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UNSC votes to end Libya military intervention mandate

News4u - News Desk :  The UN Security Council voted unanimously to end its mandate for international military intervention in Libya, a week after Muammar Gaddafi was killed, bringing to an end the bloody conflict in the country.


The council adopted a resolution to rescind its mandate and put an end to the NATO mission in the country.

But India along with China, Russia, Germany, and Brazil abstained from the vote in the 15-member council.

It was in March that the UNSC had adopted the Resolution 1973 to allow for military intervention to enforce a no-fly zone in Libya after an armed uprising broke out against Gaddafi.

“Today, in a sense we are completing a sequence which was started by the vote of Resolution 1973 when the international community decided to act to prevent Gaddafi from slaughtering his own people,” said Gerard Araud, the French ambassador to the United Nations.

“During the seven months that have followed, we have seen dramatic events where the Libyan people have succeeded to free themselves with the support of NATO,” he said.

After Gaddafi was captured and killed in his stronghold of Sirte, effectively ending the resistance from his side, the National Transitional Council of Libya issued a declaration of liberation on Sunday.

In March, the council had adopted a resolution that imposed a no-fly zone in the country’s airspace and authorised member states “to take all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack in the country … while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.”

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The UN Security Council

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Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo elected to Security Council

News4u – News Desk : UN : Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo will serve as non-permanent members of the 15-member Security Council in 2012-13 after winning their seats during elections held earlier today at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

But a fifth vacant seat, which is allocated to an Eastern European country, remains unfilled after no country passed the necessary threshold during nine rounds of voting.

UN Member States voted in the General Assembly by secret ballot for five non-permanent seats divided by geographical grouping – three from Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, one from Eastern Europe, and one from Latin America and the Caribbean.

To win election, a country must receive a two-thirds majority of those countries present and voting, regardless of whether or not they are the only candidate in their region. Voting continues until the threshold is reached for the required number of seats.

Guatemala received 191 votes and was duly elected to the Latin America and Caribbean seat, Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser announced after the conclusion of the first round of voting this morning.

Morocco received 151 votes and Pakistan received 129 votes in the first round, which means they were elected to two of the three seats allocated to Africa and the Asia-Pacific. Morocco has served twice previously on the Council – in 1963-64 and again in 1992-93. Pakistan has served on six previous occasions, most recently in 2003-04.

Togo (119 votes), Mauritania (98), Kyrgyzstan (55) and Fiji (one) did not receive enough votes in the first round, and during a second, restricted round of voting Togo again received 119 votes while Mauritania obtained 72.

But in a third round of voting, Togo obtained 131 votes, above the two-thirds threshold, and was therefore elected. Mauritania received 61 votes. It will be the second time in its history that Togo has served on the Security Council, with the first stint taking place in 1982-83.

In the Eastern European category, after nine rounds of voting, no country had met the two-thirds majority threshold. Voting will resume on Monday. In the ninth round of balloting, Azerbaijan obtained 113 votes and Slovenia received 77 votes.

Today’s elections were held to replace the departing members of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria.

The new members will join Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa, whose terms end on 31 December 2012, and the five permanent Council members, which each wield the power of veto – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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UN-backed Millennium Villages project in Africa launches second phase

News4u – News Desk : UN : A United Nations-backed initiative designed to accelerate efforts to attain social development and eradicate extreme poverty in rural Africa today launched its second phase, aiming to improve the living standards of an estimated half a million people across the continent.

The Millennium Villages Project, a science-based partnership between academia, business and UN agencies to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), moves into the next – and final – phase with more than $72 million in new pledges, including nearly $50 million announced by George Soros, the founder and chairman of the Open Society Foundations.

The second phase will focus on business development to help the rural poor escape poverty and ensure that communities are on track to self-sufficiency when the project ends in 2015, the deadline for achieving the MDGs – the globally agreed blueprint for halving extreme poverty by halting the spread of diseases, promoting access to education and improving health care.

At today’s launch of the second phase at UN Headquarters, Secretary-GeneralBan Ki-moon recalled visiting Mwandama village in Malawi in May 2010 with Jeffrey Sachs, the Director of the Millennium Villages project and his Senior Adviser on MDGs.

