News in Brief 17 June 2015 (PM)

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Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. UN File Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

UN Special Envoy for Syria concludes trip to Damascus

The UN Special Envoy for Syria has ended a three-day visit to the country's capital, Damascus.

Staffan de Mistura's trip was in the context of ongoing consultations in Geneva to find a political solution to the four-year conflict in the Middle Eastern country.

While in Syria, he met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign Minister Walid al-Mouallem, to listen to their views.

Here's UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq.

"He underlined once again that the use of barrel bombs is unacceptable, and that it is an obligation under international humanitarian law for any government, in all circumstances, to protect its civilians.  Mr de Mistura also met with more than 30 political parties, religious figures and civil society organisations based inside the country, to hear their views in the context of the Geneva Consultations."

Agreement put forward by UN offers "best chance" for Libya

An agreement submitted by the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Libya offers the best chance for the country to overcome the current crisis, a UN Spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Bernardino León has been engaging with Libyan parties, and put forward an agreement for their consideration on 8 June.

The UN said it is pleased to see that authorities in Tripoli have favourably responded to the agreement and expects the same from the parliament in Tobruk in the coming days.

Living conditions of Palestinian refugees is "time-bomb" for Middle East

The stark conditions afflicting millions of displaced Palestinians across the Middle East risk plunging the region into a deeper humanitarian and security crisis, the head of the UN agency assisting Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has warned.

Pierre Krähenbühl said the isolation and exclusion of Palestine refugees in Syria, Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan and Lebanon represent what he called a "time-bomb for the Middle East region".

According to UN estimates, Gaza has the highest unemployment rate in the world, with more than 60 per cent of young people not working.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’56″

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