Posts Tagged ‘US ambassador Nikki Haley’

New German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass: The World Needs “More United Nations”

March 28, 2018

The world needs ‘more United Nations,’ new German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass has said. He is promoting Germany’s claim to be elected to one of the 10 non-permanent Security Council seats.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the first time as Germany’s top diplomat in New York on Wednesday. He was also due to speak to US Ambassador Nikki Haley and representatives of African states.

“We are living at a time when we need more United Nations, not less, as some people believe,” Maas said as he arrived at UN headquarters, in an evident reference to criticisms of the organization made by US President Donald Trump.

“We take responsibility and we want to continue to take responsibility in the future,” Maas said.

He added that in the era of fake news there needed to be a way for reason and rationality to prevail.

Maas said the German aim was to prevent crises: “We don’t want only to turn to issues when it’s too late and there is only the option to contain things. We want to consider how we can prevent conflicts from happening in the first place.”

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio GuterresForeign Minister Heiko Maas at the meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

A major UN contributor

“Germany plays an active political, financial and increasingly staffing role in the UN,” Maas said in a statement. “Not only are we the fourth-largest contributor to the regular and peacekeeping budgets, we are also the second-largest donor to humanitarian assistance and official development aid.

“Germany has become one of the largest Western troop-contributing nations to Donald Trump,” Maas noted.

On Tuesday, Maas had met with representatives from Caribbean and Pacific states, seeking their support for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council for the 2019-2020 term. He told them Germany gave a clear priority to protecting the climate in its candidacy for the seat.

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German Mission to UN


Foreign Minister @HeikoMaas hosting dinner for Permanent Representatives of Small Island Developing States at @GermanyUN. Germany’s goal is to mitigate risks connected to climate change.

A key vote in June

Israel and Belgium are also applying for the non-permanent Security Council seats as part of the Western European and other states regional group, but Maas does not see it as a competition. “We are not running against anyone,” he said. “We are presenting ourselves as candidates for a seat on the Security Council of the UN.”

Germany last held a non-permanent seat in 2011-2012. The UN members will vote to decide who gets the seats on June 8.

The five permanent states, which hold vetoes, are the US, Russia, China, the UK and France. Ten other states hold non-permanent seats for two-year periods, as a result of the occasional UN elections.

Watch video00:22

Maas: ‘It is our responsibilty to battle anti-Semitism and racism’

Maas is due to visit the US again when the new US secretary of state, former CIA Director Mike Pompeo, takes up the post.

jm/sms (dpa, AFP)


Sweden warns against cutting US aid to Palestinians

January 9, 2018
© AFP | Palestinian protesters wave their national flag near the Israel-Gaza border east of the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Yunis on January 9, 2018 as they demonstrate against calls for the closure of UNRWA by the Israeli prime minister and cuts in Palestinian aid by the American president
UNITED NATIONS (UNITED STATES) (AFP) – Sweden, a big donor country that has recognized Palestine as a state, warned Tuesday that any US decision to withdraw funds to the UN agency for Palestinians would be destabilising for the Middle East.Sweden’s UN Ambassador Olof Skoog said he had raised his concerns with US Ambassador Nikki Haley following reports that the US administration had withheld $125 million in funds due on January 1 for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinians.

“My concern is that as we talk about regional stability, withdrawing funding for UNRWA would be very negative, both in terms of humanitarian needs of over five million people but also of course it would be destabilizing for the region,” Skoog told reporters at UN headquarters.

The Swedish ambassador said he did not rule out raising the issue at the Security Council, which is scheduled to hold its regular meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on January 25.

US President Donald Trump earlier this month threatened to cut US aid to the Palestinians, saying on Twitter that Washington gets “no appreciation or respect” from the Palestinians.

“We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect,” Trump tweeted on January 2.

“With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”.

In Washington, a senior State Department official said Monday that “contrary to reports that we have halted funding to UNRWA, the decision is under review.”

“There are still deliberations taking place, and we have missed no deadline,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Sweden was the first EU country to recognize Palestine as a state in 2014 and is among the top 10 donors to UNRWA along with the United States, the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Britain.

