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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-11-04
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING
BY FRED ECKHARD
SPOKESMAN FOR THE
OF THE UNITED NATIONS
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, November 4, 2004
ANNAN CONCERNED ABOUT MILITARY ACTIONS TAKEN IN COTE DIVOIRE
Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, is deeply
concerned at the military actions taken today in Côte dIvoire where several air attacks have been carried out by the armed forces of Côte dIvoire (FANCI) against Forces Nouvelles positions in Bouaké and Korhogo.
Some several dozen civilians may have been killed and wounded during these attacks. A major violation of the ceasefire has thus taken place.
The Secretary-General urges President Laurent Gbagbo and all the Ivorian parties to immediately cease all hostilities and to take all possible actions to prevent further bloodshed.
He strongly calls for the immediate resumption of dialogue in order to resume with the implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis and Accra III agreements which remain the only viable roadmap for resolution of the crisis in the country.
He reminds all parties of their responsibilities to ensure the protection and safety of the civilian population, and of UN and other international personnel.
The Secretary-General briefed the Security Council on the latest developments, and in a press statement read by Security Council President, U.S. Ambassador John Danforth, Council members expressed their deep concern and demanded that the ceasefire be fully respected.
FIGHTING IN NORTHERN COTE DIVOIRETHREATENS TO CUT OFF AID
The eruption of fighting around the Ivorian city of Bouaké, some 300 kilometers north of Abidjan, threatens to cut thousands of people off from urgently needed humanitarian aid.
Due to tensions across Cote dIvoire, UN humanitarian workers are suspending their activities throughout the country today.
World Food Programme has not been able to deliver aid to beneficiaries around Bouaké since the weekend because of a sharp rise in the number of roadblocks near the Zone of Confidence, an area separating rebel and government forces around the city in the past week.
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that since the crisis began two years ago, the humanitarian situation in northern Cote dIvoire - once the economic engine of West Africa - has been characterized by the prolonged absence of public administration and basic social services.
Civilians in the North have been sinking further into poverty, having been cut of from the commercial activities and the social services of the South.
SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD OF PROGRESS AND SETBACKS IN SUDAN
Security Council today held an open meeting this morning to hear a briefing on the latest
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Sudan,
Jan Pronk, noted that there is progress on the political front but regression on the ground. He says the progress is slow and the regression is alarming.
Fighting is breaking out in more and more places, Pronk said, adding that the parties are provoking one another and governmental authorities are not able to exert a moderating influence or they respond with untimely and even counter-productive measures.
He warned that Darfur may easily enter a state of anarchy.
He outlined a three-pronged approach to reverse the current trend. He cited an even more speedy deployment of the African Union force to effectively deter violations, the speeding up of all negotiation processes, and steps to ensure that political leaders the official ones as well as the self-selected ones be held accountable for ongoing violations of agreements and further human misery.
Security Council President Danforth, read a press statement on Sudan after the briefing, in which Council members expressed their deep concerned about the findings of the Secretary Generals report on the situation in
Sudan and the deterioration in the security and humanitarian situation.
ELECTION FOR VACANCY ON INT'L COURT OF JUSTICE TO BE HELD IN FEBRUARY
Security Council started its work this morning by adopting a resolution on holding an election, on 15 February, 2005, to fill a vacancy on the
International Court of Justice.
The resignation of Judge Gilbert Guillaume of France will take effect on 11 February of next year.
WORRIES INTENSIFY OVER ABDUCTED U.N. STAFF MEMBERS IN AFGHANISTAN
UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan today expressed increasing worry about the three staff members who were abducted a week ago in
The Mission said that it has serious concerns for their health, noting that the psychological pressure on them must be tremendous and calling for them to be released immediately and unharmed.
The Mission also expressed its gratitude for the work of the Afghan authorities to obtain their release, and said that the United Nations is doing all it can to support these efforts. Afghanistans Interior Ministry has set up a telephone hotline so that Afghans can call to provide information on the case.
U.N. ENVOY CONCERNED OVER VIOLATION OF BLUE LINE IN SOUTHERN LEBANON
Earlier today, the Secretary-Generals Personal Representative for southern
Staffan de Mistura, issued a statement noting with concern once more the numerous Israeli air violations of the Blue Line that took place today.
De Mistura said the United Nations reminds all concerned that one violation cannot justify another.
He called on Israel to cease its overflights which represent a continuing violation of the Blue Line.
THREE GANG LEADERS ARRESTED IN HAITI
UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti is reporting that a joint operation by UN military and police personnel and Haitian National Police, launched early this morning in the
Port au Prince neighbourhood of Bel Air, led to the arrest of three gang leaders and the sealing of a logistical base used by them.
According to the spokesman of the UN mission, calm is gradually returning to this area, which has been largely controlled by gangs in the past weeks.
He also reports that two trucks carrying supplies for non-governmental organizations operating in Gonaives were attacked and looted yesterday.
The UN system in Haiti has reminded non-governmental organizations that the peacekeepers can only ensure security for those trucks that join the
World Food Programme convoys that leave every other day from Port au Prince.
