Posts Tagged ‘United Nations Security Council’

Syrian regime bombs eastern Ghouta despite UN Security Council-approved ceasefire — Expressing Disdain for the UN

February 25, 2018

Despite an UN Security Council-approved ceasefire in Syria, the regime has reportedly carried out fresh airstrikes in eastern Ghouta. More than 500 civilians have been killed in government raids in the past week.

A man runs away from the scene after Assad Regime carried out an airstrike over Arbin town of the Eastern Ghouta region

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday the regime of President Bashar al-Assad carried out new airstrikes on eastern Ghouta’s rebel-held suburbs despite the United Nations Security Council’s resolution on a 30-day humanitarian truce across the war-torn country.

Assad’s ally Iran said Sunday the attacks would continue on Damascus suburbs held by “terrorists.”

Read more: Opinion: Hell on Earth rages in Syria’s eastern Ghouta, while the world watches

Relative calm

There were also reports Sunday of clashes between regime forces and Jaish al-Islam jihadists in the south of eastern Ghouta, according to Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory.

Rahman, however, admitted the situation was more peaceful in eastern Ghouta than before the imposition of the ceasefire.

“Eastern Ghouta has seen its quietest night in a week,” Rahman said, adding the calm was short-lived as the Assad regime started bombarding parts of the enclave Sunday morning.

“The violence is limited compared to the escalation seen over the past week,” Rahman told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur news agency.

Read more:

Which rebel groups are fighting in Syria’s eastern Ghouta?

Merkel calls for European response to Syria, takes flak from opposition

A total of 127 children are among the 513 dead in the bombing campaign that the regime launched last Sunday on the enclave just outside Damascus, the Observatory said, claiming the airstrikes were being carried out by Syrian and Russian forces.

Control of eastern Ghouta is shared between two main Islamist factions, while Syria’s former al-Qaida affiliate is also present.

Besieged enclave

Russia has been pressing for a negotiated withdrawal of rebel fighters and their families like the one that saw the government retake full control of Aleppo in December 2016. However, rebel groups in eastern Ghouta have so far refused.

The enclave is completely surrounded by government-controlled territory and its 400,000 residents are unwilling or unable to flee the siege.

shs/jlw (AFP, AP, dpa)

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Israel: Ministers rip into Abbas, accuse him of distorting history — “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”

February 20, 2018

‘Dr. Abbas and Mr. Abu Mazen, we all know who you are,’ says defense minister; from opposition, Lapid attacks

Times of Israel
February 20, 2018

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the United Nations Security Council on February 20, 2018. (AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the United Nations Security Council on February 20, 2018. (AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary)

Israeli politicians slammed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for his speech to the UN Security Council Tuesday, branding him a “liar,” a falsifier of history, and accusing him of duplicity.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, the leader of the coalition Yisrael Beiteynu party, alluded to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in his condemnation of Abbas’s speech.

“We have been committed to fostering a culture of peace, rejection of violence,” said Abbas, adding that he would intensify efforts to secure full UN recognition.

“Dr. Abbas and Mr. Abu Mazen, we all know who you are,” Liberman tweeted. “With one hand you pay salaries to terrorists who strike at Israel, and their families, and with the other hand you ask the United Nations for recognition.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home), meanwhile, accused Abbas of distorting the Palestinians’ history.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks at a conference of local governments in Tel Aviv on February 14, 2018. (Jorge Novominsky)

In his speech, Abbas had said, “We are the descendants of the Canaanites that lived in the land of Palestine 5,000 years ago and continuously remained there to this day.”

“A nation inventing its past has no future,” said Bennett. “The Palestinians’ ancestors may have existed 5,000 years ago, but further south, on the Arab peninsula. I suggest Abbas focus not on building an imaginary past, but rather on creating a practical future.”

From the opposition, Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid accused Abbas of inflating the number of Palestinian refugees, which he had put at 13 million.

“Abu Mazen’s [Abbas] words about refugees in the UN are a baldfaced lie,” Lapid wrote on Twitter. “It doesn’t make sense that the world allows the Palestinians to be the only people in the world whose refugee status is handed down as an inheritance.”

“There are not millions of Palestinian refugees and there never were. Israel will never agree to the right of return,” added Lapid.

However, not all  Israeli politicians criticized the speech. Zehava Galon, chairwoman of the left-wing Meretz party, praised Abbas’s suggestion of an international peace conference, but said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be unable to agree to a deal.

