Davos; The SC; Iraq; Bahrain

Davos: The SG spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos today, focusing his remarks on a call for action from the international community to solve the crises in Syria and Mali. Regarding both crises he said: “Let not our inaction today lead to harsh judgement tomorrow.” While in Davos, the SG also met with Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmet Davutoglu, on the crisis in Syria, as well as the Prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga, and the President of Guatemala, Otto Pérez Molina.

The SC: The SC this morning extended the mandate of the UN peacebuilding office in CAR (BINUCA) until January 31, 2014. The Council calls on the Government and opposition groups to abide by a ceasefire and other agreements signed in Gabon on January 11. SGSR and head of BINUCA, Margaret Vogt, welcomed the resolution’s stress on the need to have her office provide support for the implementation of the agreement during a press briefing she held at HQ today. The SC also extended the peacekeeping force in Cyprus until July 31, 2013, urging the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities to continue efforts towards reunification of the divided Mediterranean island nation.

Iraq: UN Envoy in Iraq, Martin Kobler, “strongly condemned” the attacks made against mourners in Northern Iraq yesterday, a suicide bombing killing at least 35 people and wounding more than 100. In addition, the UN Compensation Commission, which settles the damage claims of those who suffered losses due to Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, made $1.3 billion available to two successful claimants this morning. The total amount of compensation disbursed by the Commission is $40.1 billion for more than 1.5 million successful claims of individuals, corporations, governments and international organizations. $12.3 billion remains to be paid.

Bahrain: The SG welcomes the king of Bahrain’s initiative to convene a national political dialogue, as well as the positive response to the proposal from opposition groups in the country. Since early 2011, Bahrain has been plagued by a series of protests and violent backlash as part of the Arab Spring. “This initiative is an important first step towards reforms that ensure justice and human rights for all Bahrainis,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement on the topic.