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Posts Tagged ‘envoy’

US envoy seeks Chinese help to ease Korea crisis

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:12 am

A top U.S. envoy sought China’s help Thursday in easing the threat of war on the Korean peninsula, hoping to gain insights about a Chinese official’s recent meeting with North Korea’s absolute leader, Kim Jong Il.

Stephen Bosworth met with Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun, Senior Representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs Wu Dawei and Wang Jiarui, director of the International Department of the Communist Party’s Central Committee. Bosworth was expected to travel to Japan later Thursday.

“Ambassador Bosworth and Chinese counterparts had useful consultations on how to coordinate moving forward in dealing with North Korea,” a U.S. Embassy statement said.

A body guard, left, tries to shield off journalists while U.S. special envoy for North Korea Stephen Bosworth, second right, walks out of an exit upon arrival at the Capital Airport in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei confirmed Bosworth’s meetings. “The sides agreed to remain in contact on maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and over the six-party talks,” Hong told a news conference. The talks on North Korea’s nuclear program involve the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia, but have been on hold for nearly two years.

Bosworth had been expected to ask China for information on last month’s talks in Pyongyang between North Korean leader Kim and Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo, Beijing’s top foreign policy official. China has come under growing pressure to push North Korea, its close ally, to change its behavior after the communist country shelled a South Korean island late last year, killing four people.

North Korea will be a key issue during Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to Washington later this month.

Bosworth met Wednesday in Seoul with South Korean officials and said he was hopeful for “serious negotiations” soon on the North.

In Washington on Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi held “lengthy discussions” on North Korea and ironed out details of Hu’s visit Jan. 19, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.

Crowley said both the United States and China want stability on the Korean peninsula. “Neither one of us wants to see the emergence of a North Korea that is a nuclear state,” he said. “We hope that coming out of the visit and the discussions with President Hu Jintao we would have a consensus on the best way to move forward.”

Also on Wednesday, North Korea called for “unconditional and early” talks with South Korea to end months of tensions. Seoul quickly dismissed the offer, carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency, as insincere and said it was waiting for an apology for two deadly attacks blamed on Pyongyang.

Tensions between the two Koreas have been at their highest level in years since North Korea showered artillery on a South Korean-held island near their disputed maritime border in November, killing four South Koreans. The attack was the first on a civilian area since the 1950-53 Korean War, and occurred in waters not far from the spot where a torpedo sank a South Korean warship eight months earlier, killing 46 sailors.

The attack on the warship was also blamed on the North — an allegation the country denies.

But North Korea has made some conciliatory moves recently. On New Year’s Day, the government issued a lengthy statement calling for warmer ties and the resumption of joint projects with South Korea. Pyongyang, eager for food and fuel assistance, has said it wants stalled nuclear disarmament talks to restart.

Washington and Seoul have said the North must first fulfill past nuclear disarmament commitments before talks can resume.

Source: SGGP

UN rights envoy warns N.Korea further isolating itself

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2010 at 11:21 am

SEOUL, Nov 26, 2010 (AFP) – The UN human rights envoy for North Korea warned Friday that the country is isolating itself at a time when it badly needs humanitarian aid.

Marzuki Darusman was on his first mission to South Korea since taking the post this year but, like his predecessor, was denied entry to the country formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

“The DPRK should not find itself in isolation at a juncture when it needs the support and cooperation of the international community the most, both to address the human rights situation and the humanitarian needs,” he said.

Darusman was speaking days after the volatile regime fired a deadly barrage of shells and rockets at a South Korean island near the disputed sea border, claiming it had acted in retaliation to a military exercise being staged there.

A North Korean soldier on a naval vessel on the banks of the Yalu River some 70 kms north of the North Korean border town of Siniuju which lies across the river from Dandong in northeast China’s Liaoning province on November 26, 2010. AFP

The UN envoy noted that, after devastating floods hit the North in August, South Korea had offered 5,000 tons of rice and 250,000 bags of cement in humanitarian aid for victims in the impoverished country.

All such aid shipments have been frozen since the North launched its strike on the island of Yeonpyeong, which killed two marines and two civilians and wounding 18 other people.

It was the first shelling of civilians since the 1950-53 Korean War.

Darusman said that despite the outbreak of hostilities, “it is important to continue to provide such humanitarian assistance”, while ensuring that all aid distribution “reaches the neediest population”.

Source: SGGP

Japan’s envoy to Moscow returns home over island row

In Uncategorized on November 3, 2010 at 5:13 am

Tokyo summons Russia envoy over Medvedev Kurils visit: Jiji

In Uncategorized on November 1, 2010 at 5:41 am

New talks in November on WSahara dispute: UN envoy

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2010 at 7:52 am

Morocco and the Polisario Front will hold a fresh round of talks on the future of Western Sahara in early November, the UN special envoy for Western Sahara said.

Polisario had indicated it was available to take part in the talks scheduled for the beginning of next month, the Sahrawi news agency SPS reported, Christopher Ross said during a tour of the region.

Ross was talking to journalists before leaving the Algerian capital for Nouakchott in Mauritania.

