United Nations special envoy to Syria Kofi Annan announced on Monday, July 9, that he had reached an accord with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as defections from the leader’s repressive army indicate waning support for the internationally contested leader, La Croix, The New York Times and Le Figaro reported. After U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said on Friday, July 6, that the body’s role in Syria would be re-oriented toward a more political role as outside observers have done little to dissuade violence there, Kofi Annan had a “constructive conversation” with Assad on Monday. Following this meeting, he flew to Iran, where he met with leaders of Syria’s Middle Eastern neighbor, which was intentionally omitted from last month’s Action Group for Syria meeting in Geneva, according to Le Monde and The LA Times.
Mahmud Jibril of Libya’s National Forces Alliances called on all parties to come together for unity as the results of elections on Saturday, July 7, indicated that the nation’s “liberal” party was en route to a majority role in the national assembly, breaking with the trend of its “Arab Spring” brethren who have supported their nations’ Islamist parties, Al Jazeera and Le Nouvel Observateur. International observers qualified on Monday, June 9, the nation’s first free elections after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi, whose rule spanned six decades, a success, according to Reuters and The Christian Science Monitor. Le Figaro examined the “liberal” party that seems poised to gain power with a platform of economic liberalism, though most parties in the nation agree that Islamic sharia law should be a strong component of the nation’s forthcoming constitution.
Newly-elected President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt ordered on Sunday, July 8, the nation’s Islamist-majority parliament to reconvene after the Supreme Constitutional Court, previously in power, ordered the legislative body’s dissolution last month prior to the presidential elections, The Christian Science Monitor and Libération reported. The presidential decree perpetuated uncertainty in the power struggle between the previously ruling military council and top constitutional court that declared legislative elections unconstitutional and sought to limit the powers of the president and the Islamist factions that gained the favor of the nation’s first democratic elections after the ousting of Hosni Mubarak more than a year ago, as covered by The New York Times and Le Monde.
Tunisia called on Thursday, June 5, for a special meeting of the Arab League to explore the 2004 death of Yasser Arafat after Al Jazeera reported that Swiss scientists had found unusually high levels of the poisonous polonium-210 on the Palestinian leader’s belongings, Le Nouvel Observateur and Foreign Policy reported. The former leader’s widow asked that her late husband’s body be exhumed, which the Palestinian Authority agreed to in principle, as speculation about Arafat’s cause of death re-entered the debate, as covered by U.S. News and World Report and CBS.
Mass protests formed outside a Tokyo exhibit of photographs of “comfort women,” Korean women forced into sexual slavery during World War II, as the survivors continue their fight for recognition of the atrocities and demand restitution from the Japanese government, Le Figaro and The LA Times reported. Nikon Corp, which sponsored the show had succumbed to protests and canceled the show until a Tokyo court ordered the photo company to honor its original opening date of June 26, as covered by The Wall Street Journal.