You are here: Home » Tag Archives: United Nations

Tag Archives: United Nations

Feed Subscription

Donald Trump moves to leave postal union in latest jab at China

A 144-year-old postal treaty has become the latest battleground in the Trump administration's escalating trade war with China. Washington claims the UN treaty benefits China and other countries at the expense of the US. President Donald Trump is preparing to withdraw the United States from the Universal Postal Union (UPU) over accusations that the treaty disadvantages the US, White House officials said on Wednesday. The UPU is a 144-year-old United Nations treaty that coordinates international postal policies. Part of the treaty also allows China and other countries to ship packages to the US at lowered rates. Two senior White House officials, who spoke under condition of anonymity, informed reporters that Trump hopes to renegotiate the treaty even as it begins to withdraw from the postal union. They argued that the treaty allows foreign postal services, especially in China but also in Germany, to take advantage of cheap shipments to the US. Officials said it is cheaper to ship certain packages to the US from abroad than it is to send them domestically. "People are getting hurt in this country by an unfair system," one of the officials told reporters on a conference call. Targeting China The administration officials also said that the treaty is causing the US Postal Service to lose $300 million (€260 million) a year and said people smuggling the narcotic fentanyl use the treaty to cheaply ship the drug from China to the US. Under the current UPU agreement, foreign merchants are able to ship small packages weighing 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) or less at a discounted rate to the US. The Trump administration hopes to renegotiate treaty to allow the US to set its own rates for such packages to cover the cost of delivery. Officials stressed that the goal is not to leave the UPU, even as they announced Trump's intention to withdraw from the treaty. The National Association of Manufacturers supported Trump's move, calling the UPU "outdated" in the age of e-commerce. "Manufacturers and manufacturing workers in the United States will greatly benefit from a modernized and far more fair arrangement with China," Jay Timmons, the president of the association, said in a statement. Wednesday's announcement is the latest move by the Trump administration to remove the United States from multi-lateral organizations and agreements that it believes disadvantage the country. Washington is already embroiled in a trade war with Beijing. In recent weeks, the US has imposed tariffs on around $250 billion-wroth of Chinese products while Beijing responded by targeting $110 billion in US goods.

A 144-year-old postal treaty has become the latest battleground in the Trump administration’s escalating trade war with China. Washington claims the UN treaty benefits China and other countries at the expense of the US. President Donald Trump is preparing to withdraw the United States from the Universal Postal Union (UPU) over accusations that the treaty disadvantages the US, White House ... Read More »

North Korea: UN political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman visits Pyongyang

The UN's Undersecretary-General Jeffrey Feltman is leading the organization's highest-level visit to Pyongyang in more than six years. It comes amid massive war games on the peninsula and after a successful missile test. The United Nation's political affairs chief was flying into Pyongyang on Tuesday for a rare, four-day visit to North Korea. Undersecretary-General Jeffrey Feltman's trip will be the highest-level UN visit to the nation in more than six years as tensions with the US ratcheted even higher. Feltman will discuss "issues of mutual concern" and meet with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, Vice Minister Pak Myong Guk, diplomats and UN staff in the country, a spokesman said. The UN said it was unable to say whether he would also meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Read more: Which countries have diplomatic relations with North Korea? It will be Feltman's first visit to North Korea since he took office five years ago, and the first by a UN undersecretary-general in more than seven years. Dozens of people hold the title of undersecretary-general, but seniority varies greatly. The last senior UN officials to visit North Korea were Feltman's predecessor Lynn Pascoe in February 2010 and former UN aid chief Valerie Amos in October 2011, according to the UN. 'Long standing invitation' The UN said Feltman was visiting in response to "a long-standing invitation from the authorities in Pyongyang for a policy dialogue with the UN." His visit comes less than a week after North Korea test-fired a new ballistic missile that it said was capable of reaching the US mainland. His visit also comes just a day after the US and South Korea launched their biggest-ever joint military aviation exercises — a five-day drill involving 230 aircraft and tens of thousands of troops. Pyongyang described the maneuvers as an "all-out provocation" that would bring the region to "the brink of nuclear war." Russia and China wanted the drills canceled. The US State Department said it was "aware" of the trip, when asked if Washington backed the initiative. "The United States will continue to work with other countries, including the members of the UN Security Council, to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on [North Korea] to convince the regime to abandon its illegal nuclear weapons and missile development programs," the official added. "It is imperative that the countries of the world present North Korea with a unified, unambiguous response to its unlawful provocations." Prelude to Gutteres visit? When asked if the trip was in preparation of a possible visit by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, a UN spokesman said: "We hope to have more afterwards." North Korea has been subject to UN sanctions since 2006 over its missile and nuclear programs.