“I saw first-hand how an integrated, holistic approach to development can help entire communities lift themselves from extreme poverty,” he said. “The MDGs are interlinked – a comprehensive fight against poverty, hunger and disease.

“Success in one brings success in others. We do not need to pick or choose among objectives. On the contrary, the UN is progressively investing in areas with broad multiplier effects. The challenge – especially in this time of financial austerity – is to build on this momentum.”

Mr. Ban echoed those remarks in an op-ed column published in The Daily News in Egypt today.

“Touring the Mwandama village, I saw the potential of modern technologies – smart phones and mobile broadband, improved seed varieties, the latest in drip irrigation, modern diagnostic tests for malaria, and low-cost solar-energy grids – to advance human well-being in ways that simply were not feasible even a few years ago,” he wrote.

According to a scientific review of the project, successes achieved in the first phase between 2006 and 2009 across 11 Millennium Villages include the following:

  • Malaria rates fell by 72 per cent over the first three years ;
  • Households with access to improved drinking water more than tripled ;
  • Across six sites, average maize yields doubled, and in some sites quadrupled;
  • Rates of chronic malnutrition dropped by one-third among children under two;
  • Students benefiting from school meal programmes increased to 75 per cent.

“It is the purpose of my foundation’s continuing support to help scale up the experience in the model villages in the first phase and to link small agriculture with business structures that will provide sustainable incomes for entire regions, not just for model villages,” said Mr. Soros at a news conference following the launch. “This will be the main focus of the next phase.”

Mr. Sachs said the project had made “tremendous breakthroughs” in achieving the MDGs in places that seemed “absolutely hopeless.”

“The essence of the projects has been to work with the local communities, typically clusters of villages of 30,000 to 50,000 people, using cutting edge, low-cost technologies in a highly effective way and making sure that the communities benefit from the synergies by simultaneously investing in agriculture, health, education, infrastructure and business development.”

The Open Society Foundations announced it would renew the partnership, pledging $27.4 million to support core project interventions, key staff positions, and the project’s monitoring and evaluation activities.

The Soros Economic Development Fund said it would also provide up to $20 million in loans to support investment-worthy business projects within the villages over the next five years.

“With the significant improvements already achieved in health, education, agriculture, gender equality, and incomes, plus the continued progress that we can expect in the second phase of the project, the Millennium Villages are on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015,” said Mr. Sachs.

In phase two, the project will focus on raising incomes through business development and linking farmers to larger markets to ensure continued growth and greater economic stability.

The project will also work to fine-tune service delivery and other local systems put in place in the first five years; ensure sustainability by gradually withdrawing financial support from the project as governments scale up investments; and to document and replicate project interventions through rigorous monitoring and evaluation, as well as an open-source online toolkit.

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The UN Security Council

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UNSC to discuss Palestinian statehood request

News4u – News Desk : The UN Security Council will take up for discussion Palestine’s historic application for statehood tomorrow and will refer it to the committee tasked with examining such requests.


The 15-member body held closed-door discussions yesterday on the application, which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had submitted to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last Friday.


Moon had forwarded the request to the Council.


Ambassador Nawaf Salam of Lebanon, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for this month, said the Council will take a decision tomorrow to refer the application to the Council’s Committee on the Admission of New Members.


According to procedure, any recommendations for admission must receive the affirmative votes of nine of the Council’s 15 members, provided that none of the permanent five members — China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States — use their veto powers.


The US has already said it would veto the plea if it comes up to the Security Council.


If the Council recommends admission, the recommendation is presented to the 193-member Assembly, where a two-thirds majority of members present and voting is necessary for admission of a new State.


Palestine currently has observer status at the UN. PTI

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The UN Security Council

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UNSC imposes sanctions on 2 Pak-based al-Qaida leaders

News4u - News Desk : UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council has imposed sanctions on two al- Qaida leaders based in Pakistan, including the terror group’s top strategist and propaganda chief Abu Yahya al-Libi.
Sanctions were also imposed on a senior al-Qaidaleader Younis al-Mauritani, who was in charge of the group’s external operations and had planned attacks on European economic targets.

The sanctions put into effect an assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo against the two, who participated in the “financing, planning, facilitating and perpetrating” of terror acts for al-Qaida.

An al-Qaida commander in Pakistan, al-Libi provided financial assistance to the terror group’s fighters in Afghanistan.

