Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Damascus

Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On DamascusFor the umpteenth time, Russia has vetoed a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council, that would have condemned last week’s alleged chemical attack in Syria.

The resolution which was presented by the United States, United Kingdom and France, demanded that Damascus cooperates with investigators.

The proposed resolution would have backed an investigation on the ground by the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons.

This would be the eighth time Russia has protected its Syrian ally at the council.

UN Security Council Meets With Osinbajo

UN Security Council Meets With OsinbajoNigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has assured the visiting United Nations Security Council mission that steps are being taken to ensure that human rights culture is institutionalised in the Nigerian Military to avoid negative reports of human rights abuse.

Professor Osinbajo said this during a closed door meeting with the UN delegation at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He, however, noted that it was time for the international community to take another look at the international legal instruments and conventions that govern warfare and conflicts in the light of the unconventional and brutal operations of terrorists and insurgents around the world.

“We must, on a global scale look again at how to deal with these new challenges.

“We need to look at the governing conventions, as well as what type of legal categories and recognition of law we should give them.

“We need to re-examine how to deal with these individuals according to law,” the Acting President said in a statement issued on Monday by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.

He also assured the UN team that the Federal Government would progressively review the Rules of Engagement by the military and across the nation’s security system while taking human rights issues into consideration.

Professor Osinbajo added that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Social Investment Programmes which include the Conditional Cash Transfer, the GEEP Micro Credit scheme and the N-Power job programme would cater to the developmental needs of the northeast.

He said “we are already disbursing the cash transfers in some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and host communities,” adding that the present administration was implementing a micro-credit scheme while using the Social Investment Programmes to resuscitate the local economies, including through the Anchor Borrowers’ plan for farmers.

The Acting President further urged the international community to support the Federal Government in the area of humanitarian response, describing the challenge as “massive”.

He hinted that the government was also in the process of passing a Northeast Development Commission bill that would deal with some of the long term developmental issues.

The Security Council members were led to the Presidential Villa by the UK Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Mathew Rycroft.

The team comprises of all the five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council.

Speaking earlier at the meeting, Ambassador Rycroft praised the Nigerian Government for its handling of the humanitarian challenge in the Northeast.

He called for a long term developmental outlook in the region to address the issues of good governance, human rights, women’s participation, economic revival, education and jobs.

The delegation is leaving Nigeria with a pledge that the United Nations Security Council would play its role well in assisting the Nigerian Government to tackle the challenges in the conflict zones.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geofrey Onyeama, said the Federal Government is pleased with the tour of the northeast by the Council.

He assured the team that Nigeria would leverage on it to access all the funds needed for the rehabilitation of the IDPs in region.

The meeting was attended by some members of the Federal Executive Council and top government officials including the Minister of Defence, Major General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.

Others are the Minster of Budget and Planning, Udo Udoma; Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jubrin; the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin.

UN Security Council Urges Improved Humanitarian Aid In Northeast

Maiduguri, United NationsThe United Nations Security Council has asked the humanitarian community to step up operations in Northeast Nigeria.

A team from the Council made the call on Sunday during a visit to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital to obtain first-hand information on the ongoing crisis in the northeast.

Head of the delegation, Ambassador Mathew Rycroft, said the council was shocked by the number of people affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.

He added that the people who have suffered in the hands of the terrorists are suffering a second time by the effect the humanitarian crisis is having on them.

Prior to arriving at the Borno State capital, the delegation had visited Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic.

In an earlier visit to the headquarters of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in Chad, Ambassador Rycroft had offered partnership to the MNJTF.

He stated the council’s satisfaction with the achievements of the task force, as the delegation was given a detailed brief on the activities of the MNJTF.

Rycroft noted that with the role being played by the force, there is evidence that mandates would be achieved.

The visits, together with the visit to Nigeria, would help the Council obtain a better overview of the crucial security and social issues facing the Lake Chad region.

UN Advises African Countries To Lead Security Sector Reforms

Joy Ogwu at the UN
Professor Joy Ogwu, who presided over the UN Security Council meeting, read the resolutions

The United Nations Security Council has advised African nations facing security challenges to take the lead in the security sector reform while the UN provides needed support.  

This is part of the resolutions reached at the end of the meeting that had seen Nigeria’s presidency at the UN Security Council, bringing to the front burner issues related to maintaining peace and order in countries coming out of conflict.

Nigeria had led the council to adopt resolution 2151 in 2014 which allows the United Nations to support security sector reforms in these countries, including an overhaul of the police, army, justice and intelligence sectors in order to restore order in the system and build lasting peace.

“Strong Political Will”

United-Nations-Security-Council UN
United Nations Security Council presided over by Nigeria’s Representatives, Professor Joy Ogwu

At the just concluded session of the Security Council, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Professor Joy Ogwu, among other speakers, however, called on states to take initiative and lead the reform process with a strong political will.

Reading out some of the resolutions at the meeting, Professor Ogwu said: “States must bear primary responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security within their borders.

“States must continue to take the lead in determining their security sector priorities”.

She further stressed that the demands from the African countries were the “essence and primacy of the idea of National ownership”.

Days ago, African envoys had expressed hopes that they would leverage on the Presidency of Nigeria and bring to the fore, issues of insecurity and other challenges that countries in the continent were facing for deliberation and possible solution.

Nigeria was also able to secure the Councils call for more support to IDPs in the oil-rich nation’s north-east, where the activities of the Boko Haram sect had displaced close to 1.5 million persons.

UN Security Council: Nigeria Opens Debate On Regional Security

UN-Security-Council-meeting-of-August-2015Nigeria has opened the debate on regional peace and security at the United Nations Security Council which is in line with the resolve by African leaders for regional bodies to lead peace-building and peace-keeping in their areas.

UN Secretary General, Ban-ki Moon and over 20 countries, who participated in the debate, agreed that the role of regional organisations in conflict resolution could not be over emphasised, drawing inferences from Chapter 8 of the UN Charter.

However, India strongly disagrees with the popular views, calling into question, Africa’s ability to effectively handle peace- keeping missions.

UN Security Council Set For Deliberation On Maintaining Peace In Conflict Regions

UN-Security-Council-meeting-of-August-2015The members of the United Nations Security Council are set for another round of deliberations on maintaining peace in conflict regions around the world.

Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Professor Joy Ogwu, will lead the council to take decisive steps on the crises in South Sudan and Libya.

Ahead of the discussions, Professor Ogwu will hold talks with the South Sudanese and South African ambassadors in her office.

Channels Television’s correspondent, Adesewa Josh, said that the council members were set to receive a report on South Sudan and Libya.

“The UN mission in South Sudan is supposed to release a report on Monday and the council members are also supposed to go through the report the same day,” Adesewa said.

There have been series of consultations on whether to end the political crises between the President, Salva Kiir Mayardit and his opponent, Riek Marchar. The council members are trying their best to end the crisis, she said.

Recently, when President Barack Obama visited Africa, there was a meeting held in Ethiopia on what could be done to end the crises especially because of the increasing number of deaths South Sudan, which was becoming condemnable.

There was an overnight meeting between the group Kenyata and the regional council to end the crises.

Professor Ogwu, however,  expressed confidence on the AU and ECOWAS and also stressed the need to ensure that regional organisations can step up when it comes to stemming the tide of violence in Africa.

The Security Council said it might begin to explore sanctions if nothing was done between South Sudan and Libya.

UN Security Council To Focus On Security Crisis As Nigeria Presides

UN-security-council-chemberThe Middle East crisis, especially in Syria and Yemen coupled with deliberations on Liberia sanctions will be the focus for the meetings of the United Nation’s Security Council that will be presided over by Nigeria.

Nigeria’s presidency over the United Nations Security Council meetings for the month of August will begin in earnest on Wednesday August 12 and Nigeria’s permanent representative, Professor Joy Ogwu, will be leading the discussions for the next three weeks.

All representatives of the permanent and non-permanent members of the Council will deliberate on how to maintain global security and peace.

In the meantime, many Nigerians abroad have expressed optimism that Nigeria’s presidency at the Council would bring closure to the security challenges the oil-rich nation’s north-east.

Nigeria is currently tackling terrorism by members of the Boko Haram, who are trying to establish an Islamic State and also end western education in the north-east region.

