News in Brief 20 July 2017 (AM)

UN Coordinator "deeply concerned" over "surge" in Jerusalem tensions

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process said on Thursday he was "deeply concerned" by rising tensions around the holy sites of Jerusalem's Old City.

Nickolay Mladenov issued a statement welcoming the commitment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to "uphold and respect the status quo at the holy sites."

He also welcomed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's "firm condemnation of violence, specifically the deadly attack on two Israeli policemen on 14 July."

Last Friday's attack occurred at the entrance to the sacred compound in the Old City, which is a holy site for both Jews and Muslims.

All three of the assailants were killed by Israeli forces, following the attack using guns and knives, on the police officers.

Mr Mladenov said he hoped the statements from the two leaders would help to resolve concerns, and "put an end to the provocative rhetoric that has added to the escalation over the past week."

"New thinking" needed from big business in Peru, on human rights: UN experts

The Peruvian government and big business in the country need to break with past methods of dealing with social unrest, in order to improve human rights.

That's the stark message from a group of UN rights' experts following a ten-day visit to the country.

Michael Addo of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights said that Peru had become used to "constantly simmering social conflicts with more than 100 active situations in any given month."

He said the majority of the conflicts related to "large-scale business operations in mining, hydrocarbon and energy."

Over the past five years, these conflicts have resulted in 70 deaths, the experts noted, saying that among the concerns were water contamination; repeated oil spills and, in the Amazon region, deforestation and palm oil plantations.

Special Envoy to Yemen hails "pivotal role" of Egypt in peace process

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen has ended a visit to Cairo, praising the "pivotal role" of Egypt in the Yemeni peace process.

Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed met Egyptian, Yemeni and other regional figures, in his on-going efforts to restart talks to end the brutal conflict in Yemen between the Saudi-backed government coalition and Houthi rebels.

He thanked Egyptians for the "safe haven" they had given many Yemenis, including prominent political figures from all parts of Yemeni society.

In particular, he discussed his proposal to avoid military conflict around the crucial sea port of Hodeidah, in order to allow more goods and humanitarian supplies into the war-torn country.

The envoy said they were focussing efforts also on resuming civil service salary payments, and reopening Sana'a's international airport to commercial flights.

Source: United Nations Radio