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News in Brief 29 April 2021

News in Brief 29 April 2021

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

I’ll fight for all Cypriots to live in peace, says UN chief as talks end

Secretary-General António Guterres has pledged to fight for every Cypriot in future talks on the divided Mediterranean island, as a new effort to break the impasse ended without finding common ground.

Speaking at the UN in Geneva, Mr Guterres said that there was agreement for another meeting of the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities and guarantor powers Turkey, Greece and the UK “in the near future”. 

“My agenda is very simple. My agenda is strictly to fight for the security and well-being of the Cypriots, of the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, that deserve to live in peace and prosperity together.” 

Four years ago, Mr. Guterres attempted to bring the two sides to a deal at the Swiss ski resort of Crans-Montana, where detailed talks ultimately broke down.

Six main issues were on the table, including security and guarantees, new territorial boundaries, and power-sharing.

This time round, the UN chief explained that the Turkish Cypriot delegation believed that efforts to negotiate a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation had been exhausted, the opposite of the Greek Cypriot position.

The development represents the latest UN-led effort to resolve decades of tensions in Cyprus between the Turkish Cypriot north and the Turkish Greek south, whose communities have been split since 1974.

Hostilities in northeast Syria forcing 20,000 people to flee Qamishli

As many as 20,000 people in northeast Syria have been forced to flee following an escalation of violence in Qamishli city, UN humanitarians have warned.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that three people had been killed - including two children – and that crossfire had wounded others.

Armed clashes and shelling, including ground strikes on military positions, erupted between armed groups in the residential neighbourhoods of Harat Tayy and Halko in Qamishli city on 20 April.

A negotiated ceasefire was agreed five days later and reports indicate that hundreds of families had returned home.

Condemning the violence, the UN’s top aid officials in Syria and the region called on all warring parties to maintain the ceasefire on Wednesday.

They reminded all parties to the conflict that the protection of civilians was paramount and that the blatant disregard for civilian safety runs contrary to international human rights law.

$180 million cut to family planning projects will be devastating: UNFPA

A planned $180 million cut to the UN’s agency for sexual and reproductive health (UNFPA) will have devastating consequences for women, girls and their families across the world, it said on Thursday.

“When funding stops, women and girls suffer” UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem, said in a statement, highlighting the potential impact on “the poor, those living in remote, underserved communities” and others affected by humanitarian crisis.

According to the UN agency, the funding would have helped to prevent around 250,000 maternal and child deaths, 14.6 million unintended pregnancies and 4.3 million unsafe abortions. 

Reiterating the rights of women and girls to access modern contraceptives, Dr. Kanem called on all the agency’s partners and allies to secure UNFPA programmes. 

Katy Dartford, UN News. 

  • I’ll fight for every Cypriot, says UN chief, as informal talks end
  • UNFPA regret over UK $180 million funding cut
  • Hostilities flare in NE Syria forcing 20,000 to flee Qamishli city
Audio Credit
Katy Dartford, UN News - Geneva
Photo Credit
UNFICYP/Katarina Zahorska