Israel's U.N. Ambassador, Ron Prosor, considered one of Israel's most experienced diplomats, spoke to CBS News about the implications of a Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations and the threats to peace in the Middle East.
He spoke with CBS News Foreign Affairs Analyst Pamela Falk at U.N. Headquarters, about the threat of a nuclear Iran,the attack against the Israeli Embassy in Egypt, and about how derailed Middle East peace talks could be put back on track.
See the interview below:
The Palestinian issue -- and a vote on Palestinian statehood at the U.N. General Assembly this month -- continues to be the likely front burner issue at this year's General Debate, which will hear from President Obama, starting on September 21.
Dan Diker, Secretary General of World Jewish Congress, who was at the U.N. for a press briefing with the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians on the Palestinian statehood question, told CBS News that, regardless of efforts to avert the vote by restarting the peace process, the vote is likely to occur.
Diker told CBS in an exclusive interview after the briefing, "(Palestinian President) Mahmoud Abbas is going to soon end his political career. Mahmoud Abbas, from his point of view, wants to leave Palestinian politics having made a positive contribution, from his point of view, to the Palestinian people. This is a legacy issue for Mahmoud Abbas."Continue »
With attacks against fleeing refugees increasing at the Kenya border, and gangs and warlords still present in Mogadishu after the militant Al-Shabaab vacated the capital, the Kenyan police, the African Union forces, and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) military troops are inundated, unable to stop the brutal attacks and rapes, overwhelmed by the mandate to assist the aid organizations in delivering food safely, and unable to keep the peace in a region that is experiencing famine, violence and disease.
At the U.N., the 9,000-strong African Union (A.U.) peacekeeping force, known as AMISOM, is asking for the deployment of the additional 3,000 troops that the United Nation Security Council already authorized. Last year, the African Union asked for more: authorization by the U.N. Security Council of a force of 20,000 (which the African Union approved), an air and sea division, a no-fly zone, and for the Security Council to deploy a U.N. peacekeeping force by transforming the current A.U. force into one of the U.N.'s regular peacekeeping operations.Continue »
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday that Syrian President Bashar Assad has "lost all sense of humanity," and President Barack Obama has called the attacks in Syria "horrifying."
Italy recalled its ambassador from Damascus this week. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said: "The Government has been trying to keep the world blind about the alarming situation in the country by refusing access to foreign journalists, independent human rights groups and to the fact-finding mission mandated by the Human Rights Council."
Still, no official action was taken by the world body.Continue »
North Korea is developing a new mid-range ballistic missile that could reach as far as the U.S. territory of Guam, according to report released by Japan's Defense Ministry.
The annual report, widely known as the 2011 White Paper, also highlights North Korea's atomic bomb testing as "a significant threat to Japan's security when the North is boosting capabilities of ballistic missiles that could carry weapons of mass destruction."
The report, released Tuesday, does not bode well for progress in the talks between the U.S. and North Korea.Continue »
The Obama administration made clear at this week's final Middle East Security Council meeting before the U.N. General Assembly in September that it will oppose a U.N. statehood bid for Palestine, unless negotiations on the broader issues are restarted with Israel. Riyad Mansour, the permanent observer of Palestine to the United Nations, said the "final decision" has been made to pursue U.N. membership and President Obama will have no choice but to turn his sights to the Middle East when he speaks on September 21.
Mansour was clear that the Palestinians understand that a bid for U.N. membership would have to come first from the U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, then proceed to the U.N. Security Council, where the U.S. would stop a recommendation from going to a vote on the General Assembly floor. Nonetheless, he officially announced that, after a month of negotiations about whether or not the Palestinians would pursue the bid, Palestinians "can't wait any longer."
In a statement that might have been a reference to other techniques to bring the issue to the fore at the U.N., Mansour said, "The road could be the expressway or the local road." Precisely what that means is unclear, but it confirms that the issue will be on the agenda in New York.Continue »
On the 58th anniversary of the July 27, 1953 agreement to end the Korean War, diplomats from North Korea will arrive to meet face to face Thursday and Friday with an Obama administration representative at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, looking, they say, to restart stalled talks aimed at diffusing a nuclear standoff.
North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan is calling for a formal peace treaty that never materialized after the Korean War and negotiations, not only with the six parties involved in the stalled negotiations (North and South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and the U.S.) but direct bilateral talks with the U.S., which have not occurred since Obama's North Korea envoy, Stephen Bosworth visited Pyongyang two years ago.
