A United Nations vehicle has been hijacked by unknown armed men in Afghanistan, a spokesman for the world body reported today.David Singh said no staff were hurt in yesterday’s attack on a vehicle belonging to the UN Mine Action Centre en route from Kabul to Kandahar. The vehicle was the third in a UN convoy, and the first to stop when shots were fired by gunmen on the side of the road. “The armed men took the vehicle and drove it some distance before leaving the four staff members in the vehicle on the side of the road unharmed,” Mr. Singh said. “The hijackers then drove the vehicle towards the Pakistani border.”The staff in the other two vehicles which were part of the convoy notified nearby police, who soon arrived at the scene. “The authorities are investigating the incident and until tangible evidence surfaces we cannot say whether one factor or another contributed,” Mr. Singh said.In another development, a two-day conference on justice in Afghanistan opened today in Rome. Addressing the gathering, the senior UN envoy to the country, Lakhdar Brahimi underscored the vital role the judicial system has in Afghan society. He stressed that the rule of law must be extended to areas now controlled by “the rule of gun,” adding that true security will come when every Afghan feels that the law is a refuge there to protect against the arbitrary rule of the strong.
Addressing the Assembly’s annual general debate, President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez criticized the United States – “one of the major polluters of yesteryear and today” – for “refusing to accompany the international community in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.”“It thus endangers the lives of future generations and the survival of all species, including humans,” he stated.The Cuban leader also noted increasing closer historic and cultural bonds between the people of Cuba and the US, as well as the potential of business relations between the two countries, as being in the best interest of the entire region.However, he noted that “the essential and defining element” of the relationship between the two continues to be the blockade, “which seeks to suffocate the Cuban economy [and] is a cruel policy, punishing Cuban families and the entire nation.”The Cuban leader also reiterated his country’s “unrestricted support” to a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the basis of the two-state solution.President Miguel also expressed support for a peaceful and negotiated solution to Syrian crisis, without foreign interference and with full respect to their sovereignty and territorial integrity; welcomed the process rapprochement on the Korean Peninsula; and “demand compliance” with the Iran nuclear deal.The Cuban President informed world leaders of steps his country is taking to improve its socio-economic development model and that it has begun a constitutional reform process, through “a truly participatory and democratic exercise, through popular discussion of the draft which will eventually be approved in a referendum.”Full statement available here