Kofi Annan Resigns as Special Envoy for Syria

Kofi Annan, joint special envoy for Syria

Kofi Annan, the joint special envoy for the United Nations and the Arab League for the Syrian crisis, resigned today, leaving any residual hope for a peaceful resolution to the conflict gone for now. The resignation seems to have taken the UN by surprise, though Gérard Araud, the French ambassador to the UN, said after … Read more

UN Mission in Syria Renewed for 30 Days

A day after the United Nations Security Council refused to adopt a British-sponsored resolution that would have sanctioned the Syrian government if fighting persisted, the council agreed unanimously to renew the mandate of the UN mission in the country to monitor a cease-fire that never happened. The 400-member team, called the UN Supervision Mission in … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Five Lightweights Fight to Reform the Security Council

UN General Assembly

BERLIN — It is a story of political courage and steadfastness: After it had become obvious that the 2005 World Summit had not brought any progress in the reform of the Security Council regarding its composition of permanent and nonpermanent members, a group of five small countries, in short Small Five or S-5 — Costa … Read more

UN Security Council to Study Child Soldier Use in Colombia

BOGOTÁ — Two longstanding Colombian armed groups are cited in the United Nations secretary-general’s annual “list of shame” released this month, enumerating parties who use children in armed conflict, among other related human-rights abuses. The country’s two major antigovernment guerrilla groups, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or Farc, and the National Liberation Army (Eln), have … Read more

 

Swiss UN Mission Asks Others to Help Refer Syria to The Hague

Observers sent to the villages of el-Qubeir to conduct a fact finding mission following reports of a massacre.

As the 300-member United Nations unarmed observer mission in Syria suspends its work because of intensifying violence in the country, Britain and Switzerland are beginning efforts to refer the Syrian situation to the International Criminal Court. The British foreign secretary, William Hague, announced recently that his office is preparing a case against the Syrian government … Read more

A West African Coup’s Potential Ripple Effects

Guinea-Bissau army

DAKAR, Senegal — The fate of Guinea-Bissau hangs on precariously as regional and international bodies involved in resolving the country’s post-coup crisis, which forestalled a presidential run-off vote, disagree about pace and tactics. The complications from the coup and another recent government overthrow, in Mali, have created unease throughout West Africa, possibly the last place … Read more

UN Security Council Sends an Observer Team to Syria

Russian ambassador to the UN

The Security Council passed a resolution on Saturday allowing a team of 30 unarmed military observers to enter Syria as soon as Sunday to monitor the cease-fire that has more or less been respected since Thursday. Up to 250 observers, drawn mostly from United Nations peacekeeping troops in the region, are to eventually make up … Read more

In Tiny Guinea-Bissau, Ruthless Politics and Cool Refrain

Bissau port

BISSAU, Guinea-Bissau — Guinea-Bissau’s presidential election on March 18 and the shooting of the country’s former military intelligence that evening caught the world’s attention briefly, as rumors of a coup festered. So far, that has not happened. Since then, more prominent West African nations have snagged international attention: the presidential election run-off in Senegal, in … Read more

 

The Security Council Shows Unity on Syrian Crisis

special envoy to Syria

The Security Council adopted a presidential statement today backing Kofi Annan, the joint United Nations-Arab League special envoy to Syria, on his mission to resolve the year-long crisis there. Russia’s UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, told the press after the adoption that his country’s stance on Syria had not changed and that the statement reflected what … Read more

BOOKS

A Search for Truth Behind UN Motives in Africa

lumumba and congo

“How can a beret colored blue … vaccinate against the racism and paternalism of people whose only vision of Africa is lion hunting, slave markets and colonial conquest; people for whom the history of civilization is built on the possession of colonies?” The question was asked by Patrice Lumumba, the Congolese premier, who was worried … Read more

Security Council Vents Frustration Over Syria Crisis

British ambassador to the UN

In a voice of rare unanimity on the situation in Syria, the 15-member UN Security Council conveyed its “deep disappointment” that Valerie Amos, United Nations under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, was turned down by the government to enter the country to assess the humanitarian crisis. The press statement was read by Mark Lyall Grant, the … Read more

A Sobering Security Council Trip to Haiti

Security Council Visits the Fort National UN Base in Haiti

One of the most interesting developments in the Security Council’s work in the past decades is the increasing frequency and immediacy of “road trips” ambassadors are taking to the most problematic places on their agenda. Recent delegations have gone on missions to Afghanistan and numerous African nations, among other places. A year-old Russian proposal for … Read more

 

Invoking Pontius Pilate After the Vote

Of the many eloquent, impassioned speeches voiced by ambassadors in the Security Council right after Russia and China’s veto of the resolution aimed at ending the violence in Syria, Pakistan’s stood out for its professorial panache. Abdullah Hussain Haroon, the ambassador of the UN from Pakistan, invoked Pontius Pilate’s washing of his hands over the … Read more

‘A Sad Day for the Council’

Susan Rice, US Ambasador at the Security Council meeting on Syria.

Russia and China vetoed the draft resolution on Syria today after the draft went through tense, protracted rounds of Security Council negotiations this week, despite optimism shown yesterday by diplomats involved in the process at the United Nations. The draft was backed by Western powers and the Arab League, which has been leading the way … Read more

The Responsibility to Protect Gets a Checkup

When the carnage of the 1990s wound down, with more than a million people dead in massacres and brutal ethnic or political wars in and around Rwanda, the Balkans and elsewhere, nations that had failed to act to stop such tragedies began seeking ways to prevent future catastrophes. From this terrible decade, the long-postponed creation … Read more

At Security Council Workshops, Candid Talk

BERLIN — It is a big challenge for a small- or medium-size country to learn the subtleties and intricacies of the procedures and working methods of the Security Council after it has been elected as a nonpermanent member. This is particularly so if it is the country’s first or even second term on the council. … Read more

 

Palestine Quest for UN Statehood at the Security Council Stymied

It appears that the Palestinians’ request to become a full-fledged member of the United Nations by applying to the Security Council this fall has hit major stumbling blocks. As reported by Evelyn Leopold in a Huffington Post blog, the Palestinians are not expected to get the nine votes in the 15-member Security Council that they … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

New Members, New Chances? Security Council Elections

BERLIN — This month, the United Nations General Assembly elected Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo as nonpermanent members of the Security Council for the next two years. Three of the new members, Guatemala, Morocco and Pakistan, were elected in the first round of voting, Togo was in the third and Azerbaijan, in the seventeenth. … Read more

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