Newscast Media NEW YORK—Saudi Arabia has refused to take its seat as a member of the UN Security Council on the grounds the body is unable to end wars and resolve conflicts. It was chosen to be one of five new non-permanent members on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Friday announcing it had turned down membership of the UN Security Council a day after it was elected as a new non-permanent member. The ministry cited the body’s “double standards” as justification for the move.
“The kingdom sees that the method and work mechanism and the double standards in the Security Council prevent it from properly shouldering its responsibilities towards world peace,” the statement carried by Saudi state news agency SPA said. It pointed specifically to the civil war in Syria, in which it is a fervent supporter of rebel forces, and the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
“Failing to find a solution to the Palestinian cause for 65 years,” it said, has led to “numerous wars that have threatened world peace.”
Moreover, “allowing the regime in Syria to kill its own people with chemical weapons…without confronting it or imposing any deterrent sanctions … is a proof of the inability of the Security Council to carry out its duties and assume its responsibilities.”
The ministry also criticized the council’s failure to rid the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction, namely nuclear weapons – in reference to Iran and Israel. It said reforms needed to be introduced before it would consider taking its seat, although did not specify changes it felt were necessary.
Despite the lack of a contest, there was disapproval from human rights groups over the appointment of Saudi Arabia as well as Chad and Nigeria.
“The prestige of a seat at the world’s foremost diplomatic table should prompt the new members to get their house in order,” Human Rights Watch’s UN director Philippe Bolopion said Thursday.
Source: Radio Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The UN General Assembly has elected five new
non-permanent members to the UN Security Council.
Saudi Arabia, Chad, Nigeria, Chile, and Lithuania will serve for two years on the
15-member Security Council, starting January 1, 2014.
All five countries ran unopposed in the October 17 election, but they still needed
approval from two-thirds of the General Assembly. They will replace Morocco, Togo,
Pakistan, Guatemala, and Azerbaijan.
Chad, Saudi Arabia, and Lithuania have never served on the U.N.’s most powerful
body, while Nigeria and Chile have both been on the Council four times previously.
The Security Council has five veto-wielding permanent members — the United States,
Britain, France, Russia, and China—and 10 non-permanent members.
Source: Radio Free Europe
Newscast Media NEW YORK—AU leaders may have decided against a mass withdrawal from the ICC, but confrontation is still in the air. As trial of President Kenyatta draws near, Kenyans are reacting with a mixture of defiance and resignation.
Kenya’s foreign affairs minister Amina Mohamed told the media in Nairobi on Monday that the International Criminal Court would have to wait “until after the president leaves office.”
President Uhruru Kenyatta’s trial on charges of crimes against humanity is due to start in The Hague on November 12.
Some Kenyans, like political anaylst Egara Kabaji, are clearly worried. “It basically means Kenya becomes a pariah state. Nobody will want to do business with us,” he told Deutsche Welle’s Nairobi correspondent James Shimanyula.
Lucy Mwangi, who sells chicken in Kariobangi on the eastern outsikirts of the Kenyan capital, said she didn’t suport Kenyatta going to ICC because it would be “unfair for Kenyans.”
At the AU summit, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda put forward a resolution urging for a withdrawal from the Rome Statute, the legal foundation for the ICC. This failed to obtain majority backing. Before the summit started, there was support for the ICC from political heavyweights Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana.
The AU’s deliberations were opened by the chairman of its executive council, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who branded the treatment of Africa by the ICC as “unfair and unjust.” He insisted that Kenyan President Uhruru Kenyatta should be allowed to “govern his country,” an apparent reference to his expected enforced absence from Kenya while he is in The Hague.
AU leaders want the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to defer Kenyatta’s trial for a year. The UNSC has the authority to do this under article 16 of the ICC’s Rome Statute.
Solomon Derso is an expert on the AU at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Addis Ababa. He told Deutsche Welle the UNSC would only agree to such a deferral when there was a threat to international security and that was not in evidence in the case of Kenya.
“I really don’t see any positive response coming from the side of the UN Security Council,” he said.
On examining the possible voting intentions of two permanent members of the UNSC, Harmen van der Wilt, professor of international criminal law at the University of Amsterdam, came to a similar conclusion. “It is well known that the UK and France are supporters of the International Criminal Court so they could say, well, we could veto the decision,” he told Deutsche Welle.
The AU recommended that as a last resort Kenyatta should simply refuse to appear at the court in The Hague.
Source: Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media KINSHASA—The Security Council has approved the first “offensive” UN force to battle rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo, according to Deutsche Welle. The resolution gave the 2,500-troop force orders to “neutralize” and “disarm” armed groups like M23, in the east of the country. The brigade and surveillance drones to monitor the Democratic Republic of Congo’s borders will be operating by July, UN
The force will act “in a robust, highly mobile and versatile manner and in strict compliance with international law,” according to the resolution, to “prevent the expansion of all armed groups, neutralize these groups, and to disarm them.”
The brigade will comprise three infantry battalions, one artillery and one special forces and a reconnaissance company with headquarters in Goma, the North Kivu provincial capital. The UN campaign aims to end conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo’s border regions with Rwanda and Uganda.
According to Reuters, South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi are the most likely candidates to supply the troops for the intervention unit. Mozambique had also been tipped to be part of the new unit but it will likely not be part of the new brigade.
The resolution also states that the intervention brigade will be made up of three infantry battalions, one artillery and one special force and reconnaissance company headquartered in Goma under the direct command of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, known as MONUSCO.
Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas –In a move that reverses a pledge to Saudi, European and Egyptian officials to hold off on asking the United Nations to recognize as a new state Israel’s occupied Palestinian territories, sources told the middle eastern news website DEBKAfile that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has decided to go through with his application to the U.N. Security Council on Sept. 23 for the admission of a Palestinian state to the world body.
DEBKAfile reports that during his visit to Cairo, Mahmoud Abbas was sternly warned by Saud al Faisal, Ashton and Egyptian leaders of the grave consequences awaiting the Palestinians if he forced the US to exercise its veto against their statehood at the UN Security Council. US President Barack Obama Tuesday made it crystal clear that he “objects very strongly” to the Palestinian statehood motion as “counterproductive” and “a distraction from solving problems that can only be addressed through negotiations.”
US sources report that the US President has refused to talk to Abbas for the past eight months owing to his refusal to join Israel for direct peace talks. He was advised by the Europeans, the Saudis and Egyptians this week that the US presidential boycott would almost certainly extend to fellow Palestinian leaders and US financial aid.
The Palestinian Authority would thus be placed under American sanctions. However, if he withdrew his statehood bid from the Security Council and accepted the new position paper, Obama would consider restoring communications.
Tuesday, Sept. 13, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “The path to creating an independent Palestinian state lies through direct talks between Ramallah and Jerusalem – not New York,” she said. Early Wednesday, the General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of Qatar reported that the Palestinians had not yet submitted their request to the General Assembly. It would therefore not come up for debate before October.
DEBKAfile’s sources report that while Mahmoud Abbas appears to have been hassled into a partial climb-down from his original plan to bypass talks with Israel by gaining UN approval of Palestinian statehood, he may not have caved in completely. Neither is it clear whether Netanyahu will swallow the new blueprint Tony Blair is about to dish up. http://www.newscastmedia.com/palestine-state.html