“In any other situation I’d say that Mahmoud Abbas’s proposal for an international peace conference was a good idea, but the prime minister of Israel is a person who does not have a mandate to return territories,” Galon tweeted. “But it’s always fun to see [Israel’s UN] Ambassador [Danny] Danon blaming Abbas for refusing peace, a week after Netanyahu announced he was working to annex the territories.”

In his speech, Abbas had called for a “multilateral international mechanism” to pave the way for Palestinian statehood, while accusing Israel and the United States of obstructing peace efforts.

“To solve the Palestine question, it is essential to establish a multilateral international mechanism emanating from an international conference,” the PA president said, adding that he anticipated a summit by mid-2018.

The Palestinian Authority leader immediately left the council chamber following his address, leaving Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon to complain that he was once again “running away” from dialogue.

“You have made it clear, with your words and with your actions, that you are no longer part of the solution. You are the problem,” Danon said.

AFP contributed to this report.


Abbas at Security Council calls for a peace conference mid-2018 to recognise Palestine

February 20, 2018

Photo showing Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas at UN security council where he called Tuesday for the convening of an international conference by mid-2018 to pave the way for recognition of Palestinian statehood, Feb 20, 2018 (AFP)
NEW YORK:The Security Council in New York convened on Tuesday to discuss developments in the Middle East and the future of the peace process in Palestine.
President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the session, which started with an update to the council members by the UN special envoy to Palestine Nicolas Mladenov.
In his remarks Mladenov said that Palestinians are suffering due to Israel’s excessive use of violence and that the settlements are an obstacle to peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Abbas accused the UN of failing the Palestinians and leaving them without a viable solution.
He also condemned Israel for acting as a state “above international law.” On Jerusalem, Abbas criticized Washington for pushing the fate of Jerusalem away from the negotiating table.
In his speech, President Abbas called for a multilateral international peace conference to work on finding a solution between Israel and Palestine.
The talks  according to President Abbas should be held later this year and should call on the UN to recognise an independent Palestine.
The peace conference should also serve as a platform for mutual recognition between the Israel and Palestine.
Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, expressed disappointment that President Abbas left the room when the American official started her speech, in a clear snub to the US  representative since President Trump decided to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem. Haley said that many have opposed the ambassy dedcision, “You don’t have to like that decision…But that decision will not change” she said.


At UN, Abbas Calls on World Leaders to Recognize Palestinian State — Israel says, we want peace but “we will not chase after you.”

February 20, 2018


Palestinian president calls for international conference on Israeli-Palestinian peace by mid-2018, slams U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as ‘unlawful decision’

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, February 20, 2018.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, February 20, 2018.TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called in an address to the United Nations Security Council Tuesday to convene an international conference by mid-2018 that would result in the recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

Abbas speaks at UN Security CouncilUnited Nations / YouTub

“We call for the convening of an international peace conference by mid-2018, based on international law and the relevant UN resolutions,” Abbas told the UN Security Council in New York.

The Palestinian president slammed the Trump administration, describing Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as an “unlawful decision which was rejected by the international community, to remove the issue of Jerusalem ‘off the table.'”

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley talks with Israeli counterpart Danny Danon as Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt listen before a Security Council meeting, February 20, 2018.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley talks with Israeli counterpart Danny Danon as Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt listen before a Security Council meeting, February 20, 2018.Mary Altaffer/AP

Abbas said that the only way to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is by establishing “a multi-lateral international mechanism emanating from an international conference and in line with international law and the relevant resolutions.”

Abbas demanded that Israel halt settlement construction during any future negotiations, as well as during any other unilateral move that could have implications on a future peace deal. The American decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital should be frozen, he said.

Abbas’s plan is based on the Arab peace initiative, international and UN Security Council resolutions, rejecting an interim solution to the conflict.

The Palestinian leader said that “Israel is acting like a state above the law” and blamed the Israeli government for past failures to achieve peace. “Israel shut the door on the two-state solution,” the Palestinian president said.

Abbas stressed his commitment to non-violence, but said the Palestinians will oppose any attempt to impose a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon responded to Abbas’ speech, telling him that it “proves that you are no longer part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”

Danon said that “the only way it [Israeli-Palestinian peace] is going to work is with direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.”

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said following Abbas’ remarks that, while Washington is ready to speak to the Palestinian leadership, “we will not chase after you.”

Haley said that the Palestinian leader “must choose between two paths,” one that rejects America’s role in peace talks, or moving forward with Washington toward a negotiated compromise.

