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Nov 5, 2015

Outgoing U.N. Libya envoy urges factions to accept unity plan

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The outgoing United Nations envoy to Libya on Thursday urged Libya’s rival factions to halt their attempts to obstruct a power-sharing plan intended to end a long-standing political crisis in the conflict torn country.

Bernardino Leon, who is due to be replaced soon by veteran German diplomat Martin Kobler, also defended himself against suggestions that it was a conflict of interest for him to accept a job in the United Arab Emirates training diplomats from one of the Arab countries most involved in the Libyan crisis.

Nov 5, 2015

U.S. fears Burundi ultimatum will trigger violence this weekend

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The president of Burundi’s five-day ultimatum for people to hand over illegal firearms or be treated as enemies of the state may spark extensive bloodshed in the coming days, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said on Thursday.

“The United States is alarmed by the escalating violence in Burundi and dangerous, irresponsible rhetoric on the part of the government, loyalist militias, violent anti-government forces and criminal elements,” U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said in a statement.

Oct 30, 2015

Iran backs six-month Syria ‘transition’ ahead of peace talks

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran signaled on Friday that it favored a six-month “transition” period in Syria followed by elections to decide the fate of President Bashar al-Assad, an apparent concession ahead of the first peace conference Tehran was permitted to attend.

Although sources who described the proposal said it amounted to Tehran dropping its insistence on Assad remaining in power, it was not immediately clear whether it would actually include steps that would remove him.

Oct 29, 2015

Iran signals readiness to compromise before key Syria talks: officials

VIENNA (Reuters) – On the eve of an international conference aimed at ending Syria’s four-year-old civil war, Iran signaled it might be willing to back away from its insistence that President Bashar al-Assad remain in power.

Iran could accept a six-month transition period at the end of which Assad’s fate would be decided in nationwide elections, a senior official from the Middle East familiar with the Iranian position told Reuters on Thursday.

Oct 28, 2015

Austria hopes border barriers will slow migrants

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria on Wednesday outlined plans to build barriers including a fence at a busy border crossing to slow an influx of migrants as Germany accused Austrian authorities of shuttling groups of refugees in its direction after dark.

Austria has largely served as a conduit into Germany for hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern, African and Asian migrants fleeing wars and deprivation who have traveled from the Mediterranean and through the Balkans since early September.

Oct 23, 2015

U.N. plans Yemen peace talks soon, warns of aid obstruction

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations envoy to Yemen was arranging face-to-face negotiations between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels but warned that a “disastrous humanitarian situation” has left most of the country in dire need.

Without naming specific parties to the conflict, U.N. envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed told the U.N. Security Council on Friday that it had been characterized by “blatant disregard for the laws of war.”

Oct 22, 2015

U.N. council will examine details of Iran’s missile test: Russia

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Russia’s U.N. envoy on Thursday said the United Nations Security Council will examine the technical details of a ballistic missile test by Iran, which the United States and its European allies have said violated U.N. sanctions.

The United States, Britain, France and Germany called on Wednesday for the council’s Iran sanctions committee to take action over the launch, which they said involved a ballistic missile “inherently capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.”

Oct 21, 2015

U.S., allies demand UN action after Iran missile test

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States, Britain, France and Germany called on Wednesday for the United Nations Security Council’s Iran sanctions committee to take action over a missile test by Tehran that they said violated a U.N. ban.

In a letter containing details on the launch, they said the ballistic missile was “inherently capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.”

Oct 21, 2015

U.N. issues summary of protection forces as Palestinians requested

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday released a summary of past international protection regimes for disputed territories as requested by the Palestinians, though he made clear he was not recommending one for holy sites in Jerusalem.

The report was issued after Ban held talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. After two days of Ban’s discussions in the region, there were no signs weeks of Israeli-Palestinian violence were ending.

Oct 21, 2015

Sudan begins releasing blocked supplies for Darfur peacekeepers

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Sudan has begun releasing food rations and other supplies for international peacekeepers in the conflict-torn Darfur region, though some of the more than 200 shipping containers have yet to be cleared by Khartoum, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

The blocked shipment has been a source of tension between the U.N. and Sudan, which accused the leadership of the U.N.-African Union mission (UNAMID) of ignoring agreed mechanisms for dealing with disagreements.

    • About Louis

      "I am Reuters' United Nations bureau chief based in New York. My previous postings were in Berlin, Vienna, Hong Kong and Prague. I have reported from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the United States."
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