Facebook

Twitter

iTunes

RSS

HEAR THIS HOUR'S UPDATE

Entries in Security Council (10)

Wednesday
Feb132013

UN Security Council Unanimously Condemns North Korean Nuclear Test

KIM JAE-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In a rare show of unanimity, the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday issued a strong statement against North Korea's detonation of an underground nuclear device, thus setting the stage for yet another round of sanctions against President Kim Jong-Un's government.

China, considered North Korea's most supportive ally, joined the 14 other members in stating that Pyongyang was in "grave violation" of three U.N. resolutions when it conducted the test earlier in the day.

By promising to take "significant action" to punish North Korea for what it says was a "a clear threat to international peace and security," the Security Council is on board with Washington, which previously denounced the "highly provocative" nuclear test that occurred two months after Pyongyang launched a long-range missile -- another violation of U.N. rules.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice will discuss how the Security Council can toughen and add on to existing sanctions that mainly target North Korea's already-dismal economy.

However, nothing so far has convinced Pyongyang and its relatively new leader Kim to put a freeze on their rogue nuclear activities.  Up to now, North Korea is the only nation this century to have conducted underground nuclear tests.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb022012

New Security Council Resolution Tones Down Calls for Regime Change in Syria

Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The U.N. Security Council could vote as early as Friday on a resolution that backs political change in Syria, though the text of the agreement falls short of calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

Previous versions of the legislation, which included a clearer call for a power transition as advocated by the Arab League, were criticized by Russian diplomats as amounting to an endorsement of regime change.

The U.N. says that more than 5,000 people have been killed in Syria’s bloody conflict, which could be headed towards civil war, but the Russians have consistently opposed efforts to either bring down Assad or impose an arms embargo. Russia is a key ally of Syria; its only foreign military base is located there.

According to the BBC, the resolution no longer includes a paragraph that would have prompted U.N. member states from stopping the flow of arms into Syria, but appears to garner the necessary consensus to avoid a Russian veto.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized Russian opposition at an event Wednesday, prior to the revision.

“Are you on the side of the Syrian people, are you on the side of the Arab League, are you on the side of the people of the Middle East and North Africa who have during this past year spoken out courageously and often for their rights, or are you on the side of a brutal dictatorial regime?” Clinton said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan312012

UN Security Council on Syrian Crisis: Not About a Military Intervention

Win McNamee/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The theme of the speeches at Tuesday afternoon’s U.N. Security Council meeting was for the Assad regime to immediately end the violence against the Syrian civilians.  Foreign ministers speaking in support of the resolution also said that the resolution does not mean there will be a military intervention in Syria.  There will be no vote on this resolution as of Tuesday.

Hillary Clinton in her remarks said, “I know that some members here are concerned that we are headed toward another Libya.  That is a false analogy.  Syria is a unique situation that requires its own approach, tailored to the specific circumstances there.”

Qatari FM Hamad bin Jassim al Thani reaffirmed that the resolution represents the Arab League’s calls to be a facilitator towards a peaceful transition to democracy and that it was not about a military intervention.

Arab League Secretary General Nabil al Arabi said his organization had gone to the U.N. as a regional institution working to end the violence in Syria.  He said the League wants to avoid a foreign military intervention in Syria and wants the Syrian people to decide its own fate.

Bashar Ja'afari, Syria’s ambassador to the U.N., noted in his remarks that he found it strange that the Arab League had gone to the U.N. Security Council given what he said were the hundreds of vetoes the body has cast against Arab causes.  

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe labeled as a “myth” the statement that the resolution can be construed as authorizing force in Syria.  He stressed how it was the Arab League that hopes to bring a peaceful resolution to Syria.  
    
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague was the most forceful in his remarks, noting, “This is not the West telling Syria what to do,” but Arab nations seeking to resolve the Syrian crisis.  He said the resolution makes no call for military intervention, though it puts Syria on notice that future options could be considered if the violence doesn’t stop.

He said it was ironic that Syria’s Ja'afari had focused on the innocence of Syrian children growing up in an idealistic period during the 1950s and '60s.  Hague pointed out it was ironic given that it was now the children of those grown children who are suffering in Syria.  Hague was critical of Ja’afari for seeking to place blame for Syria’s troubles on outside forces, saying it was the Assad regime that had started the violence and only they who could stop it.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan312012

Situation Growing Worse in Syria as UN Readies to Deal with Al-Assad

KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Damascus has become the latest battleground in the 10-month-long war between pro-democracy dissidents and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government forces.

