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United Nations Daily Highlights, 02-08-09

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From: The United Nations Home Page at <> - email:






Friday, August 9, 2002


Following recent comments that appeared in the Israeli media, the Spokesman noted that the Secretary-General has repeatedly and consistently stated, as he did after the recent meeting of the Quartet dealing with the Middle East (comprising the United Nations, United States, Russia and the European Union), that it is up to the Palestinian people to elect their leaders.

President Yasser Arafat has been elected by the Palestinian people, and the United Nations will continue to deal with him in this capacity. On the same basis, the United Nations will deal with the leaders elected in the Palestinian elections announced for early next year.


Starting this weekend, the Secretary-General will take two weeks vacation, where he will also undertake some official engagements.

Starting on August 25, the Secretary-General will be on a trip which will take him to five southern African countries.

He will be in Angola from August 25 to 27, and then travel to Botswana on August 27 and 28. That will be followed by a visit to Lesotho on the 28th and 29th, followed by a visit to Mozambique from August 29 to September 1. The last stop will be Johannesburg, South Africa, during the first four days of September , where he will attend the World Summit of Sustainable Development.

On his way back, the Secretary-General will stop over in Paris on September 5-6, where he will hold talks with Glafcos Clerides, the Greek Cypriot leader, and Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader.

The Secretary-General will be back to New York on September 7.


After wrapping up its private meeting on the Democratic Republic of the Congo Thursday afternoon, the Security Council has nothing on its agenda today, and has no consultations scheduled for today or Monday.

The Councils next scheduled session is on Tuesday, when it expects to hold a private meeting to discuss the UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET).


The United Nations Assistant Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reported that at around noon today, local time, there was an explosion at the warehouse of the Afghan Construction and Logistics Unit. The warehouse is located some 8 km outside Jalalabad city, near the University.

The building was surrounded by some 200 private houses, 80 percent of which are estimated to have been destroyed. The hospital in Jalalabad has now put casualty figures at 9 dead and 53 injured. The facts behind the explosion are not yet definitively known.

UNAMA officers in Jalalabad visited the site of the explosion to check the situation, and the Mission also convened a meeting of all UN agencies and international nongovernmental organizations in the area to review needs and provide assistance to victims. UNAMA personnel are on the site of the explosion to assess the damage further and to determine additional assistance needs.


The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that 17,000 Sudanese refugees who fled from Mondays attack on the Acholi-Pii refugee camp south to Lira, have once again been moved.

The refugees are now being accommodated at a transit site at Kiryondongo after fears of another possible attack by the Lords Resistance Army. Another 3,000 refugees who made it to Lira on their own were also moved to Kiryondongo. Plans are being made to upgrade the facility quickly to accommodate the new arrivals.

In other refugee news, UNHCR reports that the last group of 269 refugees who had earlier returned from Guinea left their temporary accommodation in the Pujehun district of Sierra Leone on Wednesday to return to their homes in Kono and Kailahun. UNHCR has facilitated the return of more than 80,000 Sierra Leoneans from Guinea and Liberia since September 2000. Repatriation by sea is continuing from Liberia, with a fourth boat arriving in Freetown this week. A total of 1,222 people have been repatriated from Liberia since the beginning of the sea operation on July 20.

In Iran, UNHCR reports the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants has granted them access to detention centres throughout the country, where Afghan nationals threatened with deportation are being held. This will allow UNHCR to establish a screening system to review claims for asylum.


On Thursday night, the Secretary-General attended the football match between Real Madrid and Roma at the Giants Stadium in New Jersey that raised $375,000 for the United Nations fight against HIV/AIDS.

The Secretary-General told the fans in remarks before the start of the match, that although they were gathered to watch great athletes in action in the game most of the world considers real football, they were also supporting action against the epidemic.

I want you to enjoy the match, he said, and remember, whether you support Roma or Real Madrid, they support the fight against AIDS. So should you.

The Secretary-General told the promoters of the event, Championsworld, that he would love to see this type of event all over the world. Tonight in Manchester, England, the Manchester United football team will play Boca Juniors of Argentina in a benefit match for the United Nations Children's Fund.

Charlie Stillitano, head of Championsworld, said they would be interested in having an annual United Nations Cup. We would name it for you, he told the Secretary-General, except it would have to be called the Kofi Cup.

The match, attended by more than 70,000 fans, ended in a 0-0 draw.


The UN Office in Nairobi issued a press release today strongly condemning the abduction earlier this week of a Somali national staff member of the Food and Agriculture Organization, Abdulkadir Mohamed Abikar. Abikar was abducted while travelling to his office in Mogadishu on Monday, and the United Nations is demanding his immediate and unconditional release.

On Thursday in Geneva, the Chairman of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, said that the Sub-Commission urged the authorities in the United States to do everything possible to stay the execution of Javier Suárez Medina, a Mexican national who is on death row in Texas. His execution is scheduled to take place on August 14. The Sub-Commission said that the US authorities did not comply with their obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which guarantees consular access for foreign detainees.

The Special Rapporteur dealing with the independence of judges and lawyers, Dato Param Cumaraswamy, has expressed concern about proposed changes to Italys judicial system, notably an amendment that would allow for trials to be transferred to different courts if there were legitimate suspicions that trials could be compromised by local circumstances.

Today is the International Day of Indigenous People and, in his message, the Secretary-General says that, thanks to the newly created Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, indigenous people now have a home at the United Nations. He said we have much to learn from indigenous peoples; their traditions of consensus can assist in conflict resolution and good governance and their medical knowledge and management techniques with complex ecosystems are of great value.

In Tokyo, the Office of for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs today launched Living with Risk, a 400-page study of disaster reduction initiatives. The study builds on the experience of planners around the world in dealing with natural and man-made disasters.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS Monday, August 12 Catherine Bertini, the Secretary-Generals Personal Humanitarian Envoy, is expected to arrive in Jerusalem at the start of a week-long trip during which she will meet with officials in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

Today is International Youth Day.

Tuesday, August 13 The Security Council is expected to hold a private meeting to review the mandate of the UN Mission in East Timor. At 11:00 a.m., Nitin Desai, Secretary-General of the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development will hold a press conference on a new report, Global Challenge, Global Opportunity. Following the briefing, Susan Markham, Spokeswoman for the Summit, will take questions on media logistics for the Summit.

Wednesday, August 14 The Security Council intends to hold consultations on Ethiopia-Eritrea and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Nitin Desai will be the guest at the noon briefing, to discuss the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development, for which he will be the Secretary-General.

Thursday, August 15 The Security Council intends to hold consultations on the sanctions imposed on the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378 New York, NY 10017 Tel. 212-963-7162 - press/media only Fax. 212-963-7055

All other inquiries to be addressed to (212) 963-4475 or by e-mail to:

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