Weekend News In Brief 27 January 2018

In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Moussa Faki, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, sign a Framework Agreement between the two organizations. UN Photo/Antonio Fiorente

New AU agreement highlights “most important partnership”: UN chief

The UN and the African Union (AU) signed a new development pact on Saturday as the 30th AU summit got underway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that working “side by side” with the AU, represented “the most important” single partnership that the UN has.

Standing alongside Moussa Faki, Chairperson of the AU; after signing the new Framework for the Implementation of Africa’s Agenda 2063, and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the UN chief said the continent was key to solving global problems.

He said lasting peace could not be achieved globally, without Africa and its leaders working to end conflicts at home, and making more headway on conflict prevention and resolution.

Mr Guterres praised progress made on furthering human rights across Africa and African countries’ willingness to accept refugees and migrants.

Saturday’s new agreement follows last April’s signing of a landmark framework on security and peacekeeping cooperation, between the AU and UN.

The UN chief also addressed a high level event in Addis Ababa on the drive to end hunger in Africa by 2025.

UN condemns deadly attack in Kabul as “grave violation” of international law

A deadly vehicle bomb attack in central Kabul, Afghanistan, has been condemned by the UN as a “clear violation of international humanitarian law”.

News reports say that at least 95 were killed and more than 150 injured on a busy street after a vehicle painted to look like an ambulance, was detonated by a suicide bomber at a check point.

The head of the UN Mission in the country (UNAMA), Tadamichi Yamamoto, said that disguising the vehicle as an ambulance, “including bearing the distinctive medical emblem”, was “nothing short of an atrocity”.

The Taliban has said it was responsible for carrying out the attack.

The Secretary-General said from Addis Ababa that indiscriminate attacks against civilians represented “grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law and can never be justified.”

Those responsible “must be brought to justice”, he added.

Pakistani peacekeeper ambushed and killed in DRC

A Pakistani peacekeeper deployed with the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), has been ambushed and killed by members of an armed group.

At least one other blue helmet was wounded in the attack, which took place in DRC’s South Kivu province.

In a statement released on Saturday through his Spokesperson, UN chief Antonio Guterres, extended his heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased, and reiterated his call on armed groups in the DRC to “lay down their arms and seek to resolve their grievances peacefully.”

He said MONUSCO and the UN overall were ready to continue working with the DRC Government to re-establish law and order across the country.

UN Special Envoy to attend talks over the future of Syria in Sochi next week

The UN Special Envoy will be attending Russian-sponsored peace talks over Syria in the Black Sea resort of Sochi next week, after the invitation was accepted by the Secretary-General.

Staffan de Mistura held talks to further the UN-backed Geneva peace process this week, and Russia gave reassurances that the so-called Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue next week, would feed in to the intra-Syrian process under the auspices of the UN.

UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, said the UN chief was “confident” that the Congress in Sochi, running over two days from 29 January, would be brought to Geneva “as a contribution” to the UN process, in accordance with Security Council resolution 2254, which endorsed a road map to end the now 7-year war, back in 2015.

Source: United Nations Radio