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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-11-18

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING

BY FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE

SECRETARY-GENERAL

OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, November 18, 2004

SECURITY COUNCIL BEGINS NAIROBI MEETING

WITH CALLS FOR END TO CONFLICT IN SUDAN

The

Security Council began its meeting in Nairobi, Kenya today with strong calls to the parties involved in the long drawn out conflict in the

Sudan to reach a global peace deal by the end of the year.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan

addressed the meeting, and said that it was high time to conclude the negotiations between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement and Army, and to start implementing what has been agreed.

He told Council members and other dignitaries that the conclusion of such negotiations would also serve as a catalyst for the resolution of existing conflicts.

He said that the devastating conflict in Darfur is a glaring example of the effects of the delay in closing what is known as the Naivasha process.

The Secretary-General reported to Council members that the security situation in Darfur continues to deteriorate as both rebels and the government breach cease-fires. This has made humanitarian access difficult, if not impossible.

When crimes on such a scale are being committed, he said, and a sovereign state appears unable or unwilling to protect its own citizens, a grave responsibility falls on the international community, and specifically on this Council.

Security Council President, Ambassador John Danforth of the United States, announced that the parties to the North-South peace talks are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding tomorrow, committing themselves to completing their peace agreement and signing a peace agreement by the end of the year.

In addition to the

Secretary-General, taking part in the public meeting were Sudanese Vice President Ali Othman Taha and Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement leader John Garang, along with representatives of the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Council members were also finalizing a draft resolution on Sudan, scheduled to be voted on tomorrow morning in Nairobi.

REPORTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, CHILDREN IN DARFUR ON THE RISE

UNICEF said today that reports of violence against women and children, in and around Darfurs camps for civilians displaced by fighting, seem to be increasing rather than diminishing. Speaking from New York, UNICEF Executive Director

Carol Bellamy said that reports of aid agency monitors strongly dispute claims that the situation is under control.

Meanwhile, the

World Food Programme (WFP) warned today that, while the attention of the media has focused heavily on the continuing humanitarian emergency in Darfur, the food outlook for southern Sudan in 2005 looks fairly bleak. The situation, WFP warned, could worsen when peace is achieved between the north and south, since there would most likely be an influx of southerners returning to their homes.

ANNAN PRAISES KENYA FOR ROLE IN PEACE PROCESS IN SUDAN AND SOMALIA

The

Secretary-General met with President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, immediately after arriving at UN Headquarters in Nairobi today.

The Secretary-General praised Kenya for its leading role in the peace processes of both Somalia and

Sudan.

The President and the Secretary-General then reviewed the peace process in those two countries. They also discussed the work of the UNs humanitarian agencies in Kenya.

The Secretary-General returned to the Security Council for a closed meeting in the afternoon. He later took questions from the press on Sudan and Somalia.

ANNAN WELCOMES RUSSIAS RATIFICATION OF KYOTO PROTOCOL; HOPES OTHER COUNTRIES WILL FOLLOW SUIT

While in Nairobi today, the

Secretary-General received from Russian Ambassador Andrey Denisov, Russias instruments of ratification for the 1997

Kyoto Protocol.

The Secretary-General

said this was an historic occasion for the whole world. He added that we now need to intensify our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and I hope even the countries which have not joined yet will make efforts in that direction.

Also present when the Secretary-General received the ratification were

UN Environment Programme Executive Director

Klaus Toepfer and Wangaari Mathai, the 2004 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

In a separate statement, Toepfer said that the Protocol is a welcome first step, but only a first step and that fighting climate change needs to be incorporated into all facets of society, from city infrastructure planning to planning for the worlds energy needs in the 21st century.

Under the Protocol, industrialized countries are to reduce their combined emissions of six major greenhouses gases during the five-year period of 2008 and 2012 to below 1990 levels. The Protocol will enter into force 90 days from today.

U.N. DELEGATION VISITS NORTHERN COTE DIVOIRE FOR FIRST TIME

SINCE OUTBREAK OF HOSTILITIES

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Cote dIvoire,

Albert Tevoedjre, accompanied by UN Force Commander General

Abdoulaye Fall, paid a visit to Bouake today the first time since the breakout of hostilities.

