Posts Tagged ‘United Nations’

Nikki Haley Urges UN to Challenge Iranian Actions — “Iran must be judged in totality of its destructive and unlawful behavior. To do otherwise is foolish.”

October 19, 2017

Bloomberg

By Kambiz Foroohar

 
  • Other Security Council envoys focus on Israel-Palestine issues
  • Trump last week declined to certify nuclear accord with Iran
Nikki Haley Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Nikki Haley urged the UN Security Council to consider a wide range of Iran’s “destabilizing” actions in the Middle East in an early test of whether President Donald Trump’s toughening position on the Islamic Republic is alienating allies and leaving the U.S. isolated internationally.

Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, used a Security Council meeting Wednesday on “the situation in the Middle East” to once again take on Tehran’s ballistic-missile program and its support for Hezbollah and Syrian ruler Bashar Al-Assad. But most of the other participants sought to focus on Israeli-Palestinian issues, especially Israel’s settlements in the West Bank.

The meeting was the first public effort to gauge support for the U.S. position on Iran after Trump declined to certify the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, on Oct. 13. Trump, making a determination required under U.S. law every 90 days, said the agreement with Iran and five other nations wasn’t serving U.S. national security interests, though he stopped short of quitting the accord entirely.

“Judging Iran by the narrow confines of the nuclear deal misses the true nature of the threat,” Haley told the Security Council. “Iran must be judged in totality of its destructive and unlawful behavior. To do otherwise is foolish.”

Despite Trump’s criticisms, U.S. allies have said they continue to back the agreement, pointing to International Atomic Energy Agency assessments that Iran has met its requirements under the accord. The agreement, negotiated during the Obama administration, was intended to ease economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.

Read a QuickTake Q&A on how Trump wants to build a new nuclear deal

Follow the Trump Administration’s Every Move

Europe’s position hasn’t changed since Trump’s speech, said Olof Skoog, Sweden’s ambassador to the UN. Skoog said the Middle East debate should focus on the peace process and not the nuclear deal.

“The nuclear agreement is underpinned by UN Security Council resolutions. It’s clear where we stand,” Skoog said. “The EU is determined to preserve the JCPOA as a key pillar of the international nonproliferation architecture.”

Representatives of Japan and the U.K. said Wednesday that they continued to support the Iran accord and that all of the participating nations should continue to abide by its provisions.

‘Confused’ Delegates

In a swipe at Haley, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said he wondered if “some delegates” were confused about the agenda item. “The fact that some delegations did not mention the word ‘Palestine’ saddens us,” he said.

The Security Council has maintained a critical stance toward Israel for years, and Arab nations, including U.S. allies, have resisted shifting that emphasis. Israel’s settlement policies are routinely criticized at the Security Council.

During her confirmation hearings in January, Haley said one of her main goals was to change the “anti-Israel bias” at the UN.

“Nowhere has the UN’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel,” she said at the hearing. The U.S. envoy frequently criticizes Iran’s regional role, its testing of ballistic missiles and human rights violations. In July, she helped persuade France, Germany and the U.K. to sign a letter of protest to the Security Council about Iran’s “threatening and provocative” launch of a rocket that can carry a satellite into space.

But this time, France and the U.K. have signaled they will focus less on Iran and more on the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

“For some countries this is an opportunity to go beyond the peace process itself to describe the situation in region — some countries might do that,” François Delattre, France’s ambassador to the UN, said before Wednesday’s hearing. “For others it’s also a great opportunity to focus precisely on the peace process, what needs to be done, and settlement activity. As for France, we will focus on the Middle East peace process, but I cannot say I will not mention other issues as well.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-18/haley-to-press-un-security-council-on-iran-after-trump-decision

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Philippines president Duterte says he could throw out EU diplomats ‘within 24 hours’ in expletive-filled tirade

October 12, 2017

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

Firebrand Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte has warned the EU and UN that he could throw out their ambassadors within 24 hours if they continue to “interfere” in his brutal war against drugs.

