The new UN Peace Envoy clearly shows the shonkiness of the “Middle East Process”

Repost from Medhajnews.com Indian news site on the announcement of Nikolai Mladenov as UN envoy to the ‘Middle East peace process’.

Nikolai Mladenov Photo BGNES

Nikolai Mladenov Photo BGNES

The article in full below.

“Set-Up! New UN Peace Envoy Mladenov To Palestine Is A Known Zionist!”

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) warned of the appointment of Nikolay Mladenov as United Nations envoy, replacing Robert Serry, to the Middle East peace process for being known for his support of Israel.

Kayed al-Ghoul, member of the PFLP Political Bureau, said of the appointment “It is contradictory to any effort leading to real peace with justice in the region; rather Mladenov will offer a real cover for the crimes of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people”.

Ghoul said, in a statement that the appointment of Mladenov in this position is a further attempt by powerful parties in the international organization, particularly the United States, to strengthen the position of the occupation state in international institutions concerned with the Palestinian cause and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In the same context, Ghoul denounced the attacks and pressures to which William Schabas, chair of the International Commission of Inquiry investigating the Israeli attack on Gaza and its war crimes against the Palestinian people, was subjected to by Israel and its allies, forcing his resignation and leading to his replacement by a US judge on the panel.

“This was clearly an attempt by the Netanyahu government to cut the road in front of the findings of Schabas on the crimes of the occupation in its war on Gaza”, said Ghoul.

Ghoul called on PA President Abu Mazen to take action urgently to stop the appointment of Mladenov because of his clear history of bias in favour of the Israeli occupation.

“It is definitely in contradiction with the rights of the Palestinian people and incompatible with the growing international public demand to hold the Israeli state accountable for its crimes and siege, and to support the rights of the Palestinian people and their struggle for freedom and justice”, he said.

Serry, whose name has been linked to Gaza reconstruction, is to end his work as UN envoy for Middle East peace process in March. He has been serving the position since 2007.

The legal period of the UN envoy for this assignment is five years. However, the UN Secretary General has the power to extend the term as happened with Serry who served the position for eight successive years.

Mladenov is known for his statements in support of Israel and justification of its crimes against the Palestinian people since he was foreign minister of Bulgaria.

Some history:

Mr. Mladenov earned a Master of Arts in War Studies at the King’s College of London, and a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in international relations at the University of National and World Economy of Sofia, in Bulgaria. Has held several positions in the inter-governmental and non-governmental sectors, including at the World Bank, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republic Institute.

2010-13 As Bulgarian Foreign Minister he is quoted as saying…

  • Turkey reacted “a little bit too strongly” to the Gaza flotilla ‘episode’
  • In 2010 in a meeting with President Shimon Peres, he said, “We are lucky that the majority of Bulgarian Jews were saved [during the Holocaust] and were able to go on to build Israel. This [history] creates a strong, emotional connection and responsibility on our part to ensure Israel’s safety and its future.” Asked why he made these comments at a time when Israel was facing increasing international isolation, Mladenov said, “Because I think that is what friends are for, to be with our friends when they are in trouble.”
  • Israel, needed to “work better” on explaining its position in Europe
  • tiptoed around the question of whether he felt Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza was legitimate, saying this was a decision Israel had to make based on its own security. He did say, however, that it was important to allow the access of goods in and out of Gaza to develop the economy there, which in turn would create “a bigger constituency in support of peace, because people will see the benefits of that peace emerging.” See 2010 Jerusalem Post Article here

And video of him speaking on Anti-Semitism here

The PFLP response to this UN appointment is clear…

Al-Ghoul said that the appointment of Mladenov in this position is a further attempt by powerful parties in the international organization, particularly the United States, to strengthen the position of the occupation state in international institutions addressing the Palestinian cause and the “Arab-Israeli conflict.”

In this context, he denounced the attacks and pressures to which William Schabas, chair of the International Commission of Inquiry investigating the Israeli attack on Gaza and its war crimes against the Palestinian people, was subject by the Israeli state and its allies, forcing his resignation and leading to his replacement by a US judge on the panel. This was clearly an attempt by the Netanyahu government to cut the road in front of the findings of Schabas and the ICI on the crimes of the occupation in its war on Gaza, said al-Ghoul.”

 

My opinion?

Not a good pick Ban Ki Moon, but it does show your position and that of the UN quite clearly.

