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US government officials have said that al-Bashir has applied for a visa to attend the UN General Assembly, which is scheduled to hold its general debate from September 24 to October 2, 2013. He is subject to two arrest warrants by the ICC for crimes in Darfur – one for genocide and another for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The ICC opened an investigation after the Security Council referred the Darfur situation to the court in Resolution 1593 in March 2005.
“If al-Bashir turns up at the UN General Assembly, it will be a brazen challenge to Security Council efforts to promote justice for crimes in Darfur,” said Elise Keppler, associate international justice program director at Human Rights Watch. “The last thing the UN needs is a visit by an ICC fugitive.”
A visit by al-Bashir would be the first to the UN or the United States by someone subject to an ICC arrest warrant. Many countries, including ICC members and non-members, have avoided anticipated visits by al-Bashir by encouraging him to send other Sudanese government representatives, rescheduling or relocating meetings, or cancelling his visits. They include South Africa, Malaysia, Zambia, Turkey, Central African Republic, Kenya, and Malawi.
The US has condemned al-Bashir’s potential General Assembly visit. On September 16, the US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, called it “deplorable, cynical and hugely inappropriate.”
Ban met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif earlier on Thursday and said he plans to meet with Rouhani on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York next week. Rouhani is due to address the United Nations on Tuesday.Since Rouhani was elected president in June, the centrist cleric has called for "constructive interaction" with the world, a dramatic shift in tone from the strident anti-Western rhetoric of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."I told Minister Zarif that I commend the efforts of the new government in Iran in promoting dialogue with the international community," Ban told reporters. "I'm going to meet President Rouhani next week ... (to) discuss all the matters of regional concern very closely."
The world has changed. International politics is no longer a zero-sum game but a multi-dimensional arena where cooperation and competition often occur simultaneously. Gone is the age of blood feuds. World leaders are expected to lead in turning threats into opportunities.The best editorial cartoons of 2013 (so far): A collection of cartoons from around the country.The international community faces many challenges in this new world — terrorism, extremism, foreign military interference, drug trafficking, cybercrime and cultural encroachment — all within a framework that has emphasized hard power and the use of brute force.We must pay attention to the complexities of the issues at hand to solve them. Enter my definition of constructive engagement. In a world where global politics is no longer a zero-sum game, it is — or should be — counterintuitive to pursue one’s interests without considering the interests of others. A constructive approach to diplomacy doesn’t mean relinquishing one’s rights. It means engaging with one’s counterparts, on the basis of equal footing and mutual respect, to address shared concerns and achieve shared objectives. In other words, win-win outcomes are not just favorable but also achievable. A zero-sum, Cold War mentality leads to everyone’s loss.
But even if the chemical weapons stockpiles are safely destroyed, the people of Syria will remain in the same situation as before. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and joint U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi have said countless times that the only solution for Syria's war is a political one. But Russia and Iran continue to support Assad diplomatically, financially and militarily, while the U.S., EU and Gulf states support the rebels in much the same way.
Iran's new outreach
On Wednesday, Rouhani told NBC news that his government would never develop nuclear weapons. Days before that, his government released 11 prominent political prisoners. Earlier this month, he sent New Year's greetings to Jews around the world on Twitter. The White House has cautiously welcomed what seems to be an olive branch from Tehran, saying it hoped the Iranian government would "engage substantively" to reach a solution and address concerns about Iran's nuclear program, which the West suspects could be aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Last Sunday, in an interview with ABC, President Barack Obama said he and Rouhani have exchanged letters, feeding speculation that the two presidents may meet on the sidelines of the Assembly -- which would be the first meeting between an Iranian and American leader since before the 1979 hostage crisis.
Even a casual Rouhani-Obama chat in the corridors of the U.N. building would be taken by many Iran-watchers as improving the prospects for a diplomatic solution to the protracted stalemate over Tehran's nuclear program.