The UN’s Undersecretary-General Jeffrey Feltman is leading the organization’s highest-level visit to Pyongyang in more than six years. It comes amid massive war games on the peninsula and after a successful missile test. The United Nation’s political affairs chief was flying into Pyongyang on Tuesday for a rare, four-day visit to North Korea. Undersecretary-General Jeffrey Feltman’s trip will be the ... Read More »

Humanitarian situation worsens in DRC

The Kasai crisis has led to the largest population of internally displaced people in the whole of Africa as aid workers struggle to respond amid increasing violence and political instability. A dramatic increase in violence between security forces and the Kamwina Nsapu militia in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has led to the internal displacement of a record 3.7 million people. Clashes initially began in August 2016 in the Kasai-Central province but have since spread to four other provinces. The conflict was initially sparked after the militia attacked local police and called for an insurrection of the central government. Over the past month thousands of people in affected regions have begun fleeing to neighboring Angola, stretching resources in villages along the border. On 25 April the United Nations (UN) launched a fresh $64.5 million USD (59.3 million euros) emergency response appeal in order to provide life-saving assistance to 731,000 people over the next six months. Humanitarian crisis Prior to the current Kasai crisis, the DRC already faced acute humanitarian problems, with more than 4 million people suffering from hunger and 3.5 million children under five facing malnutrition. Rein Paulsen is the head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the DRC and will be visiting a number of key European capital cities this week in order to draw attention to the conflict. He told DW from Berlin that a rapid response by the UN and other aid organizations is key in order to prevent further deterioration of the humanitarian situation. "We are talking about funding life-saving interventions. This is to respond to the needs of people that have had to flee at short notice, are sleeping under the open stars, are exposed to violence, and a series of other urgent needs," he said. "Even with the initial funding, clearly the needs outstrip what we have, which is why we've launched the flash appeal and we've increased the overall amount required," Paulsen added Prior to the current emergency appeal, the UN launched a Humanitarian Response Plan for 2017 which was intended to reach approximately 6.7 million people in all parts of the country which were identified as vulnerable. However less than 20% of the original budget has been spent so far. "It really is a very very concerning situation and we need to mobilize resources in order to respond to these very urgent humanitarian needs. It requires our best staff and our best capabilities and it requires the kind of flexible and responsive strategy that we've put in place." Aid organizations struggle to respond However aid workers are finding it increasingly difficult to address the deteriorating situation in DRC. Many face the risk of attacks and are unable to access areas in most need of humanitarian assistance. Since the beginning of 2017, almost 3,000 incidents involving violence or direct threats against aid and development workers have been reported. On 28 March the bodies of two UN security experts alongside their interpreter were found in the Kasai Central province. They were in the region to assess a sanctions regime imposed on DRC by the UN Security Council when they disappeared on March 12. Paulsen said the UN places a high priority on the safety of its workers in the region. "We continue to place the highest possible premium on operating as securely as possible, because at the end of the day if we're not able to continue our operations, it is the Congolese who have been displaced who are going to suffer if programs are shut down." The huge geographic area of the conflict and the lack of front lines also complicates the response strategy. "We know that the situation is fluid, we have a series of activities that we can implement quickly in areas where access is easier, where the situation is a little bit more calm, places where people have come precisely to flee from the violence," Paulsen said. "[We also] allow rapid interventions in locations where access is more of a challenge." Political instability remains rife The Kasai crisis continues to unfold in the wake of a wave of violence across the DRC following President Joseph Kabila's failure to step down the end of his constitutional mandate in December 2016. A new expanded government was revealed on Tuesday, as part of a power-sharing deal with the opposition in an attempt to ease tensions over the president's intent to remain in power. Opposition leader Bruno Tshibala was named Prime Minister following the resignation of Samy Badibanga Although the new government has again reiterated an election will take place by 2018, the reality of this occurring is unlikely, as political analyst Benoît Kamili told DW. "The Congolese people needed this government, but from what we have seen and heard. I have to say that there's no difference between Tshibala and Badibanga," he said. "I don't think that Tshibala will organize the elections." Kablia has held office since 2001 and was widely accused of serious electoral fraud in 2011, which has plunged the DRC into a long-term political crisis.

