Urgent UN call for aid for Yemen
President Barack Obama, accompanied by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, right, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, speaks as he chairs the Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Countering Violent Extremism - AP

UNITED NATIONS: The latest developments from the annual U.N. gathering of world leaders at which they’re tackling major crises like the refugee issue and crises in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere:


12:01 p.m.

A high-level meeting on Yemen during a U.N. global gathering repeats an urgent call for humanitarian aid access but makes no mention of the latest civilian deaths or who might be to blame.

Tuesday’s statement calls the humanitarian situation in the Arab world’s poorest country “appalling.” The meeting, chaired by Britain, the U.N. humanitarian chief and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, noted that “civilian suffering has reached unprecedented levels,” with thousands killed.

It calls on “all parties to the conflict” to bear their responsibilities but does not go as far as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who on Monday said “most of the casualties are being caused by airstrikes.”

A Saudi-led coalition airstrike on Monday hit a wedding party in Yemen, and medical officials Tuesday said the death toll has risen to 131 — making it the deadliest incident in the civil war.


11:50 a.m.

The United States is treating Kosovo as a state during President Barack Obama’s high-level meeting on countering extremism.

A seating chart for Tuesday’s meeting shows Kosovo among the states attending the meeting, even though it is not a U.N. member state.

Kosovo came under U.N. and NATO administration after a 1999 NATO-led air war halted a crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists, but its final status was left in question.

Kosovo’s predominantly ethnic Albanian leadership declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and has been recognized by 111 countries.

Serbia rejects its secession, and its close ally Russia has blocked Kosovo from becoming a U.N. member.

Both Russia and Serbia also attended Obama’s meeting.


11:30 a.m.

The French foreign minister is reaffirming his country’s intention to continue carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria.

Speaking with journalists on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Laurent Fabius said that France gives “a clear promise” to deflect the threat posed by Islamic State militants by targeting their positions in Syria.

Six French jet fighters targeted and destroyed an Islamic State training camp in eastern Syria in a five-hour operation on Sunday. The multiple airstrikes were the first in Syria by France as it expands its mission against IS, until now centered in Iraq.

“We do it efficiently, which is different from others, who only talk about fighting ISIL,” Fabius said, using an acronym for the Islamic State group. “We have to fight them not only in the media, but also on the ground.”


11:15 a.m.

President Barack Obama says Nigeria, Tunisia and Malaysia are the newest members of the U.S.-led international coalition to defeat the Islamic State militant group.

Obama made the announcement while leading a special United Nations summit on countering violent extremism.

More than 60 countries, including Arab nations, are working together and launching military airstrikes in an attempt to wipe out IS, which has taken control of large regions in Iraq and Syria.

Obama says defeating the Islamic State will take time, but that the militants ultimately will lose because they have nothing to offer but suffering and death.


11 a.m.

Key officials at the United Nations General Assembly are urging the Somalia army and African Union forces to maintain offensive operations against al-Shabab Islamic extremists retake priority areas of the strife-torn country.

A communique issued Tuesday from their meeting on the sidelines of the assembly’s annual ministerial meeting called for stepped up support for the military operations which should also aim to degrade al-Shabab’s military capabilities, secure main supply routes, and create space to build a peaceful nation.

The meeting — co-chaired by Somalia’s president and the heads of the United Nations, the African Union Commission, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Arab League — “recognized that military efforts alone will not restore security.”

They called for a comprehensive approach to counter violent extremism in Somalia and the surrounding region.

The participants expressed alarm at the fragile humanitarian situation in Somalia where almost three million people are dependent on aid to meet their basic needs. At the same time, they commended Somalia for welcoming refugees and returnees from Yemen where a separate conflict is raging.


10 a.m.

The U.N. secretary-general has scolded South Sudan’s president as the world watches whether the latest shaky peace deal in his country will hold, saying, “I hope you will not betray and disappoint us.”

Ban Ki-moon spoke at a high-level meeting on the conflict in the world’s youngest country during a U.N. gathering of world leaders.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir, who annoyed the international community by skipping a similar U.N. meeting last year, spoke Tuesday via videoconference from his country.

Kiir said “we have already made considerable progress in implementing the agreement” that he signed with several reservations late last month.

Kiir signed under heavy pressure from the United States, which had championed the country’s fight for independence from Sudan.

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