The Libya-born has also been a top al-Qaida strategist, field commander in Afghanistan and an instructor at training camps for the group.

A prominent figure in al-Qaida’s media operations, he has been referred to as its ”propaganda chief”, being second in visibility only to top leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

As of April 2010, Al-Libi had released 68 messages on behalf of al-Qaida and had urged Pakistanis to attack their government.

Al-Mauritani was in charge of al-Qaida’s external operations as of mid-2010.

He was planning an attack on European economic targets and had the support of Osama bin Laden, who had at the time devoted most of the organisation’s funds to support Al-Mauritani’s plan.

Al-Mauritani was wanted in Mauritania for planning an attack in 2005 against the Mauritanian military.

He was arrested in the suburbs of Quetta in Pakistan early last week. PTI


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The UN Security Council

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US supports UN Security Council seat for India

News4u-News Desk-

The US continues to support India’s bid for a permanent membership in the UN Security Council, the Obama Administration has said, as its official remained in communication with their Indian counterparts on Syrian developments.


“It remains our position that we support a UN Security Council seat for India,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters at her daily news conference.

“We continue to talk to India about what we are seeing in Syria. (Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia) Bob Blake has been in contact with some of his counterparts there and we’ll continue to have that conversation going forward,” Nuland said.

Earlier this month, India assumed the rotating presidency of the UNSC.

Ant-regime protests in Syria since mid-March have so far claimed more than 2,200 lives.




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UNSC condemns Syrian govt for human rights violation

News4u - News Desk : The UN Security Council on Thursday condemned the Syrian government’s violent crackdown on civilians demanding democratic reforms and widespread human rights violations, saying those responsible for the atrocities should be held “accountable.”


In a presidential statement read by Indian Ambassador to the UN, Hardeep Singh Puri, the Council called for an immediate end to violence and asked all sides to act with “utmost restraint, and to refrain from reprisals, including attacks against state institutions.”

India holds the Council’s rotating presidency this month.

“The Security Council expresses its grave concern at the deteriorating situation in Syria, and expresses profound regret at the death of many hundreds of people. The Council condemns the widespread violations of human rights and the use of force against civilians by the Syrian authorities,” the statement read.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the Council’s statement, saying it is the “clear message of the international community.”

He asked Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to immediately cease all violence against his people and to “fully respect human rights.”

The statement came after days of deliberations among the 15-member body on how to react to the large scale violence, killings and arrests in the Syrian uprising.

Speaking to reporters after the UNSC meeting, Moon said the Syrian authorities should implement reforms and comply with the Security Council’s demand to allow independent and unimpeded access to international humanitarian agencies and to cooperate fully with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Council also expressed regret over the lack in progress in implementing the reforms.

Terming the actions in Syria “as brutally shocking”, Moon said the killings should be investigated fully, independently and transparently and those responsible should be held to account.

“The legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people must be addressed through an inclusive Syrian-led political process that guarantees fundamental freedoms and rights for all.”

The Council stated the Syrian authorities should respect human rights and comply with their obligations under applicable international law.

“Those responsible for the violence should be held accountable.”

Puri, later told reporters, “what is most important… is that the council was on one page and completely unanimous” in the message it was sending to Syria.

“The Security Council reaffirms its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria. It stresses that the only solution to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process, with the aim of effectively addressing the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the population,” the Council added.

The Security Council also asked Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon for an update on the situation in Syria within seven days.

Moon said he will address all aspects of human rights violations in his report in an unbiased and impartial manner.

He said his efforts will include trying to talk to President Assad directly.

While weaker than a resolution, a presidential statement still becomes part of the Security Council’s record.

European and US council members had been pressing for a legally binding resolution that would strongly condemn Syria.

But Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa had been arguing that condemnation would not promote negotiations, promised reforms by Assad and an end to the violence.

The statement dropped references to a human rights inquiry that Britain, France, Germany and Portugal had called for in their earlier versions of the text.

Ignoring international pressure to end violence, the Syrian military deployed tanks, armoured vehicles and snipers today into the city of Hama.

At least 160 individuals have reportedly been killed, mostly in Hama since Friday as security forces used tanks, mortar shells and heavy machine guns against civilian demonstrators.

Several other people have been killed in Deir Ez Zur, as well as the suburbs of Damascus, the capital, and other towns and cities across Syria.