 

In latest peace plans for Syria, Assad can stay -Al Monitor

Vitaly Naumkin recently wrote this interesting post for Al Monitor-

Posted December 1, 2014 (Translator Franco Galdini)

I was unable to do a direct share so have copied it below. The article shows some real opportunity through some sensible negotiations to get past the US Mantra “Assad must go!”

UN special envoy De Mistura speaks with Assad BBC photo

UN special envoy De Mistura speaks with Assad BBC photo

The UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura appears  to have made some progress, considering a ‘freeze’ where everyone gets to keep their weapons and currently held territory, the Saudi’s are said to have rethought the ‘Assad gone’ precondition,  the Russian Foreign Minister Segey Lavrov has a proposal for talks in Russia.  The plans actually looks like they’re going somewhere……has anyone checked with IS?

Just two questions:

…..Is this what a freeze looks like?

My apologies to the political cartoonist but I do not have the source for this photo. Enough to say whoever did it is brilliant.

My apologies to the political cartoonist but I do not have the source for this photo. Enough to say whoever did it is brilliant.

…..when do the 3 million refugees get to go back home to safety?

Syrian Refugees at Turkish Border

Syrian Refugees at Turkish Border

Article from Al Monitor below in full. (Or visit the site direct: here )

IN LATEST PEACE PLANS FOR SYRIA, ASSAD CAN STAY

A significant number of global and regional players have been forced to reconsider their strategies in Syria with the bloody civil war having morphed into a clash in which the main belligerents are now the most radical jihadists, represented by the Islamic State (IS) and Jabhat al-Nusra, and government forces.

Writing Nov. 14 in Foreign Policy, James Traub quotes David Harland, executive director of the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre), which operates inside Syria, and his collaborator, Nir Rosen, as saying that “rebel commanders have come to accept that Assad’s departure cannot be a precondition for talks.” Rosen also suggested that the “rebels’ foreign backers, including the Saudis, have begun to reach the same conclusion.” On the basis of his discussion with his interlocutors, Traub contends that President Bashar al-Assad will “not be going any time soon, if at all.”

The heart of the matter is that retaining Assad and his regime is seen as a way to save the Syrian state itself, which could otherwise turn into a new Somalia. Harland succinctly summed up this argument: “Better to have a regime and a state than not have a state.”

The strategic shifts that have taken place in the Syrian theater of military operations, along with the apparent failure of various plans to settle the conflict, have given rise in recent months to some new initiatives by international players that have made a stir in the media. These include the Russian plan for an intra-Syrian meeting in Moscow; the plan by Staffan de Mistura, the UN secretary-general’s special envoy to Syria, for “freezing” hostilities starting in one area; and the plan of local cease-fires developed by the HD Centre under Harland’s leadership. Are the three plans in opposition to each other or can they be complementary? Which one has the best chance of being implemented? Will they lead to the resumption of the peace process that ended with Geneva II?

Moscow’s policy on the Syrian conflict initially stemmed from the need to reconcile the fighting parties. While putting forward its own ideas, Russia only rejected other peacemaking proposals if they began with the mantra “Assad must go.” Although the details of Moscow’s new initiative have yet to be made public, its main elements can be inferred from statements by officials and diplomatic contacts.

At an Aug. 20 news conference, Abbas Habib, coordinator for the Council of Syrian Tribes, had talked about a proposal by Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian deputy foreign minister and the president’s special representative for the Middle East and Africa, “to convene a preliminary conference, a consultative meeting in Russia, after which the intra-Syrian conference would move to Damascus, where the tribal sheikhs would also participate.” The sheikhs agreed to this. At the time, Habib stated that the “preliminary meeting could take place in Moscow, and then in Syria in an enlarged format.”

The idea was later further developed. The Russian Foreign Ministry’s official website noted Nov. 20 that Bogdanov had received Qadri Jamil, leader of the Syrian opposition’s Popular Front for Change and Liberation. “An exchange of views [took place] concerning the Russian idea to conduct a consultative meeting of representatives of the Syrian opposition in Moscow, to promote the launch of an inclusive intra-Syrian negotiation process on the basis of the Geneva communiqué of June 30, 2012.”

Shortly before that, on Nov. 7, it became known that the former leader of the Syrian political opposition, Moaz al-Khatib, was scheduled to arrive in Moscow. According to Bogdanov, in Khatib’s talks with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, “the possibility of resuming intra-Syrian negotiations” was broached. “There was a very constructive discussion about the need to move from the Syrian conflict to a political process,” Bogdanov continued, adding “in this regard, they talked about the necessity to reopen intra-Syrian dialogue with the assistance of external players — such as Russia and the US, as well as the main regional countries — Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt.”

