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Posts Tagged ‘U.N.’

U.N. chief offered Mugabe deal to step down: WikiLeaks

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2010 at 9:31 am

Former United Nations chief Kofi Annan offered Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe a deal to step down and live in a safe haven, but the veteran leader rejected the offer, according to U.S. documents obtained by WikiLeaks.


A confidential document dated September 2000 showed that a source from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party told U.S. officials in Harare the party had been told that Annan, the former U.N Secretary General Annan, had made the offer to Mugabe during a U.N. summit in New York.


The source said the MDC did not know the details of the deal, reported to it by a businessman, but that it likely guaranteed Mugabe a financial package from Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi and a safe haven, the cable showed.


“Kofi Annan, in the recent meeting in New York during the Millennium summit, offered Mugabe a deal to step down,” according to the document.


“The opposition party heard that Mugabe turned down the offer the following day after discussing it with the first lady.”

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe addresses a meeting of the ZANU-PF party in Mutare 275km east of the capital Harare, December 17, 2010.… Read more »

A spokeswoman for Annan declined to comment.


Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 and although there has been talk of several plans to ease him from office in the last decade, the 86-year-old has rejected the idea, saying he would never live in exile.


According to another confidential U.S. cable published by WikiLeaks dated October 2009, a senior MDC official suggested that the U.S. should contribute to a fund to buy off security service chiefs.


Elton Mangoma, a senior member in the MDC and minister in the unity government, told U.S. officials that the military men were frustrating reform and did not want to leave office fearing that they had not made enough money and could be prosecuted.


“Mangoma asked for consideration of U.S. contribution to a ‘trust fund’ that could be used to negotiate the service chiefs’ retirement. He said he planned to approach the UK and Germany with the same request,” the documents said.


The service chiefs have in the past publicly backed Mugabe during elections, saying they would not acknowledge a leader who had not fought in the independence war, a reference to Tsvangirai.

Source: SGGP

Haiti cholera spreading faster than predicted: U.N.

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2010 at 6:49 am

Haiti’s deadly cholera epidemic is spreading faster than originally estimated and is likely to result in hundreds of thousands of cases and last up to a year, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday.


Since the disease first appeared in mid-October it has killed 1,344 people as of Friday in the poverty-stricken and earthquake-ravaged Caribbean nation.


But U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Haiti Nigel Fisher said the real death toll might be “closer to two thousand than one” because of lack of data from remote areas, and the number of cases 60,000-70,000 instead of the official figure of around 50,000.


Addressing a U.N. news conference by video link from Haiti, Fisher said experts from the World Health Organization were now revising their estimate that the diarrheal disease, spread by poor sanitation, would cause 200,000 cases within six months.


“They are now revising that to 200,000 in closer to a three-month period. So this epidemic is moving faster,” he said, adding that it was now present in all 10 of Haiti’s provinces. “It’s going to spread.”


“The medical specialists all say that this cholera epidemic will continue through months and maybe a year at least, that we will see literally hundreds of thousands of cases,” Fisher said.


It was “almost impossible to stop the spread of these cases because it is so contagious, and those who carry the cholera bacterium often take days to show it, and in that (time) they may move anywhere,” he added.


Fisher said U.N. and other aid workers needed to “significantly ratchet up” their response, including going through faith groups to distribute chlorine tablets to purify water, and increasing the number of treatment centers.


But he said opening new treatment centers was running into resistance from local authorities because of people’s fears of having them in their neighborhoods.


The anti-cholera campaign has been complicated by unconfirmed reports that U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal brought the disease to Haiti, where it had been absent for 100 years.


At least two people were killed and dozens were injured in clashes last week between U.N. troops and protesters. The United Nations has blamed the trouble on political agitators looking to inflame tensions ahead of elections next Sunday.


Edmond Mulet, head of the U.N. MINUSTAH peacekeeping mission in Haiti, told the news conference there was still “no scientific evidence” the epidemic had come from the Nepalese and that all tests carried out had proved negative. But experts continued to investigate, he said.

