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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.

Apr 10, 2015

U.N. wants ‘understanding’ of Western Sahara human rights situation

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling for an “independent and impartial understanding” of human rights in the disputed North African territory of Western Sahara, according to a report seen by Reuters on Friday.

Ban’s annual report on Western Sahara stopped short of recommending the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the territory (MINURSO) monitor rights, which the African Union has urged.

Apr 10, 2015

Iran deal could stumble on sensitive nuclear monitoring

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Beefing up international monitoring of Iran’s nuclear work could become the biggest stumbling block to a final accord between Tehran and major powers, despite a preliminary deal reached last week.

As part of that deal, Iran and the powers agreed that United Nations inspectors would have “enhanced” access to remaining nuclear activity in Iran, where they already monitor key sites.

Apr 7, 2015

African Union urges U.N. rights monitoring role in Western Sahara

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The head of the African Union has urged the United Nations to add human rights monitoring to the tasks of its peacekeeping mission in the disputed North African territory of Western Sahara.

The request came in a letter from African Union Commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. A copy of the letter was seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

    • 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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