It was significant that Khatib supported highlighting two tasks, namely, the fight against IS and reconciliation of the conflicting parties (that is, the government and the opposition). It is important that the Russian Foreign Ministry does not consider the plan for a “Moscow I” meeting to be an alternative to the Geneva process, but a bridge in preparation for Geneva III. This is why the negotiations for Moscow I are expected to be conducted on the basis of the Geneva Protocol.

Russian analysts have concluded that those representatives of the Syrian opposition who have agreed to meet will come to Moscow and compare positions, and then a meeting between them and a delegation from Damascus will take place. It was thus predictable that in talks with Lavrov in Sochi Nov. 26, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem would announce Damascus’ agreement to the Russian plan.

It is noteworthy that Lavrov and Moallem were unanimous in the view that there is no military solution to the Syria conflict. Yet, Lavrov also stated, “There won’t be another Geneva II.” He elaborated further, stating, “If you think that a conference will be announced similar to the one that was held in … January this year with the participation of 50-odd states, thousands of journalists, bright lights, there won’t be such a conference.”

Even as it promotes its plan for Moscow I, Russia continues to support de Mistura’s proposal to freeze the conflict, which is also backed by Syria, according to Moallem’s declarations. Assad had earlier declared that the de Mistura plan was “worth exploring.”

De Mistura has outlined three main points: “One is the need to focus on the real threat of terrorism as defined by the resolutions of the Security Council. Second is to reduce violence … Three, through the reduction of violence, try to reach as many people as possible in Syria and outside Syria who have been suffering due to this ongoing conflict; and through that, hopefully facilitate it and use that as a building block in the direction of a political solution.”

The city of Aleppo was designated as the first site where the freeze would be enforced, because it is, in de Mistura’s words, “a symbol of culture, of multi-culture and of religious and historical heritage in Syria.” It seems, however, that of no less importance in the selection of Aleppo is that there are no radical jihadist groups there. In accordance with the plan of the UN special envoy, all units based in the city — the government’s and the opposition’s — not only would retain control over the territory they hold, but they would also get to keep their weapons.

This is one of the main differences between the de Mistura plan and the local cease-fires implemented in the past, such as, for instance, the one in Homs in February that some opposition forces interpreted as a surrender of their positions to the regime. Herein lie some of the contradictions between the freeze plan and the Harland cease-fire plan. It is certainly no accident that de Mistura has stressed that the “concept of a ‘freeze’ [is] different from previous cease-fires,” as it provides “a new way for approaching the de-escalation of violence.”

As for the Harland plan, David Ignatius commented Nov. 4 in The Washington Post on the leak of a document setting forth a proposal to enter into a series of local cease-fires. Here, too, it was assumed that they would later lead to a process of political reconciliation. Some experts believe that there was no leak and that the authors probably gave the document to the media to draw attention to it. The plot thickens, as after that Harland gave Traub, writing for Foreign Policy, a detailed account of the project. As the document itself remains undisclosed, Traub does not cite it, but explains the main points. According to him, the plan is supported by the Syrian authorities and could, in the long term, lead to “an end to the war, a comprehensive reform of the constitution, and internationally-supervised elections.”

Hegel argued that “history is cunning, [and] that human actions do not have the consequences that those who perform them intend.”​ It is to be hoped that the German philosopher’s sarcastic observation will not apply to the fate of the plans designed to save the troubled Syrian state.

 

‘Poet Guerilla’, now Statesman in one of the World’s poorest developing Countriesin New York Talks about Peace

 

Xanana Gusmao, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and Security of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

Xanana Gusmao, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and Security of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste http://portuguese-american-journal.com/xanana-gusmao-doutor-honoris-causa-by-the-university-of-coimbra-portugal/

KEY NOTE ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRIME MINISTER THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF TIMOR-LESTE

KAY RALA XANANA GUSMÃO

AT THE HIGH-LEVEL MINISTERIAL LUNCH MEETING ON PEACE AND CAPABLE INSTITUTIONS AS STAND-ALONE  GOALS IN THE POST-2015
DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

New York
22 September 2014

Distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen,

We are all here because we are committed to advancing human development, eradicating poverty and securing a sustainable future.

The world took a great step forward in 2000 when the United Nations agreed on the Millennium Development Goals.