“The choice, mister president, is yours,” Haley concluded.

Jared Kushner, U.S. President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, arrived at the UN’s headquarters Tuesday for meetings about the peace process ahead of Abbas’ speach.

Kushner was accompanied by Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Abbas has been boycotting the Trump administration ever since Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.

A White House spokesperson told Haaretz that “as we continue to finalize our plan, we came to the United Nations to hear President Abbas’ speech. We strongly hope that he shares fresh and constructive ideas that can create a comprehensive and lasting peace for both sides because merely recycling the same talking points has not led to peace for decades.”

Kushner and Greenblatt were seen talking with Danon before Abbas’ speech began.

Palestinian leader goes to the UN to counter US on Jerusalem

February 20, 2018


© AFP/File / by Carole LANDRY | In an address to the UN Security Council Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas will call for a new collective approach to salvage the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

UNITED NATIONS (UNITED STATES) (AFP) – Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas will urge world powers at the UN Security Council on Tuesday to stand up to the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and establish a revamped peace process.President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem infuriated the Palestinians who declared that the United States could no longer play a role as lead mediator in the Middle East peace process.

The stage will be set for a tense face-off with US Ambassador Nikki Haley, just weeks after she launched a scathing attack on Abbas and accused him of lacking the courage needed for peace.

Addressing the council for the first time since 2009, Abbas will call for a new collective approach in a bid to salvage the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour.

Abbas “will say that after the 6th of December with regard to Jerusalem, that now is the time for a collective approach,” Mansour told AFP.

This could lead to a stepped up role for the other four permanent council members – Britain, France, China and Russia – or an expanded diplomatic quartet with Arab countries and others.

The Middle East quartet currently is made up of the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia.

Mansour said the Security Council – as the highest authority on matters of international peace and security – should come up with a new multilateral initiative and said the United States would not be sidelined.

In this new approach, the United States “will not have the only control. They will be part of the collective process for sure,” said Mansour.

“The bottom line is we want a new active process,” he said.

Israel, which often accuses the European Union and the United Nations of bias against it, would be reluctant to accept any other mediator than the United States.

Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon will also address the council.

– New phase of struggle –

Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told state media that a “new phase of struggle has started” as the Palestinians seek to protect their claim to Jerusalem.

The Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state and UN resolutions call on countries to refrain from moving their embassies to the city until its status is resolved in an Israeli-Palestinian deal.

In December, the General Assembly voted 128-9, with 35 abstentions, to reject the US decision to recognize Jerusalem.

That vote in the 193-nation assembly came after 14 of the 15 council members voted in favour of a similar measure. The United States vetoed that draft resolution.

Abbas’ address to the council comes as the Trump administration is preparing a new peace plan even though chances for agreement appear dim.

Tensions have also flared over the US decision to cut funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

Trump has accused the Palestinians of “disrespecting” the United States when Abbas refused to meet US Vice President Mike Pence during his visit to the region last month.

“We give them hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support,” Trump said, before warning “that money’s not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace.”

Abbas will also meet with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres but no separate meeting is planned with Haley, who has energetically defended the US decisions on Jerusalem and the funding cuts.

Haley told the council last month that peace will not be achieved “without leaders with courage” and warned the United States “will not chase after a Palestinian leadership that lacks what is needed to achieve peace.”

The United Nations granted Palestine the status of a non-member observer state in 1992, but an upgrade to full membership would require unanimous backing from the Security Council.

Diplomats said they were no plans for the time being to seek full UN membership, a move that would certainly face a US veto.

by Carole LANDRY

Abbas, In U.N. Speech, Expected To Ask Nations To Reject U.S. Mediated Peace Negotiations Between Palestinians and Israelis

February 19, 2018


© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File | A file picture taken on September 20, 2017 shows Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas addressing the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City


Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will call for an alternative to US-mediated negotiations with Israel during a rare address to the United Nations Security Council, Palestinian officials said Monday.

Addressing the council Tuesday for the first time since 2009, the longtime Palestinian leader is expected to call for multiple international powers to facilitate peace negotiations and again criticise the United States’ controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

President Donald Trump’s December announcement angered the Palestinians, who also consider the city the capital of their future state, and led them to say the US had disqualified itself from its traditional role as lead mediator in talks with Israel.

In a statement ahead of the visit, Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told state media a “new phase of struggle has started” as they seek to protect their claim to Jerusalem.

