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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-11-10
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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
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
COTE D'IVOIRE: UN PEACEKEEPERS TO PROBE REPORTS OF ETHNIC VIOLENCE
REPORTED IN PRESIDENT'S HOME TOWN
UN Operation in Cote dIvoire (UNOCI) reports inter-ethnic violence in President Laurent Gbagbo's home town of Gagnoa. The town has so far been a no-go area for impartial forces despite many attempts by UN military observers and peacekeepers to monitor the area.
The UN mission says it cannot confirm deaths or a death toll but it says that the local Bete and pro-Gbagbo ethnic groups are pitched against Dioula populations. Dioula are mainly from the north, although they settled in Gagnoa decades if not centuries ago.
Earlier today, instructions were given so that a unit of UN peacekeepers could travel to Gagnoa in order to investigate and report back.
The situation in Abidjan is quieter. Fewer demonstrators are on the street, the mission reports. Some economic activities are being restored. A few buses are running. Some shops are opened.
Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in Bouake is getting serious. Water and electricity must be restored.
The hate messages continue. Local languages are now being used. Anti-French messages on public radio and TV continue unabated. ONUCI FM continues to broadcast 24 hours a day.
UN peacekeepers have so far escorted up to 400 non-UN persons from the three sites protected by UN Blue Helmets for processing prior to evacuation out of Cote d'Ivoire. They has also escorted up to 150 Canadians, some 40 Spanish nationals and an unspecified number of Moroccans to the airport. These groups are being flown out by the respective countries.
UN Operation in Cote dIvoire (UNOCI) continues to take in and protect several newcomers in the three locations secured by Blue Helmets.
Asked about the evacuation of non-essential UN staff from Cote dIvoire, the Spokesman said the United Nations was examining whether to relocate temporarily any non-essential staff. It was monitoring the situation on the streets to determine whether it was safer to move people out or to leave them there. He called the situation for foreigners dangerous.
Asked about the number of international UN staff, the Spokesman later said there were about 120 staff from UN agencies and about 750 international staff associated with the UN peacekeeping mission.
Asked about comments by Cote dIvoires UN ambassador that called on the United Nations to bring French forces under its flag and on the
Security Council to defer consideration of a draft resolution, the Spokesman said those matters were in the hands of the Council.
POSSIBILITY OF SECURITY COUNCIL VOTE ON COTE DIVOIRE
DRAFT RESOLUTION TODAY
As of now, there are no meetings or consultations of the
Security Council scheduled for today.
However, the Council
Presidency says there is a possibility of calling a vote on the Côte dIvoire draft resolution, which has not yet been turned into the final form prepared for adoption.
ANNAN WELCOMES AGREEMENT BY SUDANESE PARTIES
ON IMPROVING HUMANITARIAN AND SECURITY SITUATION IN DARFUR
Secretary-General Kofi Annan warmly
welcomes the signing by the Government of the Sudan (GoS), the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and the Justice and Equality Movement in Abuja on 9 November 2004, of the Protocols on the Improvement of the Humanitarian Situation and on the Enhancement of the Security Situation in Darfur.
He congratulates the parties on this significant achievement, and commends the active efforts of the African Union, notably those of its current Chairman, President Obasanjo, in mediating the talks on
Darfur, with the support of the United Nations, European Union, League of Arab States and other partners including Norway, the UK and the US. He urges the parties to implement the Protocols fully and in good faith, so as to help improve the humanitarian and security conditions in Darfur.
He is hopeful that these measures, combined with the deployment and strengthening of the expanded African Union Mission, will re-establish security and stability in the region, and facilitate the safe return of the displaced and refugees to their home areas.
He urges the parties to intensively pursue the political negotiations and conclude an agreement without further delay.
POLICE RAID CAMP IN DARFUR FOR SECOND TIME THIS MONTH
According to the UN Mission in Sudan, reports have come in that police again raided the Al Jeer camp in Nyala, South Darfur last night. On this occasion, the attack on the camp was witnessed by a BBC correspondent.
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Sudan,
Jan Pronk, who is on a previously arranged visit to Nyala, accompanied by the Sudanese Foreign Minister, is expected to visit the camp as soon as possible.
According to reports reaching the UN Mission in Khartoum this morning, and following the return to the Al-Jeer camp of a number of refugees previously dispersed on the night of the second of November, four small truckloads of police raided the camp in the early hours of the morning.
They destroyed flimsy shacks which had been built by the camp residents, shot in the air and shouted at the terrified people. Some reports said they also used tear gas.
Due to the shots being fired, UN agencies and partner groups were immediately withdrawn from the area for their own safety. They withdrew back into the town of Nyala.
Latest reports say that the area has now "calmed down."
U.N. ENVOY BRIEFED ON PROGRESS IN IRAQI ELECTION PREPARATIONS
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for
Ashraf Qazi, today met with the Chairman of the Iraqi Independent Electoral Commission Abed Al Hussein Hindawi and other members of the Commission.
Hindawi briefed Qazi on the progress the Commission is making in preparing for the elections scheduled to take place towards the end of January.
Qazi assured Hindawi and the Commission members that the United Nations will continue to do every thing it can to enable the Commission to carry out its task of organizing Iraqs first democratic elections.