Source: SGGP

U.N. council gets Sudan report that infuriated China

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2010 at 9:23 am

Some 200,000 at risk of cholera in Haiti, U.N. says

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2010 at 9:23 am

China stops blocking harsh North Korea report: U.N. envoys

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2010 at 6:21 am

Canada fails in U.N. council bid

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2010 at 8:07 am

Canada suffered a humiliating defeat on Tuesday when it was forced to withdraw from the race for a seat on the prestigious U.N. Security Council, conceding victory to Portugal in the annual election.


In addition to Portugal, the 192-nation General Assembly elected Germany, India, South Africa and Colombia to two-year seats on the council. Canada had been vying with Germany and Portugal for the two seats in their geographic group but pulled out when it became clear that it lacked adequate support.


There are five veto-holding permanent members of the Security Council — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, the victors of World War Two — and 10 temporary elected members without vetoes.


But the elected members have some power because a council resolution needs nine votes in favor as well as no vetoes. Several Western diplomats said the presence of India and South Africa on the council would complicate matters if Washington were to push for new sanctions against Iran in the coming two years.


The five newly elected nations will serve two-year terms beginning in January 2011 and ending in December 2012 on the 15-nation body, the powerhouse of the United Nations with the authority to impose sanctions and deploy peacekeeping forces.


Canada has served six terms on the council and never lost a bid for a seat in the past.


In Ottawa, foreign affairs pundits largely blamed the embarrassing failure on Canada’s belated campaign, as well as on policies which were likely to have alienated many delegations — such as a strongly pro-Israel Middle East policy and reductions in bilateral aid to poor African nations.


But Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon blamed the opposition for what he described as an extremely disappointing defeat.


“I do not think this is a repudiation of Canada’s foreign policy,” Cannon told reporters at U.N. headquarters.


“Unfortunately back home in Canada the leader of the opposition determined that Canada did not speak with one voice,” he said. “He came out clearly indicating that Canada did not deserve a seat.


Opposition Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff had publicly questioned whether Canada under Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper deserved to be on the council.


COMPLICATIONS


When South Africa was on the council in 2007/2008, it was a headache for the United States, France and Britain.


It joined Russia and China in voting down sanctions against Zimbabwe’s leaders, was reluctant to sanction Iran over its nuclear program and stood with China against condemning Myanmar. In the end it did vote for two sanctions resolutions against Tehran in 2007 and 2008 after pushing to dilute them.


South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said tone of the issues her country would push is a suspension of the International Criminal Court’s prosecution of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for genocide in Darfur — something the U.S., British and French delegations oppose.


“We’ll give it our best shot,” she said.


India, which has close trade ties with Iran, and possibly Portugal, are also expected to be reluctant if new U.N. sanctions against Tehran are proposed, diplomats said. But Germany, which joined Britain, France and the United States in negotiating previous sanctions, would boost the Western camp.


Berlin ran afoul of the previous U.S. administration during its last council stint by opposing the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In the first round of voting, only Germany managed to cross the 127-vote threshold in the category known as “Western Europe and Others,” getting 128 votes. India, South Africa and Colombia were uncontested in their respective geographic groups and secured ample votes in the first round.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters in Berlin that the government was delighted with the results.

“Germany will work hard during its term to push ahead on reforms of the U.N. Security Council,” she said. “That is the expectation that a lot of people in the world have.”

Indian Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri told reporters that Security Council reform would be high on India’s agenda too.

Germany is one of the top contributors to the United Nations and one of several countries, along with India, Japan and Brazil, that are considered prime candidates for permanent seats on the council if U.N. member states ever expand it.

The five rotating members serving on the council until the end of 2011 are Bosnia, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria. The five nations leaving the council at the end of this year are Austria, Turkey, Mexico, Japan and Uganda.

Source: SGGP