Senior Palestinian official Nasser al-Qudwa said on Monday that Abbas would be looking to gain support for a multilateral initiative, but added that the Palestinians would not dictate what shape it would take.

The 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement negotiated by the so-called P5+1 — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany — is seen by many Palestinians as a good example.

“We can live with different formats, the P5, P5+1, expanded Quartet, we can live with an international peace conference,” Qudwa told a news conference in Ramallah.

“Anything that can do the job, provide a reasonable basis for negotiation and follow up the process — sponsor it until it successfully concludes.”

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, is expected to respond to Abbas’s comments.

Israel, which often accuses both the European Union and the United Nations of bias against it, would be reluctant to accept any other mediator than the US.

Palestine is currently a non-member observer state at the UN, but would need a UN Security Council vote to be upgraded to full membership.

Russia casts doubt over evidence of Iran-made missiles to Yemen — Russian propaganda?

January 31, 2018


US President Donald Trump, flanked by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, speaks during lunch with members of the United Nations Security Council in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (AFP)
UNITED NATIONS: Russia on Wednesday dismissed evidence presented by the United States and UN experts that Iran had supplied missiles to Yemen’s Houthi rebels as inconclusive, signaling it would oppose a bid to slap sanctions on Tehran.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said it was unclear whether missiles and weaponry used by the rebels were Iranian-made or whether they were shipped before the arms embargo on Yemen was imposed in 2015, casting doubt over the findings of a UN panel of experts.
“Iran is vehemently denying it is supplying anything to Yemen,” Nebenzia told two reporters.
Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L), Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) shake hands prior to the Syria meeting in Sochi, Russia on 22 November 2017 [Kayhan Özer/Anadolu Agency]
“Yemen hosts a pile of weapons from the old days. Many countries were competing to supply weapons to Yemen during the time of president Saleh, so I cannot give you anything conclusive,” he said.
Ali Abdullah Saleh was Yemen’s leader 1990-2012. He was killed in December by his erstwhile Houthi rebel allies.
Asked whether the case had been made for action against Iran, the ambassador answered “no.”
Nebenzia joined UN Security Council ambassadors on a visit to Washington this week to inspect debris from missiles that the United States says were supplied by Iran to the Houthis.
The ambassadors had lunch with President Donald Trump, who urged the council to take steps to counter “Iran’s destabilizing activities” in the Middle East.
A recent report by the panel of experts bolstered the US claims when it concluded that Iran had violated the arms embargo on Yemen by failing to block supplies of missiles to the rebels.
The Trump administration has said it will seek action at the Security Council against Iran, although it has yet to specify what those measures might be.
“If there is something we will see. How can we pass judgment prematurely before we know what it is about,” Nebenzia said.
Russia has the power to block sanctions by resorting to its veto power as one of the five permanent Security Council members along with Britain, France, China and the United States.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley last month presented the missile fragments as “undeniable” evidence that a ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels at Saudi Arabia in November was Iranian-made.


The new Iranian long range missile Khoramshahr (front) is displayed during the annual military parade on September 22, 2017 in Tehran. (AFP)

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, suit

Above: Iranian foreign minister Zarif shares some fun with his co-equal from Russia Mr. Lavrov.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley points to previously classified missile segments she says prove Iran violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231 by providing the Houthi rebels in Yemen with arms, during a press conference at Joint Base Anacostia in Washington, DC, on December 14, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley points to previously classified missile segments she says prove Iran violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231 by providing the Houthi rebels in Yemen with arms, during a press conference at Joint Base Anacostia in Washington, DC, on December 14, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley briefs the media in front of remains of Iranian “Qiam” ballistic missile provided by Pentagon at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington. (Reuters)


US takes swipe at Palestinian leader Abbas — At the U.N.

January 25, 2018


© AFP/File | US Ambassador Nikki Haley said Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas had “insulted” US President Donald Trump
UNITED NATIONS (UNITED STATES) (AFP) – US Ambassador Nikki Haley took direct aim at Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Thursday, telling the United Nations Security Council that he lacked the courage needed for a peace deal.Haley spoke soon after President Donald Trump insisted that Palestinians had “disrespected” the United States and issued a new threat to cut aid during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Davos, Switzerland.

The United States remains “deeply committed” to an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, Haley said, “but we will not chase after a Palestinian leadership that lacks what is needed to achieve peace.”

“To get historic results, we need courageous leaders,” she said.

