The United Nations says Iran has been invited to attend a meeting of foreign ministers In Switzerland on Wednesday ahead of internationally brokered peace talks between Syria's warring factions. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters Sunday afternoon that Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has pledged that his country "would play a positive and constructive role" in the meeting to be held in the Swiss city of Montreux.

Colombian police reported that 292 cases of kidnapping were registered in 2013, of which 32 could be directly traced to the FARC, despite the rebel group's promise to cease the practice -- a government precondition for peace talks. In February 2012, the rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced they would cease the practice of “retentions” (the guerrilla word for kidnapping), which was a government precondition for sitting down and negotiating an end to the 50-year civil conflict.

The South Sudanese government and representatives of rebel forces met for the formal opening of peace talks Saturday evening in Ethiopia, part of the diplomatic effort to halt weeks of fighting in the young nation. The two delegations met separately with mediators at a hotel in Addis Ababa to pin down the points they would negotiate. Both sides then gathered with Ethiopia’s foreign minister for a ceremony to mark the official start of the talks, with more substantive bargaining expected Sunday.

As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry returns to the region Thursday, the American message to the Israeli and Palestinian leaders is clear: It's time to start making hard decisions. Kerry is bringing his own ideas for the outlines of a peace deal, and early indications are that the plan will include hard-to-swallow choices for both sides.

Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa will be the key figures in a UN campaign to promote peace in Colombia. The United Nations representative in Colombia, Fabrizio Hochschild, announced on Thursday that that the “Peace is Mine” initiative aims to promote peace in the country through the iconic use of these “two huge global figures.”

Members of congress representing countries across the world, converged on Bogota for the 35 Annual Parliamentary Forum, showing support for ongoing peace talks between Colombia’s government and FARC rebels. At the start of the event, Ross Robertson, president of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA), said, “to fight for peace, we are here to give positive energy. We sustain peace. We are legislators and we can make the difference, we can alert our institutions to support the Colombian peace process.”

December 9, 2013

Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “If a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” Nelson Mandela was a man who cherished the ideal of a free society all his life, an ideal that, as he proclaimed at his trial in Pretoria in April 1964, he hoped to live for, but if need be, die for.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that any agreement to emerge from newly restarted talks with the Palestinians will likely initially result in a “cold peace,” and therefore Israel must insist on “iron-clad security arrangements” to protect itself in case the accord collapses.