Upset in Tehran; Syria; Amos in Mali; SC on Lebanon; Human Rights

Upset in Tehran: The SG spoke at the NAM Summit in Tehran today, expressing grave concern over the situation in Syria and Iran’s nuclear program. The SG encouraged member states of the NAM to work in support of freedom, peaceful resolution of conflict, and to fulfill the MDGs. Within the speech, there were stern words issued towards Syria, President Morsi of Egypt prompting the Syrian leadership to leave the room mid-speech and the SG noting that “we face the grim risk of long-term civil war” in the country. The SG also encouraged Iran to take “responsible action” on the nuclear program, and “strongly condemned” the anti-Semitic remarks against Israel during his speech. These events were popular in the media today, remarks that can be found here: NY Times, Reuters, VOA, Turtle Bay.

Syria: William Hague (UK) and Laurent Fabius (France) held a joint press briefing today on Syria, calling for members of both the SC and GA to increase their humanitarian funding to the effort in the country, the UK announcing an increase of three million pounds to its contribution. Both Hague and Fabius spoke out to Syrian leadership, encouraging defection from the current regime. DSG Jan Eliasson, briefed the SC this afternoon during the ministerial meeting concerning the humanitarian situation in Syria, noting that the two primary concerns in the conflict are humanitarian access and funding. The High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, also addressed the Council, urging all parties to continue to provide protection and respect the thousands of refugees in neighboring countries.

Amos in Mali: OCHA chief Valerie Amos landed in Mali yesterday,  the beginning of a trip to assess the response to the severe food and nutrition crisis affecting 4.6 million people in Mali, including 175,000 children at risk from severe acute malnutrition. “We are saving lives here, but we must do more,” Amos said, expressing concern over the state of malnutrition in the country.

SC on Lebanon: In the SC’s briefing on the Middle East today, the Council extended the mandate for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon for one year, also condemning recent attacks against UNIFIL personnel.

Human Rights: Today, a UN Special Rapporteur strongl condemned last Monday’s execution of 21 people, including three women, within one day in Iraq, followed two days later by the reported execution of five more people. In addition, human rights chief Navi Pillay said today that she was “deeply disturbed” by the recent executions in Gambia after 27 years without reports of any such acts within the country.