The US ambassador, who has strongly defended Israel at the United Nations, said Abbas had “insulted” Trump and called for suspending recognition of Israel after the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Abbas cancelled a planned meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence to protest the US decision on Jerusalem, which the Palestinians view as the capital of their future state.

Addressing the council, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour said the search for peace had been Abbas’ “life’s work” and suggested attacks on the Palestinian leader were a form of “demonization.”

Mansour said the Palestinian rejection of the US decision on Jerusalem “is not intended as ‘disrespect'” but rather a “position rooted in full respect for the law, for the principles of justice and equity.”

The Security Council was meeting to discuss Israeli-Palestinian tensions for the first time since the General Assembly voted 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions, to reject the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

The US move broke with decades of international consensus that the city’s status should be settled as part of a two-state peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

The meeting also followed a US decision to freeze more than $100 million in funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) that has been criticized by European governments.


Iran Calls UN Session on Protests Another Trump ‘Foreign Policy Blunder’

January 6, 2018

Iran’s UN envoy says country has ‘hard proof’ of foreign intervention in protests ■ Russia: ‘Let Iran deal with its own problems’

Reuters and The Associated Press Jan 06, 2018 12:43 AM

(L to R) Member of the Iranian delegation Javad Safaei and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley attend a U.N. Security Council meeting concerning the situation in Iran, January 5, 2018

(L to R) Member of the Iranian delegation Javad Safaei and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley attend a U.N. Security Council meeting concerning the situation in Iran, January 5, 2018 Drew Angerer/AFP

A United Nations Security Council meeting that centered on Iran’s anti-government protests was another foreign policy blunder of U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, Iran’s foreign minister wrote on his Twitter account.

Javad Zarif

The UNSC rebuffed the US’ naked attempt to hijack its mandate. Majority emphasized the need to fully implement the JCPOA and to refrain from interfering in internal affairs of others. Another FP blunder for the Trump administration. Iran’s statement:

4:35 PM – Jan 5, 2018
460 460 Replies 500 500 Retweets 1,918 1,918 likes
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“The UNSC rebuffed the naked [American] attempt to hijack its mandate … Another FP [foreign policy] blunder for the Trump administration,” Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted. Meanwhile, Iran’s ambassador to UN told the Security Council that his government has “hard evidence” that recent protests in Iran were “very clearly directed from abroad.”

People protest in Los Angeles, California, U.S., in support of anti-government protesters in Iran,  January 3, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
People protest in Los Angeles, California, U.S., in support of anti-government protesters in Iran, January 3, 2018. LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS

Iranian Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo also said the U.S. had abused its power as a permanent member of the Security Council by calling for a meeting to discuss the protests.


“It is unfortunate that despite the resistance on the part of some of its members, this council has allowed itself to be abused by the current U.S. administration in holding a meeting on an issue that falls outside the scope of its mandate,” Khoshroo said.

Russia’s UN envoy said the U.S. is “abusing the platform of the Security Council” by calling an emergency meeting on the protests that have roiled Iran in recent days.

Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the demonstrations are a domestic matter, not an international security issue warranting the attention of the UN’s most powerful body. “Let Iran deal with its own problems,” he said.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said at the meeting that the United States stood “unapologetically with those in Iran who seek freedom for themselves, prosperity for their families, and dignity for their nation.”

“We will not be quiet. No dishonest attempt to call protesters ‘puppets of foreign powers’ will change that. The Iranian people know the truth. And we know the truth,” she said.

“They are acting of their own will, on their own behalf, for their own future. Nothing will stop Americans from standing in solidarity with them. In 2009, the world stood by passively while the hopes of the Iranian people were crushed by their government. In 2018, we will not be silent,” Haley added.

At least 21 people have been killed amid the anti-government rallies and unrest that began last week. Iran has also seen three days of large pro-government demonstrations.


China Exposed: Resists U.S. Efforts in the U.N. to Blacklist Ships Doing Business With North Korea

December 29, 2017

Washington wants vessels be formally designated as North Korean sanctions violators

Image result for Lighthouse Winmore, ship, photos

Ship Lighthouse Winmore

China Resists U.S. Efforts to Blacklist Ships Through U.N.

WASHINGTON—China has pushed back against a U.S. proposal that the United Nations Security Council blacklist 10 ships for violating international sanctions against North Korea, diplomats said.

Sharing declassified intelligence reports, American officials urged that all of the vessels be formally designated earlier this month as sanctions violators, a move that would require U.N members to deny them entry to their ports. South Korea disclosed Friday that it had seized one of the ships on the proposed list, a Seoul official said.

