Iraq’s Shia leader al-Sadr backs early vote ‘supervised’ by UN

Muqtada al-Sadr said he backed early elections overseen by the UN, warning that further delays would be a ‘disaster’ for Iraq.

The elections were initially set for June, nearly a year ahead of schedule, but have since been pushed back to October [File: Alaa al-Marjani/Reuters]

Iraqi Shia Muslim leader Muqtada al-Sadr on Wednesday called for early elections overseen by the UN, in a rare news conference outside his home in the southern city of Najaf.

Iraq is expected to hold early parliamentary elections this year, a central demand of an anti-government protest movement which erupted in 2019 and backed by al-Sadr’s supporters.

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Biden’s UN envoy nominee: BDS activity ‘unacceptable, verges on anti-Semitic’

At Senate hearing, Linda Thomas-Greenfield pledges to combat ‘unfair targeting of Israel,’ encourage states that have normalized with Israel to back Jerusalem at world forums too

United States Ambassador to the United Nations nominee Linda Thomas-Greenfield testifies during for her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill on Jan. 27, 2021, in Washington. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)

NEW YORK — US President Joe Biden’s nominee for UN envoy, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, pledged Wednesday to fight bias against Israel at the international forum if confirmed.

“I look forward to standing with Israel, standing against the unfair targeting of Israel, the relentless resolutions proposed against Israel unfairly,” Thomas-Greenfield said at her Senate confirmation hearing, adding that she was also planning to work with her Israeli counterparts to bolster the Jewish state’s security and “to widen the circle of peace.”

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Biden taps Power, who allowed anti-settlement UN resolution, as USAID chief

As US ambassador to international body, Samantha Power allowed an anti-settlements resolution to pass in the Security Council in final days of Obama administration

United States ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power votes on a resolution during a Security Council meeting at UN headquarters, Wednesday, March 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

JTA — US President-elect Joe Biden named Samantha Power, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, to a top foreign aid post on Wednesday.

Power — notable during her UN tenure in part because of her role in allowing through an anti-settlements resolution at the tail end of the Obama administration — was tapped as the administrator of the US Agency for International Development. Biden elevated her position to include a seat on the National Security Council, a reflection of his determination to roll back President Donald Trump’s diminishment of US assistance overseas, including to Palestinians.


Iran to boot out UN nuclear inspectors unless US sanctions lifted – lawmaker

Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani says deadline for implement parliament decision to end IAEA reviews of country’s sites is February 21, as set in 2015 deal

Screen capture from video of Iranian lawmaker Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani during a television interview. (YouTube)

Iran will expel United Nations nuclear inspectors next month unless the US lifts its sanctions on the country, an Iranian lawmaker said Saturday.

“If the sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran are not lifted by February 21, especially in the fields of finance, banking, and oil, we will definitely expel the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors from the country,” said Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani in a television interview, according to an English translation of his remarks by the Mehr news agency.

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Outgoing UN peace envoy: Palestinians can gain from Israel’s normalization deals

As he leaves post, Nickolay Mladenov says he sought to mediate through understanding sides’ viewpoints, rather than ‘sit on the sidelines and preach’

United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov at a press conference at the UNSCO offices in Gaza City, September 25, 2017. (Adel Hana/AP)

The UN’s outgoing Middle East peace envoy has said the Palestinians could gain from Israel’s normalization agreements with Arab states, potentially strengthening their hand in peace talks.

Nickolay Mladenov, 48, finished his term as United Nations peace envoy this week after serving in the role since 2015. He previously was Bulgaria’s foreign minister and had been set to become the special UN envoy for Libya, but last week said he couldn’t take on the position for “personal and family reasons.”


When Israel and Arab nations unite, world should take note, says UN ambassador

 Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan reflected on 2020 and how “Israel’s future looks brighter than ever” in his address on Sunday night at the Zionist Organization of America’s Virtual Superstar Gala.

Erdan, also Israel’s incoming ambassador to the United States, received the ZOA’s Woo KaiSheng Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Diplomacy. In his acceptance speech, he said that while this past year “supplied a fair amount of hate, it also delivered a fair amount of peace.”

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3 UN peacekeepers killed in Central African Republic

BANGUI, Central African Republic — Three peacekeepers from Burundi were killed and two others wounded in Central African Republic in attacks Friday by armed combatants, the spokesman for the United Nations secretary-general said.

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