“You think that we are a bunch of morons here… The ambassadors of those countries learn a lesson now. Because we can have the diplomatic channels cut tomorrow, you leave my country in 24 hours, all of you,” he said during an expletive-filled tirade against colonialism in the capital, Manila.

There has been rising international outrage over a vicious crackdown on drugs users and dealers, launched by Mr Duterte after his rise to power in June 2016.

More than 12,500 Filipinos have been killed in the last year, with almost 4,000 during police operations and many more by masked assassins.

Last month the UK joined 38 other countries at the UN Human Rights Council [UNHRC] in Geneva to urge the Philippines to end the killings and allow an international investigation into the deaths. It was slammed by Manila as a “politicised” move.

Duterte appears to have been riled further this week by a suggestion by Human Rights Watch Geneva director, John Fisher, that the Philippines could be kicked out of the UNHRC, and by a visiting mission of European parliamentarians who told him publicly to “stop the killings.”

Filipino relatives mourn on the remains of Ephraim Escudero, who was a victim of extra judicial killing, during burial rites at a cemetery in San Pedro city, Laguna province, Philippines, 30 September 2017
Filipino relatives mourn on the remains of Ephraim Escudero, who was a victim of extra judicial killing, during burial rites at a cemetery in San Pedro city, Laguna province, Philippines, 30 September 2017CREDIT: EPA

“You are interfering in our affairs,” said Mr Duterte in a rambling address to a press conference on Thursday, switching between English, Filipino and Spanish. “We are past the colonisation stage. Don’t f*** with us,” he continued.

“You must have taken the Philippines for granted, saying that we could be excluded,” he said, although no government has called for the Philippines’ exclusion from the UN.

Mr Duterte said the Philippines was angry at the West for “stealing our resources” and denounced the US, UK and France in particular, suggesting that plundering the Middle East had led to modern day terrorism.

“You built your riches, you were ahead in the industrial race of planet earth because you stole the greatest resource of the Arabs – oil,”he said.

“You colonised there, then started to divide the Middle East – the United States, UK, France, and that is why you are paying heavily now with terrorism. May you end up happy for what you have done.”

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Philippines President Duterte Tells EU Ambassadors: ‘You leave my country in 24 hours’

October 12, 2017
In this Sept. 26, 2017 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated that there would be no let-up in his fight against illegal drugs, corruption and criminality. On Thursday, October 12, Duterte slammed anew the European Union in his speech during the relaunching of the Press Briefing Room at the New Executive Building in Malacañan. Simeon Celi Jr./Presidential Photo

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday launched another profanity-laced attack against the European Union for supposedly lobbying for the Philippines’ removal from the United Nations, this time, by asking the bloc’s ambassadors here to leave the country in 24 hours.

“Now the ambassadors of those countries listening now: tell me because we can have the diplomatic channel cut tomorrow. You leave my country in 24 hours. All of you. You must have taken the Filipino for granted,” an angry Duterte said in his speech in Malacañan.

“Do not come to this country again, we do not need you. You want to expel us? You try,” he added.

EU officials in the Philippines are yet to reply to Philstar.com‘s request for a comment on the president’s remarks as of this reporting.

Duterte, who easily won the race to Malacañang last year on a brutal law-and-order platform, has stoked international alarm for activating his deadly anti-drug campaign.

Human Rights Watch Geneva Advocacy Director John Fisher warned over the weekend that the Philippines might be removed from the UN Human Rights Council because Manila is “seeking to evade its international responsibilities” by rejecting recommendations to improve the human rights situation in the Philippines.

READ: Palace downplays ‘revocation’ of Philippine membership in UNHRC

Meanwhile, European parliamentarians early this week visited the country and cautioned that the Philippines risks losing the General System of Preference (GSP+)—a preferential trade deal that allows 6,200 of its products to enter the EU duty free—if it fails to immediately stop the killings and supposed political persecution of critics.