But China informed a United Nations sanctions committee on Thursday that it would agree to list only four of the 10 ships targeted by the U.S., according to diplomats familiar with the Chinese notification. The remaining vessels, China told the panel, should be stricken from the proposed sanctions list.

China’s stance comes amid mounting concern about maritime violations of sanctions that have been imposed on North Korea as a result of Pyongyang’s nuclear and long-range missile tests.

The detained ship, the Hong Kong-registered Lighthouse Winmore, is suspected of transferring oil to a North Korean vessel in violation of a Security Council resolution establishing strict limits on the amount of refined petroleum that can be provided to North Korea.

The Winmore is alleged to have transferred up to 600 tons of oil to a North Korean ship on Oct. 19, days after loading the fuel at Yeosu, South Korea, the official said. The ship was held by South Korean customs officials on Nov. 24 after it returned to Yeosu, the official said. The Winmore isn’t included China’s list of four ships.

The disagreement comes amid an escalating war of words between President Donald Trump and Beijing over China’s willingness to tightly enforce international sanctions. A post to President Trump’s Twitter account on Thursday accused China of violating sanctions on North Korea, saying the president is “very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea.” China denies it has violated sanctions.

China’s position is crucial because the sanctions committee operates by consensus and reports to the Security Council, where Beijing holds a veto. Chinese officials at the U.N. didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The four ships the Chinese agreed to list includes three vessels that operate under the North Korean flag: the Ul Ji Bong 6, Rung Ra 2 and Rye Song Gang 1. The fourth is the Panamanian-flagged vessel Billions No. 18. According to the American information presented to the U.N., the ship’s registered owner is Bunker’s Taiwan Group Corp. and its beneficial owner is Billions Bunker Group Corp.

The ships the Chinese didn’t agree to designate as sanctions violators are the Lighthouse Winmore, Xin Sheng Hai, Kai Xiang, Yu Yuan, Glory Hope 1 and Sam Jong 2, whose registered owner is China Dandong Xianghe, according to the U.S. submission to the U.N.

Chinese deputy ambassador to the United Nations Wu Haitao speaks at the Security Council on Friday, Dec. 22.Photo: Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

The declassified American intelligence, which has been presented to the U.N., includes a series of photos taken Oct. 19 showing the Lighthouse Winmore side-by-side with the Sam Jong 2, allegedly engaged in an illicit ship-to-ship transfer of petroleum. Other photos show the Yu Yuan taking on a load of coal at Wonsan, North Korea on Aug. 12 and unloading it on Sept. 5 at Kholmsk, Russia. Some of the declassified intelligence was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

In their formal communication to the sanctions committee, a Chinese official said Beijing’s decision on which ships to list was based on the evidence but didn’t discuss the cases in detail. Western experts say China’s approach may reflect a broader strategy of agreeing to tough-sounding Security Council resolutions while modulating how strictly sanctions are actually enforced. U.S. officials, speaking earlier this month, said at least one of the ships targeted by the U.S. is owned by a Chinese company.

South Korean officials described the Lighthouse Winmore as a textbook case of sanctions busting. “This case is representative of how North Korea tries to tactically go around U.N. Security Council sanctions using illegal networks,” a South Korean official said. “Seoul authorities will report to the United Nations Security Council Sanctions Committee after taking relevant action.”

The Lighthouse Winmore’s crew members will be allowed to return to their home countries after investigations are completed, the official said. He couldn’t confirm a report from South Korea’s semiofficial Yonhap news agency that said the Winmore had 25 crew members who were Chinese and Myanmar nationals.

The ship operates as a Hong Kong-flagged vessel. Its registered owner is Win More Shipping Ltd. and beneficial owner is Lighthouse Ship Management Ltd. The South Korean government official said the ship was being rented out to the Taiwanese entity Billions Bunker Group at the time of the suspected violation. The entity is also linked to Billions No. 18, according to the American data.

A Security Council resolution passed last week gives member states more authority to seize the ships that have breached international sanctions and ban them from their ports.

The current violations pertain to two earlier resolutions. One resolution, which was approved in September after North Korea conducted a nuclear test, restricts the amount of refined petroleum that can be provided to North Korea, among other measures. The other resolution, which was adopted in August after North Korea carried out two intercontinental ballistic missile tests, imposed a ban on North Korea’s exports of coal, which American officials say have been the largest source of its external revenue.

Write to Michael R. Gordon at and Andrew Jeong at