Bangladesh PM accuses Myanmar of laying mines
UNITED NATIONS: The latest on the UN General Assembly meeting (all times local):
Bangladesh’s prime minister is accusing Myanmar of ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims and laying land mines to prevent those who fled to Bangladesh from returning.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina demanded that the Rohingya be able to return to Myanmar “in safety, security and dignity.”
Hasina told the UN General Assembly on Thursday that Bangladesh is sheltering more than 800,000 Rohingya and 430,000 of them have arrived in the past three weeks.
She called for safe zones to be created under UN supervision in Myanmar’s strife-hit Rakhine state.
The latest exodus of Rohingya began Aug. 25 after insurgents attacked Myanmar security forces, triggering a military crackdown and reprisals from majority Buddhists.
Myanmar has defended the conduct of its security forces and says it is committed to resolving the sectarian tensions.
Antigua and Barbuda’s prime minister is pleading for debt relief to help rebuild from Hurricane Irma, which decimated the tiny island of Barbuda and forced the evacuation of its entire population.
Prime Minister Gaston Alphonso Browne tells the UN General Assembly that “for the first time in over 300 years, there is no permanent resident of Barbuda.”
The Category 5 storm wrecked virtually every building in Barbuda. Its 1,500 residents left for Antigua.
Browne says, “everything that meant anything to the inhabitants had to be left behind, their homes, their possessions, their history.”
He said it would cost $250 million to rebuild, about 15 percent of his country’s gross domestic product.
He pleaded for wealthier countries to forgive or reduce Antigua’s $130 million debt, incurred over decades.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is appealing to the international community, especially Russia and China, to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, calling North Korea a case study of the failure to prevent rogue states from obtaining weapons of mass destruction.
Tillerson said Thursday that North Korea never came into compliance with and cheated on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty it joined in the mid-1980s — but was never held accountable.
He said there were also lessons for Iran “which was on its own path to develop nuclear weapons” and “seems keen to preserve for itself the option to resume such work in the future,” an allegation strongly denied by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.
Tillerson spoke at a ministerial meeting of the UN Security Council called by the United States on “the acute threat” posed by the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
He said that “as we look to the future, the international community’s record of enforcing compliance with nonproliferation obligations and commitments is not what we need it to be.”
Tillerson said all nations must work together “bilaterally, regionally and globally to stem the tide of proliferation.”
Germany’s top diplomat is defending international institutions and agreements, condemning “egoism” on the world stage.
Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told the UN General Assembly that the existing nuclear accord with Iran should be honored in order to encourage other countries, especially North Korea, to adopt limits on nuclear programs.
Appearing to indirectly take on US President Donald Trump’s philosophy of “America first,” Gabriel gave a full-throated defense of multilateral agreements as the best path to ensure global security.
He said: “We need more international cooperation and less national egoism, not the other way around.”
China says negotiations offer the “only way out” of the standoff over North Korea’s nuclear program.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi said there should be no new nuclear state on either side of the divided Korean Peninsula. He urged North Korea not to go further on a “dangerous direction.”
Wang also called for the US to honor its commitments and for all parties to ease tensions and meet each other “halfway.”
He said: “There’s still hope for peace.”
Wang was speaking Thursday at the annual gathering of world leaders at the UN, where North Korea’s recent rapid pace of nuclear and missile tests has drawn international condemnation. Aid-for-disarmament talks have been in limbo for years.
President Donald Trump warned Tuesday that North Korea would be destroyed if it attacked the US or its allies, and on Thursday, he announced new sanctions against Pyongyang.
Russia’s top diplomat is calling the Iran nuclear deal one of the “more important factors of regional and international security” today.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov tackled a variety of international crises, including the tensions in North and South Korea in his address Thursday to the UN General Assembly.
Condemning North Korea’s recent rocket launches and nuclear tests, Lavrov says there’s no alternative to diplomacy in resolving the tension.
He said “military hysteria isn’t an impasse. It’s a disaster.”
Lavrov is blaming what he calls the “hideous expansion of NATO to the east” for the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Addressing the civil war in Syria, Lavrov says all instances of the use of chemical weapons in that conflict must be investigated. Russia is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has used his speech at the UN General Assembly to talk about the injustices that indigenous people face in his country.
Trudeau said Thursday their experience has been one of “humiliation, neglect, and abuse.” It is rare for a Canadian leader to talk about the plight of the country’s indigenous people in a global forum.
Trudeau says Canada is not a “wonderland,” but a work in progress. He says there are indigenous people who don’t have safe drinking water or who say goodnight to their children and then hope that the youths don’t run away or take their own lives in the night.
He spoke of Canada’s former residential schools — government-sponsored religious institutions established to strip aboriginals of their native language and culture. He says his government is taking steps to improve the plight of indigenous people and noted that more than two dozen long-term drinking water advisories in indigenous communities have been eliminated.
Haitian President Jovenel Moise has rebuked the UN over two scandals that will leave a dark cloud over the peacekeeping mission in the Caribbean country when it leaves next month.
Moise thanked the UN mission for helping to stabilize Haiti but said Thursday he lamented the “the odious acts of sexual violence and exploitation committed” by some peacekeepers against Haitian children.
He also told the General Assembly that the UN should follow through on its promise to help victims of a cholera outbreak that UN troops from Nepal are widely blamed for introducing.
The cholera outbreak has afflicted over 800,000 people and killed more than 9,000 since 2010.
An AP investigation detailed how at least 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers sexually abused and exploited nine Haitian children between 2004 and 2007. Sri Lanka never jailed any soldiers implicated in the abuse. This week, Sri Lanka joined a new UN “circle of leadership” aimed at preventing more abuses.
Adopting a less confrontational stance than key allies, South Korea’s president has urged North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and seek dialogue to prevent conflict breaking out on the divided peninsula.
President Moon Jae-in voiced support Thursday for stronger sanctions in response to the North’s recent weapons tests, but his tone was in stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s dark warning at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that North Korea would be “totally destroyed” if it attacked.
Another US ally, Japan, said Wednesday that pressure, not dialogue, was needed.
Moon cautioned that North Korean nuclear issues need to be “managed stably” to prevent a spike in tensions and military clashes — a prospect that has overshadowed this year’s gathering of world leaders.
September 22, 2017