Qazi, who also hosted Hindawi and his colleagues for an Iftar -- the feast after the sun goes down that ends the Muslim fast, during the month of Ramadan -- at his residence, stressed that the United Nations remains committed to advance the political process in Iraq, underlining that the holding of credible elections represents a key milestone in this process.
Asked to respond to the withdrawal by a Sunni party from the Iraqi interim government and a call by Sunni leaders for an election boycott, the Spokesman said that those developments are worrying and dont move us in the right direction.
But, in response to a question as to how they might affect the elections, he declined to predict and noted that the interim government ultimately would decide on the schedule for elections.
As for the fighting in Fallujah, the Spokesman said that the United Nations was monitoring the situation and hoping for minimal civilian casualties and an eventual political process.
UNITED NATIONS STUDYING LETTER FROM
U.S. CONGRESSIONAL SUBCOMMITTEE ON OIL-FOR-FOOD PROGRAMME
Asked about a letter from a U.S. Congressional subcommittee on the
oil-for-food programme, the Spokesman said that the United Nations has only just received the letter and is studying it.
He said that the United Nations might be able to provide more of a response, clarifying its position about the sharing of documents, later in the day.
He emphasized that the United Nations has been fully cooperative and open with the
independent inquiry committee headed by Paul Volcker and has shared all of its documentation with that committee.
Asked about a meeting yesterday between the
Secretary-General and Volcker, the Spokesman said that he did not have the details of that meeting, but noted that it had taken place before the Secretary-General had known about the Congressional subcommittees letter.
TIMOR-LESTE HAS NOT ACHIEVED CRITICAL LEVEL OF SELF-SUFFICIENCY
Timor-Leste has not yet achieved a critical threshold of self-sufficiency, and public administration there remains weak and fragile. That, the
Secretary-General says in a new report, is the finding by a UN technical assessment mission that went to the country in October.
The Secretary-General says that Timor-Leste has made steady progress in its institution-building efforts over the past three months. But he recommends that the
United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor be retained for a further six months, until 20 May, 2005, to allow it to consolidate the gains made thus far.
He also says that, over the coming six months, the UN Mission will need to focus on preparing its exit strategy, so that the country will not suffer significantly from its withdrawal.
U.N. ENVOY CALLS ON NATO STATES TO STAY THE COURSE IN KOSOVO
The Secretary-Generals Special representative for
Soren Jessen-Petersen, has appealed to NATO Member States to stay the course in Kosovo, and maintain adequate force levels as the international community is entering a decisive phase.
Jessen-Petersen made the comments in an address to the North Atlantic Council in Brussels this morning on the political and security situation in Kosovo.
He also warned that if threats to order and security in Kosovo arent contained, then the goal of creating a stable multiethnic society in the foreseeable future wont be reached.
U.N. TRIBUNAL FOR EX-YUGOSLAVIA RAN SIX TRIALS OVER THE PAST YEAR
The 11th annual report of the
International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was released today, and it reports that the Tribunals three trial chambers ran six trials simultaneously over the course of the past year.
Over that period, nine accused surrendered voluntarily and one was arrested, but high-level suspects, including Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, remain at large.
The report also notes the growing and significant gap between the Tribunals approved budget and the collection of contributions by Member States, with the two international tribunals having a cash deficit of more than $70 million.
ANNAN TO APPEAL FOR MORE THAN $1 BILLION FOR HUMANITARIAN AID: Tomorrow, the Secretary-General is to request over $1 billion to help people survive a web of forgotten humanitarian crises, mainly in Africa.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO DECIDE ON REFORM PANELS RECOMMENDATIONS: Asked how agreement would be reached on the recommendations of the upcoming report of the
High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, the Spokesman said that it would be a decision for the
General Assembly to take. The
Secretary-General will present the report on 2 December, after which Member States will decide what needs to be discussed at the summit level and what can be dealt with by committees.
ROLE OF REPRODUCTIVE SERVICE WORKERS IN HIV PREVENTION ACTIVITIES REMAINS UNTAPPED: A new UN-supported study
says that people who provide reproductive services should also be used to integrate
HIV prevention activities into their work. According to the analysis, reproductive health providers already offer a wide range of services to millions of women who are the center of the AIDS pandemic. Yet their potential role as front-line providers of HIV prevention services is largely untapped.
ANNAN CALLS ON NOBEL PEACE LAUREATES TO SUPPORT MILLENNIUM DECLARATION: The
Secretary-General today called on the worlds Nobel Peace Laureates to support the
Millennium Declaration and
UN reform efforts, including the work done by the
High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. In a message to the laureates fifth world summit, the Secretary-General says that what is needed more than ever is a constructive debate on how to build a collective security system to meet todays challenges, in which all States can have confidence.
FORMER U.N. COMMANDER TO RECEIVE INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE AWARD: The
Secretary-General is scheduled tonight to attend the International Rescue Committees 2004 Freedom Award Ceremony. Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, Former Commander of the UN Mission to Rwanda and Uganda, is being given the organizations Distinguished Humanitarian Award.
NEW REPORT SAYS HALF OF WORLD'S DEATH PREVENTABLE: A new report from the
World Health Organization
says effective research could prevent half of the world's deaths with simple and cost-effective interventions. Thats one of the key findings of the new
World Report on global health research which sets out the strategies needed to reduce global disparities in health by strengthening
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