News in Brief 02 May 2016 (PM)

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Two boys collect tree branches to make fire wood in Kafar Batna village in Rural Damascus, Syria. Photo: UNICEF/Amer Al Shami

Syrian sides urged to recommit to ceasefire

Warring parties in Syria have been urged by the UN Secretary-General to recommit to a cessation of hostilities and uphold their responsibility to protect civilians.

Ban Ki-moon's comments came in a statement on Monday expressing his concern about the suffering, death and destruction in and around the city of Aleppo.

The ceasefire has been temporarily relaunched in two governorates, Damascus and Lattakiya, and Mr Ban stressed the need to expand it to other parts of Syria, including Aleppo.

The UN chief also called on regional and international bodies to redouble their efforts to support the sides in Syria to put the truce back on track.

Some 400,000 people have died since the conflict began over five years ago.

Envoy hopeful Yemen talks will resume

Parties to the negotiations aimed at ending the conflict in Yemen have been urged by the UN official overseeing the process to "demonstrate wisdom in their participation in the talks."

Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said despite the "positive atmosphere" at the talks, the Government had "suspended its participation."

The Yemen conflict has pitted national forces against rebels known as Houthi.

The two sides had agreed to a ceasefire prior to last month's start of the latest round of peace talks in Kuwait

However, the Government quit the talks on Sunday following a rebel takeover of one of its bases, according to media reports.

Stéphane Dujarric is the UN Spokesperson:

"After communicating extensively with the Government of Yemen delegation and meeting the leaders of Ansar Allah and the General People’s Congress delegation on Sunday afternoon, the Special Envoy confirmed that he had received assurances from the parties regarding their commitment to resolving the outstanding issues without convening joint sessions. UN political experts are currently reviewing the documents presented by the two delegations in order to identify common ground. He hopes to resume the talks and build on the tangible progress achieved in recent days."

Burundi: Funding for UN and AU human rights observers

More than US$2.2 million has been allocated to the African Union (AU) to support 32 human rights observers on the ground in Burundi, the United Nations said on Monday.

The money will be transferred by the UN Peacebuilding Fund.

The fund also will provide just over US$300,000 to the UN human rights office in the country for training and joint missions with the AU.

Once again, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric:

"This is the first time the Fund provides direct aid to the AU Commission, or any regional organization, and a move toward strengthened cooperation between the UN and the AU in peacebuilding.The funding is a stopgap ahead of the planned deployment of up to 100 African Union human rights observers."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2'56"

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