But Duterte was unfazed by the EU parliamentarians’ warning as he slammed Europe anew for supposedly interfering in Manila’s domestic affairs.

He also said the Philippines could let go any trade perks that EU has granted, adding that Southeast Asian countries and China could forge a free-trade agreement.

“You are interfering in our affairs kasi mahirap lang kami. Magbigay kayo ng pera then you start to orchestrate what things should be done and which should not happen in my country,” Duterte said.

“You bullshit. We are past the colonization stage. Don’t fuck with us. We ASEAN members can export to each other. We could also have tariff-free [trade],” he added.

EU overtook the United States and Japan as being the largest destination of exports from the Philippines in March, according to the Philippines Statistics Authority.

With $901 million of total exports, this makes the EU the biggest and fastest growing export market for Philippine goods.

The Philippines was granted beneficiary country status under the EU-GSP+ in December 2014, allowing it to export 6,274 eligible products duty-free to the EU market.

The alleged cases of extrajudicial killings in the country as part of Duterte’s drug war, however, has put at risk the country’s GSP+ privileges.

The country’s beneficiary status under the GSP+ necessitates the implementation of the 27 international treaties and conventions on human rights, labor rights, environment and governance.

Results of the latest GSP+ review is expected to come out in January next year.

READ: ‘No surprises’ for Philippines, EU says, as results of trade perks review loom

Early this year, the Philippine government announced that it would no longer accept grants from EU particularly those that would allow the bloc to interfere in Manila’s autonomy.

But Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia later said the decision to reject EU grants was “not a policy,” adding that Duterte, who is known to flip-flop on his statements, might “take back” his statement soon as this could only be driven by “reaction.”

READ: Philippines ends P13.8-B funding from European Union | Duterte may reverse decision to reject EU aid, Pernia says

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/10/12/1748103/duterte-warns-eu-ambassadors-you-leave-my-country-24-hours

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Saudis plan to redevelop the Shia-majority town of Awamiya

October 11, 2017

AFP

© AFP / by Anuj Chopra | A picture taken on October 1, 2017, during a tour guided by Saudi authorities shows a troop vehicle in the Shiite-majority town of Awamiya in the eastern Qatif region of the Sunni-ruled kingdom, after a security campaign against gunmen in the town

AWAMIYA (SAUDI ARABIA) (AFP) – Posters of sumptuous villas and palm-fringed boulevards hang in the battle-scarred old quarter of Awamiya, symbols of a controversial Saudi plan to redevelop the Shia-majority town which triggered months of deadly clashes.

Saudi Arabia prides itself on stability in a wider Middle East torn apart by conflict and strife, but Awamiya — on the kingdom’s oil-rich east coast — has a longstanding reputation of resistance to Sunni rule.

The latest wave of violence erupted in the summer when authorities began tearing down the neighbourhood of Musawara, a walled area dating back to the Ottoman Empire, saying its labyrinthine streets and maze-like structures had become a breeding ground for “terrorists”.

The demolitions prompted militants who chafe under Saudi rule to clash with government forces, bringing death and destruction on a scale that evoked comparisons to a war zone.

The outer walls of buildings and mosques are constellations of bullet holes. Mangled carcasses of burned-out cars lay strewn across its once-vibrant streets. Broken roller shutters expose mouldering jars of jam and cookies in a scorched grocery store.

A government official who gave AFP a rare tour of Musawara drew a triangle in the sand with a twig to describe the fighting.

“Terrorists,” he said, pointing at the apex of the triangle and “government forces” at the base.

“In between, house, house, house,” he said, explaining how pitched battles between the opposing sides wrought destruction on the neighbourhood.

In August, the government announced the end of a three-month campaign to flush out gunmen from Musawara. Protest messages on walls bearing insults to the government were scrubbed.

