United Nations

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for compromise to agree upon a comprehensive climate deal

November 16, 2011

“UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Monday expressed his hope that governments at COP-17 in Durban will find a compromise on the Kyoto Protocol to make a broader comprehensive climate agreement possible in the future.

“Durban must complete what was agreed last year in Cancun,” he said at Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF)-2011 conference held in Dhaka.

The two-day CVF began on Monday, aimed at reaching consensus on various climate issues and working together at COP-17 to be held in Durban, South Africa on November 28.

Ban called for scaling up the climate financing through launching the Green Climate Fund agreed last year in Cancun. He said Governments must lead the way to catalyze the 100 billion U.S. dollars per annum from public and private sources that was pledged to 2020.”

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Iran Foreign Minister: ‘No more point’ in Iran making any additional concessions

November 14, 2011

“Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has said he sees no more room for compromise in the battle over Iran’s contested nuclear programme, in an interview published Sunday.

“I think there’s no more point in making additional concessions,” he told the German news weekly Der Spiegel. “The nuclear question is just a pretext to weaken us by all means,” he added.

Salehi rejected an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report released Tuesday citing “credible” evidence that Iran had worked towards nuclear weapons, saying the Vienna-based agency had given up its “earlier objectivity”.

He said IAEA head Yukiya Amano was headed for hard times. “We will call him and the atomic energy authority to account for these conclusions,” he warned.”

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Opposition: Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh is refusing to hand over power and resisting the United Nations-backed plan to end the months-long political stalemate

November 14, 2011

“Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh is refusing to hand over power and resisting a U.N.-backed plan to end months of political paralysis that has brought the impoverished state to its knees, opposition sources said on Sunday.

Saleh has withstood nine months of protests against his rule and international pressure on him to quit, three times agreeing to a Gulf-brokered power transition plan only to back out of signing it at the very last minute.

Mediators, diplomats and Saleh’s deputy had said in recent weeks they were close to clinching a deal, but a senior member of the opposition told Reuters the veteran leader was stalling once again.

“Saleh wants to preserve all his powers until the election of a new president and that is rejected by the opposition and because of this the U.N. envoy’s mission is going to fail,” said a senior figure in the opposition who declined to be identified.”

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Syria calls for an emergency Arab League meeting to avert suspension

November 13, 2011

“Syria has called for an emergency Arab summit in an apparent effort to prevent being suspended by the Arab League, but the organization said it would meet opposition figures this week who are calling for President Bashar al-Assad’s overthrow.

The Arab League’s decision to suspend Syria and impose sanctions over its violent crackdown on eight months of protests infuriated Damascus and triggered attacks on Saudi Arabian, French and Turkish missions in Syria on Saturday night.

The United States, France and Britain, which have all called on Assad to step aside and pressed for United Nations condemnation of Syria, praised the Arab League’s suspension of Damascus, which takes effect on Wednesday.”

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United Nations vote on Palestine delayed due to a lack of support

November 13, 2011

“The UN security council on Friday put off a decision on admitting Palestine as a state while the Palestinian leadership considers whether to press for a vote it is all but certain to lose.

The UN went through the ritual of adopting a confidential report from the admissions committee – which is the security council in another guise – that was unable to reach a common position on whether to recognise a Palestinian state in the face of strong US opposition.

But a vote was put off while the Palestinians decide whether to press the issue after concluding that they do not have enough support in the security council even to claim a moral victory in the face of a US pledge to veto recognition of a state.”

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The IAEA showed letters and satellite images on Friday as part of evidence pointing to the existence of Iran’s nuclear program; Iran dismissed the evidence as “lousy intelligence work”

November 13, 2011

“The U.N. nuclear watchdog showed letters and satellite images on Friday as part of evidence pointing to military dimensions to Iran’s atomic activities, diplomats said, but Tehran’s envoy dismissed it as “lousy” intelligence work.

Herman Nackaerts, head of nuclear inspections worldwide at the International Atomic Energy Agency, made an hour-long technical presentation of the IAEA’s latest report on Iran’s nuclear program at a closed-door meeting for member states.
At Friday’s briefing, participants said Nackaerts displayed procurement-related correspondence involving Iranian officials as well as satellite images of the Parchin military site southeast of Tehran.”

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Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu: Iran is closer to a nuclear bomb than people think

November 13, 2011

“Commenting on the Iranian nuclear program on Sunday, Netanyahu said that “international [diplomatic] efforts did not prevent Iran from advancing toward a nuclear bomb, and it may get there sooner than people think.”

“The IAEA report includes only the evidence provable at a court of law, but the reality is that there are many more things that we are seeing beyond what the report states,” Netanyahu added.”

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President Obama: The U.S. and Russia want a ‘common response’ on the Iran issue

November 12, 2011

“President Barack Obama said the United States and Russia would seek a “common response” to Iran’snuclear challenge, despite strong reservations about new sanctions expressed by Moscow.