US Vice President Mike Pence will travel to the Middle East next week, with stops scheduled in Egypt, Jordan and Israel.

UN General Assembly Meets To Embarrass Trump with Jerusalem Vote — “The US will be taking names”

December 20, 2017


© Drew Angerer / Getty Images / AFP | U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (right) attends a Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters on December 18, 2017.


Latest update : 2017-12-20

US Ambassador Nikki Haley on Tuesday warned countries that she will report back to President Donald Trump with the names of those who support a draft resolution rejecting the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The UN General Assembly will hold an emergency session Thursday to vote on the proposed measure that the United States vetoed at the Security Council.

“The president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us,” said the letter from Haley seen by AFP.

“We will take note of each and every vote on this issue,” she wrote to several UN ambassadors.

On Twitter, Haley posted on Twitter that “the US will be taking names” during the vote on Thursday at the 193-nation assembly.

Turkey and Yemen requested the urgent meeting on behalf of the Arab group of countries and the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The two countries circulated a draft resolution on Tuesday that mirrors the vetoed measure, reaffirming that any decision on the status of Jerusalem has no legal effect and must be rescinded.

Egypt had put forward the draft at the council which was backed by all 14 other Security Council members in the vote on Monday.

At the UN we’re always asked to do more & give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don’t expect those we’ve helped to target us. On Thurs there’ll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names.

Like the Egyptian draft, the text before the assembly does not mention Trump’s decision but expresses “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.”

No fear

Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour said he expected “overwhelming support” for the measure stating that Jerusalem is an issue “to be resolved through negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinians.

“The General Assembly will say, without the fear of the veto, that the international community is refusing to accept the unilateral position of the United States,” Mansour told reporters.

No country has veto powers in the General Assembly, contrary to the council where the United States, along with Britain, China, France and Russia, can block any resolution.

Trump’s December 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem broke with international consensus, triggering protests across the Muslim world and drawing strong condemnation.

Key US allies Britain, France, Italy, Japan and Ukraine were among the 14 countries in the 15-member council that voted in favor of the measure.

After that vote, Haley described the 14-1 vote “an insult” and warned “it won’t be forgotten.”

She went further on Tuesday, warning in her Twitter post: “At the UN we’re always asked to do more & give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the American ppl, abt where to locate OUR embassy, we don’t expect those we’ve helped to target us.

“On Thurs there’ll be a vote criticizing our choice. The US will be taking names.”

After the clash at the top UN body, the White House announced that US Vice President Mike Pence was delaying a trip to the Middle East planned for this week.

Israel seized control of the eastern part of the city in the 1967 Middle East war and sees all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital. The Palestinians view the east as the capital of their future state.

Several UN resolutions call on Israel to withdraw from territory seized during the 1967 war.


Palestinians to seek UN General Assembly backing if US vetoes UN Security Council Jerusalem resolution

December 18, 2017


© AFP | Tensions have soared over the status of Jerusalem since US President Donald Trump recognised the city as Israel’s capital

RAMALLAH (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) – The Palestinians will seek United Nations General Assembly support if the US vetoes a Security Council resolution against its decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a minister said Monday.The Security Council is expected to vote later Monday on a draft resolution rejecting US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The vote, called by Egypt, is likely to see the United States use its veto power.

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki said they would seek support at the General Assembly if the US ambassador Nikki Haley exercises Washington’s veto.

While Haley considers “the veto a source of pride and strength, we will show her their position is isolated and rejected internationally,” Malki said in a statement.

The UN General Assembly is expected to hold a plenary session Tuesday, including a discussion on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

The five permanent members of the Security Council have veto power, but there are no vetoes at the General Assembly.

Breaking with international consensus, President Donald Trump on December 6 recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and said he would move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, sparking protests and strong condemnation.

US Vice President Mike Pence will visit Jerusalem on Wednesday, wading into the crisis over one of the most controversial issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has scrapped a meeting with Pence in protest at the Jerusalem announcement, and will instead head to Saudi Arabia to meet King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Abbas has sought to unify the Muslim world in opposition to Trump’s Jerusalem move.

