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Archive for UN

Newsline: Former UN ambassador’s daughter charged with murder in the US

The daughter of a former US ambassador to the United Nations has been charged with murder in the death of a Maryland man. Sophia Negroponte, 27, was arrested Thursday night and charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Yousuf Rasmussen, 24, according to Montgomery County police. (https://nypost.com/2020/02/15/former-un-ambassadors-daughter-charged-with-murder/) Officers said they responded to a report of a stabbing at a Rockville City home and found Rasmussen “suffering from what appeared to be a cutting wound.” He was pronounced deceased at the scene, police said. Police said Rasmussen and Negroponte were acquaintances and had been involved “in a disagreement.” Negroponte is the adopted daughter of John Negroponte, who served as the UN ambassador under President George W. Bush as well as the ambassador to Iraq. He was the Bush Administration’s director of national intelligence and the deputy secretary of state under both Bush and President Barack Obama. Sophia is one of five children the couple adopted in Honduras, where John Negroponte served as the US ambassador in the 1980s.

Newsline: Tunisia expels its ambassador to UN

Tunisia expelled its own ambassador at the United Nations, faulting him for not doing adequate consultation on a Security Council resolution he helped draft responding to the U.S. Middle East peace initiative. The official TAP news agency quoted the Tunisian president’s office as saying Moncef Baati was accused of “absence of coordination and consultation” with the foreign ministry and with representatives of Arab and Islamic countries at the United Nations. (https://www.africanews.com/2020/02/10/in-the-name-of-sovereignty-africa-expels-rogue-diplomats-from-western-powers/) Baati is a career diplomat who came out of retirement to take the U.N. post in September. The U.S. plan would allow Israel to annex all its settlements as well as the strategic Jordan Valley. The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, territories seized by Israel in the 1967 war. Baati’s dismissal raised questions as to whether the draft resolution had gone too far in countering the U.S., a long-time ally of Tunisia, even though the Tunisian president lambasted the peace plan just a week ago as “the injustice of the century.”

Newsline: U.S. accuses Russia, China of blocking U.N. statement on Baghdad embassy attack

The United States accused Russia and China on Monday of blocking a U.N. Security Council statement underscoring the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises after a Dec. 31 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Such statements by the 15-member Security Council have to be agreed on by consensus. The U.S. mission to the United Nations said 27 countries spoke out against the attack on the Baghdad embassy “in stark contrast to the United Nations Security Council’s silence due to two permanent members – Russia and China – not allowing a statement to proceed.” (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-security-un-usa/us-accuses-russia-china-of-blocking-un-statement-on-baghdad-embassy-attack-idUSKBN1Z51I5) The U.N. ambassadors of Russia and China both dismissed the U.S. accusation on Monday, saying they condemn any attacks on diplomatic premises around the world. Militiamen and their supporters protesting deadly U.S. air strikes on Iraq hurled stones and torched a security post at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Dec. 31. U.S. President Donald Trump blamed Iran for “orchestrating” the attack on the embassy. On Friday, Iran’s most prominent general, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a U.S. drone strike on his convoy at Baghdad airport, an attack that carried U.S.-Iranian hostilities into uncharted waters. Russia and China said any statement by the U.N. Security Council on the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad should also include the latest developments.

Newsline: Italian diplomat named as Vatican’s new ambassador to United Nations

Pope Francis has named Italian Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia to serve as his new representative to the United Nations. The appointment was announced on Saturday by the Holy See. Caccia will succeed outgoing papal nuncio, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, who has held the post since 2014. Last month, he was named as the nuncio to Spain and the Principality of Andorra. (https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2019/11/16/pope-names-italian-diplomat-as-vaticans-new-ambassador-to-united-nations-do-not-publish/) Caccia now becomes the seventh Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York since the Holy See became a Permanent Observer State on April 6, 1964.

Newsline: Trump Turns U.N. Visas, Travel Restrictions Into Foreign-Policy Cudgel

President Donald Trump’s administration has sought myriad ways to sanction or penalize individuals and countries that are viewed as hostile to the United States, or that simply refuse to comply with U.S. demands. It reinforces the perception among some diplomats that the United States has contempt for the United Nations. Representatives from the U.N. delegations of China, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia, and Syria say their diplomats and support staff are subjected to increasingly restrictive travel limitations, arbitrary denial of visas and driver’s licenses, additional airport security checks, and curtailed access to banking services needed to conduct their diplomatic work and pay their dues at the U.N., according to a report by a U.N. committee that monitors U.S. dealings with the U.N.’s 192 other states. (https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/11/05/trump-administration-un-diplomats-united-nations-makes-life-difficult/) Those measures, they contend, violate the host country treaty, or Headquarters Agreement, signed by the United States in 1947. In many cases, the U.N.’s lawyers agree. In an Oct. 15 statement, the U.N. legal counsel told the committee that U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres is “concerned” by recent measures, including the rejection of a visa for a Russian national hired by the United Nations and new travel restrictions imposed on the Iranian delegation and foreign minister after Tehran refused to participate in talks with Washington. The statement said the U.N. was maintaining its long-standing position that the United States lacks legal authority to impose travel restrictions on states in retaliation for restrictions on U.S. diplomats serving in those countries.

Newsline: US expels two Cuban diplomats to the UN in New York

The US has expelled two Cuban diplomats to the UN in New York, accusing them of conducting “activities harmful to US national security”, a State Department spokeswoman said. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-49764300) All of Cuba’s UN mission are now restricted to Manhattan where the UN is headquartered, Morgan Ortagus added. The US has yet to provide details about the alleged actions. Cuba’s foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez called the move “categorically unjustified”. Mr Rodriguez tweeted (in Spanish) that the accusations were “vulgar slander”, and said the expulsion has created tensions between the two countries. World leaders are set to gather for an annual meeting at the UN in just a few days.

Newsline: UN Ambassador Kelly Craft takes her seat

Kelly Craft presented her credentials as the new US ambassador to the United Nations. Craft said she is coming to the organization “as a voice of America’s unwavering commitment to democracy, freedom, human rights and whenever possible peaceful resolution of conflicts.” “Strong American leadership is absolutely critical and I intend to provide it,” she said. “I will stand by our friends and allies, I will advocate for the poor and the weak.” (http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/268885) The Senate approved Craft to be ambassador to the UN last month. She previously served as US ambassador to Canada.