CAR; Mali; Counter-Terrorism; The SG; WFP

CAR: The SG issued a statement today on the situation in CAR, welcoming the declaration of principle, the ceasefire agreement, and the political agreement on the resolution of the crisis signed in Libreville on January 11. He commends the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and regional leaders for their prompt mobilization, and urges the Government of CAR, politico-military groups, the Séléka coalition, opposition parties, and the country’s partners to fully implement these agreements.

Mali: UNHCR announced today that increased violence in Mali over the weekend has resulted in greater flows of displacement both within Mali and into neighboring countries. Hundreds of refugees are flowing into Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania; over 600 people entered Bamako over the weekend; and to the north of Mopti around 5,000 people (or half the Konna population) are reported to have fled the town across the River Niger. The agency has updated its contingency planning in case of new potential influxes and is ready to respond with assistance as needed. UNESCO has also urged all parties to the conflict to respect cultural heritage sites in the country.

Counter-Terrorism: The SC held an open debate on counter-terrorism today, chaired by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar of Pakistan and attended by some 50 speakers and national officials. The SG opened the debate with a statement emphasizing the three pillars of the UN’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy: the critical links between development and security; the importance of dialogue and understanding; and the increasing use of information technology to spread hate. Ambassador Susan Rice also made remarks, emphasizing the need for cooperation amongst the international community. “With the terrorist threat ever more diffuse, the need for a strategic and comprehensive approach to counterterrorism has never been greater,” she said.

The SG: The SG will travel to San Francisco on Thursday to speak at Stanford on “The United Nations and a World in Transition”. Following the lecture, the SG will have working dinner with faculty leadership and local dignitaries, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and former Secretary of Defense William Perry. On Friday, he will speak at the Monterey Institute of International Studies on the theme “Advancing the Disarmament and Nonproliferation Agenda: Seeking Peace in an Over-armed World” and will return to New York over the weekend.

WFP: WFP Chief Ertharin Cousin concluded her trip to Turkey this week by meeting Syrian refugees in Kilis camp on the Turkish-Syrian border. Before heading to the border, Cousin had two days of high-level meetings with Turkish officials in Ankara and Istanbul. WFP plans to expand the project to assist 100,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey by June, continuing its partnership with the Turkish Red Crescent that started in October of last year.