Court Rejects Appeal to Reinstate Travel Ban

The White House has filed an appeal against the suspension of Trump’s immigration ban, while Washington’s new UN envoy slams the UN peacekeeping missions
The anti-US protest march was held in London on Feb. 4.The anti-US protest march was held in London on Feb. 4.

A legal showdown was brewing Sunday after the US Justice Department appealed a temporary block on Donald Trump’s contentious travel ban, but the court rejected any immediate move to reinstate the ban.

The early morning ruling by a federal appeals court was the latest in a series of dramatic twists in the saga that began on January 27 when the Republican president issued a blanket ban on refugees and travelers from seven mainly-Muslim nations, AFP reported.

There was no immediate reaction from the White House but ahead of the ruling Trump had assured reporters his ban would be reinstated.

“We’ll win. For the safety of the country, we’ll win,” he said.

  International Protests

From London and Paris to New York and Washington, thousands of people took to the streets in American and European cities on Saturday to protest US President Donald Trump’s travel ban amid a fierce legal battle over the order.

The biggest demonstration by far took place in the British capital London where an estimated 10,000 people turned out, chanting “Theresa May: Shame on You” to denounce the British prime minister’s support for the new US leader, AFP reported.

“We’ll win. For the safety of the country, we’ll win,” Trump defiantly told reporters.

The Department of Homeland Security, which runs border agencies, has announced it would cease implementing the order.

About 3,000 people demonstrated in New York, Trump’s hometown where protests against the property magnate-turned-world leader take place almost daily.

In Washington, hundreds of demonstrators marched from the White House to Capitol Hill, chanting “Donald, Donald, can’t you see: We don’t want you in DC!”

Smaller gatherings took place in Paris, Berlin, Stockholm and Barcelona.

  UN Peacekeeping Missions

Washington’s new UN envoy, Nikki Haley, is putting in motion a far-reaching review of UN peacekeeping that is likely to lead to closures and downsizing of missions, according to diplomats.

Haley took up her post with a vow to overhaul the United Nations and “do away” with what she termed as “obsolete” activities amid fresh clamor in Washington over US funding for the world body.

During one-on-one meetings with UN Security Council ambassadors this week, the new US envoy raised peacekeeping as a priority for cuts, zeroing in on the UN’s flagship enterprise, according to three diplomats with knowledge of the discussions.

“On UN reform, I think there is a particular interest in peacekeeping,” said a Security Council diplomat on condition of anonymity.

Haley is setting up a mission-by-mission review of all 16 peace operations and is “relatively skeptical” of the value and efficiency of many of the blue-helmet deployments, the diplomat added.

While the United States has few soldiers serving as peacekeepers, it is by far the biggest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping, providing nearly 29% of the $7.9 billion budget for this year.

During hearings at the US Senate last month, Haley made clear she was seeking to bring the US share of funding for peacekeeping to below 25% and said other countries should step in to shoulder the burden.

“We have to start encouraging other countries to have skin in the game,” she said.

No list has been drawn up of missions that are to be axed, but diplomats said UN missions in Haiti and Liberia are probably headed for a rapid shutdown.

The peacekeeping review could have serious implications for stability in Africa. Nine of the UN’s 16 peacekeeping missions are deployed on the continent.

US de-funding could open up the door for China—the second largest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping and Africa’s number one trading partner—to bolster its role.

China’s share of the UN peacekeeping budget now stands at 10.3% followed by Japan (9.7%), Germany (6.4%), France (6.3%) and Britain (5.8%).

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