By nightfall Monday, al-Assad's soldiers had apparently taken back the suburbs of the Syrian capital, which had been captured by rebel fighters joined by army deserters.

With the Arab League refusing to extend its monitoring mission in Syria, it's feared that the violence responsible for more than 5,500 deaths throughout the country will further spiral out of control.

It is now being left to the United Nations to take some action to end what has turned into a civil war although Russia's veto power as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council could thwart any attempts to force al-Assad out of office.

Sensing the U.N.'s continuing reluctance to get involved in Syria's morass, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday it was time for the international community to step up and hold the Syrian government accountable for its actions.

Carney told reporters, "We believe that the Security Council should not permit the Assad regime to assault the Syrian people while it rejects the Arab League's proposal for a political solution."

There is a resolution in the works that endorses the Arab League proposal for al-Assad to transfer power to a vice president so that a transitional government can set up free elections.  Yet, if Russia refuses to abstain during voting time, the resolution would go nowhere.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan272012

UN Security Council to Receive Arab League Plan for Syria

LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- After nearly a year of unrest, the United Nations Security Council should receive a plan from Arab nations early next week that seeks to resolve the bloody government crackdown that has left at least 5,500 people dead according to U.N. estimates.

Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby and Qatar's prime minister said Thursday they'll present their controversial proposal to the Security Council by Monday.

It calls for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to cede power to one of his two vice presidents so that a transitional government can be set up ahead of national elections.

The Arab League, which sent monitors to Syria earlier this month to check on al-Assad's adherence to an agreement that would remove soldiers and tanks from cities, believes it needs the muscle of the U.N. to convince al-Assad to step aside.

However, Syria has already rejected the call for foreign intervention and there is little hope that al-Assad will voluntarily end his 11 years of autocratic rule despite condemnation by his neighbors and the West.

The Syrian president has vowed to crush all dissenters calling for reforms.  He claims they're being riled up by foreign terrorists; such elements were found to be an influence during the so-called "Arab Spring" in Egypt and elsewhere. In Egypt, the terror-linked Muslim Brotherhood managed to get one of its leaders voted in as parliament speaker, and voters swept hard-line Islamists into power.

It remains to be seen if the Security Council would actually pass a resolution demanding that al-Assad give up his rule since permanent member Russia has already said it would veto any plan requesting sanctions or military action against its ally.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep272011

UN Security Council Starts Discussions on Palestinian Statehood

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The United Nations Security Council began meeting Monday about the Palestinians' demand for statehood.

The process could take weeks, if not months.  But since the Palestinians have sought their own country for six decades, they're willing to wait as long as necessary.

The first order of business is setting up a committee to review the formal request from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, which isn't expected to happen until the end of this week at the earliest.

While that's going on, the U.S. is trying to convince seven of the Security Council's 15 members to turn down statehood since nine are needed to grant it.  So far, the Palestinians can count on six votes.

If nine members do approve the request, the U.S. is prepared to veto the measure, effectively killing the chances of statehood, although the Obama administration hopes it doesn't have to get to that point since it would further alienate the Arab world.

Still, the White House is standing with Israel in insisting that negotiations are the only way to achieve statehood for the Palestinians.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug032011

UN Security Council Will Condemn Syria

Members of a pro-Islamic human rights group hold up a sign which reads "We remember Hama", during a demonstration to protest Syrian president Bashar al Assad and his regime, outside the Syrian Embassy in Ankara, on August 1, 2011. ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A United Nations Security Council diplomat has told ABC News the council has agreed to condemn Syria for widespread violations of human rights and the use of force against civilians in its crackdown on protesters seeking President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster.

The condemnation will come Wednesday afternoon in the form of a presidential statement, read out loud by the Indian permanent representative to the UN who holds the councils’ rotating presidency. Such a presidential statement is considered weaker than a full resolution, but is significant in this case because it has won the support of Russia, which blocked such action earlier this year.

According to the diplomat, the council will express grave concern at the deteriorating situation in Syria and express profound regret at the death of hundreds of people.