Refugees at a camp near the city of Tindouf, where the Polisario Front is based. Morocco and the Polisario Front will hold a fresh round of talks on the future of Western Sahara in early November, the UN special envoy for Western Sahara said

Talks he had Wednesday with Polisario chief Mohamed Abdelaziz in Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf, southwest Algeria, had covered “the need to lessen tensions and avoid any incident that could worsen the situation or hamper discussions,” he said.

Earlier, Algeria’s APS news agency reported Ross as saying he hoped for advances in a settlement to the conflict over the region. Morocco annexed Western Sahara in 1975.

His talks with Abdelaziz had enabled them to look at ways to calm tensions and avoid complications to the negotiations, he said.

It was his fourth trip to the region since becoming special envoy in January 2009.

The Polisario Front, supported by Algeria, wants a referendum on self-determination, with independence as one of the options.

Morocco has pledged to grant the territory widespread autonomy but rules out independence.

Ross has already met Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on his trip. He is due next in Mauritania and Morocco.

The last informal meeting between Morocco and the Polisario Front took place in February near New York, but broke up without progress after two days.

A UN-sponsored ceasefire has held in the Western Sahara, which lies south of Morocco on the Atlantic seaboard, since 1991.

Morocco controls the bulk of the territory and Polisario runs the rest, with bases and refugee camps around Tindouf in neighbouring Algeria.

Source: SGGP

UN rushes envoy to mounting Pakistan flood crisis

In Uncategorized on August 5, 2010 at 7:22 am

The United Nations rushed a top envoy to Pakistan on Thursday to address the urgent plight of 3.2 million people hit by the worst floods in generations as officials warned the crisis was spreading.

As the humanitarian disaster pushed into a second week, fears are growing of a food crisis among survivors who saw their villages and farmland washed away, killing more than 1,500 people in northwest and central Pakistan.

Victims have increasingly lashed out against Pakistan’s government for being unable to provide better relief, piling pressure on a cash-strapped administration straining to contain Taliban violence and economic crisis.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon dispatched special envoy Jean-Maurice Ripert to help mobilise international support and address victims’ “urgent, immediate needs,” a spokesman said.

Pakistani flood survivors block a motorway to demand relief supplies in Charsadda on August 4, 2010.

Facing protests from desperate survivors clamouring for help, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday ordered government officials to speed up relief work and said ministers would each donate one month’s salary.

Ripert, former French ambassador to the UN, arrived in Pakistan Thursday and will visit affected areas in the northwest and meet government officials.

The record rains triggered floods and landslides last week that devastated villages and farmland in some of the country’s poorest and most volatile regions in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and central Punjab provinces.

“We see urgent need of food assistance to people affected by floods to prevent a starvation-like situation,” warned Amjad Jamal, spokesman for the UN World Food Programme.

“Eighty percent of food reserves have been destroyed by the floods, which also caused massive damage to livestock, markets, roads and overall infrastructure.”

Pakistan’s meterological department has issued new flood warnings, raising fears that the destruction is not over. Flood waters continued spreading into Punjab, the country’s most populous province.

“The flood water is increasing at different points and we are expecting more rain in next 24 hours,” Hazrat Mir, chief metreologist for Punjab, told AFP.

“This is an alarming situation. Conditions are miserable in those areas, particularly at Tounsa and Gaddu barrages. There are extremely high floods at Kot Addu and other parts.”

The number of affected districts in Punjab rose to seven and alert warnings were issued in five districts of Sindh to the south, the United Nations said.

Survivors complain they have been abandoned by the government, organising protests in the northwestern city of Peshawar and on Wednesday blocking the motorway to Islamabad for 1.5 hours.

Particular scorn has been reserved for President Asif Ali Zardari, who is deeply unpopular, for pressing ahead with visits to Paris and London at the height of the disaster, saying in a five-star hotel while his people suffer.

Although Gilani has said about 100,000 people have been rescued and “relief items in sufficient quantity” provided to provinces, many people say they have received no assistance from the government, only from local families.

“I am totally helpless now. I built a small house with a lot of effort. It is destroyed. How will I repair it? Will there be any government help? These questions keep haunting my mind,” said Falak Naz near Charsadda.

The United Nations said clean drinking water and sanitation were urgently needed to stop disease spreading among survivors.

An international relief campaign has included a promise of a 10 million dollar aid package from the United States, while the United Nations will disburse up to the same amount from an emergency response fund.

“We’ve sent over boats to help with search and rescue, water purification units to provide clean water for thousands of people and temporary bridges to replace bridges damaged by the floods,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

“This represents just the start of our efforts. We will continue to help Pakistan in the days and weeks ahead.”

The British government pledged eight million dollars in aid, while Australia pledged 4.4 million dollars and China 1.5 million. Other countries including Indonesia, South Korea and Canada have also promised help.

Source: SGGP

Report: US may send envoy Richardson to Pyongyang

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2010 at 11:27 am

SEOUL, July 19, 2010 (AFP) – A South Korean newspaper said Monday that US President Barack Obama may send an envoy to North Korea to break the impasse in relations.

