India calls for diplomatic solutions to Iran’s nuclear programme; UNSC condemns terrorist attacks in Syria; Security Council welcomed political progress in Yemen; UN Security Council extends mandates of UN missions in Central African Republic, Guinea-Biss
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  • India has called for a ‘diplomatic solution’ to any international concern over Tehran’s nuclear programme. In a UN Security Council briefing on Iran, India’s representative said that the country has been consistently underscoring the importance of continued dialogue between Iran and the IAEA to resolve ‘all outstanding substantive issues’ including concerns over Tehran’s nuclear programme.1 This position taken by India was seen as positive by Iran and also maintained that it is not involved in any violation of the Nuclear non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). 2

    Meanwhile, the Security Council strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Syria and sent condolences to the victims, their families and Syrian people but digressed from the usual practice of offering condolences to the government. 3

    According to reports, the Security Council welcomed the progress made thus far in implementing the agreement for a peaceful transition of power in Yemen and called on the parties to ensure adherence to the timetable set out for the process. 4

    In the past week, the UN Security Council extended the mandates of various UN missions. The Council extended the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) for a year, till the end of January 2013. The Council looks forward to progress on part of the Government in creating a permanent and independent electoral body to organize future elections and to revise the electoral code. 5 Meanwhile, the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) was also extended until the end of February, 2013. The Council called on the members of Guinea-Bissau’s armed forces, particularly its leaders to respect constitutional order, civilian rule and oversight, as well as rule of law and human rights and to refrain from interfering in political issues. 6

    The Security Council also extended the mandate of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) that is monitoring the ceasefire between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights through June 30, 2012. The resolution passed by the council urged both Syria and Israel to exercise maximum restraint and prevent any breaches of the ceasefire and the area of separation between the two parties. 7 Meanwhile, the mandate of the UN political mission in Burundi was extended through February 15, 2013 and the Council stressed that the country must continue to make progress on protecting human rights, fighting corruption, reforming its security sector and boosting economic development. 8

    According to reports, the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force for the Abyei area was extended by five months and it was also stressed that the mission’s ability to do its work effectively will depend on the implementation of earlier agreements by Sudan and South Sudan. The resolution passed by the Security Council also demanded that both the governments withdraw all remaining military and police personnel from the Abyei area immediately and without preconditions and also finalize the establishment of the Abyei Area Administration and the Abyei Police Service. 9

    In other developments, the Security Council praised the efforts made by the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA), particularly its focus on trans-boundary threats to stability, the management of common resources and cooperation on anti-terrorism measures. 10 In the interim, Bhutan supported India’s “indisputable right” to get a permanent seat in an enlarged UN Security Council. 11