Iran missile tests were ‘in defiance’ of U.N. resolution – U.S., allies

admin   •   March 30, 2016   •   2641

A ballistic missile is launched and tested in an undisclosed location, Iran, March 9, 2016. REUTERS/MAHMOOD HOSSEINI/TIMA

A ballistic missile is launched and tested in an undisclosed location, Iran, March 9, 2016.
REUTERS/MAHMOOD HOSSEINI/TIMA

By launching nuclear-capable missiles Iran has defied a United Nations Security Council resolution that endorsed last year’s historic nuclear deal, the United States and its European allies said in a joint letter seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

Iran’s recent ballistic tests involved missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons and were “inconsistent with” and “in defiance of” council resolution 2231, adopted last July, said the joint U.S., British, French, German letter to Spain’s U.N. Ambassador Roman Oyarzun Marchesi and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon.

The letter said the missiles used in the recent launches were “inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” It also asked that the Security Council discuss “appropriate responses” to Tehran’s failure to comply with its obligations and urged Ban to report back on Iranian missile work inconsistent with 2231.

Spain has been assigned the task of coordinating council discussions on resolution 2231.

Council diplomats have said the case for new U.N. sanctions was weak, hinging on interpretation of ambiguous language in a resolution adopted as part of a July nuclear deal to drastically restrict Iran’s nuclear work.

Western officials say that although the launches went against 2231, they were not a violation of the core nuclear agreement between Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

Russia, a permanent veto-wielding council member, has made clear it does not support new U.N. sanctions on Iran. Both Russia and China had lobbied against continuing restrictions on Iran’s missile program during last year’s negotiations on the nuclear deal.

The four powers’ carefully worded letter stopped short of calling the Iranian launches a “violation” of the resolution, which “calls upon” Iran to refrain for up to eight years from activity, including launches, related to ballistic missiles designed with the capability of delivering nuclear weapons.

Diplomats say key powers agree that request is not legally binding and cannot be enforced under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which deals with sanctions and authorization of military force. But Western nations, which view the language as a ban, say there is a political obligation on Iran to comply.

International sanctions on Tehran were lifted in January under the nuclear deal.

The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ missile battery said the missiles tested were designed to be able to hit U.S. ally Israel. The United States condemned the remarks and Russia said countries should not threaten each other.

The letter said the four Western powers “note with concern that Iranian military leaders have reportedly claimed these missiles are designed to be a direct threat to Israel.”

Several diplomats said the most Iran could expect would be a public rebuke by the Security Council. Under the nuclear deal, the reimposition of U.N. sanctions would only be triggered by violations of the agreed restrictions on Iran’s atomic work.

But a council rebuke could provide a legal springboard for European countries to consider new sanctions against Iran, Western diplomats said.

Last week the U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted two Iranian companies for supporting Iran’s ballistic missile program, and also sanctioned two British businessmen it said were helping an airline used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

France has also suggested there could be unilateral European Union sanctions against Iran over the launches.

(Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Andrew Hay)

Duterte to join first virtual UN General Assembly debate

Marje Pelayo   •   September 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will join the United Nations (UN) General Assembly beginning Tuesday (September 22) where he will address more than 190 state and government leaders.

Due to the pandemic, the said gathering of leaders will be held online for the first time coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

This is also the first time President Duterte will participate in the said assembly that will end on September 26.

According to Chief of Presidential Protocol Robert Borje, the President will deliver his speech at the high-level general debate Tuesday night in the Philippines.

The Chief Executive will be the 12th among the 14 speakers set to speak at the UN-GA morning session.

This will be the President’s first time to address the UN General assembly, the main deliberative organ of the UN where all the 193 member states are represented,” Borje said.

The President will be able to cover several issues in his speech including the maritime dispute in the South China Sea as well as issues on human rights and justice in the country to which his controversial war on drugs campaign is related.

“President Duterte will article principal positions of the Philippines on a wide range of issues. I do not want to pre-empt the President, but these are of key importance to the country,” Borje said.

Borje identified the main points Duterte is expected to raise during the assembly which include: global response to the coronavirus pandemic; peace and security including terrorism, geo political developments in the Asia Pacific; sustainable development and climate change; rule of law; justice and human rights including the situation of migrant workers and refugees; peace-keeping; and United Nations reforms. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

North Korea’s Kim says there will be no more war thanks to nuclear weapons

UNTV News   •   July 28, 2020

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said there will be no more war as the country’s nuclear weapons guarantee its safety and future despite unabated outside pressure and military threats, state media reported on Tuesday (July 28).

Kim made the remarks as he celebrated the 67th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, which fell on July 27, with a reception for veterans, the North’s state-run television KRT said.

The country developed nuclear weapons to win “absolute strength” to stave off another armed conflict, Kim said in a speech carried by state media, emphasizing the defensive nature of the programs.

The speech came amid stalled talks aimed at dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs in exchange for sanctions relief from Washington.

Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump met for the first time in 2018 in Singapore, raising hopes for a negotiated end to North Korea’s nuclear threats. But their second summit, in 2019 in Vietnam, and subsequent working-level meetings fell apart. (Reuters)

(Production: Minwoo Park)

UN aid chief to G20 nations: ‘step up now or pay the price later’ for COVID

UNTV News   •   July 17, 2020

Coronavirus support to poor countries has been so far “grossly inadequate and that’s dangerously shortsighted,” U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock said on Thursday (July 16) as he asked wealthy countries for billions more dollars in assistance.

The United Nations increased its humanitarian appeal by more than a third to $10.3 billion to help 63 states, mainly in Africa and Latin America, tackle the spread and destabilizing effects of the coronavirus. This is up from the world body’s initial $2 billion request in March, then $6.7 billion in May.

So far, Lowcock said, the United Nations has only received $1.7 billion.

“The message to the G20 is step up now or pay the price later,” Lowcock told reporters.

Finance ministers from the Group of 20 major economies will meet virtually on Saturday (July 18).

The coronavirus has infected at least 13.6 million people and there have been more than 584,000 known deaths worldwide, according to a Reuters tally. The United Nations has warned that if action is not taken, the pandemic and associated global recession will trigger an increase in global poverty for the first time since 1990 and push 265 million people to the brink of starvation.

“The response so far of wealthy nations, who’ve rightly thrown out the fiscal and monetary rule books to protect their own people and economies, the response that they’ve made to the situations in other countries has been grossly inadequate and that’s dangerously shortsighted,” Lowcock said.

Lowcock added he had lobbied U.S. lawmakers for funding earlier this week. A House of Representatives committee has proposed $10 billion in international aid. So far, Congress has provided $2.4 billion in emergency foreign aid.

In May, China’s President Xi Jinping pledged $2 billion to help deal with the coronavirus and economic and social development in affected countries, especially developing states.

Lowcock said he would “very much welcome it if some significant proportion of those resources could be used directly to support the global humanitarian response plan.” (Reuters)

(Production: Catherine Koppel)

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