The Kasai crisis has led to the largest population of internally displaced people in the whole of Africa as aid workers struggle to respond amid increasing violence and political instability. A dramatic increase in violence between security forces and the Kamwina Nsapu militia in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has led to the internal displacement of a record 3.7 ... Read More »

Russian ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin dies aged 64

Russia's foreign ministry has announced the sudden death of Moscow's long-time UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin. The 64-year-old had been Russia's permanent representative to the United Nations since 2006. In a statement on Monday, the Russian foreign ministry said the country's ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, had "unexpectedly" died in New York. "The outstanding Russian diplomat passed away at his work post," the statement said. The ministry gave no details on the circumstances of his death but offered condolences to his relatives and said the diplomat had died one day before his 65th birthday. Churkin has been Russia's envoy at the United Nations for a little over a decade and was considered Moscow's great champion at the UN. Previously he worked at the foreign ministry in Moscow, served as an envoy to Canada (1998-2003), Belgium (1994-1998) and as a special representative to the talks on former Yugoslavia (1992-1994). 'Pillar of the UNSC' Tributes to the ambassador soon followed the announcement of his death. The Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin was grieving after learning of Churkin's death. "The head of state highly valued Churkin's professionalism and diplomatic talent," Peskov said, adding that the president had expressed his condolences to Churkin's loved ones. Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the UN secretary general's office, said: "He has been such a regular presence here that I am actually quite stunned. Our thoughts go to his family, to his friends and to his government." Meanwhile, the UK Mission to the United Nations tweeted: "Vitaly Churkin was a pillar of the [UN Security Council] for over a decade. Our deepest condolences to his family [and] colleagues..." Churkin was a pugnacious defender of Russian policy, most notably its intensive bombing of the Syrian city of Aleppo last year to crush rebels opposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. When then-US envoy to the UN Samantha Power accused Syria, Russia and Iran last year of bearing responsibility for atrocities there, Churkin said she was acting like Mother Teresa and forgetting her own country's track record in the Middle East. On hearing of her counterpart's death, Power said was "devastated," describing Churkin as a "diplomatic maestro." He was a "deeply caring man" who tried to bridge differences between the US and Russia, she added. Power's successor Nikki Haley - who took up the post last month - also offered her condolences, saying that Churkin "showed himself to be a gracious colleague." "We did not always see things the same way," she added. "But he unquestionably advocated his country's positions with great skill."

Russia’s foreign ministry has announced the sudden death of Moscow’s long-time UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin. The 64-year-old had been Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations since 2006. In a statement on Monday, the Russian foreign ministry said the country’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, had “unexpectedly” died in New York. “The outstanding Russian diplomat passed away at ... Read More »

Turkey must release jailed Rwanda case judge, UN court orders

A United Nations court has called on Ankara to release Aydin Sefa Akay, a UN judge arrested by Turkey following last year's failed military coup. The UN legal panel said Akay's detention violates his diplomatic immunity. The UN's Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) ordered the Turkish government Tuesday to free Akay by February 14 and halt all legal proceedings against him, insisting the UN judge enjoys diplomatic immunity. Akay, both a judge and a diplomat, is one of about 40,000 Turkish officials who were taken into custody by the authorities in the wake ofa botched coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July last year. The government blamed the failed putsch on the followers of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in exile in the US. "Diplomatic immunity is a cornerstone of an independent judiciary," said Theodor Meron, president of the MICT. Akay is a member of the panel of judges that is reviewing the case of a former Rwandan minister convicted of involvement in the country's 1994 genocide. Augustin Ngirabatware, who was given 30 years in prison by the UN's Rwanda Tribunal, requested a review of his sentence last year. The MICT order said that replacing Akay on the panel would have "a chilling effect on the administration of justice" by allowing "interference by a national authority in the conduct of a case and the exercise of judicial functions." The MICT order also rejected Ngirabatware's appeal for temporary release while his case is on ice due to Akay's detention. According to Turkish media, Akay was arrested last year for having a mobile messaging application that was allegedly used by the coup plotters.