They’ll also call for an immediate end to the violence on both sides and say those responsible for the violence must be held accountable. The council will also note the lack of progress on implementing promised reform.

There was some discussion about whether to call for an investigation into the killings, but that is not expected to be a part of this action.

The British delegation re-introduced their draft measure on Monday, a day after dozens were reported killed by Syrian security forces in the restive city of Hama. Diplomats then met Tuesday to haggle over the text and Brazil offered some wording changes. Delegates met again Wednesday morning to approve the text that will ultimately be adopted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr222011

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Obama's Little-Noticed Words Could Put US in a Bind

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- So many promises have been made and commitments broken in the insufferably long Israeli-Palestinian conflict that few Americans took note of the goal President Obama set during the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting last September -- he set September 2011 as a target date for achieving a Middle East peace deal that would allow for U.N. recognition of Palestine.

The rest of the world, however, heard Obama's words, and that could mean some difficult decisions for the U.S administration in the months ahead.

The September 2011 deadline was quickly endorsed by the European Union, and much of the world. At the time, there was a glimmer of hope in the Middle East: Israelis and Palestinians had had their first direct negotiations in nearly two years, and leaders on both sides declared they wanted peace.

A few days later, Obama addressed the world's leaders with the message that the stalemate could end. "The conflict between Israelis and Arabs is as old as this institution. We could come back next year as we have for the last 60 and make long speeches and read familiar list of grievances," said Obama. "Or we can say this time will be different. ... If we do, we can come back next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations."

But within weeks of Obama's General Assembly address, after the end of a moratorium on new Israeli settlement construction, talks between both sides broke down. An increase in rocket and mortar attacks alongside the smuggling of weapons by Hamas has since exacerbated the situation.

Recently, Palestinian leaders have been using the president's words to lobby nations to formally recognize Palestine -- defined by its 1967 borders -- when the General Assembly reconvenes in September. But many see these efforts as a way to circumvent direct peace negotiations with Israel.

More than 100 nations have said they already recognize Palestine as a state. Gaining U.N. membership typically requires a recommendation from the Security Council and the approval by two-thirds of the General Assembly, or 128 countries.

The U.S., which has a veto in the Security Council, has so far rejected Palestinian bids for recognition as an independent state without first brokering a peace deal with Israel.

Israeli newspapers have been buzzing with the prospects of U.N. recognition of Palestine, and what it may or may not mean.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to address a joint meeting of Congress next month, and U.N. recognition of Palestine will likely come up.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec192010

UN Security Council to Meet over Korean Tensions

Photo Courtesy - Yonhap News Agency(UNITED NATIONS) -- The U.N. Security Council is meeting Sunday in an emergency session to discuss the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea plans an artillery exercise this week from the same island that North Korea shelled last month.

The North has warned of a "catastrophe" if the exercise is held.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who has met with top leaders in North Korea, has called for "self-restraint" by both countries.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec152010

VP Biden Chairs UN Security Council as Pre-Saddam Sanctions Lifted on Iraq

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The post-Saddam government of Iraq was rewarded for recent political progress by the U.N. Security Council, with Vice President Joe Biden chairing the session.

“Iraq is on the cusp of something remarkable, a stable, self-reliant nation,” Biden declared. Iraq has been his most sensitive portfolio on behalf of the Obama administration, and the U.S. chairs the Security Council this month, giving Biden a rare moment in a global seat of power.

The Security Council voted unanimously to lift economic sanctions dating back to the restrictions imposed on Saddam Hussein’s government after he invaded neighboring Kuwait more than 19 years ago.  Iraq’s new leadership is finally forming a government in the wake of elections months ago.

In the Security Council chamber, Biden pressed for passage of three new U.N. resolutions, insisting,  "In recent years, the Iraqi people have emerged from the depths of sectarian violence and they have flatly rejected the grim future offered by extremists, and they have earned themselves a chance for much better days ahead."

Biden last visited Iraq as the U.S. combat mission in Iraq ended officially on August 31, 2010. A year from now most all remaining American trainers and personnel are to come home.

“Iraqi forces are now in charge of securing their country," Biden told the Council, “and they have proved themselves more than capable of doing so.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio