The Latest: Congo FM insists elections will take place

AP News
Posted: Sep 23, 2016 9:39 PM
The Latest: Congo FM insists elections will take place

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The latest on the high-level U.N. General Assembly meetings (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

Congo's foreign minister insists that elections will take place after technical problems are resolved.

Raymond Tshibanda, addressing the U.N. General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting, said until then people should not resort to bloodshed.

Tensions have risen as indications have increased that President Joseph Kabila will stay in office after his term legally ends in December, sparking violent demonstrators.

Congo's electoral commission has said that November's scheduled presidential vote won't be possible, and a court has determined Kabila can stay in power until another election is organized.

"Any recourse to using violence should be strongly condemned and the perpetrators punished," Tshibanda said.

The U.N. Security Council earlier this week urged all parties in Congo to end violent clashes and open a peaceful political dialogue on the holding of elections.

The council has strongly condemned the violence that it said has led to the death of at least 32 people, including four police officers.


8:30 p.m.

The United Nations and Iraq have signed an agreement aimed at helping the Baghdad government tackle sexual violence in conflict, an issue that made headlines following the capture and rape of Yazidi women in 2014 by Islamic State extremists.

Zainab Hawa Bangura, the U.N. special envoy for sexual violence in conflict, and Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaffari, signed the joint communique Friday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting.

Bangura said the U.N.-Iraq collaboration will focus especially on challenges Iraq faces with accountability for sexual violence and bringing perpetrators to justice. To date, there have been no trials.

The U.N. envoy recalled visiting Iraq last year where Yazidi girls described being "inspected like livestock, sold in modern-day slave marked and then repeatedly raped by the fighters who bought them."

"I do believe that these crimes amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and acts of genocide,"


3:50 p.m.

The U.N. says international donors have pledged over $160 million for life-saving support for millions of people in west Africa whose lives have been thrown into turmoil by the Muslim extremist group Boko Haram — but that's just one-third of the amount needed for the rest of this year.

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson called the upheaval in the Lake Chad Basin which straddles Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger "one of the worst crises in today's world" which must not become a "forgotten crisis."

Over nine million people across the basin urgently need humanitarian aid, he said, and 6.3 million aren't getting enough to eat.

At a high-level conference Friday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting, the U.N. said donors pledged $163 million of the $542 million needed this year. Major donors included Belgium, Italy, Britain and the United States.


Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto says migratory policies around the world have failed, leading to the spread of terrorism.

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly on Friday, Szijjarto said the international community must make it clear that there is no excuse for violating the borders between two peaceful countries.

"The uncontrolled and unregulated mass migration offered opportunity for terrorist organizations to send their fighters and to send their terrorists to other countries and continents," Szijjarto said.

Hungary will hold a referendum on Oct. 2 in which the government hopes to gather political support for its opposition to any future EU plan to resettle migrants among member states. Hungary is also challenging the EU in court, hoping to prevent having to temporarily take in 1,294 refugees.


3:30 p.m.

Russia's foreign minister is warning that unless Nusra Front "terrorist" fighters are separated from the moderate opposition in Syria any new cease-fire is "meaningless."

Sergey Lavrov says that a new truce — whether for three days or seven days — would be "senseless" unless the U.S.-led coalition can prove it has influence on opposition forces fighting President Bashar Assad's government.

He also told a press conference Friday after speaking to the General Assembly's ministerial meeting said that by insisting on the delivery of humanitarian aid first, "you ... have a pretext not to move on political process" or separating the opposition.

"It's a very dirty game if this is done intentionally," Lavrov said.

Lavrov said Russia is convinced that separating Assad's opponents won't take long if U.S. and Russian intelligence official sit down with a map and agree on locations of Nusra. But he said U.S. opposition to intelligence sharing by senior U.S. military officials "increases suspicion that something is fishy."


2:35 p.m.

South Sudan's First Vice President Taban Deng is dismissing the need for more peacekeeping forces in his country.

Speaking with The Associated Press on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, Deng said that a U.N. Security Council resolution that called for a 4,000-strong regional force "didn't take into consideration our concerns as a nation."

The resolution to provide security in South Sudan's capital and deter attacks on U.N. sites would make the regional force part of the U.N. peacekeeping contingent in South Sudan and raise its strength to 17,000 soldiers and international police.

"We have 13,000 U.N. troops in South Sudan who are sitting idle, not doing anything," Deng said.

South Sudan became independent in 2011, but civil war broke out between the Dinka and Nuer peoples in December 2013. It lasted until a peace agreement was signed in August 2015 but fighting, that has left tens of thousands dead and more than 2 million displaced, continues.


2:30 p.m.

North Korea's foreign minister is vowing his country will expand its nuclear capabilities in defiance of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions, saying hostile actions by the United States have left it no choice.

Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly on Friday, Ri Yong Ho condemned the United States for flying two supersonic bombers over South Korea earlier this week, vowing "the United States will have to face tremendous consequences beyond imagination."

He added that North Korea "will continue to take measures to strengthen its national nuclear armed forces in both quantity and quality in order to defend the dignity and right to existence and safeguard genuine peace vis-a-vis the increased nuclear war threat of the United States."

Speaking at a meeting with Southeast Asian foreign ministers Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that every country has a responsibility to vigorously enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions to ensure North Korea "pays a price for its dangerous actions."


12:50 p.m.

The international diplomatic "quartet" of Mideast peacemakers is calling once again for Israel and the Palestinians to take steps to resume stalled peace talks.

At a meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly on Friday, the top diplomats of the European Union, Russia, United Nations and United States urged the parties to create conditions for restarting "meaningful" negotiations toward a two-state solution. For the Israelis, this means a halt to settlement construction on territory claimed by the Palestinians. For the Palestinians, it means an end to incitement of violence.

The diplomats were also joined by the foreign ministers of Egypt and France whose countries have each proposed ideas to restart talks. The quartet said all participants had agreed on the importance of coordinating peace efforts.


12:20 p.m.

France's foreign minister says he will be disappointed but not discouraged if an agreement isn't reached in New York on a new cease-fire in Syria, insisting: "We will continue to fight."

Given the "impasse" in U.S.-Russia negotiations, Jean-Marc Ayrault vowed to fight for France's proposal to create a cease-fire oversight mechanism involving a large number of countries that would be chaired by a U.N. representative.

He told a news conference Friday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting that he keeps asking Russia and Iran whether they favor a military or political solution.

"Every time, they respond to me that it's the political solution," Ayrault said. "But to have trust in that we need to look at the acts — and the acts are military ones up until now."


11:50 a.m.

With the Paris Agreement on climate change poised to take effect, diplomats now head to Morocco to hammer out the difficult details of how to make it work and raise the $100 billion needed each year to meet its ambitious goals.

Morocco's Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar said he expects to announce that countries accounting for over 55 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions have formally joined the treaty — the threshold needed to trigger the landmark agreement — when he presides over the 22nd U.N. Climate Conference in Marrakech that starts on Nov. 7.

"Once the treaty takes effect, the next steps will require concrete actions on the part of world governments to start implementing concrete policies in order to adapt," said Mezouar.