The Nigerian government is also seeking effective ways to stamping out terrorism.

Opinions are that the country should make use of the opportunity to achieve needed peace in the north-east.

Channels Television’s correspondent in New York, Adesewa Josh, said expectations were high among Nigerians in the U.S.

“This is a wonderful opportunity I must say for Nigeria to express its desire for recommendations that will help in the fight against terrorism. This is not only something that is happening in Nigeria. So hopefully, Nigeria can use this platform to express here desire for terrorism, if not stamped out to be handled in a very forceful manner,” Courtney Noel said.

The World Must Act Immediately To Stop New Phenomenon Of Terrorism- Jonathan

JonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan said Wednesday in New York that the world must act immediately to stop the troubling new phenomenon of terrorists and foreign fighters attacking and trying to hold parts of sovereign nations.

Addressing the United Nations Security Council High-Level Meeting on the Threat of Terrorism to Global Peace and Security, President Jonathan said that the international community must also do more to support countries like Nigeria which are in the front line of the war against terrorism.

“There is no doubt that foreign fighters have added a troubling dimension to this emerging phase of terrorism. From targeted attacks by al Qaeda a few years ago, we now have mobile bands of thousands of terrorists sweeping across vast areas, destroying lives, and even attempting to hold territory. This is unacceptable; we must act now.

“We must capitalize on the commitment and evident determination of the Security Council to seek more innovative responses to the threat of terrorism and in particular to the growing menace of foreign fighters.

“The Council should be concerned about the existence of sources of arming and funding terrorists. Evidence has shown that Boko Haram, for instance, is resourced largely from outside our country.

“We must also commit to ensuring that countries which are in the front line of this challenge, receive adequate support from the international community.
“Only by united action and firm resolve can we check this raging threat to humanity, and also build the enduring structures that will resist their re-emergence,” President Jonathan said.

The President told the Security Council that his Administration continues to confront the menace of terrorism with unrelenting determination and that the Federal Government has also evolved initiatives to alleviate the plight of people in affected communities.

“Nigeria knows too well the destructive effects of terrorist activities. Over the past five years, we have been, and are still confronting threats posed by Boko Haram to peace and stability predominantly in the North Eastern part of our country.

“The costs are high: over 13,000 people have been killed, whole communities razed, and hundreds of persons kidnapped, the most prominent being our innocent daughters from Chibok Secondary School, in North East Nigeria.

“As daunting as the challenge may be, we have faced it with unrelenting determination, mobilising all the resources at our disposal to ensure that the scourge of terrorism is rooted out of our nation. In addition to our counterterrorism efforts, we have evolved initiatives to alleviate the plight of the population in the affected communities.

“These include a holistic effort through the Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE) which is aimed at providing immediate relief and fast tracking the infrastructural re-development of the region. It also has as a core goal, an integrated effort at achieving the de-radicalisation of potential terrorist recruits.

“We have also launched a Victims Support Fund which has already raised about 500 million dollars of the expected minimum of one billion dollars in direct support of the victims of acts of terrorism. This is in addition to the Safe Schools Initiative championed by Mr. Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister and currently the UN Special Envoy for Global Education which is being rigorously supported by Nigeria’s Federal Government,” he said.

U.N. Security Council Removes Ban On Cote D’Ivoire Diamond Exports

diamondsThe U.N. Security Council on Tuesday partially eased a decade-long arms embargo on Ivory Coast and removed a ban on diamond exports, a measure U.N. experts claimed failed to stop illicit trafficking of rough diamonds.

The West African country, emerging from a decade-long crisis that culminated in a brief war in 2011, has been pressing the Security Council to end the diamond embargo that was put in place in 2005 the wake of an initial 2002-2003 civil war.

In October, U.N. experts estimated the annual value of illicit diamond trade to be between $12 million and $23 million.

Ivory Coast is the world’s top cocoa producer and French-speaking West Africa’s largest economy.

Second Bomb Blast In Russia’s Volgograd Kills 14

A bus in Volgograd has been ripped apart by a bomb, killing 14 people in the second deadly attack blamed on suicide bombers in the southern Russian city in 24 hours.

