Top of the Morning: 54 African Migrants Die of Thirst on Doomed Voyage to Italy; Security Council Has to Decide on Syria Mission

Top stories from *DAWNS Digest.

54 African Migrants Die of Thirst on Doomed Voyage to Italy

This is just awful and part of a larger trend of migrants departing from North Africa to Europe, only to get stranded at sea. “Fifty four people trying to reach Italy from Libya died of thirst after a 15-day voyage in which their rubber boat gradually deflated, the United Nations Refugee Agency said on Tuesday, citing the sole survivor. It said the man, an Eritrean national, was rescued by Tunisian coastguards in a state of advanced dehydration clinging to the remains of the boat after being spotted by fishermen the previous night, the agency said. The man said he left Libya towards the end of June as part of a 55-strong group, half of whom came from Eritrea. He told UNHCR officials the craft nearly reached the coast of Italy but was driven back by strong winds and began to deflate after a few days.” (Reuters

Security Council Must Decide What to Do With the Hobbled Syria Observer Mission

Kofi Annan and the Head of UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous will brief the Security Council on Syria today, providing an important inflection point for international diplomacy. “Council members are likely to receive an update from Annan on his visits this week to Damascus, Tehran and Baghdad. In particular, Council members will be interested in details of the 9 July meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Press reports indicate that Annan characterised the talks as “constructive” and said agreement had been reached on an approach to end the violence. It seems such a positive message from Annan came as a surprise to some Council members, especially amidst reports of increasing spill-over effects in northern Lebanon and so shortly after the 7 July Le Monde interview where Annan expressed frustration that his mediation efforts and the presence of UNSMIS had been unable to stop the bloodshed…Ladsous will likely provide more information on the range of options for the future of UNSMIS, as outlined in the Secretary-General’s 6 July UNSMIS report (S/2012/523). Broadly speaking, the options include: withdrawal of UNSMIS, expansion of the military observers with or without force protection, maintaining the current configuration, or shifting to civilian functions in Damascus with or without an additional field presence.”  (Security Council Report

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