The MDGs focused the global development effort on achieving eight goals that addressed poverty, education, gender, child mortality, maternal  health, disease, environmental sustainability and development funding. Since the adoption of the
Millennium Development Goals we have experienced unprecedented human progress.

We have seen hundreds of millions of people lifted from poverty, and improved health and education outcomes across many countries of the world.

However, it is important to note, that much of this progress is not because of the global development effort, but because of the rise of Asia and, in particular, of China.

It is even more important to note, that there are still 2.2 billion people living in poverty in fragile and conflict affected nations – nations that will not achieve even a single Millennium Development Goal by 2015.

The common factor in many of the nations left behind, despite the MDG initiative, is conflict.

Sometimes a truth is so obvious that it is easily overlooked. The truth we have learned through bitter experience in Timor-Leste is that you must have peace – before you can even begin to rebuild a state.

Ladies and gentlemen, there was not a Millennium Development Goal that addressed this fundamental truth. (my emphasis)

We must ensure we do not ignore the obvious, as we work together to formulate the post 2015 development agenda.

I am very pleased to see that a peace related goal is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals suggested by the Open Working Group.

Sustainable Development Goal 16 is to: “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

This is a very welcome move, but I believe it should be Sustainable Development Goal number 1, as none of the other 16 goals will be achievable
without peace and effective state institutions. (my emphasis)

Let me share with you some hard ‘truths’ we learned in Timor-Leste to explain what I mean.

Firstly, while we have made remarkable progress in many areas, we are not on track to reach the targets set under even one of the Millennium Development Goals. This is perhaps in part, because we are a very young nation. We are
younger even than the Millennium Development Goals, having only achieved our independence in 2002 after a war of resistance that lasted nearly a quarter of a century.

But it is also because following independence, and despite extensive assistance from the international community, we found ourselves trapped in a cycle of violence and unrest. In 2006, we faced our greatest crisis as sections of
our police and army resorted to armed conflict and took us to the brink of civil war. The crisis wiped out years of development progress and we realised that our problem was not that we were poor but that our institutions were weak.

Children stopped going to school, health clinics were deserted because people were too scared to make the journey to the clinic, our economy was stagnating because the government went into shut down and international investors fled. We had 150,000 people living as displaced people in their own country because they were too scared to go back to their villages.

After much national reflection, we decided we had to make our number one priority the peaceful resolution of our differences. We realised that there can be no development if there is chaos. We realised that without peace, we would betray the dreams of all those who died in our quest for independence. And we realised that without peace, we would be failing our children.

So we started a dialogue. We convinced our rebel soldiers in the mountains to surrender peacefully. Our friends here at the United Nations said it would take a decade but within two years, the tents were gone and our people had all returned home to their villages.

And we began to rebuild our State institutions.

We still have a long way to go. But you only have to compare Dili of eight years ago with the Díli of today to know we are on the right track and that we have made remarkable progress.

Ladies and gentlemen

As we embarked upon the process of consolidating peace and building our institutions we discovered that our experience was not unique. There were
other nations around the world which were fragile, or affected by conflict, that were not on track to achieve a single Millennium Development Goal.

We came together to speak with one voice as the g7+ group of fragile and conflict affected nations. The g7+ now represents 20 nations that have learnt, through bitter experience that a global development framework will not work without a focus on peace building and State building. (my emphasis)

Sadly, the crisis in South Sudan is the most recent example of the hope of development progress being destroyed by conflict, and the failure of state institutions.

And then there is the Ebola crisis gripping West African nations that highlights the critical need for capable institutions to address what could become a global health crisis.

I want to state here that Timor-Leste will contribute $1 million to assist the West African g7+ member nations dealing with the Ebola crisis.

And we see disturbing events in the Middle East unfold which prove the need for peace and properly functioning governments.

We also have to ask the question – who profits from conflict in developing nations? The answer of course, is ultimately those corporations that
manufacture and sells the arms. We need some collective action in the United Nations to properly monitor and investigate who profits from conflict. (my emphasis)

Ladies and gentlemen,

If we are serious about having sustainable development goals that will have a transformative impact on human development and global peace and security, then we need a stand-alone goal that addresses peace building and effective, accountable and inclusive institutions. (my emphasis)

I urge the international community to embrace this goal so we can ensure that no nations, and no people, are left behind by the global development agenda.

And so, as we look into the future, I hope that securing global, regional and national peace will be our consuming agenda.

Because there can be no sustainable development without peace.

Thank you very much.

22 September 2014
Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão

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