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Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (C) confers with Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin (R) before addressing the U.N. Security Council during the 69th U.N. General Assembly in New York. Brendan McDermid / Reuters
Moscow opposes calls to limit veto rights for UN Security Council members, a Russian diplomat was quoted as saying by TASS news agency Friday.
“We’re against any change in veto rights,” Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said on the sidelines of the 69th UN General Assembly in New York.
He added that “talks about a reform of the Security Council need to continue,” but did not elaborate.
A proposal to suspend veto rights in the event of grave crimes against humanity that mandate urgent reaction, pitched in 2013 by France, was revived at a high-profile discussion at the assembly.
Separately, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski urged a reform of the Security Council in a speech at the assembly.
Komorowski gave no outline for the reform, but explicitly linked his calls to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where Russia is accused of backing pro-Moscow separatists who are fighting the Ukrainian army.
The Security Council, established in 1946, is the only UN body whose decisions are binding for members.
The council, which hands out mandates on military and peacekeeping operations, has five permanent members: Russia, the United States, Britain, France and China, all of whom can veto a decision.
The council also has 10 non-permanent members, which hold positions for two-year terms, but they have no veto rights.
Russia has repeatedly deployed its veto in recent years to block decisions lobbied by Western powers, including draft resolutions on war-torn Syria and Ukraine.
by Asian Desk.
The president of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The president of Turkey on Wednesday accused the international community of doing too little to stem the flow of foreign fighters to Syria and slammed the U.N. Security Council’s inaction on some of the world’s most pressing issues.
In two separate speeches in New York, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was playing a leading role in fighting terrorism but was not being aided by the rest of the world.
“We can stop this flow of foreign terrorist fighters only if our friends and partners awaiting our cooperation show, themselves, a sort of cooperation as well,” Erdogan said.
“This is not a fight to be carried out solely by Turkey,” he added.
But Turkey, a key backer of the rebels seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad, is under scrutiny for allowing thousands of fighters to cross into Syria across its borders.
Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar Jaafari reiterated the criticism later Wednesday, noting pointedly that Turkey was the “main gate for terrorists crossing into Syria and Iraq.” He said Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have turned their airports into “reception halls” for extremists before sending them illegally to Syria.
Erdogan spoke at a Security Council meeting where members unanimously approved a resolution requiring countries to prevent the recruitment and transport of foreign fighters preparing to join terrorist groups.
It was an unusual Security Council meeting chaired by President Barack Obama and attended largely by heads of state for the 15 member states.
U.S. intelligence officials estimate some 12,000 foreigners have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State group, which has many as 31,000 fighters.
Erdogan said the threat of foreign terrorist fighters starts “the moment these individuals depart from the source countries” and that countries concerned have not cooperated in a timely fashion.
Still, he said, recent information sharing by source countries helped Turkey in its effort to stem the flow. About 3,600 individuals have been included on the “no entry list” and nearly 1,000 foreigners have been deported by the Turkish government, Erdogan said.
He said Turkey sacrificed greatly, taking in more than a million Syrian refugees in addition to more than 140,000 Syrian Kurdish refugees last week alone.
“Despite our sacrifices and our expectations of solidarity, we have not received the kind of support we’ve been looking for from the international community,” he said.
Erdogan has said he would offer military help but has been vague about exactly how he intends to answer the American call to join Washington and a number of Arab states as they continue attacks on the Islamic State group that has taken over wide swaths of Syria and Iraq in a brutal assault and a bid to establish what the radical group calls a Islamic Caliphate.
Earlier in the day, in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Erdogan said the U.N. has repeatedly failed to act, citing the Syrian civil war which has killed more than 200,000 people and this summer’s Gaza War in which more than 2,000 people died.
He also criticized the U.N. for what he termed the legitimization of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi who spoke from the same podium shortly before.
He said the democratically elected President of Egypt, Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, was overthrown by a coup, and the U.N. chose to legitimize the person who conducted this coup — a reference to el-Sissi.