“This is not a Shia-Sunni problem; this is a terrorist problem,” the official said, revealing a cell phone image of a bullet-ridden government bulldozer targeted by snipers in the neighbourhood.

“We target anyone who is dangerous for the country ?- Shia or Sunni.”

– ‘Tired, tired, tired’ –

Awamiya, a town of around 25,000 people, has seen bouts of unrest since 2011 when protesters emboldened by the Arab Spring uprisings called for an end to perceived discrimination of Shia minorities.

Saudi Arabia’s Shiite community makes up an estimated 10 to 15 percent of the country’s population of 32 million.

Awamiya was also home to Nimr al-Nimr, a fiery Shia cleric and government critic who was executed last year on terrorism charges, sparking widespread outrage and leading to renewed tensions with regional rival Iran.

“We hope Awamiya will be restored to its former glory,” said Mohammed Ali al-Shoyoukh, an elderly resident who recently returned to the area after the fighting subsided.

“Honestly, we are tired, tired, tired,” he told AFP in the presence of the government official.

The exact number of fatalities from the clashes is unclear.

Human Rights Watch reported in August that more than a dozen people were killed, including Saudis and foreigners, in addition to five armed militants.

The interior ministry told AFP that 28 members of the security forces were killed in the wider Qatif region, which includes Awamiya, since the outbreak of unrest in 2011.

– ‘Unique heritage’ –

The government, meanwhile, is pressing ahead with the multi-million-dollar plan to redevelop the area.

The town’s acting mayor Essam al-Mulla gave AFP a video presentation of his blueprint to transform the wasteland with glass-fronted villas, fountains and shopping malls, shaded by verdant palm fronds and bordered by manicured lawns.

The construction was supposed to start three months ago, but was delayed because of fighting.

“It will now take two years to complete,” he said.

The cost of the project is unclear but Mulla said the compensation package alone for 488 Musawara homes slated for demolition would cost around 800 million riyals ($213 million).

He brushed aside criticism from the United Nations that the destruction would erase the neighbourhood’s “unique regional heritage”, saying that efforts were in place to maintain ancient structures including traditional wells.

Despite the recent unrest, he said, a majority of residents supported the redevelopment as most homes were unsuitable for habitation.

– Uncertain future –

“Awamiya’s (residents) want government investment in their communities, but more than that they’re demanding an end to discrimination,” said Adam Coogle, a HRW researcher.

“Saudi Arabia’s violent approach to destroying the Musawara neighbourhood and the many allegations of harm to residents during the process are unlikely to reassure Saudi Shia that the state has their best interests in mind.”

But the government official dismissed that view, saying the latest unrest ended in part with the support of local residents, many of whom spied on militant hideouts, leading to a number of targeted killings and arrests.

“There are still some terrorists at large, but their number is small,” he said, pointing at a school inside Musawara that he claimed the militants occupied as a launchpad for sniper raids.

But government forces themselves face allegations of occupying a public school, firing into populated areas and shutting down clinics and pharmacies to deny militants a chance to seek medical treatment, according to activists cited by HRW.

An activist in Awamiya said a tenuous calm had settled over the area, with random episodes of “arrests and harassment” still rattling residents.

“The town has a heavy security presence and is still surrounded by concrete walls and checkpoints,” he said, adding that the blockade was having an impact on farming and fishing communities as well as local merchants.

“The situation has calmed down but the future looks uncertain.”

by Anuj Chopra

Jordan says feeding, housing Syrian refugees has cost $10 billion

October 10, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Prefabricated metal homes stretch into the distance at the Azraq camp for Syrian refugees in northern Jordan
AMMAN (AFP) – Authorities in Jordan on Tuesday estimated at more than $10 billion the cost of hosting thousands of refugees displaced from neighbouring Syria since the civil war broke out there in 2011.The UN says that some 650,000 Syrian refugees are currently being housed in Jordan, but the government puts the figure far higher at around 1.3 million people.

