Palestine; Syria; DRC; Iraq

Palestine: The GA granted Palestine non-member observer state status this afternoon, with 138 Member States in favor, 9 against, and 41 abstaining from the vote on the draft resolution. Both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and PR for Israel Ron Posor issued remarks before the vote presenting arguments for and against the granting of status, respectively. The nine states voting against the resolution were the United States, Israel, Canada, Czech Republic, Palau, Nauru, Micronesia, Marshall Island, and Panama. The US issued an explanation of the vote, stating that “only through direct negotiations between the parties can the Palestinians and Israelis achieve the peace that both deserve: two states for two peoples.”

Syria: Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi briefed the Security Council and the press on Syria this morning. He noted that the situation in Syria is “bad and getting worse” and that the parties to the conflict are not ready to implement an internal solution themselves. The region is also not currently capable of facilitating a peaceful solution, Brahimi says, and that the only place such a solution can be initiated is the SC. The elements of a new plan are in place, but cannot be implemented until the SC is ready to adopt a resolution towards a political process, which would include a strong ceasefire and peacekeeping mission.

DRC: Moustapha Soumaré, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the DRC, briefed the press from Kinshasa today on the situation in and around Goma. With over 130,000 IDPs in North Kivu and 70,000 refugees in neighboring countries, there are serious concerns for the long term, particularly if there is further violence and additional displacement as a result of the violence. Although the current focus is very much on Goma, Mr. Soumaré noted that there are others parts of North Kivu and the rest of DRC that are in “great distress.”

Iraq: Martin Kobler, SRSG for Iraq, spoke to the Security Council today on the situation in the country. He highlighted recent improvements in the relations between Iraq and Kuwait, though progress will “depend on the restoration of confidence between both sides.” He also encouraged Member States to offer resettlement opportunities to former residents of Camp Ashraf, in order to find sustainable solutions for the residents.