News in Brief 22 July 2016 (AM) – Geneva

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Jessy Chahine, spokesperson for the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, briefing journalists in Geneva. Photo: UN Photo/Daniel Johnson

Hopes for upcoming UN-US-Russia talks on Syria in Geneva

The office of the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria has expressed hope that an upcoming meeting between Russia, the United States and the UN in Geneva could help kick-start a new round of peace talks between combatants.

Jessy Chahine is spokesperson for UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura: "Our hope is that any discussions on Syria will help move forward with the process. So we can also get to starting the next round of Intra-Syrian talks. As you know, Mr de Mistura continues his own discussions and is encouraging all countries to play a helpful role so we can get the next round going in short order."

Ms Chahine spoke of "a lot of informal diplomacy" now taking place between the United States and Russia, before adding that the next few days would be crucial to – as she put it – "know where we stand".

The encounter is scheduled for next week in the Swiss city, although it has not been disclosed who will be attending.

IOM: Trump’s wall proposal to stop migrants is "counter-productive"

The proposal by US Presidential candidate Donald Trump to build a wall between the United States and Mexico has been called “extremely troubling and “counter productive” by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The comments by the UN-partner organisation on Friday follow Mr Trump's keynote address to the Republican Party convention on Thursday night.

In his speech, the White House candidate spoke of building a "great border wall to stop illegal immigration…gangs and the violence"…from entering the United States.

Here's IOM's Joel Millman:

"We feel that the propensity and the temptation to build barriers and inhibit migration is counter-productive, that it forces people to collaborate with ruthless criminal gangs, it raises the profits of those gangs, it gives them the resources to corrupt officials on both sides of the border, wherever that border is."

This is the scenario that has been playing out in the European Union for the last four years, Joel Millman explained, where migrants and refugees are blocked from entering some countries in southern Europe, and find themselves stuck at the border.

Record numbers flee South Sudan amid looting and murders

In South Sudan, what's been described as "record numbers" of people are fleeing the country, citing ongoing violence by armed groups.

On Thursday alone, well over 8,000 people crossed into Uganda, according to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

Those arriving in Uganda report continued fighting between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to Vice-President Riek Machar.

Here's UNHCR spokesperson Andreas Needham:

"New arrivals continue to report incidences of looting, forcible recruitment and murder of civilians."

Nearly 25,000 people have sought sanctuary in northern Uganda since violence erupted in South Sudan on 7 July, although numbers have risen dramatically in recent days.

Nigeria aid delivery reaches 15,000 in violence-hit north-east

An aid delivery to Nigeria's north-east has brought life-saving supplies for 15,000 people who've fled Boko Haram violence.

OCHA, the humanitarian coordinating agency, said that the truck convoy arrived on Thursday in Banki, which is in Borno state, after crossing the border from Cameroon.

The region is still too insecure for aid deliveries to happen from inside Nigeria, according to OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke:

"Now a cross-border operation is necessary as there is no access to Maiduguri in Nigeria; Maidugiri is if you like a humanitarian hub servicing the many displaced and many affected in Borno state."

The aid delivery contained 31 tonnes of food, which is enough for barely seven days.

Earlier this week the UN warned that 50,000 children in the same region could die from malnutrition unless they get help urgently.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 3’46″


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