In a statement released on social media, the foreign ministry said “more than $10.3 billion” (8.7 billion euros) had been spent on putting up the refugees.

That figure covered additional expenses in sectors including health, education and employment, and also extra money spent on public services and subsidised food, it said.

Jordan, which shares a 370 kilometre (230 mile) border with Syria, estimates that almost $1.7 billion will be needed to cover the refugees this year.

The kingdom — which has called for the international community to do more on the crisis — has recently come under fire from Human Rights Watch for allegedly “summarily deporting” Syrian refugees.

The group said that on average some 400 refugees were being removed each month at the start of 2017 in a move that could be aimed at preventing the violence in Syria spilling over onto Jordanian territory after several armed attacks.

Authorities insisted that any return of refugees to Syria was voluntary and that they only headed to areas in the country that are considered safe.

The UN refugee agency says 93 percent of the Syrian refugees in Jordan live below the poverty line. Around 180,000 of them are housed in two sprawling camps in the desert.

Fighting in Syria has claimed more than 330,000 lives since a brutal crackdown by the army on protesters in 2011 spiralled into all-out conflict.

The UN estimates that more than five million Syrians have been driven from the country by fighting, with the majority settling in neighbouring Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

India slams Pakistan for repeatedly raising Kashmir issue

October 10, 2017

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UNITED NATION: India today slammed Pakistan at the UN for repeatedly raising the Kashmir issue on platforms where it has not been part of the agenda, saying the neighbouring country has ventured to plough a “lonely furrow contrary to the onward march of history”.

India’s response came after Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, said that the decolonisation agenda of the UN will “remain incomplete” without resolution of the “long festering dispute” of Jammu and Kashmir.

The issues was raised by Pakistan during a debate on decolonisation in the fourth committee of the UN General Assembly.

Read more at:
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/61016194.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

Pakistan slams India for ‘mass blinding’ in Kashmir

October 10, 2017
October 10, 2017
By: Samaa Web Desk
Published in Pakistan
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UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan told the U.N. on Monday that India’s use of pellet guns against peaceful protesters in Indian occupied Kashmir has left many young Kashmiris blinded, saying the move amounted to “first mass blinding in human history.”

Speaking in the General Assembly’s Special Political and Decolonization (Fourth) Committee, Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi also said the U.N.’s decolonization agenda would remain incomplete without settling the Kashmir dispute on the basis of Security Council resolutions that pledged the right of self-determination to the Kashmiri people.

She emphasized that implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the decolonization agenda was not limited to the issue of Non‘Self‘Governing Territories, but also encompassed other peoples living under alien occupation.

“Our aim therefore should be to ensure that all peoples under colonial administration or foreign occupation are allowed to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination,” the Pakistani envoy said.

The Kashmiri people, she said, were still waiting for the Organization to fulfil its promise to hold a United Nations‘ supervised plebiscite that would enable them to determine their own political destiny.

“This represents the most persistent failure of the United Nations,” Ambassador Lodhi told delegates.
By use of force and fraud, India had prevented the people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir from exercising their fundamental right to self‘determination, she recalled, pointing out that it had deployed tens of thousands of troops to suppress the freedom struggle there.

Accusing India of indulging in “worst form of state terrorism”, the Pakistani envoy said the use of pellet guns against unarmed peaceful protesters had blinded and maimed for life a generation of young Kashmiris. “This has been aptly described as the first mass blinding in human history”. – APP

https://www.samaa.tv/pakistan/2017/10/pakistan-slams-india-mass-blinding-kashmir/

Human Rights Watch: International groups concerned about “murderous war on drugs” in the Philippines

October 9, 2017
John Fisher, a senior official of Human Rights Watch based in Geneva, in an interview in the Philstar.com newsroom in Manila in October 2017. Philstar.com/RP Ocampo

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines should expect greater international involvement and scrutiny if it continues to ignore concerns over Manila’s “murderous war on drugs,” according to an official of Human Rights Watch in Geneva.

