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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-11-15
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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
Monday, November 15, 2004
ANNAN DELAYS DEPARTURE TO AFRICA
Secretary-General Kofi Annan has delayed his departure to Africa for 24 hours, to attend to urgent business in New York.
Asked what urgent matters the Secretary-General would have to attend to, the Spokesman said that, over the weekend, the Secretary-General had decided that he had important business to deal with in New York, including meeting with the
Deputy Secretary-General, Louise Frechette, when she returns from Washington D.C.
Asked whether that business included talking to departing U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General expected to talk to Powell by telephone shortly.
He added that the Secretary-General has had a warm relationship with Powell, and particularly appreciated Powells multilateral approach to problem-solving.
DEPUTY-SECRETARY-GENERAL ATTENDS MEETING IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette is in Washington, D.C. today for the annual meeting of the Board of the
United Nations Foundation.
She will address the Directors of the Board at a working luncheon on the current priorities of the United Nations.
SECURITY COUNCIL SCHEDULES VOTE ON COTE DIVOIRE RESOLUTION;
SOME 10,000 IVORIANS FLEE TO LIBERIA
In New York, the
Security Council has scheduled a formal meeting this afternoon to vote on a resolution on Cote DIvoire.
On the ground, the situation remains tense. An estimated 10,000 refugees from Côte d'Ivoire have arrived in eastern Liberia since last week, some of them for the second time in two years,
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
UNHCR, its partners and the Liberian authorities are on the ground to respond to the refugees needs and make preparations should the Ivorian situation deteriorate.
Meanwhile, in a meeting to plan a response to the crisis in Cote d' Ivoire over the weekend, several UN humanitarian organizations and their agency partners agreed on key actions to be taken.
At the meeting in Dakar, Senegal, agencies agreed that their main objectives in the near future would be to guarantee access to people in need, ensure that civilians are spared the worst affects of conflict, and to prevent large-scale movements of populations.
As soon as security conditions allow, aid groups will re-deploy to areas in the north of the country, then expand their presence by delivering relief materials through neighboring countries. They will also seek to urgently re-establish access to the west of the country.
SPECIAL ADVISER ON GENOCIDE PREVENTION WARNS
HATE MEDIA CAN BE SUBJECT TO INTERNATIONAL ACTION
Last week, in a
statement on Cote DIvoire, the
Secretary-General condemned the use of hate media which is fuelling tensions, xenophobia and inciting violent acts.
Today, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide,
Juan E. Méndez, has issued a statement expressing his concern over the situation in Cote dIvoire.
The Special Adviser says he has been particularly distressed by reports of hate speeches and the ensuing actions of armed, militant groups. The current crisis has increased xenophobia and could exacerbate already worrisome and widespread violations of human rights, which in the recent past have included extra-judicial executions, torture, arbitrary detention, disappearances and sexual violence.
Mendez recalls that, in the absence of effective action by courts of national jurisdiction, incitement to violence directed against civilians or ethnic, religious or racial communities can be subject to international action, including under the Rome Statute of the
International Criminal Court. For instance, the
Security Council could refer the situation in Cote dIvoire to the International Criminal Court.
If the xenophobic expressions persist and they cause the further evacuation of essential humanitarian relief workers, the Special Adviser recommends that the UN and French troops already in the field should be expanded and instructed to deploy so as to afford direct protection to civilian population at risk of attack because of their ethnic, religious or citizenship status.
U.N. ENVOY SAYS IRAQI ELECTION CAN BE HELD IN JANUARY
In off-the-cuff remarks at a luncheon organized by the newly established Iraqi Democratic Institute, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for
Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, said he believed that from technical perspectives, elections can be held within the time frame that was set by the transitional law and Security Council
We also hope that the political and security environment will improve to allow for the convening of credible, comprehensive and transparent elections, Qazi said.
Iraq is passing through a historic moment and you can be sure that the United Nations will do everything it can to help you, Qazi told the 70 member group that also included representatives from Baghdad chambers of trade and industry.
In addition to helping with the electoral and political processes, Qazi said, the United Nations is also working very closely with Iraqi line ministries and non governmental organizations in providing humanitarian and other essential services to the Iraqi people.
Twenty three UN agencies, funds and programs are working together through eleven clusters to implement wide ranging programs to support Iraqis in the areas of health, education, water, electricity and water in addition to other political and humanitarian fields.
