The U.N. Security Council is expected to deal with several important international issues this week, including the future of Darfur and pressing Syria to recognize Lebanon's independence (after decades of occupation).
Today, the U.S. is expected to push for a vote on a draft resolution that would set a one-week deadline for Sudan to permit a joint African Union-U.N. military assessment team to visit Darfur. The aim is to evaluate requirements for a transition from an African peacekeeping mission to a larger, better-equipped U.N. force. So far, Khartoum has refused entry and has not agreed to such an operation.
On Wednesday, Washington hopes to secure adoption of a draft resolution,co-sponsored with Britain and France, regarding Lebanon. It would strongly encourage Syria to respond to Lebanon's request to demarcate their common border and establish diplomatic relations. The proposed measure would also endorse a recent U.N. report that, among other things, urges Syria and Iran to cooperate in helping Beirut to restore its political independence and disarm Hezbollah militias. The report says that Hezbollah "maintains close ties" with both Syria and Iran.
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan is in Asia this week visiting heads of state and other high-ranking officials in South Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam and Thailand. On his agenda: urging support from Asian leaders for major U.N. management reform. He's also expected to discuss stalled efforts to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. While it's widely believed that the next Secretary General will likely hail from Asia, before leaving for the trip, Annan said he would steer clear of discussions on who would be a good successor. His term expires Dec. 31, 2006.