The attacks are already raising fears of Islamist attacks on the Winter Olympics.

President Vladimir Putin, who has staked his prestige on February’s Sochi Games and dismissed threats from Chechen and other Islamist militants in the nearby North Caucasus, ordered tighter security nationwide after the morning rush-hour blast.

Investigators said they believed a male suicide bomber set off the blast in the Monday attack, a day after a similar attack killed at least 17 in the main rail station of a city that serves as a gateway to the southern wedge of Russian territory bounded by the Black and Caspian Seas and the Caucasus mountains.

Russia’s foreign ministry condemned the attack, saying it is part of a global “terrorist” campaign and welcomed a declaration of solidarity made on Sunday by the United Nations Security Council.

“For the second day, we are dying. It’s a nightmare,” a woman near the scene told Reuters, her voice trembling as she choked back tears. “What are we supposed to do, just walk now?”

“Identical” shrapnel to that in the rail station indicated that the two bombs were linked, investigators said.

“There was smoke and people were lying in the street,” said Olga, who works nearby. “The driver was thrown a long way. She was alive and moaning … Her hands and clothes were bloody.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

On Sunday, investigators initially described the station bomber as a woman from Dagestan, a hub of Islamist militancy on the Caspian, but they later said the attacker may have been a man. In October, a woman from the North Caucasus blew up and killed seven people on a bus in Volgograd.

It was unclear why the city, which will host soccer matches during the 2018 World Cup, has been hit. However, geography – being close to the restive regions – and its historical significance, may have contributed to its being targeted.

Volgograd has held a place in Russians’ sense of national identity since, when known as Stalingrad, its Soviet defenders held off German invaders to turn the course of World War Two.

Germany Demands More Permanent Members For UN Security Council

The German Foreign Affairs Minister, Guido Westerwelle has made a strong case for the inclusion of African nations and Latin American countries with more Asian countries in the United Nations Security Council.

According to the Minister, the inclusion of more member nations in the Security Council will enhance the capacity and authority of the international organization in addressing and avoiding conflicts of today’s world.

Westerwelle made this known during his remarks to questions from journalists after his keynote address at the 2013 Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum in the United Nations city of Bonn, Germany.

Mr Westerwelle noted that all the United Nations institutions as they are, still reflect how the world was after the Second World War and these institutions need urgent reforms to reflect the dimension of today’s globalized world with emerging nations.

“The United Nations reflect in their structures, the world, how it was after World War Two but it is not the current reflection and the fact that all Latin America is not represented permanently in the Security Council of the United Nations with one voice, doesn’t have anything to do with the world of today.”

“These are old structures” he stated to a rousing applause from the audience.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the fact that the whole of the African continent not doesn’t have a single voice, doesn’t have a permanent seat in the Security Council of the United Nations is the world of the past and not of today and not even anything of the future” he told over 2,000 journalists at the World Conference centre in Bonn.

He further decried that “the whole of Asian continent has only one voice, the voice of China in the UN Security Council.

This, he noted “doesn’t reflect the power of relation in the world we are living in and it reflects the situation when the United Nations were established and not really future development.”

The Minister called for the reform of all international organisations to be more representative, warning that not doing so will only ‘weaken’ the institutions.

“The international institutions of the world have to be more representative. If they are not representative, we will weaken them.”

“So all the continents, all success stories has to reflect in all international organization, only then will this international organization have sufficient authority in the world to avoid and overcome conflict.”

The United Nations Security Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action.

There are 15 members of the Security Council. This includes five veto-wielding permanent members—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—based on the great powers that were the victors of World War II.

There are also 10 non-permanent members, with five elected each year to serve two-year terms. This basic structure is set out in Chapter V of the UN Charter.

Nigeria is currently in the forefront of demanding reforms of the UN Security Council as it seeks to take the African slot for a permanent seat with contemporaries such as South Africa and Egypt.

Classical Relationship

Mr Westerwelle also revealed that the German government under Angela Merkel has agreed to further intensify its relationship with African nations, describing the partnership as a ‘classical relationship’ which must “be intensified.”

He described as it as “linking up with the new powers of the world in a strategic way.”

By Ayo Okulaja