ANNAN TRIED TO CLEAR UP MEDIA MISPERCEPTIONS
BY NOTING U.N. ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN IRAQ
Asked about an interview that the
Secretary-General gave the New York Times over the weekend, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General had attempted to clear up misjudgments in some media, by noting in particular that the United Nations had accomplished a lot in
Eckhard said that the United Nations had helped to set up the Iraqi interim government following lengthy discussions, and had also worked with the Iraqis to set up the Independent Electoral Commission in Iraq, as well as a whole legal framework for the countys elections. The work the United Nations has done in Iraq, he said, has been under-reported, and possibly under-appreciated.
The Spokesman said that the Secretary-Generals bottom line is that, ever since the war had ended, an unstable Iraq is in nobodys interest and nations must come together to help stabilize Iraq.
Asked about recent media criticisms of the United Nations, the Spokesman said that they shared a misperception of the UN role, and the Secretary-Generals role, in key issues.
Asked about a phone call between the Secretary-General and Senator Norman Coleman over the weekend, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General had spoken both to Senator Coleman and to Senator Carl Levin, concerning the matters raised in their letter to him. He wanted to assure the Senators that he is not trying to be obstructionist, but there are inherent limits in what he can do as the head of an organization of 191 Member States.
Asked whether there will be any change in the UN policy on sharing documents on the
oil-for-food program, the Spokesman said that he expected some guidance on that issue from the head of the independent inquiry committee,
Paul Volcker, by the end of today.
U.N. MISSION MONITORING SITUATION IN FALLUJAH
UN Assistance Mission for Iraq has been closely monitoring the situation in
Falluja so as to properly assist in meeting the needs of the civilian populations in and outside the city.
World Health Organization has provided the ministry of health with medical supplies, and about 50,000 blood bags while
UNICEF, the UN Childrens Fund, supplied potable water to be distributed among the internally displaced persons.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugeesand the
International Organization for Migration have also made available tents and other essential non food items to displaced persons.
ANNAN: SREBRENICA REPORT SETS EXAMPLE OF CONFRONTING PAINFUL PAST
welcomes the conclusions of the authorities of the Republika Srpska regarding the Srebrenica Commission Final Report, particularly the condolences conveyed to the relatives of the victims as well as its apology for the tragedy in Srebrenica.
The Republika Srpska authorities and the Commission for Investigation of the Events in and around Srebrenica between 10 and 19 July 1995 have set an example of confronting the painful past of the war, facing the truth about the events which occurred during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This courageous act contributes to building of trust among the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to the process of reconciliation.
The Secretary-General expects that the information contained in the Srebrenica Commission Report and the Republika Srpska Government's commitment to bring to justice all those who committed war crimes will now lead to concrete actions.
The Secretary-General hopes that the Srebrenica Commission Report will open avenues for a broader process of discovering the fact about war crimes and will encourage leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina to start the process that will allow them to candidly consider events from the past.
PROGRESS MADE IN TIMOR-LESTE, BUT MUCH REMAINS TO BE DONE
Timor-Leste has made steady progress in its peace efforts and nation-building work, the head of the
UN Mission of Support in East Timor told the
Security Council this morning. But much work remains to be done as the UN Mission implements its transition strategy over the next six months, he said.
Sukehiro Hasegawa presented the Secretary-Generals latest report on Timor-Leste in an open briefing to the Council which, he noted, said that the situation on the ground does not justify any modification or reduction in size of the UN Mission at present.
Security Council members are currently discussing Timor-Leste in an open debate.
U.N. ENVOY FOR MIDDLE EAST TO BRIEF SECURITY COUNCIL TODAY
Terje Roed-Larsen, the UN Special Coordinator for the
Middle East, will deliver a briefing to the
Security Council on that region, in an open meeting at 3:30 p.m.
That open briefing will be followed by Council consultations, also on the Middle East.
U.N. NUCLEAR WATCHDOG CONFIRMS RECEIPT
OF URANIUM ENRICHMENT LETTER FROM IRAN
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that it has received a letter from the Government of Iran, saying that it will fully suspend its uranium enrichment, as of next Monday.
The IAEA welcomes the announced suspension as a confidence-building measure.
The Agency is already making arrangements to verify its implementation.
U.N. MISSION REPORTS CONTINUED INSECURITY IN SUDAN
UN Mission in Sudan reports continued insecurity in Darfur,
Sudan, citing the African Union.
In South Darfur, attacks were reported on villages last Thursday and Friday. And yesterday, the African Union investigated a series of tribal clashes in three villages.
Other incidents were reported in both West and North Darfur.