Obama is considering allowing New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson — a veteran troubleshooter with the North — to accept an invitation to visit Pyongyang, according to the JoongAng Ilbo and its English-language sister paper JoongAng Daily.

The JoongAng Daily, quoting “multiple diplomatic sources” in Seoul, said Han Song-Ryol, deputy North Korean ambassador to the United Nations, invited Richardson in May to discuss issues including the sinking of a South Korean warship.

South Korea’s foreign ministry declined comment.

But spokesman Kim Young-Sun called for caution over any such visit while countermeasures are being discussed for the sinking. “We understand the US government shares the same position,” he said.

Tensions have risen since South Korea and the United States, citing the findings of a multinational investigation, accused the North of torpedoing a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, near the tense sea border in March.

The North denies involvement and says a UN Security Council statement on July 9 — which condemned the attack without specifying the culprit — vindicated it.

After the UN statement it reiterated conditional willingness to return to stalled six-party nuclear disarmament talks.

“I’m aware that the North Korean side told Richardson it is willing to consider expressing regrets or making an ameliorating statement about the Cheonan incident if he visits Pyongyang,” the JoongAng Daily quoted one source as saying.

“The North Korean government is seeking a chance to turn around the situation through Richardson since it’s been driven into a corner after the Cheonan attack.”

The paper quoted the source as saying the communist state’s tactics resemble its handling of the case of two detained US journalists. They were freed last August after former US President Bill Clinton visited Pyongyang.

The source said Richardson had told the White House he strongly wants to visit Pyongyang, but South Korea believed this was premature until the North admits involvement in the sinking.

Since the UN statement, the source said, “the Obama government is now taking a forward-looking position and it recently informed the South Korean government that ‘It’s hard to continuously block Richardson’s Pyongyang visit’.”

The last US official to visit Pyongyang was Stephen Bosworth, special representative for North Korea policy, who went there last December.

Richardson has visited Pyongyang numerous times. In 1996 he negotiated the release of an American who swam across a border river and was jailed for spying.

In 2007 he discussed the repatriation of the remains of US soldiers who fought in the Korean War.

Source: SGGP

US names new Thailand envoy

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2010 at 8:48 am

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2010 (AFP) – President Barack Obama on Thursday named veteran diplomat Kristie Kenney as the US ambassador to Thailand, where political tensions are running high after deadly street protests.

Kenney most recently served as ambassador to the other key US ally in Southeast Asia, the Philippines, where she helped smooth out relations through a series of incidents including rape allegations against a US Marine.

The nomination as ambassador to Thailand requires Senate approval. She would replace Eric John, who is completing three years in his post.

If confirmed, Kenney would have to tread carefully in Thailand’s complicated politics. Thailand in May summoned John after a senior US envoy met with “Red Shirt” protesters, who have sought a US mediatory role.

The Red Shirts’ two-month protest in central Bangkok descended into several outbreaks of violence that left 90 people dead and nearly 1,900 injured, ending in a bloody army crackdown.

Kenney, who has also served as US ambassador to Ecuador, was known in the Philippines for her public diplomacy including taking to blogs and Facebook to reach out to Filipinos.

Source: SGGP

Abbas tells US envoy blockade must be lifted

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2010 at 12:22 pm

 Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Friday told US envoy George Mitchell that Washington must press Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

A handout picture released by the Palestinian Press Office shows US Middle East envoy George Mitchell (C) beeing greeted by Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah on June 18, 2010. (AFP Photo)

“President Abbas insisted during the meeting on the need for a continuation of US efforts to achieve the complete end of the Gaza blockade,” his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP following talks in Ramallah, the political capital of the occupied West Bank.

He stressed that lifting the blockade would favour a restart of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians that were halted when Israel launched a devastating 22-day offensive in Gaza in December 2008.

Mitchell has brokered indirect talks and has been acting as a go-between since they started in May.

Abbas condemned the blockade as “collective punishment” against Gaza’s 1.5 million residents and dismissed as “insufficient” an easing of the measures announced by Israel earlier this week, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said.

Mitchell met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday and was due in Egypt on Saturday for talks with its leaders.


Source: SGGP

S.Korea to send envoy to China over warship sinking

In Uncategorized on June 7, 2010 at 10:25 am

SEOUL, June 7, 2010 (AFP) – South Korea will send an envoy to China this week to seek support for its campaign for the UN Security Council to censure North Korea over the sinking of a warship, officials said Monday.

Vice Foreign Minister Chun Yung-Woo will visit China for two days from Tuesday, a foreign ministry spokesman told AFP.

Chun visited the United States last week as part of Seoul’s diplomatic drive.

South Korea formally asked the council Friday to respond to North Korea’s sinking of one of its warships in March with the loss of 46 lives, despite the north’s threat of retaliation.

UN ambassador Park In-kook told reporters he handed a letter to the council’s chairman, Mexican ambassador Claude Heller, requesting action “commensurate with the gravity of the situation”.

The South can expect support from the United States, Britain and France but China and Russia, the other two veto-wielding permanent council members, have not publicly stated their position.

A multinational investigation team said last month there was overwhelming evidence that a North Korean submarine fired a torpedo to break the Cheonan in two near the disputed border in March.

Source: SGGP