The UN delegation first held talks with Forces Nouvelles Secretary General Guillaume Soro. The Special Representative reiterated the UNs commitment to help bring back the peace process on track. The delegation also visited the three sites that came under bombardment last week.

General Fall explained the role of the blue helmets in this crisis, saying that UN military forces had fully played their role in recent days, helping with evacuation as well as observing the violation of the ceasefire.Fall said UN forces had prevented ground troops from crossing the zone of confidence, including by firing warning shots in the air.

Meanwhile, in Abidjan, the situation continued to gradually return to normal though it still remains tense. Offices, banks and businesses are re-opening. Children are slowly returning to school, all of which have opened except for the four French schools.

The

UN Operation in Cote DIvoire (UNOCI) says that human rights violations perpetrated by Forces Nouvelles elements are being reported in Bouaké and other parts of the north.

The

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports the number of people fleeing Côte d'Ivoire to neighbouring Liberia has climbed to 13,000.

The

World Food Programme (WFP) has been able to resume some of its operations.

Asked what UNHCR is doing to deal with Ivorian refugees who have been going to Liberia, the Spokesman said that the agency was working with neighboring Governments to set up emergency feeding centers and shelter for the refugees. [He added later that UNHCR has set up a temporary transit center to shelter refugees arriving in Butuo in northeastern Liberia. The majority of the refugees are, for the time being, staying in public buildings or with local people. A community health center is open, although there is an acute shortage of medical supplies.]

HAITI FACING ALARMING PROBLEMS IF FINANCIAL PLEDGES ARE NOT MET

A new report

projects disturbing downward trends in

Haitis health, education, economic and environmental sectors over the following decade.

The joint report by the Government of Haiti and the United Nations says that if trends continue, one out of every 10 Haitians will be infected by

HIV by 2015 and a quarter of the population will remain shackled by extreme poverty.

The report was researched during the final and most turbulent years of the Aristide government, and was finished prior to the hurricane-related tragedy in Gonaives last September.

The

UN Development Programmes resident representative in Haiti says the message behind the reports findings is that the international donor community needs to make good on its promises of financial support for Haiti, and Haitis leadership must develop good governance practices and use the resources made available to it in a transparent and efficient manner.

Meanwhile on the ground, recent reinforcement of the civilian police force in

Haiti has allowed a progressive return to normalcy in the countrys capital of Port-au-Prince, according to David Beer, Civilian Police Commissioner at the

UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti. He made the statement at a joint press conference on security issues with the Haitian National Police yesterday.

He also gave an update on the deployment of civilian police personnel currently, there are 1,238 policemen on the ground there, out of the 1,622 mandated by the

Security Council. These hail from 45 different nations.

U.N. ENVOY DISCUSSES CONFERENCE ON IRAQ WITH IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Iraq,

Ashraf Qazi, today met with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zubari for talks that focused on the international conference on Iraq, which is to be held on November 23 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Qazi stressed the importance of the conference as a clear demonstration of the international commitment to help Iraq through its transitional process.

He and Zubari also discussed the latest political developments in Iraq and the role of the United Nations in coordinating international support for the country.

MINE CLEARANCE PROGRAMME LAUNCHED IN CYPRUS

The head of the

UN Mission in Cyprus today hailed the launch of a Landmine and Ordnance Clearance Program in the country as a truly historic event.

Zbigniew Wlosowicz said that every mine removed leaves space for stepping-stones to mark the path of peace and reconciliation.

The 2.5 million-euro project is being done by the

UN Development Programme and the

UN Office for Project Services, with funding from the European Union.

CALLS RENEWED FOR RELEASE OF ABDUCTED U.N. STAFF MEMBERS IN AFGHANISTAN

The

UN Mission in Afghanistan today marked the end of the third week since three staff members were abducted from

Kabul.

