Ban Meets Cameron, Council Debates Middle East, UNICEF Signs Deal with Sudan Rebel Movement and more from the UN

ICJ: as you may have heard, today the International Court of Justice delivered its advisory opinion on the legality of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence, which, by a vote of 10-4, decided that the declaration did not violate international law.  Secretary Clinton issued this positive statement in response.  Both the SG and Clinton have urged constructive dialogue in the wake of this decision.

SG: in his first meeting with British PM Cameron at UNHQ yesterday, the SG welcomed the UK’s leadership on the MDGs, adding that he hoped they could serve as a model for other countries to follow.

DSG: the DSG is departing for Kampala today to attend the AU Summit from July 25-27 on “Maternal, Infant and Child health and Development in Africa”.  She is expected to address the Summit on the theme, as well as Somalia and Sudan, among other issues.

Disarmament: the SG has decided to convene a meeting on disarmament on the sidelines of the General Debate this year (Sept. 24).  In the meeting, he hopes to break the stalemate in the Conference on Disarmament, which has been deadlocked over 12 years, preventing progress on such issues as negotiating a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT), which the Obama Administration firmly supports.

Security Council: speaking at the Council’s monthly debate on the situation on the Middle East yesterday, USG Political Affairs Pascoe said the region is at a “critical juncture” and that we must work to bring the parties together for talks which addresses core issues and the situation on the ground in Gaza.

Darfur: earlier this week, UN/AU Chief Mediator Bassolé said that ongoing Doha peace talks between Sudan and some Darfur rebel groups are going well (despite the absence of JEM and a faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement from the process).  In related news, UNICEF signed an MOU with JEM regarding child soldiers, that would eventually allow UNICEF to have access to JEM bases to ensure child soldiers aren’t being recruited.  It would also allow the UN to respond more effectively to sexual violence.  This is the result of a negotiating process which began in 2008.

Somalia: in a briefing by Mark Bowden, UN Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator for Somalia, Mr. Bowden called Somalia one of the world’s most complicated humanitarian situations, but noted progress in the UN’s provision of basic health care services, shelter and food to IDPs.  However, 3.5 million people still rely on food support and acute malnutrition is widespread, especially among children.  1.2 million are internally displaced as a result of the conflict.