A United Nations court has called on Ankara to release Aydin Sefa Akay, a UN judge arrested by Turkey following last year’s failed military coup. The UN legal panel said Akay’s detention violates his diplomatic immunity. The UN’s Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) ordered the Turkish government Tuesday to free Akay by February 14 and halt all legal proceedings ... Read More »

Obama and Trump look to clear the air as cracks appear in ‘smooth’ transition

A simmering dispute between President Barack Obama and his incoming successor Donald Trump looked destined to boil over. However, a call from the President appears to have at least momentarily eased tensions for now. Tensions between US President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama have been growing as the president has become more outspoken about a vitriol-filled election. Comments from Trump on Wednesday brought those differences of opinion to light. Trump accused Obama of attempting to derail the US transition of power with "inflammatory" remarks had spurred the president to pick up the phone and resolve risked becoming a very public spat. Trump tweeted Wednesday: "Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition - NOT!" The president-elect appeared to be irked by Obama's recent remarks that he would have defeated the Republican candidate in this year's election, were he not constitutionally barred from running for a third term. Trump also vociferously took issue with the US' decision last week to allow a UN Security Council resolution decrying Israel's settlement program to pass. We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect," Trump tweeted. "They used to have a great friend in the U.S., but ... not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (U.N.)! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!" Earlier, the outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry had criticized Israel for its settlement-building and accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's regimes of jeopardizing a two-state solution with Palestine. Obama's statements that the US would take steps to counter Russian hacking are also at odds with hits Trump has made on his potential future ties with Moscow. Contrary to the assessment of the US intelligence agencies, Trump had said he did not believe Russia was behind the hacking of the US Democratic Party. Tensions cool However, Trump later distanced himself from his statements, saying the transition process was going "very, very smoothly" and that he and Obama had what he described as "a very nice conversation... appreciated that he called." Speaking outside of his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Trump said: "I actually thought we covered a lot of territory. Our staffs have been getting along very well and I'm getting along very well with him other than a couple of statements that I responded to." When asked about Obama's comments, the real estate mogul-turned-commander-in-chief-in-waiting said they both laughed about it and that "nobody is ever going to know because we are never going to be going against each other." White House spokesman Eric Schultz described the call as "positive and focused on continuing a smooth and effective transition," adding that two men planned to remain in touch over the coming weeks. After exchanging multiple insults during this year's heated presidential campaign, Obama and Trump have sought to put political differences aside in favor of a united public front before Trump takes office on January 20. In a landmark meeting in the Oval Office a few days after Trump's election victory over Democrat Hilary Clinton, Obama congratulated Trump on a historic electoral win and expressed that millions of Republican voters would suffer should the incoming president overturns Obama's health care law. Who's to thank for the economy Both men have also taken credit for improving US economic indicators. While Trump has long berated the US economy under Obama, he sought kudos late on Tuesday for a number of economic developments, though economists have said the improvements are part of a continuing trend that started before Trump won the election. More than 2 million jobs have been added to the US job market in the last 12 months alone, a sign of positive economic growth pre-dating Trump's election triumph. "The U.S. Consumer Confidence Index for December surged nearly four points to 113.7, THE HIGHEST LEVEL IN MORE THAN 15 YEARS! Thanks Donald," Trump tweeted. Trump also heralded news that US mobile carrier Sprint was moving 5,000 jobs "back" to the US "because of me." It remains unclear whether Trump was referencing a commitment Sprint owner and Japanese tech billionaire Masayoshi Son reportedly made with the president-elect earlier this month to create 50,000 jobs in the US. Sprint's Chief Executive, Marcelo Claure, has said he and the company look forward to working with Trump.