Kim will meet Bosworth again in New York on Wednesday.Continue »
After first lady Michelle Obama and her daughters Sasha and Malia met Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa last month, the first family kicked off the U.S. commemoration of Nelson Mandela International Day, created by the U.N. two years ago to mark the democracy icon's birthday.
"Madiba continues to be a beacon for the global community, and for all who work for democracy, justice and reconciliation," said Michelle Obama at the time, referring to Mandela by his nickname.
For 2011, the U.N. is marking Mandela Day, and Mandela's 93rd birthday, with a request: 67 minutes of community service, from everyone, in honor of the man who has given so much himself.Continue »
Today, the flag is being raised at U.N. Headquarters in New York for the new Republic of South Sudan.
Five days after President Obama granted U.S. recognition of South Sudan, the U.N. General Assembly voted to admit the Republic as its newest nation, the 193rd member of the world organization, after the Security Council recommended its admission.
The U.S. -brokered agreement to divide Sudan into two nations ended two decades of costly civil war and resulted in a day of celebration in Juba, South Sudan last Saturday as it declared its independence. "After so much struggle by the people of South Sudan, the United States of America welcomes the birth of a new nation," President Obama said from Washington, as the U.S. formally granted recognition during the independence ceremony attended by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.Continue »
The U.N. Security Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday on "Children and Armed Conflict," adding groups that attack schools and hospitals to a "name and shame" list published annually by the secretary-general. It expands the current list in the secretary-general's annual report, which had already included groups that recruit children into armed forces, kill or maim children, or commit sexual violence.
Some of the groups and nations on the list have implications for U.S. policy.Continue »
Declaring the "birth of a new nation," President Barack Obama welcomed the creation of the new state, the Republic of South Sudan, which was negotiated six years ago after a bloody civil war by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell.
"A proud flag flies over Juba and the map of the world has been redrawn," Mr. Obama said in a statement recognizing the new country. "These symbols speak to the blood that has been spilled, the tears that have been shed, the ballots that have been cast, and the hopes that have been realized by so many millions of people. The eyes of the world are on the Republic of South Sudan. And we know that southern Sudanese have claimed their sovereignty, and shown that neither their dignity nor their dream of self-determination can be denied."
The International Criminal Court on Monday issued arrest warrants for Libyan leader Muammar al Qaddafi, his son Saif al Islam Qaddafi - whom the court dubbed Libya's "de-facto" prime minister, and Libya's head of intelligence, Abdullah Al-Senussi, who is Qaddafi's brother-in-law, for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The warrants name Qaddafi for the commission of two categories of crimes against humanity: Murder under Article 7(1)(a) of the Rome Statute, and persecution of crimes against humanity under Article 7(1)(h) of the Rome Statute.Continue »
The 272-page report, issued by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), is chock full of frightening profiles: cartels, terror groups, corruption of government officials, and networks that evade law enforcement.
"Drug trafficking, the critical link between supply and demand, is fuelling a global criminal enterprise valued in the hundreds of billions of dollars that poses a growing challenge to stability and security," the report states, also noting that there are "more and more acts of violence, conflicts and terrorist activities fuelled by drug trafficking and organized crime."
One of those places where the drug trade has become linked with terrorism is Afghanistan, where the $61 billion annual opiate trade still thrives. The World Drug Report indicates that Afghan opium production will probably increase this year.Continue »
As the Obama administration ramped up its use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, in the fight against Islamic militants on foreign soil, questions of legality and the rules of modern warfare became inevitable. The Pentagon now has 7,000 drones -- up from less than 50 in 2001 -- and the long-term consequences and benefits are yet to be determined.
Several rounds of questions have been raised by U.N. Special Envoys, particularly the Special Envoy for Extrajudicial Killings, about whether noncombatants (a CIA employee, for example) are covered by the laws of war (the Geneva Conventions).
A report released Thursday by the Oxford Research Group, an independent London think-tank, concludes that all parties involved in drone attacks are legally obligated to search for and identify all persons killed in such strikes.
Other requirements, according to the scholars' examination of current international law, include establishing official graves and a registration service for the dead.Continue »
The General Assembly on Tuesday reelected the U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, by consensus to a second five-year term. The Obama administration's U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, said that no one understands the burdens of the role more than he.
The reelection of the Secretary General for a second term is no surprise at the U.N., since there were no other candidates, but for the U.S., Ban Ki-moon's reappointment is good news because he has had a closer relationship with Washington than all seven previously-elected leaders of the world body, and because he is an outspoken supporter of U.N. and NATO efforts to protect civilians in warzones.Continue »