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Apr 22, 2015

Proposed U.S., UK, French visit to Darfur was ‘odd’: Sudan

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Sudan’s U.N. mission on Wednesday criticized a proposed visit to its conflict-torn Darfur region earlier this year by senior U.S., British and French diplomats, describing the plan that Khartoum never approved as “odd.”

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Khartoum has declined to issue visas to the three deputy ambassadors, who were hoping to conduct a fact-finding mission.

Apr 22, 2015

Western Sahara’s Polisario threatens to review U.N. cooperation

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The Polisario Front independence movement in the disputed North African territory of Western Sahara has threatened to review cooperation with United Nations monitors if the world body gives up on the idea of a referendum on the region’s final status.

The threat came as the United States prepared on Wednesday to distribute a draft resolution to fellow members of the U.N. Security Council on renewing the mandate for the U.N. peacekeeping force in Western Sahara, known as MINURSO, for another year.

Apr 21, 2015

Sudan won’t give visas to US, British, French envoys: diplomats

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Khartoum has so far declined to issue visas for senior U.S., British and French diplomats hoping to conduct a fact-finding mission in Sudan’s conflict-torn Darfur region, U.N. diplomatic sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

They said Sudan’s failure to grant visas to the deputy U.N. ambassadors of the three veto-wielding Western powers was a further sign of Khartoum’s increasingly confrontational approach to the United Nations and the West over the U.N.-African Union mission to Darfur (UNAMID), which Khartoum wants shut.

Apr 21, 2015

U.N. Security Council demands aid access for Syria’s Yarmouk camp

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council on Monday demanded all parties to the Syrian civil war allow humanitarian aid to reach without obstruction the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, a site that Islamist militants had recently seized.

The unanimous appeal by the 15-nation council came after Pierre Krahenbuhl, head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, told the council behind closed doors about “extreme circumstances and hardship” in the camp, a diplomat who attended the meeting said.

Apr 17, 2015

Gulf states unhappy about U.N. chief’s ceasefire appeal: sources

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Several Gulf Arab states are unhappy about U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon’s call for an immediate ceasefire by all sides in Yemen and are expected to raise the issue in a meeting with him early next week, U.N. diplomatic sources said on Friday.

Ban on Thursday called for an immediate halt to the fighting, the first time he has made such an appeal since Saudi-led air strikes against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels began three weeks ago.

Apr 17, 2015

Iran submits four-point Yemen peace plan to United Nations

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Iran’s foreign minister on Friday submitted a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon outlining a four-point peace plan for Yemen, where Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have been targeted for three weeks by Saudi-led air strikes.

The plan, which Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced earlier this month, calls for an immediate ceasefire and end of all foreign military attacks, humanitarian assistance, a resumption of broad national dialogue and “establishment of an inclusive national unity government.”

Apr 16, 2015

U.N. chief urges immediate ceasefire by ‘all parties’ in Yemen war

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday called for an immediate halt to the fighting in Yemen, the first time he has made such an appeal since Saudi-led air strikes against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels began three weeks ago.

Ban said the poorest country in the Middle East was already in a crisis before the recent outbreak of hostilities, with levels of food insecurity that were higher than in the poorest parts of Africa. He said the recent fighting had only exacerbated those problems.

Apr 16, 2015

U.N. chief to name new Yemen envoy as peace efforts stall: sources

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is naming Mauritanian diplomat Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed to replace his outgoing special envoy to Yemen, who resigned after his peace plan to halt the war there failed, diplomatic sources said on Thursday.

They said Ban has briefed some members of the United Nations Security Council informally about his intention to appoint Ould Cheikh Ahmed to replace Jamal Benomar, a veteran Moroccan diplomat who brokered a 2011 transition plan aimed at quelling political turmoil in Yemen.

Apr 15, 2015

U.N. Yemen envoy to step down, may be replaced by Mauritanian: source

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – U.N. special adviser to Yemen Jamal Benomar is planning on stepping down from his job and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon is considering appointing a Mauritanian diplomat to the post as the civil war escalates, a U.N. diplomatic source said on Wednesday.

Benomar, a veteran Moroccan diplomat, had recently irked Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations for his handling of so far unsuccessful peace talks between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen and the Western and Gulf Arab-backed Yemeni government, Western U.N. diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

Apr 14, 2015

U.N. imposes arms embargo targeting Yemen Houthis; Russia abstains

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday blacklisted the son of Yemen’s former president and a Houthi leader, and effectively imposed an arms embargo on the Iran-allied Houthi rebels who rule most of the country.

The council voted 14 in favor. Russia abstained, saying some of its proposals for the resolution, drafted by council member Jordan and Gulf Arab states, were not included.

    • 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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