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This Week in DPPA: 3 - 9 February 2024

A brief roundup of United Nations-related political and peacebuilding events and developments around the world. 

USG DiCarlo warns Council that tensions in the Middle East continue to rise

On 5 February, USG DiCarlo briefed the Council on the situation in the Middle East. She said that “the tensions that have engulfed multiple countries in the Middle East continue to rise, with near daily incidents in the region since mid-October 2023.” She said those incidents included 165 attacks on United States facilities in Syria and Iraq, prompting retaliatory strikes in the two countries. She recalled that on 2 February, after a 28 January drone attack killed three American soldiers, the United States said it had carried out 85 air strikes in Iraq and Syria against reported Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Forces and affiliated groups. “I appeal to the Council to continue to actively engage all concerned parties to prevent further escalation and the worsening of tensions that undermine regional peace and security,” she said.

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Nearly two years on, “we are no closer to the end” of the war in Ukraine, USG DiCarlo tells Council

On 6 February, Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo briefed the Security Council on the situation in Ukraine. She said that nearly two years since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, "we are no closer to the end of this illegal and unjustified war." She noted that on 3 February, 28 people were reportedly killed in the shelling of a building housing a bakery and a restaurant in the town of Lysychansk, in the Luhansk region of Ukraine, which is currently under the control of the Russian Federation. In regions under Ukrainian control, the last few weeks have seen a reported intensification of Russian strikes, she said, noting that, on 5 February, four civilians were reportedly killed in Kherson, and one more in the Sumy region. “The impact of these attacks is devastating, particularly for the communities near active conflict zones,” she said.

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SRSG Hennis-Plasschaert tells Council that attacks threaten Iraq’s “hard-won stability” 

On 6 February, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Jeanine Hennis-Pleasschaert told the Council that, if attacks originating from within and outside of Iraq’s borders continued, it would undo the country’s hard-won stability and other achievements made over the past 18 months. “Messaging by strikes only serves to heighten tensions, to kill or injure people and to destroy property,” she cautioned.

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Briefing press, Special Coordinator Wennesland underscores need for political solution to situation in Middle East

Speaking to the press at UN Headquarters in New York on 7 February, Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace Process underscored that in the midst of a “humanitarian nightmare,” a political solution was needed in order to “set up a system on the ground that can allow for a governance structure in Palestine that is strong enough.” If that structure is not put in place in a credible way, Wennesland cautioned, it would be the first time since the Oslo agreement was signed that part of Palestine would not be ruled by the Palestinians, even under occupation. 

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Special Envoy Pedersen issues statement marking one year since deadly earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria

On 6 February, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Geir Pedersen issued a statement remembering the “thousands of Syrians in Syria and Türkiye” who perished after devastating earthquakes. The disaster came on top of more than a decade of conflict and suffering, compounding the tragedy of the Syrian people inside and outside and on both sides of conflict lines, he said. He also underlined that “ongoing and alarming spillover from regional developments remind us, just as the earthquakes did a year ago, that Syrians are acutely vulnerable” and urged all parties to take measures to lower tensions. 

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Special Representative Imandze meets with senior officials in Washington D.C.

On 1-2 February, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Central Asia and Head of the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) Kaha Imnadze, as part of his regular consultations with the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, visited Washington and held meetings with government officials, including the Department of State, the National Security Council, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as representatives of the IMF and the World Bank Group, the Institute of Peace and the United Nations Foundation. The SRSG exchanged views on the overall geopolitical situation as well as specific political, security and socio-economic developments in Central Asia. 

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Deputy Special Representative Isaczai attends National Development Plan Consultation Workshop

On 4 February, the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq/Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Ghulam Isaczai, and the UN Country Team in Iraq attended National Development Plan Consultation Workshop at the Ministry of Planning and underscored the importance of enhancing UN engagement in the process towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) acceleration. Isaczai highlighted UNIraq’s commitment to align the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) strategic priorities with those of the Government of Iraq.

Special Coordinator Wronecka meets with Lebanese and foreign stakeholders

UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka held a round of meetings this week with Lebanese and foreign stakeholders on the importance of safeguarding Lebanon’s stability. The Special Coordinator discussed with caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bouhabib (pictured left) the ongoing de-escalation efforts along the Blue Line and advancing the full implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701. In separate meetings with MPs Ashraf Rifi, Ghada Ayoub, Ibrahim Mneimneh and Faysal Karameh, the Special Coordinator underlined the importance of speeding up the election of a new President at to ensure the stability of Lebanon’s state institutions. The Special Coordinator also met the Ambassador of Egypt Alaa Moussa and of Norway Martin Yttervik to discuss the international efforts to help Lebanon preserve its security and stability. 

Special Coordinator for Lebanon meets with Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee discuss Implementation of Resolution 1701

This week, as part of a series of meetings with the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006), Special Coordinator Wronecka explored with MPs viable solutions for a full implementation of the resolution and to unlock some of the obstacles hindering its advancement. This comes amidst a flurry of discussions among Lebanese stakeholders on the way forward to implement Resolution 1701 in a way to preserve Lebanon’s stability.

Special Coordinator for Lebanon meets with women peacebuilders

UN Special Coordinator Joanna Wronecka met with a group of young women peacebuilders from Lebanon to discuss their work, as well as the challenges they faced in promoting a culture of peace in their communities. The discussions also covered the impact of the four-month skirmishes across the Blue Line on the communities of south Lebanon, including on women, and the emergency and mitigation measures taken there.    

Next Week

On 13 February, the Security Council will hold an open date on climate, food security and conflict. On 14 February, it will meet on Yemen. On 15 February, it will meet on United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).