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UN meets again on deadly Syria crackdown

News4u - News Desk : The UN Security Council was to hold a second day of talks on Syria on Tuesday after President Bashar al-Assad’s tanks shelled the protest hub of Hama on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.


At least 24 civilians were reported killed across Syria on Monday, an activist said, among them 10 during protests after special evening prayers.

“Ten martyrs fell and several people were wounded by gunfire from security forces during protests in several Syrian towns after the ‘taraweeh’ evening prayers,” Syrian Observatory for Human Rights chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

He added that the day’s death toll on the first day of the fasting month was 24, and that more than 150 people were taken in for questioning on Monday evening.

The protests came as the UN Security Council held a first session of emergency talks on the deadly crackdown, with Western powers again demanding a condemnation of the violence, but the closed session ended with no agreement.

A top UN official told the meeting that on top of 140 people reported killed in a military offensive on Sunday, 3,000 people have gone missing and 12,000 been taken prisoner since the anti-regime protests erupted in mid-March, diplomats said.

Britain, France, Germany and Portugal hope to revive a formal resolution condemning Assad’s crackdown, a move which will be discussed on Tuesday.

Diplomats said, however, that it was more likely the Security Council would agree a statement, with no warning of UN action.

The UN meeting came after Assad showered praise on his troops to mark Army Day, saying in a speech that the army had “proved its loyalty to its people, country and creed.”

“Its efforts and sacrifices will be admired. These sacrifices succeeded in foiling the enemies of the country and ending sedition, preserving Syria.”

The embattled president also visited wounded soldiers in a Damascus hospital and said “all Syrians appreciate the army,” state news agency SANA reported.


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The UN Security Council

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UNSC splits al-Qaeda-Taliban sanctions list

News4u - News Desk : The 15-member UN Security Council, including India, voted unanimously to split a key sanctions list on al-Qaeda and Taliban, a move aimed at backing the Afghan government’s reconciliation efforts with insurgents.


The Council voted last night to adopt two resolutions - a new blacklist of individuals and organisations linked to al-Qaeda and another of those connected with Taliban whose activities focus on Afghanistan.

The separate lists are aimed at highlighting differences between the two outfits and make it easier to add and remove people and entities.

The Council also established specific criteria for having an individual delisted.

Following the UNSC move, Taliban and al-Qaeda will be treated separately when it comes to enforcement of the travel ban, asset freeze and arms embargo imposed in 1999.

India, however, pointed out that the linkages between different non-state actors and al-Qaeda were close, but it voted in favour to send an unequivocal message.

“The syndicate of terrorism, with intricate inter-connections, comprising al-Qaeda, elements of the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other terrorist groups that operate from within and outside Afghan borders are among the biggest threats from terrorism worldwide,” said Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s envoy to the UN.

“These bonds have strengthened over the years,” Puri told the Council.

“We have joined the consensus in favour of the resolutions adopted to convey an unequivocal and resolute message from this Council of its steadfast determination in countering terrorism,” Puri said.

Susan Rice, US envoy to the UN, described the move as an important response to the “evolving and distinct threats posed by al-Qaeda and Taliban.”

“Today’s action shows that the Security Council can adapt flexibly to evolving threats,” she said.

The two resolutions passed by the Council give the Afghan government a greater role in determining who is on the Taliban sanctions list.

“From now on, the Afghan government has a visible and distinct role in the process of listing and delisting,” German Ambassador Peter Wittig said.


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The UN Security Council

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UN Security Council to back new Ban term: diplomats

News4u - News Desk : The UN Security Council will tomorrow proclaim its support for Ban Ki-moon getting a second term as UN secretary general and his reelection should be completed next week, diplomats said.

The Russian government today became the last of the five permanent members of the Security Council to declare its support for a new term for the former South Korean foreign minister.

All 15 council members now back Ban’s new term and a formal vote by acclamation recommending his reelection to the UN General Assembly will be carried out tomorrow, diplomats said.

Latin American countries at the United Nations are the last regional group not to have given their backing for a new five year term for the 67-year-old Ban, but they will meet before the Security Council session tomorrow.

The 192 country UN General Assembly is scheduled to hold its election for the secretary general next Tuesday.

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The UN Security Council

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