbil on the issue of the Sept. 25 referendum for the independence of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Maliki rejected the initiative by the U.N. envoy to Iraq because it “contains some implicit sections that are unconstitutional” adding that Arbil “has to respect” the ruling by the Iraqi Supreme Court that temporarily suspended the vote. A day earlier, Barzani said Baghdad has only three days to come up with an alternative in place of the referendum or the votes will go ahead as scheduled on Sept. 25. Saying that the purpose of the referendum “is to tell the world that Kurdish people want independence”, Barzani noted that any other alternative must achieve the same objective.

UN envoy to Libya crafts “action plan” to break political impasse


The United Nations’ envoy to Libya and Head of its support mission in the country, Ghassan Salame has announced an action plan to end the Libyan political impasse. Salame revealed his crafted action plan on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meetings, where a high-profile meeting on Libya took place Wednesday. According to Salame, the first stage of the plan is to amend the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). Salame added that the drafting of the plan would begin next week before the convening of a national conference under the UN auspices for all key Libyan actors to join the political process. “The conference brings together all the reluctant players, including House of Representatives and High Council of State as well as many Libyan parties”, he indicated. He explained that in the conference, all participants shall agree on the new members of the reconfigured executive institutions in Libya, adding that post-conference results will see the HoR and the Constituting Drafting Assembly (CDA) working together at the same time.

President Radev, Foreign Minister Zaharieva Support Call for Reforming UN


The UN member states must achieve consensus about conducting reforms that would increase the organization’s work efficiency and speed up the decision-making process during crises, President Rumen Radev commented for Bulgarian journalists here the expected results of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly, as quoted by his Press Secretariat on Tuesday. Deputy Prime Minister for justice reform and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva also supports US President Donald Trump’s and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call for less bureaucracy in the UN, more efficiency and closeness to the people, it transpired from a statement Zaharieva made here Monday. President Radev heads the Bulgarian delegation, which is in New York to take part in the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly. Minister Zaharieva took part in a UN General Assembly meeting about reforming the organization, organized and chaired by President Trump, her Ministry reported. Crises arise and develop very quickly, while reaching a consensus often times takes too long, said Radev. During the meeting, Zaharieva also conferred with the prime ministers of Albania and Macedonia, Edi Rama and Zoran Zaev, respectively, as well as with her counterparts from Macedonia, Romania, Croatia and the Netherlands.

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