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Good morning, this is Kasmira. After a period of promise and hope of a world without major war in the years immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall, there came a period of disappointment mired by incoherence in the application of international norms, argues former Lebanese diplomat and politician Ghassan Salamé, in his new book. We sat down with him on Thursday in Geneva, where he discussed the escalating crisis in the Middle East and what shape Iran's retaliation against Israel could take, just days before its massive aerial attack.

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Kasmira Jefford


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Ghassan Salamé, former Lebanese minister and UN diplomat, photographed at the International Francophone Organisation, Geneva, 11 avril 2024. (Rebecca Bowring/ Le Temps)

Ghassan Salamé: 'Major powers encourage each other to violate the rules'. According to the former UN diplomat and special adviser to Kofi Annan, Ghassan Salamé, the world is spiralled into a period of deception and contradictions. Its origin? The American invasion of Iraq in 2003. Author of a new book "The Temptation of Mars: War and Peace in the 21st Century," Salamé argues that incoherence is the biggest weakness of Western policy, and one that has aggravated the war in Gaza.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

What to watch this week

🏚️One year of war in Sudan. Today, as Sudan marks one year since the start of the war between the two rival factions of the country’s military government, a ministerial conference in Paris will bring together regional and western countries, as well as aid agencies, to discuss how to address the humanitarian and political crisis, while Sudan will be the most notable absentee – that’s because it wasn’t invited according to the Sudanese ambassador to France.

On Friday, aid groups at a press briefing called for talks and a ceasefire amid the desperate situation in the country. The conflict, pitting the Sudanese Armed Forces against the Rapid Support Forces, has created the continent’s biggest displacement crisis, with 8.6 million people forced to flee their homes, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Meanwhile, access to many areas in the country is cut off to humanitarians, and international aid appeals remain unmet.

Famine looming. According to a joint report by the UN Development Programme and the International Food Policy Research Institute, famine is expected in the country in 2024. Food production and supply chains disrupted by the war and lack of affordability are the main issues, the document said. Roughly 17.7 million people need food assistance, and 3.5 million children are acutely malnourished, according to the World Health Organization.

💵Ethiopia appeal. A year after the UN temporarily halted aid after an investigation revealed widespread relief theft in Tigray, Ethiopian government officials will join representatives from the United Kingdom and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to draw attention to the dire needs in the country. More than 21 million Ethiopians are in need of aid this year, yet the UN has only amassed five 5 per cent of its funding appeal.

📄Highly-awaited UNRWA report. An independent panel reviewing the UN Palestinian refugee agency is expected to be made public on Saturday. The group, led by Catherine Colonna, a former French foreign affairs minister, was mandated to investigate whether the agency did “everything within its power to ensure neutrality and respond to allegations” regarding transgressions. The review, which comes after Israel accused 12 of the 30,000 employees at Unrwa of participating in the 7 October Hamas attacks on Israel, has already been dismissed by Israeli officials before it concludes.

Also on the agenda

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