A simmering dispute between President Barack Obama and his incoming successor Donald Trump looked destined to boil over. However, a call from the President appears to have at least momentarily eased tensions for now. Tensions between US President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama have been growing as the president has become more outspoken about a vitriol-filled election. Comments from ... Read More »

Aleppo rebels issue warning to civilians

Rebels and government troops resumed fighting Sunday morning after a three-day ceasefire failed to provide civilians a way out of the city. The leading moderate rebel coalition warned all non-combatants to stay away from government positions as they redoubled their attack. Fighting broke out in the city's southern neighborhoods as pro-Damascus troops also laid siege to the key village of Khan Touman, which lies along the highway connecting Aleppo and Syria's other major cities. The town has been held by al-Qaeda linked insurgents since last May. A TV channel run by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which backs the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, broadcast footage of government tanks taking heavy fire as they rolled through the countryside just outside Aleppo. Siege brings devastation to civilians Once Syria's second city, Aleppo has become the focal point of a last-ditch effort on all sides to bring a decisive end to the country's protracted and asymmetrical conflict. This has led to a devastating situation for civilians, who, especially in the east, have been blocked on all sides by fighting and are not only unable to evacuate, but are also hindered from getting much-needed humanitarian aid. This crisis has been compounded by Russian airstrikes and government attacks that have seemingly targeted aid convoys. It was because of this situation that Moscow announced a three-day cessation of hostilities to begin on Thursday. The Syrian regime had set up eight corridors to allow rebels and civilians to evacuate the city, but the United Nations said they were not provided with the proper safety guarantees to either carry out an evacuation or provide aid supplies. Russia defended its resumption of airstrikes on Saturday, saying that the Kremlin was determined to rid ally Syria of "terrorists." "Some countries are trying to play with the devil and use terrorists to get rid of [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad, and some just say thoughtlessly that Assad must leave," said government spokesman Dmitry Peskov. "If Damascus falls and terrorists take hold there, there will be no political settlement then." The siege of Aleppo has already claimed the lives of some 500 civilians in just the past month.

The last-ditch effort to take the city once and for all has restarted in earnest. A three-day ceasefire failed to provide aid or allow civilians to evacuate. Rebels and government troops resumed fighting Sunday morning after a three-day ceasefire failed to provide civilians a way out of the city. The leading moderate rebel coalition warned all non-combatants to stay away ... Read More »

Steinmeier warns of deterioriating world order

Writing in the mass-market newspaper Bild, Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said that tensions between Washington and Moscow have created a situation that is "more dangerous" than the Cold War. Steinmeier penned an opinion piece published Saturday warning that relations between the US and Russia have reached a new low. "It's a fallacy to think that this is like the Cold War. The current times are different and more dangerous," Steinmeier wrote in a 214-word guest column published by Bild, Germany's largest circulation newspaper. The Ukrainian crisis, Syrian conflict and a lapse in nuclear material cooperation between the former Cold War adversaries are listed by Germany's top diplomat as reasons for the dangerous environment. He laid the blame mostly on Russia for "provoking" a new Cold War but, unlike the Cold War-era, in which the US and Russia had "red lines and respected them" the new multi-polar environment has more regional conflict making geopolitics "more unpredictable." A plea for stronger diplomacy "But in spite of all the frustration, disappointment and deep distrust on both sides," he wrote. "We must continue to search for ways to put an end to the insanity in Syria. The US and Russia must continue to talk." He closed by urging Moscow to put pressure on Damascus to allow humanitarian aid into the besieged city of Aleppo. "Russia can and must bring its weight to bear. And the regional players have to assert their influence on the fighters in Aleppo," he concluded. This comes as the UN Security Council is poised to vote on two rival resolutions on Syria on Saturday, one drafted by France calling for an end to air raids on Aleppo and a second by Russia that makes no mention of a halt to aerial bombardment.

Writing in the mass-market newspaper Bild, Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said that tensions between Washington and Moscow have created a situation that is “more dangerous” than the Cold War. Steinmeier penned an opinion piece published Saturday warning that relations between the US and Russia have reached a new low. “It’s a fallacy to think that this is like ... Read More »

