(CBS News) On a deadly day of violent protests in Pakistan, when thousands rampaged in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar, burned American flags. and condemned the anti-Muslim film, Pakistani U.N. Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon told CBS News' Pamela Falk that if the U.S. wants to stop the attacks against American embassies, "just lay off our Prophet, just lay off our Prophet. Is that too much to ask?"
Friday was declared an official holiday, a "Day of Love for the Prophet" and although officials urged non-violence in protests, some analysts in Pakistan and around the world, criticized the government for a day of killing and mob action that may have been, by design or by accident, seen as government support for the anger.Continue »
(CBS News) UNITED NATIONS - The 67th regular session of the United Nations General Assembly officially opened on Tuesday, and an estimated 123 world leaders are to descend on U.N. Headquarters before the General Debate kicks off on Tuesday.
President Obama will spell out the United States' General Assembly priorities in opening remarks on Tuesday, and an early highlight for the American audience will come in looking at the differences between his remarks and almost-simultaneous remarks by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who will speak at the Clinton Global Initiative, which is also in New York.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the new session with a note of caution: "We are living through a period of unease. These are times of rising unemployment, rising inequality, rising temperatures - and rising intolerance."
Ban failed to mention one of the most daunting issues facing the U.N. - the complete lack of consensus among the five permanent members of the Security Council on some of the most pressing issues. Due to that impasse, much of the real work on these matters will be done on the sidelines of the General Assembly.Continue »
(CBS News) UNITED NATIONS - With "acrimonious fault lines" between members blocking action by the United Nations Security Council on Syria's escalating civil war, as a senior European diplomat put it to CBS News, the General Assembly came together Tuesday - for the second time - to shine a light on the issue and try to present a more unified front.
Diplomats accused both President Bashar Assad's government and the opposition of violating human rights. They pointed to the recent report that more than 100,000 Syrians fled their country in August alone. They called on nations to meet the appeals for humanitarian aid.
In the end, however, and with great frustration, they threw up their hands. There is, after all, not much that the General Assembly can do.Continue »
(CBS News) UNITED NATIONS - Beyonce was breathtaking. No other way to describe the stunning performance at the General Assembly Hall of United Nations Headquarters in New York on Friday night, when she sang "I Was Here" in honor of humanitarian aid workers killed in the line of duty around the world to be broadcast on August 19th.
"She was fantastic," U.K. Ambassador to the U.N., Sir Mark Lyall Grant, said after the performance, which he attended with his daughter.Continue »
Well, not exactly. Beyonce WILL be there tonight. It is not clear which ambassadors will attend (the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, is on her way to the Olympics' closing ceremony), but what we do know is that Beyonce will sing "I Was Here" to honor World Humanitarian Day on August 19.
A music video of Friday's event, produced by Ridley Scott & Associates, directors Kenzo Digital and Sophie Miller and the award-winning advertising agency Droga5, will be filmed of tonight's performance.
The objective: To get 1 billion people to view the video - and learn about the campaign.
(CBS News) Syria is plagued with a civil war, intense fighting, and a refugee crisis that is spilling into neighbor states. Adding to that, the State Department recently confirmed that terrorists from al Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq have migrated into neighboring Syria to fight amid the ongoing unrest between President Bashar Assad and the opposition.
Iraq Ambassador to the U.N. Hamid al Bayati said in an interview with CBS News that al Qaeda is now responsible for multiple suicide attacks in Syria
According to Bayati, it is well known in Baghdad that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad allowed al Qaeda to use Syria as a crossing point and springboard to attack Iraq - and now Syria is tasting a bit of its own medicine. Terrorists, he said, kill everyone, even women and children, and the support that a country gives to terrorist groups can sometimes backfire.Continue »
(CBS News) As the fighting in the Syrian civil war that has claimed an estimated 16,000 victims moves to Damascus - the capital and home to President Bashar al-Assad - the conflict has become more sustained and widespread. Additionally, the intelligence reports that the Assad government appeared to be moving chemical weapons from storage facilities has raised alarm signals in Washington and in Syria's neighbors.
Hopeful that the efforts at the U.N. might bear fruit, four members of the Syrian National Council and an advisor met with reporters this week to dispel some of the information about their intentions and to convey their hope that the international community would send a message to the Assad government.
Khalid Saleh, a member of the Executive Office of the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC), the largest of the political coalitions opposing Assad, told CBS News after the press conference in New York that the situation on the ground is changing rapidly.
"The Russians asked us to come to Moscow because they understand that things are changing on the ground. Prior to that they would not even talk to us," Saleh said.
The events that have taken place in Damascus in the last 48 hours indicate that the regime is losing control over the heart of the country, Saleh said. The military operations that are taking place there are five kilometers away from the Presidential palace.Continue »
(CBS News) Egypt's newly-installed ambassador to the United Nations says the Camp David accords and other pacts with Israel will continue in effect under the new administration of President Mohammed Morsi.