In North Darfur, aid agencies operating in the Zam Zam camp report an increased presence of armed tribesmen around the camp.
In West Darfur, leaders from internally displaced camps around El-Geneina report that they are under increasing pressure to return to their homes. They were specifically threatened that they would not receive ration cards unless they returned to their villages.
At a press conference last week, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Sudan,
Jan Pronk, emphasized that relocations should be carried out with respect for international humanitarian law and human rights. He encouraged the Government to devise criteria which should determine camp locations.
U.N. MISSION IN GUATEMALA TO BE OFFICIALLY CLOSE TODAY
UN Verification Mission in Guatemala will officially be closed in a ceremony later today.
Sir Kieran Prendergast, the Under-Secretary-General for
Political Affairs, will attend the ceremony and deliver a message on behalf of the Secretary-General.
He is also expected to accept the Order of Quetzal, which the Guatemalan Government is awarding to the UN Mission for the work it has carried out there over the past 10 years.
On Saturday, he attended the closure of the Missions regional office in Quiche which was one of the regions most affected by the civil strife in that country.
MORE THAN TWO-THIRDS OF MANDATED TROOPS HAVE ARRIVED IN HAITI
The Spanish and Moroccan troops who recently arrived in
Haiti now have the military responsibility for the area of Fort Liberté and Terrier Rouge in the countrys north-east.
The troops officially
took over from a Chilean contingent of peacekeepers late last week and the relieved Chilean forces will be used to reinforce the military presence of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti in the area of Cap Haïtien.
Regarding troops numbers in Haiti, the UN Mission reports that more than two thirds of the military and police forces planned for the Mission are now on the ground there.
The Mission says that 4,489 soldiers out of the 6,700 mandated by the
relevant Security Council resolution were already on hand, while the civilian police strength totaled 1,228 out of the projected total of 1,622.
U.N. ENVOY URGES INDEPENDENT PROBE INTO MOB KILLINGS IN CAMBODIA
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Human Rights in Cambodia,
Peter Leuprecht, yesterday concluded a visit to that country by
calling for an independent commission to be created to investigate the deplorable phenomenon of mob killings.
The envoy also released a report on land concessions in Cambodia, which he argued have contributed little to state revenue and have shown little regard for peoples welfare.
MEETING ON GREAT LAKES REGION OF AFRICA BEGINS TOMORROW
Foreign Ministers of the core countries of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region will begin a two-day meeting in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, tomorrow.
The meeting is being held to prepare for the first Heads of state summit thatll be held this Friday and Saturday, also in Dar Es Salaam.
The International Conference was proposed by the
Secretary-General, and is being co-chaired by the UN and the African Union its aim is to find a lasting solution to the problems facing the region.
The foreign ministers will examine a first draft Declaration, and theyre expected to come up with the final version of it, which theyll then submit to the Heads of state for adoption and signature on Saturday.
ACTION REQUIRED NOW TO PREVENT LOCUSTS RETURN TO SAHEL: The
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that while theres been a significant decrease in the number of
desert locusts in Africas Sahel region, action is required now to prevent them from returning there next year. The governments of Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia have asked FAO to continue its efforts in raising the money needed to control the locusts. The five governments have devised an action plan for combating the return of locusts to their countries, and theyve also issued an appeal for some $91 million for their efforts to fight the locusts spread.
FAIR ON WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY TO BE HELD THIS WEEK: An informational fair, on the
World Summit on the Information Society, will be held this Tuesday and Wednesday at UN Headquarters. The fair will highlight preparations being made for the next Summit, to be held in Tunis one year from now.
SEVEN IDEAS OFFERED FOR COVERING COST OF MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS: A new study by the
World Institute for Development Economics Research of the
United Nations University, for the
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, has put forward seven ideas to potentially cover the estimated $50 billion cost of the
Millennium Development Goals. The study is a response to a call for the
General Assembly for a rigorous analysis of the issues. The seven ideas include global environmental taxes, a global lottery and global premium bond, and a tax on currency flows.
UNICEF SNOWFLAKE TO BE UNVEILED: This Thursday evening,
UNICEF, the UN Childrens Fund, will unveil in Manhattan the largest outdoor chandelier of its kind. The UNICEF Snowflake, as it is called, has been designed by acclaimed lighting designer Ingo Maurer and Baccarat. It has been a New York City holiday attraction for the past 19 years, and was dedicated to UNICEF as a beacon of hope, peace and compassion for vulnerable children around the world. The Snowflake will be lit by UNICEF National Ambassador Sarah Jessica Parker.
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