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Newsline: UN to Replace Expelled Diplomat in Somalia

The United Nations secretary-general said that he “deeply regrets” the decision of Somalia’s federal government to expel a top U.N. official, Nicholas Haysom, from the country, but that he will name a replacement. “The secretary-general has full confidence in Mr. Haysom, an experienced and respected international civil servant who has distinguished himself in numerous senior leadership roles, in the field and at U.N. headquarters,” Antonio Guterres’ spokesman said. “At the same time the secretary-general is totally committed to ensuring that the needs of the Somali people are at the forefront of the work of the United Nations in Somalia.” The Somali federal government declared U.N. envoy Haysom “persona non-grata” on Jan. 1, ordering him to leave the country just four months after he took up his post as the U.N. secretary-general’s special representative and head of the U.N. assistance mission in the country.



Newsline: UN Tells Britain to Let Assange Leave Ecuador Embassy

U.N. rights experts called on British authorities Friday to allow WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to leave the Ecuador embassy in London without fear of arrest or extradition. The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention reiterated its finding published in February 2016 that Assange had been de facto unlawfully held without charge in the embassy, where he has now been holed up for more than six years. He initially took asylum to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where authorities wanted to question him as part of a sexual assault investigation. That investigation was dropped.


Newsline: Donald Trump Confirms Former Fox News Star As Next UN Ambassador

President Donald Trump announced Friday morning he will nominated former Fox News star turned State Department media wrangler Heather Nauert as next Ambassador to the United Nations, replacing resigning Nikki Haley. In an administration rife with internal conflict and deeply distrustful of the UN, Nauert’s nomination would place a less senior person at the international agency than outspoken current ambassador Nikki Haley, who reportedly sparred with other administration officials. The former Fox News host’s precipitous rise since arriving at the State Department in 2017 sets the stage for a potentially tough Senate confirmation hearing, where Democrats will likely grill Nauert on her qualifications for the position.

Donald Trump Confirms Former Fox News Channel Star His Nom As Next UN Ambassador

Newsline: U.N. ambassador hunt drags on in the U.S. as top candidate fades

The hunt for a new United Nations ambassador — a job for which State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert was once considered a lock but is now out of contention — has faced repeated delays and is running up against Nikki Haley’s end-of-year departure date. Meanwhile, a raft of new candidates has emerged, but no one has grabbed the front-runner mantel, raising the possibility that President Donald Trump could tap someone at the 11th hour who has already been passed over. The White House Counsel’s office has not yet been asked to vet anyone for the role, further indicating the president may not have settled on a finalist. “It seems like this has been the position they could never quite find someone to fill,” said a Republican close to the White House, who added that Trump has mostly struggled to find someone who shares his disruptive foreign policy impulses. Already, two of Trump’s preferred candidates are out of the running. In addition to Nauert, former deputy national security adviser Dina Powell took herself out of consideration in October, shortly after Haley announced her intention to leave at the end of the year.


Newsline: US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert may be the next UN ambassador

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert is reportedly the leading candidate to become the next US ambassador to the United Nations. President Donald Trump, at a press conference, confirmed Nauert is a contender for the job. “She’s under serious consideration,” Trump told reporters. “She’s excellent, been with us for a long time, been a supporter for a long time.” Trump added that a lot of “great people” want the position, but he’ll likely make the decision next week. A source also told Vox that Trump interviewed Nauert for the role. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley announced earlier this month that she’s planning to step down by the end of the year. During her two years in office, Haley toggled between Trump’s “America First” approach and a more traditional Republican approach to foreign policy. Nauert, a former Fox News host, joined the State Department as its top spokesperson in April 2017. She’s largely been an effective messenger for the agency, and her clout at Foggy Bottom has grown, particularly since the exit of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. From March until October of this year, Nauert also served as the acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, a high-ranking post at State.


Newsline: Diplomat tells UN Russia is getting ready for war if US attacks

A Russian diplomat has both confirmed and denied what US war hawks have been calling out. Moscow is indeed preparing for war, he said – just in case the US starts one. Speaking at the UN on Friday, Andrey Belousov, deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department of Nonproliferation and Arms Control, said that Russia is indeed readying itself for war, so it can defend its people against American aggression. Russia’s military build-up and large-scale drills, often painted in the Western media as preparations for all-out war, are a defensive necessity, he said. “We are preparing to defend our homeland, our territorial integrity, our principles, our values, our people.” Russia doesn’t seek a confrontation, he said, unlike the US. “Why else would the United States pull out of the [INF] Treaty, increase their nuclear potential, adopt a new nuclear doctrine that lowers the threshold for nuclear weapons use – that’s the question for us all.”


Newsline: Norwegian Diplomat Tops U.N. Shortlist For Syria Envoy

Geir Pedersen, a veteran Norwegian diplomat who cut his diplomatic teeth 25 years ago as part of the team that secretly negotiated the Oslo Middle East peace accords, has emerged as the front-runner to serve as the next United Nations special envoy for Syria, according to three well-placed diplomatic sources. The revelation comes two days after Staffan de Mistura, an Italian-Swedish dual national and diplomatic troubleshooter, announced to the U.N. Security Council that he would step down at the end of November, opening a vacancy for one of diplomacy’s most thankless jobs. Though the U.N. sought to play a central role early on in resolving the Syrian civil war, in recent years the conflict has largely fallen under the sway of Russia and Iran, which are supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military onslaught against the dwindling rebel campaign. Like the U.N., the United States and Europe have become increasingly marginalized diplomatic players and have been reluctant to commit funds for Syria’s reconstruction. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have opened their own diplomatic channel, negotiating a buffer zone last month in Idlib Province, one of the rebels’ last holdouts.

Norwegian Diplomat Tops U.N. Shortlist For Syria Envoy