On Monday night the Palestinian leadership will meet for the first time since Trump’s announcement.

Israel seized control of the eastern part of the city in the 1967 Middle East war and sees the whole of Jerusalem as its undivided capital.

The Palestinians view the east as the capital of their future state.


UN Security Council Mulls U.S. Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

December 8, 2017


© AFP | Maps of Israel and the West Bank locating Jerusalem

UNITED NATIONS (UNITED STATES) (AFP) – The United States stood alone Friday as one after another fellow UN Security Council member criticized its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.The debate unfolded at a largely symbolic emergency meeting of the council — no vote on a resolution was planned, as the US has veto power — two days after President Donald Trump reversed two decades of US policy on the holy city.

The meeting was convened by no fewer than eight of the 14 non-US members of the council.

This seemd a vivid show of the discord triggered by Trump’s announcement, which included plans to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Asked what he expected to come from the UN meeting, one diplomat said: “Nothing.” Another said the session would show US “isolation” on the issue.

The UN coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nikolay Mladenov, warned that the US decision could lead to a spiral of violence among the Palestinians and others angered by what Trump has done.

Indeed, clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces Friday left one person dead after calls for a “day of rage” from the Islamist movement Hamas.

The British ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, said flat out that Britain disagrees with Trump’s move on Jerusalem and the embassy location.

“These decisions are unhelpful for the prospects for peace in the region,” Rycroft said.

He urged Trump to now come up with detailed proposals for an Israel-Palestinian peace accord, a goal which has eluded the US and the international community for decades.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most hotly contested issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel seized control of the east of the city in 1967 and later annexed it in moves never recognized by the international community.

Israel considers the city its undivided capital, but Palestinians believe the east is illegally occupied and see it as the capital of their future state.

Five European countries on the council insisted the new US policy is not in line with UN resolutions including one that considers east Jerusalem to be Israeli-occupied.

At Friday’s meeting, US ambassador Nikki Haley defended Trump as remaining committed to the peace process and a two state solution if the Israelis and Palestinians choose this.

Haley said that in his reversal of US foreign policy, Trump was simply recognizing reality, since the Israeli government and parliament are located in Jerusalem.

And she recalled that Trump insists his decision has no impact on whatever Israelis and Palestinians ultimately decide on boundaries and borders of the city, which is holy to Muslims, Christians and Jews.

“I understand the concerns that members have in calling this session,” Haley said. “Change is hard.”

Russian blockade of Syrian chemical attacks probe prevents chemical weapons watchdog of UN from bringing international criminals to account

November 25, 2017
“Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable…”


Syrians flee following a reported government airstrike in Hamouria, in the Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus. (AFP/file)

THE HAGUE: The head of the international chemical weapons watchdog said Friday that Russia’s veto of UN Security Council resolutions to extend the mandate of an investigation team that lays blame for chemical attacks in Syria “creates a gap which needs to be addressed by the international community.”

The mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism, or JIM, set up by the UN and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) expired earlier this month after the Syrian government’s staunch ally Russia blocked efforts to extend its mandate.

© AFP/File / by Maria PANINA | This Syrian child was among the victims of a suspected sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhun on April 4, which a UN report has blamed on the regime of Bashar al-Assad

Russia has been highly critical of the JIM’s findings that the Syrian government used chlorine gas in at least two attacks in 2014 and 2015 and used the nerve agent sarin in an aerial attack on Khan Sheikhoun last April 4 that killed about 100 people and affected about 200 others.

