Afghanistan: UN mission welcomes plans for temporary ceasefire with the Taliban
News of an upcoming temporary ceasefire between Afghanistan’s Government and the Taliban extremist group has been welcomed by the UN Mission in the country, UNAMA.
President Ashraf Ghani announced on Thursday that he was implementing the process following calls by more than 2,000 religious scholars denouncing the ongoing war and urging all sides to embrace peace.
Earlier this week, seven people were killed and at least 20 injured when a suicide bomber targeted a gathering of the country’s top clerics in the capital, Kabul.
The temporary ceasefire will begin on 12 June, the twenty-seventh day of Ramadan, and will run through 20 June, or five days after the end of the holy month.
The truce follows the Government’s call for unconditional peace talks with the Taliban issued during a peace and security conference earlier this year, according to a UNAMA statement.
Mission chief Tadamichi Yamamoto said the UN commends the authorities’ readiness to initiate any steps toward a formal peace process.
“At the same time,” he added, “the United Nations urges the Taliban to reciprocate the temporary ceasefire.”
Head of UN Political Affairs Department meets with Somalia’s leadership
UN Political Affairs chief Rosemary DiCarlo met with the President and other top leaders in Somalia on Thursday — her first official field visit since taking up the post in late March.
Ms. DiCarlo underscored the UN’s support to the ongoing political and peace processes in the Horn of Africa country.
She also discussed ways to best assist Somalia in overcoming challenges the nation is facing, ranging from the humanitarian situation and security, to the political agenda.
The UN official commended work towards finalizing a new Constitution within this year, noting that Somalia is at what she called “a critical juncture”.
Ms. DiCarlo said progress on the constitutional review could lead to a breakthrough.
She added that “unity of Somalis is essential to advance federalism, reduce violence, defeat extremism, tackle the humanitarian challenges and deliver real benefits to the population”.
Nine African countries to benefit from WHO Ebola Preparedness Plan
Nine countries bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are getting assistance from the UN’s health agency to scale up their response to Ebola.
An ongoing outbreak of the disease in the DRC poses a “significant risk” of spreading to these nations, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.
The nine countries are Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
WHO said the plan is to ensure they are operationally ready to prevent the importation of Ebola cases and to detect the disease, among other measures.
For example, rapid response teams are being trained, while community-based surveillance systems are being strengthened.
Health facilities are also being rehabilitated to manage Ebola cases.