“We should respect the choice of the people in the ballot box. If we want to support coups…then why does the United Nations exist?” he said.
Turkey had forged a close alliance with Morsi and strongly criticized the military coup in Egypt which ousted his government. He has described el-Sissi as a “tyrant,” prompting Egypt’s Foreign Ministry to summon the Turkish charge d’affaires.
Erdogan said the U.N. as a world body should be more “brave” in addressing world problems.
“The world is bigger than the five,” he said of the five permanent Security Council members, accusing them of rendering the U.N. ineffective.
A Palestinian Bedouin youth leads a herd of sheep in the West Bank village of Deir Gazaleh near Jenin, early Saturday. | AP
JERUSALEM – The U.N.’s Palestinian refugee agency on Sunday urged the international community to oppose Israeli plans to relocate thousands of Palestinian Bedouin from the central West Bank.
“If such a plan were implemented this would … give rise to concerns that it amounts to a ‘forcible transfer’ in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” banning involuntary population relocation in occupied territory, UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl said.
“It might also make way for further Israeli illegal settlement expansion, further compromising the viability of a two-state solution,” he said in a statement.
“I urge the Israeli authorities not to proceed with the transfer … and I also urge the donor and state community to take a firm stand against it.”
A meeting on international aid to the Palestinians is to be held in New York on Monday.
UNRWA added that most of those slated for resettlement to Jericho, in the east of the Palestinian territory, were registered Palestinian refugees.
The Israeli military department responsible for civil affairs in the occupied West Bank had no immediate comment, but Haaretz newspaper last week quoted an official as saying that dozens of meetings were held with Bedouin leaders.
Haaretz said that an original scheme to relocate one tribe, however, had grown to a plan to move about 12,500 Bedouin from the Jahalin, Kaabneh and Rashaida tribes, without dialogue as recommended by the Israeli Supreme Court.
“The plans were drafted without consulting the Bedouin slated to live there,” the paper said.
UNRWA said that among those slated for resettlement were people residing “in the E1 and Maale Adumim areas near Jerusalem, which have been slated for new Israeli settlement development.”
Israel has been planning construction in the highly contentious area of the West Bank, east of Jerusalem, since the early 1990s.
Plans for building 1,200 settler homes unveiled in December 2012 were quickly put on the back burner after the announcement triggered a major diplomatic backlash.
The Palestinians say construction in E1 would effectively cut the West Bank in two and prevent the creation of any contiguous Palestinian state.
Firefighters cross a flooded intersection on Route 110 in Farmingdale, N.Y., on New York’s Long Island, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. Stranded Long Island drivers have been rescued after a storm slammed Islip, N.Y., with over 13 inches of rain — an entire summer’s worth. (AP Photo/Frank Eltman)
DEER PARK, N.Y. (AP) — A storm has slammed a suburban New York area with over 13 inches of rain — an entire summer’s worth — and trapped drivers on flooded roads around Long Island.
The staggering total was recorded Wednesday at an airport in the hamlet of Ronkonkoma (rahn-KAHN’-kuh-muh) in the town of Islip (EYE’-slip). Joe Pollina of the National Weather Service says the area’s normal total for June, July and August is 11.75 inches.
The Southern State Parkway was closed around Baldwin and about 20 miles east in Deer Park, where cars were stuck in a couple of feet of water.
WPIX says fire crews in boats rescued drivers in Nesconset (nehs-KAHN’-seht).
Central and eastern Long Island roads that were still open had bumper-to-bumper traffic Wednesday.
The rain started around 6 p.m. Tuesday. It tapered off Wednesday morning.
Vehicles are submerged on a flooded section of the Northern State Parkway, near Route 107, in Jericho, N.Y., on New York’s Long Island, Wednesday Aug. 13, 2014. Stranded Long Island drivers have been rescued after a storm slammed Islip, N.Y., with over 12 inches of rain — an entire summer’s worth. (AP Photo/Newsday, Howard Schnapp) NYC LOCALS OUT