The JIM also accused Daesh of using mustard gas in 2015 and again in September 2016 in Um Hosh in Aleppo.
OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu lamented the end of the JIM.
“It is unfortunate that the mandate of this mechanism is not extended and clearly that creates a gap which needs to be addressed by the international community,” he told The Associated Press.
Members of the OPCW’s Executive Council were scheduled to meet later Friday to debate their response to the report.
A draft decision put forward by the US, Colombia, Estonia and Saudi Arabia is expected to be discussed.
It calls for the council to demand that the Syrian government immediately stop using chemical weapons and to express “its strong conviction that those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable,” according to a copy of the draft text seen by The Associated Press.
Executive Council decisions are generally adopted by consensus, but with the US and its allies at loggerheads with Russia and its supporters, it is likely to be put to a vote.
Russia and Iran also filed a draft decision for the council earlier this month calling for a “full scale, professional, and high quality investigation” in Khan Sheikhoun, including a site visit.
“There are serious differences of view on the issues that are being discussed because it’s somehow the extension of the conflict which is still underway in Syria,” Uzumcu said.
The OPCW has a fact-finding mission, which works to confirm allegations of chemical attacks in Syria, but does not apportion blame.
Uzumcu said that there are allegations of more than 80 different uses of chemicals as weapons over the last two years.
“The list is long,” he said.
Uzumcu said that mission will continue, including a visit to Damascus soon to look into Syrian government claims of attacks by fighters.
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Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet in Sochi, Russia, on November 22, 2017

Syria: Russia blocks extension of chemical attacks probe

November 17, 2017

BBC News

Men receive treatment after a gas attack in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun
Image captionA nerve gas attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in April killed more than 80 people. Reuters photo

Russia has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have extended an international inquiry into chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

It is the 10th time Moscow has used its veto powers at the UN in support of its ally since the conflict began.

US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, accused Russia of undermining the organisation’s ability to deter future chemical attacks.

The Russian ambassador dismissed the criticism.

The Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) was set up in 2015 to identify perpetrators of chemical attacks. It is the only official mission investigating the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Moscow strongly criticised the inquiry when it blamed the Syrian government for a deadly nerve agent attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in April. Syria denies using banned chemical weapons.

Mrs Haley described the latest Russian veto as “a deep blow”.

“Russia has killed the investigative mechanism which has overwhelming support of this council,” she said.

“By eliminating our ability to identify the attackers, Russia has undermined our ability to deter future attacks.”

What is the Joint Investigative Mechanism?

  • Created in 2015 with unanimous backing from the UN Security Council and renewed in 2016 for another year
  • Involves the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
  • Has previously concluded that Syrian government forces used chlorine as a weapon at least three times between 2014 and 2015
  • It has also found that Islamic State militants used sulphur mustard in one attack.

The Security Council rejected a Russian-drafted resolution to extend the inquiry but with changes to membership of the panel. The draft also called for the panel’s findings on Khan Sheikhoun to be put aside.

Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said it was Western countries who had sabotaged the inquiry.

“Some council members refused to support our draft and now they have full responsibility for terminating the JIM,” he said.

“This just proves again that the anti-Damascus fever is the only real priority for them and that they have manipulated the JIM for their own purposes.”

US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley speaks against a Russian resolution at the UN in New York, November 16, 2017
US ambassador Nikki Haley accused Russia of undermining efforts to stop chemical attacks. Reuters photo

Japan later tabled a draft resolution that would extend the JIM for another 30 days, as opposed to the one-year extension in the US-written draft blocked by Russia. The council was due to vote on the new resolution later on Friday.

Russia, the UK, China, France and the US all have veto powers at the Security Council.

The attack on Khan Sheikhoun in April left more than 80 people dead and prompted the US to launch missile strikes on a Syrian airbase.

Last month a UN Human Rights Council inquiry concluded a Syrian air force jet was responsible, dismissing statements from Russia that the jet had dropped conventional munitions that struck a rebel chemical weapons depot.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said the incident in Khan Sheikhoun was a “fabrication”.

Abo Rabeea says he is still suffering from the suspected chemical weapons strike in Khan Sheikhoun

China, Russia at UN urge talks with North Korea

September 4, 2017


© AFP | US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (right) speaks with her Chinese counterpart Liu Jieyi before a UN Security Council meeting over North Korea, on September 4, 2017
UNITED NATIONS (UNITED STATES) (AFP) – China on Monday again urged diplomatic talks to address the crisis with North Korea and warned at the UN Security Council that it will not allow chaos and war on the Korean peninsula.

“The situation on the peninsula is deteriorating constantly as we speak, falling into a vicious circle,” said Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi.