After meeting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Obama said the sides “reaffirmed our intention to work to shape a common response so we can move Iran to follow its international obligations when it comes to its nuclear program.”"

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Google releases satellite images of facilities which the UN says Iran may be using to develop nuclear images

November 12, 2011

“These are the satellite images being used by the UN to claim that facilities at two Iranian cities may be used to develop nuclear weapons.

Satellite images of Arak and Natanz show changes to the facilities in the areas when compared with images taken in October 2010.

The overhead pictures were released by Google following a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which expressed ‘serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme’.”

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International Atomic Energy Agency: Above-normal levels of radiation detected in the Czech Republic and ‘elsewhere in Europe’

November 12, 2011

“Very low levels of radiation, which are higher than normal but don’t seem to pose a health hazard, are being registered in the Czech Republic and elsewhere in Europe, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Friday.

The agency said the cause was not known but was not the result of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, which spread radiation across the globe in March. The “very low levels of iodine-131 have been measured in the atmosphere,” the agency said in a statement. It said such radioisotope will lose much of its radiation in about eight days.”

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Israel refuses to tell the U.S. its intentions on a preemptive strike against Iran

November 12, 2011

“Israel has refused to reassure President Barack Obama that it would warn him in advance of any pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear capabilities, raising fears that it may be planning a go-it-alone attack as early as next summer.

The US leader was rebuffed last month when he demanded private guarantees that no strike would go ahead without White House notification, suggesting Israel no longer plans to “seek Washington’s permission”, sources said. The disclosure, made by insiders briefed on a top-secret meeting between America’s most senior defence chief and Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s hawkish prime minister, comes amid concerns that Iran’s continuing progress towards nuclear weapons capability means the Jewish state has all but lost hope for a diplomatic solution.”

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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warns against the use of force, encourages a diplomatic solution for Iran

November 10, 2011

“U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Thursday for a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff with Tehran in an apparent reaction to media speculation that Israel might attack Iran’s atomic facilities.

“He (Ban) reiterates his call for Iran’s compliance with all relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency,” U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters.

“The secretary-general reiterates his belief that a negotiated rather than a military solution is the only way to resolve this issue,” he said.

He added that Ban’s position is that “the onus is on Iran to prove the peaceful nature of its nuclear program.” Tension over Iran’s nuclear program has increased since earlier this week when the IAEA reported that Tehran appeared to have worked on designing a bomb and may still be conducting secret research to that end.”

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The United Nations finds split on Palestine’s bid for full UN membership; UN now exploring other options for enhanced recognition

November 10, 2011

“A U.N. admissions committee has been unable to reach consensus on whether to grant full U.N. membership to the Palestinian Authority, which is now exploring other options within the international body for enhanced recognition.

The Palestinians don’t appear able to secure the nine votes needed in the Security Council to approve their application, which was presented at the U.N. annual meetings in September by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas against the wishes of the U.S. and Israel.”

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Russia: Iran ready to negotiate a deal that would ‘allay’ nuclear program concerns

November 10, 2011

“Iran is ready for a negotiated deal to allay concerns about its nuclear program, Russia said a day after a senior Iranian official held talks in Moscow.

Russia won’t support new measures against Iran even after the United Nations atomic watchdog concluded in a report that the country continued work on developing a nuclear weapon until at least last year, Alexander Lukashevich, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, said by telephone in the Russian capital today.

“Iran has confirmed that it wants to resolve all outstanding issues with the IAEA,” Lukashevich said, referring to the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency. “This is incompatible with efforts to impose new sanctions, which will only drive any prospects of negotiations into a dead end.”

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Following the IAEA report, nuclear experts are divided on when Iran will be able to produce a nuclear weapon

November 10, 2011

“In the wake of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s damning report, most analysts agree that Iran has spent a decade ceaselessly striving to attain the capability of producing nuclear weapons. However, there is no consensus about how close Iran is to manufacturing its first nuclear bomb.

One of the foremost experts who could shed light on the matter is Dr. Olli Heinonen. The Finnish nuclear scientist spent 27 years at the IAEA and served as deputy director general of the agency before leaving for Harvard last year.

He was in charge of inspecting Iran’s nuclear facilities and met with the directors of Iran’s nuclear program. The latest report hardly surprised him.

“There is not much new information,” Heinonen wrote Haaretz in an email from Harvard, on Wednesday. By this he meant that the plethora of evidence in the report reached the IAEA years ago. What he does not say is that his boss at the IAEA, former director Mohamed ElBaradei, either did not publish the findings or softened the way in which they were presented. It may be that Dr. ElBaradei believed the evidence was not definitive, or that it was true and that he was protecting Iran so that Israel and the United States would not have an excuse to attack the Islamic Republic.

Either way, El Baradai’s successor, Yukiya Amano of Japan, decided to divulge what the IAEA has long known. Heinonen wrote that he thought it was “good to have a comprehensive update on the military dimension.”

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