Weekly News Wrap: Monday, May 19, 2014
Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:
- West African leaders agreed to work together to wage “total war” on Boko Haram saying the Nigerian Islamist group had become a regional al Qaeda that threatened all of them.
- Mali sent in troops to retake Kidal from Tuareg separatists, with the government claiming it is “at war” with the separatists, after six government workers and two civilians were killed, according to the United Nations, during an attack on the regional governor’s office.
- China has evacuated more than 3,000 of its nationals from Vietnam after a wave of unrest in the Southeast Asian country following China’s deployment of an oil rig in contested waters.
- Increasingly isolated by the West over Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin will hope for a sympathetic ear on a visit next week to China.
- The defense case of Ratko Mladic, a former Bosnian Serb army general, opens at the ICTY today; Mladic is accused of orchestrating the massacre of almost 8,000 Muslim boys and men in Srebrenica.
- Saudi Arabia is considering trade sanctions against the Netherlands because of stickers printed by far-right politician Geert Wilders which display anti-Islam slogans in the colors of the Saudi flag.
- Russia came under heavy criticism at the WTO from several of its trading partners, who raised sharp questions over whether Moscow – one of the global trade body’s newest members – is indeed adhering to the international trade commitments that it took on less than two years ago.
- The West should impose tougher sanctions on Russia, which is waging a “hidden war” in eastern Ukraine, Ukraine’s acting Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia said in an interview.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- The chief of Syria’s air defence forces, General Hussein Ishaq, has been killed in combat near Damascus.
- A senior member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government hinted on Saturday that Israel was involved in back-channel contacts with Palestinian and Arab officials despite the collapse of U.S.-brokered peace negotiations last month.
- Yemen said it had foiled a number of al Qaeda attacks on government, military and diplomatic premises in the capital Sanaa and arrested several suspected would-be suicide bombers.
- China’s “provocative” actions in maritime disputes with its neighbors are straining ties with the United States, raising questions over how the world’s two biggest economies can work together, a senior U.S. official said.
- Canada broke with the United States and did not impose sanctions on two key allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin because the pair had Canadian business interests, according to sources familiar with the matter.
- The co-chairs of a UN group charged with proposing a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) have circulated a draft introduction for the framework.
- The UN has warned of an “alarming deterioration” of human rights in eastern Ukraine, blaming pro-Russian separatists, and prompting a swift denouncement from Moscow.
- UN peacekeeping missions routinely avoid using force to protect civilians who are under attack, intervening in only 20 percent of cases despite being authorized to do so by the U.N. Security Council, an internal U.N. study found.