“The peninsula issue must be resolved peacefully. China will never allow chaos and war on the peninsula.”

His appeal was echoed by Russia, which said that diplomatic negotiations were the only way to settle the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said there was “an urgent need to maintain a cool head and refrain from any action that could further escalate tensions.”

Russia backs China’s proposal for a freeze on North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests in exchange for a suspension of US-South Korea military drills.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley however rejected the proposal as “insulting” and said it was time to ratchet up the pressure on North Korea by enacting the “strongest possible measures.”

“When a rogue regime has a nuclear weapon and an ICBM pointed at you, you do not take steps to lower your guard. No one would do that. We certainly won’t,” she declared.

Russia and China did not specify whether they would support additional sanctions on North Korea.

The United States, Britain, France, Japan and South Korea requested the urgent meeting after North Korea detonated what it described as a hydrogen bomb designed for a long-range missile.

South Korea’s defense ministry warned Monday that Pyongyang may be preparing another missile launch after two tests in July of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that apparently brought the US mainland into range.

US, Europeans push UN for action over Iran rocket launch

August 2, 2017


© SEPAH NEWS/AFP/File | Iran has repeatedly said that it is not seeking to develop nuclear weapons and is not in violation of the resolution

UNITED NATIONS (UNITED STATES) (AFP) – The United States, backed by France, Britain and Germany on Wednesday pushed for action at the UN Security Council following Iran’s launch of a satellite rocket, described by Washington as a threatening and provocative step.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley argued in a letter on behalf of the four countries that the Simorgh space launch vehicle system, “if configured as a ballistic missile” would have a range of over 300 kilometers (185 miles) and enough payload capacity to carry a nuclear warhead.

“This launch therefore represents a threatening and provocative step by Iran,” said the letter seen by AFP.

Iran launched the rocket on July 27, prompting the United States to impose sanctions on six companies that Washington said were linked to Iran’s missile program.

“Iran’s longstanding program to develop ballistic missiles continues to be inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and has a destabilizing effect in the region,” said the letter.

Resolution 2231 was passed two years ago to endorse a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

Under that resolution which lifted sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program, Tehran is “called upon” to refrain from carrying out launches of missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

– What action should be taken –

Iran has repeatedly said that it is not seeking to develop nuclear weapons and is not in violation of the resolution.

In the letter, the United States said the technology necessary for the space launch vehicle was “closely related to those of ballistic missiles, in particular to those of an intercontinental ballistic missile.”

It argued that the missile technology control regime defined any ballistic missile system with a 500 kilogram payload and a range of at least 300 kilometers as being capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.

This information should “allow the council to draw informed and timely conclusion as to what action should be taken,” said the letter.

Haley has repeatedly called on the council to respond to Iran’s missile tests, but Russia has said Iran is not in violation of the resolution.

The four countries called on Iran to “immediately cease” all ballistic missile activities and said the international community must also “send a clear message to Iran.”

They requested that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres report to the council on Iran’s ballistic missile and space launch activities.

Iran’s foreign ministry on Saturday said it will continue “with full power” its missile program and criticized the US sanctions as “hostile, reprehensible and unacceptable.”

Tehran has accused the US administration of seeking to weaken the nuclear deal that US President Donald Trump branded “the worst deal ever” during his election campaign.

Despite criticism of the nuclear deal, the US administration has certified that Iran was in compliance with the agreement.

Slain Venezuela Protester a Son of Former Maduro Supervisor

June 23, 2017

CARACAS, Venezuela — The latest youth to die during Venezuela’s crackdown on anti-government protests has a connection to President Nicolas Maduro: His father was once the socialist leader’s supervisor.

David Vallenilla told Blu Radio in Colombia on Friday he’d been Maduro’s supervisor when the future president drove a bus for Caracas’ mass transit system.

Tragedy brought the two together again on Thursday when Vallenilla’s 22-year-old son was hit at short range by a security forces firing rubber bullets on protesters. The incident caught on cell phone videos came hours after Maduro said security forces were under orders to only use tear gas and water cannons to disperse protests.

Vallenilla said Maduro likely met his son when he would bring him as an infant to work.