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Newsline: Swiss ambassador to Germany appointed as Myanmar envoy

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appoint the Swiss ambassador to Germany, Christine Schraner Burgener, to be his new special envoy to Myanmar. The General Assembly in December asked Guterres to appoint a special envoy in a resolution that called on Myanmar to end its military campaign in Rakhine state. Schraner Burgener has also served as Swiss ambassador to Thailand.



Newsline: Israel Is Seeking a New Ambassador to UNESCO, Even Though It Said It’s Quitting UN Body

Despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that Israel would follow the lead of the United States and withdraw from membership in UNESCO over what was termed the organization’s continuing discrimination against Israel, the Foreign Ministry posted an internal ministry job notice for the position of ambassador to UNESCO. The job posting for ambassador to the Paris-based United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization was issued in advance of the departure in September of the current Israeli ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen. Foreign Ministry officials said that since Israel’s resignation as a member of UNESCO will only take effect at the end of 2018 in any event, there will be a need for someone to take Shama-Hacohen’s place for the last several months of the year after his term ends and that following that, his replacement would focus only on representing Israel at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is also based in Paris. Other official sources said, however, that despite Israel’s announced departure from UNESCO, in practice, no final decision has been made over whether Israel would remain in the organization as an observer.


Newsline: UN chief appoints former British diplomat envoy to Yemen

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed a former British diplomat as special envoy to war-torn Yemen. A U.N. spokesman announced the appointment of Martin Griffiths on Friday, saying he will replace Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. Ahmed had been in the post for three years. His contract expires at the end of the month. Griffiths is the executive director of the European Institute of Peace and has served in multiple U.N. roles.


Newsline: Syrian ambassador rebuffs UN envoy’s efforts

Syria’s ambassador to the U.N. says his government will not recognize any constitutional reform body formed outside the framework of a Russian-led peace initiative for his country. Bashar Jaafari’s remarks to the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday appeared to rebuff efforts by U.N. Envoy Staffan De Mistura to facilitate and mediate constitutional reform for Syria, one of the guiding principles of a 2015 Security Council roadmap for peace for Syria. Jaafari’s remarks echoed an earlier statement by Assistant Foreign Minister Ayman Sousan who said de Mistura had no authority to select delegates to a constitutional committee for Syria. Assistant Foreign Minister Ayman Sousan said Tuesday that only participants in a Russian-led “Syrian Congress of National Dialogue” convened in Sochi last month could be delegates on a constitutional committee. Several members of the Syrian opposition refused to attend the Sochi conference. De Mistura has said the Sochi congress delivered a mandate to allow him to convene a constitutional committee with members from the broader Syrian opposition.


Newsline: UN ambassador Nikki Haley says rumors of affair with Trump are ‘disgusting’

One of the few high-ranking women in Donald Trump’s administration has denied rumors of a sexual affair with the president. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations and former governor of South Carolina, called the speculation “highly offensive” and “disgusting”. The rumor spread online and in Washington after the publication of a book, Fire and Fury, by the journalist Michael Wolff, who said on TV last week he was “absolutely sure” Trump was having an affair. “It is absolutely not true,” Haley said in an interview with Politico, regarding speculation that Wolff was referring to her when describing the US president’s alleged lover. She said Wolff had made a basic factual error in his book, when he wrote that “the president had been spending a notable amount of private time with Haley on Air Force One”. “I have literally been on Air Force One once and there were several people in the room when I was there,” Haley said. Haley, 46, who has been married for 20 years and has two children, was the first woman to be elected governor of South Carolina and the second Indian-American governor in US history. She told Politico insinuations she had had an affair with the president fit a pattern of attacks on successful women. Haley, who is also rumored to be a potential future Republican presidential candidate, said at the end of the 2016 presidential race she was “not a fan” of Trump – but voted for him. She told Politico: “[Wolff] says that I’ve been talking a lot with the president in the Oval [Office] about my political future. I’ve never talked once to the president about my future and I am never alone with him.” She also insisted she had not angered Trump when she told CBS in December women who have accused the president of sexual misconduct “should be heard”.


Newsline: UN Security Council likely to vote on resolution against US’ Jerusalem embassy decision

The United Nations Security Council will vote this week on a draft resolution that says any decision on the status of Jerusalem should have no legal effect, Reuters reported. The text of the resolution was drafted by Egypt and circulated to the 15-member council on Saturday, 10 days after United States President Donald Trump overturned decades of US policy towards the West Asian region and formally recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Trump also said the US will move its Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. After Trump’s decision, Arab foreign ministers said they would seek a UN Security Council resolution.


Newsline: Palestinian diplomat praises protesters ‘who defend Jerusalem’

Palestinian protests against President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital drew praise from a top diplomat at the United Nations. “From this podium, I would like to commend our great Palestinian people who defend Jerusalem today in its neighborhoods, streets and places of worship,” Palestinian diplomat Riyad Mansour told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council. Palestinian protests against President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital drew praise from a top diplomat at the United Nations. “From this podium, I would like to commend our great Palestinian people who defend Jerusalem today in its neighborhoods, streets and places of worship,” Palestinian diplomat Riyad Mansour told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.