UN approves robust peace force in South Sudan

The UN Security Council has authorized 4,000 additional peacekeepers in South Sudan, despite opposition from the conflict-ridden country. The UN has said it will consider an arms embargo if South Sudan doesn't cooperate. The US-drafted resolution for 4,000 additional peacekeepers in South Sudan authorizes peacekeepers to "use all necessary means, including undertaking robust action where necessary" to protect UN personnel and facilities. The Juba-based force was also authorized to take "proactive" measures to protect civilians and "promptly and effectively engage any actor that is credibly found to be preparing attacks or engages in attacks." The resolution brings the total number of peacekeepers in the country to 17,000. Troops from Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda will make up most of the new force. The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has been criticized for not protecting civilians last month when camps it administers came under attack. It has also been denounced for failing to intervene as government soldiers reportedly gang-raped women outside a UN camp in July. The resolution passed with 11 votes in favor. Russia, China, Venezuela and Egypt abstained, citing a failure to get permission from South Sudan. South Sudan criticized the resolution and said it would not cooperate. "The adoption of this resolution goes against the basic principle of UN peacekeeping operations which is the consent of the main parties to the conflict and also goes against the UN Charter," said Akuei Bona Malwal, the country's UN ambassador. "Consent of South Sudan... would have been important as it would have given the force all the necessary freedoms to carry out the outlined mandate tasks." US Deputy Ambassador David Pressman said South Sudan's government has actively blocked UN personnel from carrying out work in the country. "We recognize the importance of government cooperation, but the United States would point to the actions of the government. For while we expect the South Sudanese government to treat the United Nations like the partner that it is, that is simply not happening on the ground in South Sudan today," he said. Under the resolution, the Security Council will consider an arms embargo if South Sudan impedes the troop deployment. South Sudan has been riven by conflict since becoming a country in 2011. A civil war broke out in 2013 between government forces loyal to President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and rebels led by his former deputy Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer. A fragile peace agreement signed last August was to make Machar vice president, but fighting erupted last month between Kiir and Machar's forces as the deal was in the process of being implemented. Machar has since fled the capital and Kiir has appointed a new vice president. The fighting has exacerbated an already dire humanitarian crisis and hindered aid agencies. More than 2.5 million people have been displaced and some 10,000 killed since the civil war began. About 200,000 people live in UN camps.

The UN Security Council has authorized 4,000 additional peacekeepers in South Sudan, despite opposition from the conflict-ridden country. The UN has said it will consider an arms embargo if South Sudan doesn’t cooperate. The US-drafted resolution for 4,000 additional peacekeepers in South Sudan authorizes peacekeepers to “use all necessary means, including undertaking robust action where necessary” to protect UN personnel ... Read More »

UN staffers return to Western Sahara after spat with Morocco

Morocco has allowed United Nations employees to return to their mission in Western Sahara. Rabat expelled more than 70 staff after UN Secretary General branded the Moroccan annexation of the territory "an occupation." Five UN civilian members of staff returned to their mission in the disputed territory on Thursday, the first of a group of 25 initially being allowed back by Morocco. Dozens had been expelled in March, as Rabat protested Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's use of the word "occupation" to describe Morocco's annexation of Western Sahara more than four decades ago. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Thursday that the first batch of civilian peacekeepers had arrived in Morocco on Wednesday evening, with 25 more staff due to return in the coming days. After months of talks, Dujarric said it had been agreed that the full mission could be resumed soon. "I think we've had what I would call constructive discussion with Morocco and it was agreed as a result of those discussions to restore full functionality of the peacekeeping mission through a gradual process," Dujarric said. Security Council demand Diplomats had warned the expulsion could set a dangerous precedent for the UN's peacekeeping missions around the world if it wasn't reversed. The UN Security Council had adopted a resolution in April demanding that the operation should be restored to full capacity within three months. Morocco annexed the former Spanish colony in 1975, after Spanish troops withdrew from the mineral rich zone, and fought a local independence movement called the Polisario Front. In 1991, the UN brokered a ceasefire that established a peacekeeping mission to monitor it and help prepare a referendum on the territory's future. The vote has never taken place. Morocco considers Western Sahara to be its "southern provinces," but the Polisario Front has continued to demand self-determination through a referendum for the local population.

Morocco has allowed United Nations employees to return to their mission in Western Sahara. Rabat expelled more than 70 staff after UN Secretary General branded the Moroccan annexation of the territory “an occupation.” Five UN civilian members of staff returned to their mission in the disputed territory on Thursday, the first of a group of 25 initially being allowed back ... Read More »

Scroll To Top