John Fisher, the advocacy director of the human rights watchdog in Geneva, Switzerland, said that the Philippines could see investigations by United Nations-appointed probers and special rapporteurs to look into the mounting number of drug-related killings in the country if would not take sufficient steps to stop these deaths and to hold people to account.

Aside from the visits of probers from the international body, the bilateral relations of Manila with some countries could also be affected as more and more states express their concern over human rights violations in the name of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, Fisher noted.

Economic sanctions can also be imposed, but these depend on individual nations, according to Fisher, as he called on the government and Duterte to end violence and impunity in their campaign to eradicate narcotics in the country.

“If the government continues to reject and deny that there is extrajudicial death and the president continues to reinforce the calls for these kinds of killings, I think we will seen an increase of strong measures at the United Nations,” Fisher told Philstar.com in an interview over the weekend.

The International Criminal Court can also step in as HRW and some nations think that the spate of killings of drug suspects amounts to a crime against humanity, according to the official.

Human rights groups and workers claim that the Duterte’s war on drugs has claimed between 7,000 to 12,000 lives since its start last year.

However, the government disputes this and claims a much lower figure, noting that many of the so-called extrajudicial killings are still being investigated.

Gradually holding officials accountable

Since Manila has signaled that it will not take adequate measures to end the crisis by rejecting the practical recommendations of countries that will essentially put a stop to the killings, the Philippines should expect a “graduated increase in steps” to hold officials and people accountable, Fisher said.

Fisher stated that it’s the responsibility of the international community to ensure that the international law is “complied with” and many tools are available at its disposal.

The Philippines recently rejected 154 of the record 257 recommendations by UN member-states to help the country address the rising number of alleged extralegal killings, saying that the suggestions were “sweeping, vague and even contradictory” especially in the context of its democratic processes.

READ:  UPR: Fast facts on the UN review of Philippine human rights

Fisher said that this rejection showed that government officials were not serious in addressing the issue which has alarmed both local and international human rights groups and advocates.

“If the government were in fact sincere about investigating the deaths and holding people to account, it would not have rejected those UPR recommendations calling for exactly that,” he said.

Fisher said that most of the recommendations that the Philippines rejected were those that could make a “practical real difference” and end the drug-connected killings.

“[I]f you look at which ones the Philippines rejected, it was all of the most fundamental ones about ending violations of the right to life,” he said.

It also could not use its acceptance of 103 of the recommendations as proof that it was taking steps to uphold the human rights situation in the country, he said.

Rare international response

Fisher stated that it was “quite extraordinary” for 39 countries to respond to Manila’s rejection of more than half of the recommendations.

He said that this was a “very, very strong message” from these nations that they were not satisfied with Manila’s response to calls to address their concerns, to end violence and to hold those responsible accountable.

These nations felt that the Duterte government’s answer was inadequate, Fisher said.

Iceland, reading a statement on behalf of 38 countries, expressed concern over drug-connected killings in the country and urged the government to take steps to end and investigate these.

The 39 signatories represented an increase from the 32 nations which signed on a similar statement delivered at the Human Rights Council in June.

False sense of victory

It was also incorrect for government officials to claim “victory” UN Human Rights Council following the body’s adoption of its report, according to Fisher, saying that all reports are accepted and adoption simply means that the process has been completed.

The investigation of the Philippine National Police of drug-related deaths has also been inadequate, according to Fisher, as he noted the dismal pace and record of the probe so far.

“How many people have been held accountable or prosecuted as a result of these killings? I think that the number is about zero,” he said sardonically.

Fisher said that the Philippine government should heed the calls of concern of the international community and treat these, not as a form of denunciation, but as an invitation to the country to respect its international human rights obligations.