In an interview at the U.N. Monday, the new Egyptian U.N. Ambassador Mootaz Ahmadein Khalil told CBS News that Egypt will stand by all its international obligations and treaties.
"My first statement in front of the Security Council was in an open meeting regarding the protection of civilians. It was the day after he (Mohammed Morsi) was sworn in and I had the pleasure to re-announce that he had declared very openly to Egypt and to the world that we are respecting our international obligations and all treaties we are a part of," said Khalil.
Asked directly if that included the Camp David accord, which was signed in 1979 and ended 30 years of conflict between Israel and Egypt, Khalil said "absolutely."Continue »
(CBS News) With violence increasing in Syria, U.N. observers entered the town of al-Haffeh after being turned away the week before. What they found was deeply disturbing: the stench of dead bodies and the town abandoned.
Kieran Dwyer, the chief spokesman for U.N. Peacekeeping Operations, expressed his view of the conflict. "One of the reasons we were trying to reach Haffeh," he said, "was to be there and to witness and to observe and to show all sides that the United Nations was observing what they were doing."
But, more to the point, Dwyer expressed his reaction to what the observers found. He said, "It is tragic, worse than tragic, it is a scandal that our teams were blocked from getting there."
As President Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Mexico this week, the Syria conflict will be on the front burner.Continue »
(CBS News) With news of another massacre, the U.N.-Arab League peace plan failing in Syria, and no nation interested in a military option, the question before the international community is, what can the U.N. do to stop the killing of innocents?
Repeating his caution, U.K. Ambassador to the U.N. Sir Mark Lyall Grant told CBS News, "the Kofi Annan plan is on life support, but it is not dead yet." And the U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said that the peace plan "clearly failed."
At the U.N. Thursday, there were few reasons for optimism. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon cautioned: "We join forces at a grave and grievous hour. The situation in Syria continues to deteriorate. Each day seems to bring new additions to the grim catalogue of atrocities: Assaults against civilians ... brutal human rights violations ... mass arrests ... torture ... execution-style killings of whole families."
The Joint U.N.-Arab League Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan expressed his horror and condemnation at the new massacre, saying, "I must be frank and confirm that the plan is not being implemented."Continue »
(Watch at left)
After the United Nations voted Saturday morning to expand the observer mission to Syria to monitor a shaky cease-fire, the secretary-general and ambassadors swapped business suits for soccer shorts in the afternoon to benefit the victims of violence in Sierra Leone.
Did they achieve more than they do at the U.N.? Not clear but they put aside politics for a good cause on a sunny day on Randall's Island.
In a letter to the Security Council, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon proposes a supervision mission of up to 300 observers in Syria.
(CBS News) UNITED NATIONS - The language of Monday's U.N. Security Council's Presidential statement condemning North Korea's launch of a ballistic missile last Friday was particularly strong, deploring the launch as a grave security concern in the region. But the most important element of the council's condemnatory statement is that China - North Korea's strongest alley - was on board.
It gives weight to the fact that Beijing also considers North Korea's nuclear ambitions a threat to security.
After lengthy debate, and resistance from China during negotiations on Friday and Saturday, the U.N. issued its Presidential statement (which is a U.N. document that has to be adopted unanimously) condemning the rocket launch, making the point that any launch using ballistic missile technology - even if it a satellite launch or a space vehicle - is a violation of Security Council Resolutions.
That was intended to dispel any pretext by North Korea that its launch was for peaceful purposes, permissible under treaty obligations.
(CBS News) A day before Quartet on the Middle East mediators are expected to meet in Washington, D.C., the Palestine U.N. Observer, Ambassador Riyad Mansour, spoke with CBS News about prospects for peace. For 65 years, negotiations to bring peace to the Middle East have failed. This week, the Quartet principals -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov -- are scheduled to meet at Blair House in Washington, after having called for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks and for a framework agreement by the end of 2012.
The previous Quartet summit took place last September at U.N. headquarters at the same time that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, submitted an application for full Palestinian membership - a plan which later failed at the Security Council.
"The talks are stalled," said Mansour, "We hope that the Quartet can succeed in getting the negotiations out of the impasse that we are going through."Continue »
(CBS News) UNITED NATIONS -- At the same time that new assaults are being launched against cities in Syria by the government, U.N.-Arab League Special Envoy Kofi Annan tried to reassure the General Assembly that his peace plan was not functioning as a pretext for the Assad regime in Syria to buy time or to defeat the opposition. Many in the U.N. have come to see the Syrian conflict as an internationalized battle - a proxy war - between Russia and Iran on one side and the U.S. and the Gulf states on the other.
A still-divided U.N. Security Council adopted a non-enforceable Presidential Statement to bolster Annan just before he briefed the General Assembly.
With the deadline one week away for the cessation of all violence, at the U.N., diplomacy is decreasing and violence increasing ahead of the deadline. Despite the fact that Syria's Assad said that the government would begin to withdraw troops from population centers, the Syrian army shelled a suburb of Damascus and continued their assault on Homs.Continue »
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