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Sep 1, 2015

Cameroon involved in Central Africa ‘blood diamond’ trade: U.N. experts

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Illicit trafficking of diamonds from Central African Republic into neighboring Cameroon is helping finance the continuation of a nearly three-year conflict, an expert panel that monitors U.N. sanctions said in a confidential report.

Central African Republic (CAR) descended into chaos in March 2013 when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, triggering reprisals by “anti-balaka” Christian militias who drove tens of thousands of Muslims from the south in a de facto partition of the landlocked country.

Sep 1, 2015

Israel slams Palestinians’ push to fly their flag at U.N.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Israel on Tuesday complained to the United Nations about a Palestinian initiative to fly their flag alongside full member states’ at the world body’s headquarters, calling it “another cynical misuse of the U.N. by the Palestinian Authority.”

Currently, only member states’ flags fly at U.N. headquarters. While the 193-nation assembly overwhelmingly approved the de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine in 2012, a Palestinian attempt to secure full U.N. membership failed. Palestine is considered a non-member state.

Aug 31, 2015

Fukushima-related child cancers unlikely to rise: IAEA

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – An increase in thyroid cancer among children is unlikely after the meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant four years ago, but it remains unclear exactly how much radiation children in the vicinity of the plant were exposed to, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said in a report released on Monday.

Increased thyroid cancer is generally the leading health concern after exposure to nuclear radiation, but that may not be the case after the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency said.

Aug 28, 2015

U.N. urges political dialogue in Guinea Bissau to end crisis

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations on Friday urged political groups in Guinea Bissau to resume dialogue in the interest of ending an escalating power struggle that threatens to further undermine stability in the impoverished West African country.

Guinea Bissau President Jose Mario Vaz last week named Baciro Dja as the new prime minister in a bid to end a power vacuum after he dismissed the government of previous premier Domingos Simoes Pereira, according to a decree read on state radio.

Aug 27, 2015

U.N. chief sets out framework for Syria poison gas investigation

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Success of a new international inquiry aimed at assigning blame for chemical weapons attacks during Syria’s four-year-old civil war will require full cooperation of all warring parties, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday.

The remarks were included in a letter to the U.N. Security Council outlining his plans for an investigation into alleged gas attacks, to be conducted by the United Nations and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Aug 27, 2015

Rejecting Iran deal would isolate Washington: U.S. envoy to U.N.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Rejecting the Iran nuclear deal would lead to diplomatic isolation for the United States and significantly undermine Washington’s ability to achieve other foreign policy goals, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations said on Thursday.

In an article published on the Politico website, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said diplomats from the 193 member states of the United Nations are tracking the heated U.S. congressional debate over the deal “like they tracked the World Cup soccer pairings last year.”

Aug 26, 2015

Vatican says won’t co-sponsor Palestinian flag initiative at U.N.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The Vatican on Tuesday asked the Palestinian U.N. mission to remove all references to it from a draft resolution the Palestinians have prepared for the General Assembly calling for the flags of Palestine and the Holy See to fly at the U.N.

The Palestinian draft resolution, which was seen by Reuters, says that the flags of non-member observer states “shall be raised at the United Nations Headquarters and Offices following the flags of the member states of the United Nations.”

Aug 19, 2015

U.N.’s Central Africa force hit by new allegations of rape

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations’ troubled peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic has been hit with new allegations of rape by peacekeepers, including one underage victim, a U.N. spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Last week the head of the Central African Republic (CAR) mission, known as MINUSCA, was sacked after a series of allegations of sexual abuse and excessive use of force by peacekeepers. MINUSCA chief Babacar Gaye was replaced by Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, who was named the mission’s acting chief.

Aug 12, 2015

Head of scandal-hit U.N. Central Africa force resigns: U.N. chief

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The head of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic has resigned after a fresh round of allegations of sexual abuse and excessive use of force by peacekeepers, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday.

“Today I have accepted the resignation of my special representative Mr. Babacar Gaye, head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic, MINUSCA,” Ban told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York.

Aug 11, 2015

No automatic return of sanctions if Iran breaks arms embargo: Kerry

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Violations of an arms embargo by Iran or restrictions on its missile program would not force an automatic reinstatement or “snapback” of United Nations sanctions under a landmark nuclear deal, although other options would be available, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday.

“The arms embargo is not tied to snapback,” Kerry said. “It is tied to a separate set of obligations. So they are not in material breach of the nuclear agreement for violating the arms piece of it.”

    • 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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