The government’s recent statement to UN Secretary General Antonio Guteres that the Philippine government was ready to accept a human rights probe was a welcome development, according to Fisher.

However, he noted that it remains to be seen if the Philippines will honor this pledge to the UN secretary general.

“The government is feeling the pressure, and it has to be seen to be saying the right things if not doing them. We would challenge the government to stand by its commitment to the sec gen to allow UN monitors into the country,” he said.

He added that the government should not be afraid of these investigators if it was not really involved in the killings.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/10/09/1746932/philippines-faces-more-international-scrutiny-says-hrw-official

Jordan says aid for stranded Syrians must come via Syria

October 8, 2017
© AFP | A Syrian refugee living in the remote Rukban camp in no-man’s-land on the border between Syria and Jordan, shelters in the rain during a visit to a medical clinic in Jordan on March 1, 2017
AMMAN (AFP) – Aid deliveries to thousands of Syrians stranded on their war-torn country’s desert border with Jordan must pass through Syria, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Sunday.

“They are Syrian citizens on Syrian territory. Syria must therefore assume this responsibility and not Jordan,” Safadi said during a meeting with ambassadors from European Union countries.

Aid to them “must pass through Syrian territory”, he said.

Some 45,000 displaced Syrians, mostly women and children, have been stuck for months on the Syrian side of the frontier near the Rukban border crossing.

“Conditions on the ground now make it possible to send aid to the Rukban camp via Syria,” Safadi said.

His comments came as Syrian government forces have made major advances against the Islamic State group, regaining swathes of the country with Russian air support.

Jordan, which shares a 370-kilometre (230-mile) border with Syria, is part of the US-led coalition fighting IS in Syria and Iraq.

A suicide bombing claimed by IS in June last year killed seven Jordanian soldiers in no-man’s land near the Rukban crossing.

Soon afterwards, the army declared Jordan’s desert regions that stretch northeast to Syria and east to Iraq “closed military zones”.

United Nations agencies in August expressed “deep concern” for the safety of camp residents.

The UN refugee agency says it has registered more than 650,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan since the conflict began.

However, Amman says it is hosting 1.3 million Syrian refugees, and has repeatedly called for more assistance to do so.

More than 330,000 people have been killed in Syria and millions displaced since the country’s conflict erupted in March 2011 with anti-government protests.

Pushback on UN Criticism of Saudi Arabia in Yemen from Pakistan

October 8, 2017

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Hafiz Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi

ISLAMABAD: Hafiz Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, head of the All Pakistan Ulema Council (council of Islamic clerics and scholars), condemned the UN annual report on the armed conflict in Yemen, terming it as “misleading and lacking credibility.”

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Ashrafi clarified in a statement released today by the council in Lahore that the information and statistics contained in the UN report are inaccurate and that the report not only disregarded the role played by the Arab coalition to support the legitimacy in Yemen, but also disregarded information presented by the legitimate government of Yemen.

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“Apparently, the report has relied on a one-sided source — the Houthi militants — turning a blind eye to the disasters they caused, killing hundreds of children and displacing hundreds of families,” said Ashrafi.

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He expressed serious reservations, indicating that such a report aims to promote terrorist organizations in Yemen, increase the obstacles facing the Yemeni people, and increase the threats to the Kingdom, and thus to the Islamic nation.

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Speaking to Arab News, Farid Paracha, deputy chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan’s largest religious party also slammed the UN report calling it “baseless documentation.” He supported the statement of Ashrafi and said UN’s one-angle approach is not objective and the full report should be made public for scrutiny.

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“It’s highly irresponsible of the UN to have a subjective approach on a fact-finding mission and blacklist the Saudi-led coalition without merit, basing its decision without taking all viewpoints in perspective.”

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“Atrocities are committed in several countries which UN observes but lacks the courage to intervene to resolve situations, but is quick to pass judgment and blacklist a coalition that supports peace initiatives.”

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1174181/saudi-arabia

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