EXPERTS ENDORSE SINGLE SET OF SAFETY STANDARDS
FOR NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS
Safety experts from 37 countries have
endorsed the need to develop a single set of international standards for nuclear power plants, from design to de-commissioning.
The experts came to agreement at an
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conference on nuclear safety, held in China last month.
IAEA says the experts recommendations will provide it with steps it can take to develop international co-operation and safety programmes in the future.
UNESCO CHIEF OUTRAGED AT ESCALATING NUMBER
OF JOURNALISTS KILLED IN IRAQ
The Director-General of the
UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),
Koichiro Matsuura, has
expressed outrage at the killing of an unprecedented number of journalists in Iraq over the past week.
His condemnation comes in the wake of Mondays assassination in Ramadi of a freelance cameraman who worked for Reuters and The Associated Press; a car bomb attack Saturday on the Baghdad bureau of Al-Arabiya, which killed five support staff; and the assassination of journalist from Iraqs Al Charkia television channel on 27 October. Matsuura says the murderous campaign waged against journalists in Iraq, must be recognized for what it is: a campaign to terrorize and cower the people of Iraq.
In a separate
statement, Matsuura condemned the murder, in Amsterdam on 2 November, of documentary film-maker, Theo van Gogh.
According to Matsuura, Van Gogh, in his way exemplified freedom of expression. Democracy and rule of law require that people like him express themselves freely, even when their words and the ideas they hold are disturbing, he added.
NO COMMENT ON REPORTS OF YASSER ARAFATS DEATH
Asked about reports that Yasser Arafat may have died, the Spokesman said that the United Nations was following media reports on the matter.
He noted that recent comments from hospital officials in Paris suggest that Arafat is still alive.
Asked what adjustments the United Nations might make to its efforts in the Middle East in a post-Arafat era, the Spokesman declined to speculate, but said that the Secretary-General would work with other members of the Quartet to try to revive the
Road Map to realize the vision of two states, living side by side and in peace.
Asked about UN contacts with the Palestinian Authority, he said that the United Nations has regular contacts through its Special Coordinator for the Middle East,
Terje Roed Larsen.
The Spokesman said he was not aware of anything unusual regarding the intensity of those contacts.
INT'L YEAR OF SPORT AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION 2005 TO BE LAUNCHED: The
International Year of Sport and Physical Education 2005 will be launched at UN Headquarters on Friday at 12:30 p.m. Swiss tennis champion Roger Federer and New York City Marathon record-holder Margaret Okayo will be here for the launch, as will
Adolf Ogi, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace. The
Secretary-General will provide opening remarks at the event. The aim of the year is to encourage the use of sports to promote education, health, development and peace.
UNITED NATIONS RESPONDING TO U.S. REQUEST FOR INFORMATION: Asked about a UN response to a U.S. request for information on the
sexual harassment charges concerning the
UN High Commissioner for Refugees,
Ruud Lubbers, the Spokesman said that the Secretariat routinely responds to questions put to it by Member States and is in the process of responding to this request. Asked by reporters if the response could be made public, he promised to check.
NO CHANGES SEEN TO U.N. POLICY IN IRAQ FOLLOWING BUSH RE-ELECTION: Asked what changes would be expected in UN efforts in
Iraq following George W. Bushs re-election, the Spokesman said he did not foresee any changes. The United Nations, he said, was working with the Iraqi authorities on preparations for the elections next January.
U.N. REPORT PREDICTS NINE BILLION PEOPLE IN THE WORLD BY 2300: There will be an estimated nine billion people in the world in the year 2300, according to a new report by the
Population Division of the
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. That figure is according to the medium scenario of the report, World Population in 2300, operating on the assumption that world fertility would eventually stabilize at around two children per woman. But if world fertility levels today continue to be the norm in the future, the world population would rise to 44 billion by the end of this century and an unimaginable 1.34 trillion by 2300.
U.N. POPULATION FUND TO TARGET FISTULA IN UNITED KINGDOM: The
UN Population Fund has
teamed up with the London office of the advertising agency Young & Rubicam to launch a new campaign to break the silence around obstetric
fistula in the United Kingdom. Obstetric fistula is a childbirth injury that affects at least 2 million women worldwide. Fistula is a double sorrow because these women lose their babies and they lose their lives, said
Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA. Fistula is more than just a medical condition. It is also a social problem because it is linked with shame and rejection.
ADDITIONAL FUNDING NEEDED FOR DISARMAMENT PROGRAMME IN LIBERIA: The
UN Development Programme is appealing for additional funding for the disarmament programme in Liberia, saying that the reintegration of former combatants is at risk. It says that an additional caseload of some 47,000 ex-combatants will require approximately $58 million.
BASIC LABOUR RIGHTS DISCUSSED: Government, employer and worker representatives are gathering at a new session of the Governing Council of the
International Labour Organization to debate basic labour rights and new partnerships to promote a fair globalization. The
session is taking place in Geneva from 4 to 19 November.
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