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George's fiancee quits Gaza UN role

The British-Lebanese lawyer Amal Alamuddin, who is engaged to George Clooney (inset right), has pulled out of an appointment to serve on a UN commission on possible violations of the rules of war in Gaza.

The president of the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council announced in a statement that Alamuddin had been appointed on the commission, but the increasingly high-profile British-Lebanese lawyer later said she could not accept the role.

"I was contacted by the UN about this for the first time this morning," she said. "I am honoured to have received the offer, but given existing commitments - including eight ongoing cases - unfortunately could not accept this role."

It wasn't immediately clear what caused the confusion or if someone else would replace her. Other members of the commission include Canada's William Schabas, an international law professor at Middlesex University, who will be the chair, and Doudou Diene of Senegal, a lawyer who has filled UN posts on racism and human rights in Ivory Coast.

Humanitarian

Gabon Ambassador Baudelaire Ndong Ella, who presides over the UN's top human rights body in Geneva, said the commission would investigate all violations of international humanitarian and human rights law according to the council's July 23 resolution and report back in March 2015.

Meanwhile, as a new temporary truce took hold, negotiators from Israel and the Hamas militant group resumed indirect talks to reach a long-term cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

The two sides huddled in an Egyptian government building for nine consecutive hours in what are expected to be marathon negotiations in the coming days.

The 72-hour truce, brokered by Egypt, took effect just after midnight, in the second attempt to halt a month of heavy fighting between the sides.

A similar three-day truce collapsed on Friday.

hnews@herald.ie


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