The Mission reiterated its gratitude to the Afghan authorities for their hard work, and its appreciation to the support it continues to receive from Afghans in these trying times.

It once again called for the three staff members to be set free.

PANEL ON NEW GLOBAL CHALLENGES TO BRIEF PRESS ON DECEMBER 2

Asked how many eminent persons on the

High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change will be available when their report is launched, the Spokesman said that the panels chairman,

Anand Panyarachun, and panel member

Gro Harlem Brundtland would give a press conference in New York on 2 December, when the report goes to the

General Assembly.

Other members would be available to the press, wherever they might be.

The Spokesman said that the intention was to provide embargoed briefings and embargoed copies of the report to the press before 2 December.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL EXPECTS TO SERVE ENTIRE SECOND TERM: Asked about a newspaper article suggesting that the

Secretary-General may retire, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General expects to serve his entire second term, which will last for a little more than two years and one month. He said it would be a challenging two years.

ANNAN AVAILABLE TO ANSWER OIL-FOR-FOOD PANELS QUESTIONS: Asked whether the

Secretary-General has been formally interviewed by the

Volcker panel, the Spokesman said he does not believe that he had been formally interviewed, although he has had lengthy meetings with the panel. The Secretary-General is available to answer the panels questions, as is every other member of the UN Secretariat involved in the

Oil-for-Food Programme, the Spokesman said.

NEW SENIOR OFFICIAL APPOINTED TO U.N. MISSION IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: The Secretary-General has appointed Ross Mountain as his Deputy Special Representative for the

Democratic Republic of the Congo, replacing Lena Sundh. Mountain has had over 25 years of experience in the field of economic and social development and humanitarian affairs. Immediately prior to this appointment, he served as the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for

Iraq.

ANNAN CALLS FOR MORE EFFORT ON REDUCING EFFECTS OF EXPLOSIVE REMNANTS: The

Secretary-General today appealed to countries to work on minimizing the devastating humanitarian impact of explosive remnants of war. His remarks were part of a message to the 2004

Meeting of States Parties to the

Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which is taking place today and tomorrow in Geneva. He added that he hoped more countries would sign up to the amendment that expanded the treatys scope to cover internal armed conflicts.

MICROFINANCE HAS PROVED ITS VALUE AS A WEAPON AGAINST POVERTY: The

Secretary-General said this morning that microfinance had proved its value as a weapon against poverty and hunger in many countries. His remarks were part of a video message shown at the launch of the

International Year of Microcredit 2005. He added that microfinance was not charity, and that it helped extend the same rights and services to low-income households that were available to everyone else. He also said that where businesses could not develop, countries could not flourish.

ANNAN CALLS FOR MORE FUNDING TO FIGHT AIDS: Money to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria must be disbursed to those who need them more rapidly than is currently happening, the

Secretary-General said in a message.

Peter Piot, the

UNAIDS head, who is representing the Secretary-General at the meeting in Arusha of the Board of the

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, read out the message on the Secretary-Generals behalf. In it, the Secretary-General says that additional funding is essential if we are to meet the

Millennium Development Goal of halting the spread of AIDS and other major diseases by 2015.

W.H.O. ANNOUNCES $1 MILLION GRANT FOR HIV TREATMENT: The

World Health Organization today

announced a $1 million award to the Collaborative Fund for HIV Treatment Preparedness. That grant is intended for community-based treatment preparedness activities and the distribution of funds for treatment and advocacy.

CONFLICTS ARE HURTING THE FIGHT AGAINST POLIO IN WEST AFRICA:

UNICEF

warns that a coordinated regional drive to

eradicate

polio in Africa is facing an immediate threat from conflicts in west and central Africa, as well as a funding shortfall for essential activities early next year. Much concern is focused on children in Cote dIvoire, where conflict has forced a postponement of the immunization drive. Also, theres concern that the increase in cross border movements as people flee the violence there, could carry the virus into neighbouring countries.

  • ** Vincent McClean, the New York Representative of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, was the guest at the briefing. He spoke on the Afghanistan Opium Survey 2004.

    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: inquiries@un.org


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