Governments around the world should keep their borders open to refugees, the head of the U.N. refugee agency said on Monday, as new data showed the number of refugees rising to its highest level in 50 years.
"My appeal to all states of the world is to keep the borders open to all those who seek protection," Antonio Guterres told reporters in Rome after touring the Italian island of Lampedusa along with U.S. actress Angelina Jolie.Full Story
President Bashar Assad said on Monday that dialogue could lead to a new constitution and even the end of his Baath party's monopoly on power but refused to reform Syria under "chaos."
After widespread condemnation of a brutal crackdown on anti-regime protests, the country was at a "turning point," he said in a televised speech at Damascus University, vowing Syria would emerge stronger from the "plotting" against it.Full Story
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday urged a transition to democracy in Syria, saying in a commentary in the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat that the regime crackdown would not quell the momentum for change.
In an English translation provided by the State Department, Clinton wrote under the headline "There Is No Going Back in Syria" that it was "increasingly clear" the crackdown was an irreversible shift in the country's push towards reform.Full Story
The United States is studying whether war crimes charges can be brought against Syria to pressure its regime to end a bloody crackdown on dissent, a senior administration official said Friday.
The official said other measures, including sanctions targeting the country's oil and gas sector, were being considered as part of a broader diplomatic campaign to increase pressure on Syria's President Bashar Assad.Full Story
The U.N. Human Rights Council passed Friday a historic resolution that seeks equal rights for everyone regardless of their sexual orientation, marking progress for gay rights despite strong Arab and African opposition.
The resolution was passed narrowly with 23 votes in favor, 19 against and three abstentions, after an emotional debate that saw African states accusing South Africa of breaking ranks with the region and siding with the West after it introduced the issue.Full Story
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Friday bluntly told the European Union's top diplomat that U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state in September would render the Oslo Accords null and void.
At a breakfast meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Lieberman said the 1993 Oslo Accords that created the Palestinian Authority, and all the agreements reached since then, would be cancelled if they secured recognition of their independent state when the United Nations meets this autumn.Full Story
Former chief U.N. investigator Detlev Mehlis has accused Syrian President Bashar Assad of ordering the assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri for allegedly seeking to topple his regime.
Mehlis said in an interview with the German radio Deutsche Welle on Thursday that Assad ordered Hariri’s Feb. 2005 killing after Damascus “suspected that he was seeking to topple the Syrian regime and disarm Hizbullah in cooperation with France and U.S.”Full Story
The Palestinians will seek U.N. recognition and membership regardless of whether there is a resumption of peace talks, negotiator Mohammed Shtayeh said on Thursday.
His comments were made as the international community pushes a raft of new peace initiatives in a bid to head off the Palestinian push for U.N. membership.Full Story
Russia on Thursday became the last permanent member of the Security Council to support U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's re-election, saying it would back his candidacy in a vote due later in the day.
"We are ready to support the candidacy of the esteemed Ban Ki-moon for a second term as U.N. Secretary General at Thursday's upcoming vote," Interfax quoted foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich as saying.Full Story
Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi is ready to accept internationally supervised elections within three months, his son Seif al-Islam told an Italian newspaper on Thursday.
"Elections, immediately and with international supervision. It's the only painless way to break out of the impasse in Libya," Saif al-Islam told the daily Corriere della Sera correspondent in Tripoli.Full Story