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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-01-16

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 STEPHANE DUJARRIC

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, January 16, 2006

AFGHANISTAN: ATTACKS ARE UNACCEPTABLE ASSAULT ON PEACE PROCESS

Secretary-General Kofi Annan is deeply

concerned about a series of violent attacks in

Afghanistan in which an unconfirmed number of civilians and military personnel were killed and injured in Kandahar on 15 and 16 January, including an attack against the Canadian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kandahar yesterday, in which the Political Director, Glyn Berry, was killed.

Mr. Berry has served as a Vice-Chair of the UN General Assemblys Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and Chair of the Committees Working Group. He will be missed by his friends and colleagues. The Secretary-General expresses his condolences to the bereaved families and the respective governments.

The Secretary-General condemns these attacks which represent an unacceptable assault upon the peace process and urges all concerned parties to work together in a spirit of national unity and reconciliation.

ANNAN APPEALS FOR URGENT RESUMPTION OF DIALOGUE IN SRI LANKA

The Secretary-General is very

concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Sri Lanka. He deplores the attack on Saturday on the facilities of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM).

Escalating violence in the past few months has put a severe strain on the ceasefire that had ushered in a new era of hope in Sri Lanka and brought significant benefits for its people over the past four years. The impact of renewed violence is once again being felt by the civilian population.

The Secretary-General stresses that a return to conflict will not resolve outstanding differences between the parties. He strongly urges the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to shore up the ceasefire, ensure respect for the human rights of all Sri Lankans, and urgently resume their dialogue under the facilitation of the Norwegian Government.

ANNAN CONGRATULATES LIBERIAS NEW PRESIDENT

The Secretary-General today sent a

message of congratulations to the newly inaugurated President of

Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

His message also congratulates the people of Liberia who, he said, have given the new government an historic mandate to lead the nation towards a future of lasting peace and stability.

The Secretary-General calls upon the international community to assist the new Government to consolidate its authority, build upon the stability established so far and deliver basic services to the people.

Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette attended the inauguration ceremony in Monrovia.

U.N. ENVOY EX-PRESIDENT BUSH VISITS QUAKE-HIT PAKISTAN

The Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for the South Asia Earthquake, former U.S. President

George Herbert Walker Bush, arrived in Pakistan today.

He met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, and he plans to visit quake-hit areas as soon as possible, given the inclement weather. He is there to get a firsthand look at the devastation wreaked by last Octobers

earthquake.

ANNAN CONDEMNS ANTI-U.N. CAMPAIGN IN HAITI

The Secretary-General has registered his opposition to a defamation campaign aimed at the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and its head, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative,

Juan Gabriel Valdes.

In a letter sent last week to the Haitian Prime Minister, Gerard Latortue, the Secretary-General

said the campaign was unacceptable.

He called on

Haitis Transitional Government to publicly condemn the campaign and warned that it could threaten the security of MINUSTAH as well as the holding of free and fair elections.

He added that all concerned must work together in a sprit of mutual respect and close collaboration.

ERITREAN HELICOPTER BAN ENDANGERING PEACEKEEPERS LIVES

The UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) reports the eighth instance that the Eritrean authorities did not respond to an emergency medical evacuation request for a UN peacekeeper since the Eritrean ban on UN helicopter flights took effect in October 2005.

As a result, a Jordanian officer suffering from acute appendicitis had to be evacuated by road from Barentu on Saturday evening to a hospital in Asmara, a journey that takes less than an hour by helicopter but at least 8 hours by road, according to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

The officer has now been operated on and is currently in stable condition.

Asked whether it was ethical to keep peacekeepers in Eritrea under such conditions, the Spokesman said that risks to safety were constantly being evaluated, and he noted that there have been circumstances, once risks are determined to be untenable, where peacekeepers have been withdrawn.

Although there are concerns about Eritreas restrictions on the peacekeepers movement, the Spokesman added, At this point, we believe we can still operate in a limited capacity.

Dujarric said that the status of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea is currently being discussed in the Security Council, and the United Nations is also awaiting the results of a US mission to the area.

Asked about responsibility for the peacekeepers safety, the Spokesman said their safety is the responsibility of the Secretary-General and the Security Council. He noted that the United Nations would wait for policy guidance from the Security Council, which creates the mandates for all peacekeeping missions.

COTE DIVOIRE: U.N. CONCERNED BY ATTACKS ON U.N. PROPERTY

The UN Operation in Cote dIvoire (UNOCI) today reports continued protests against the recommendation by the international working group that the countrys Parliament be dissolved.

Demonstrators are in front of the Mission today, and four UN vehicles have been damaged. No UN personnel have been reported injured.

The demonstrations are in contravention of the President Laurent Gbagbos decree against demonstrations in Abidjan.

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Liberia, Pierre Schori, is on his way to New York and will discuss the matter with officials at Headquarters.

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION ELECTS OFFICERS

In Geneva today, the

Commission on Human Rights today

held a meeting in which it elected its bureau for its 2006 session.

Louise Arbour, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the discussion on the reform of the UN human rights system had evolved in a most significant manner, culminating with the World Summit and its outcome document. She said that everyone eagerly awaited the outcome of the negotiations on the establishment of a Human Rights Council, which were currently taking place in New York.

FAILED RAINS LEAD TO HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN ETHIOPIA

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), failed rains have left southern Ethiopia

confronting an escalating humanitarian

crisis, with nearly 2 million people needing assistance until June. Thats in addition to the 5.5 million people already receiving food aid in the country.

There are also reports of a critical humanitarian situation in the countrys northeastern Afar region, where pastures have dried and many communal grazing lands have become dust bowls.

In addition, because of a growing number of new measles cases, UNICEF and the World Health Organization will be helping to immunize more than 750,000 children in Ethiopias Somali region in the coming weeks.

WEST AFRICA NEEDS INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT

The World Food Programme (WFP) today

called on the international community to rally behind its efforts to tackle hunger in West Africa, a region which the agency calls the poorest in the world.

In 2006, WFP aims to feed at least 10 million people in West Africa with over 300,000 tons of food, at a cost of nearly $240 million. To date, it has only been able to raise $18 million, or eight percent of its total requirements.

WFP says that, despite a good harvest at the end of 2005, the Sahel region will face another difficult year in 2006.

ANNAN MOURNS DEATH OF KUWAITI EMIR

The UN flag is flying at half-mast today, to mark the official mourning of His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Emir of the State of Kuwait, who passed away on Sunday.

As noted in a statement issued over the weekend, the Secretary-General was deeply

saddened to learn of the Emirs death and extended his heartfelt condolences to the people and Government of Kuwait.

He also said that the Emir had been a father figure to Kuwaitis and would be remembered for his wisdom, modesty, generosity and kindness.

The Secretary-General wished every success to the Emirs successor, Sheikh Saad Al-Abdulla Al-Salem Al-Sabah.

SPOKESMAN CONFIRMS AUDIT OF PEACEKEEPING-RELATED

PROCUREMENT ACTIVITIES

Asked whether UN procurement officials have been suspended, the Spokesman noted that an audit is being done of peacekeeping-related procurement operations.

While the audit report is not yet finalized, he said, eight staff members have been placed on special leave with full pay, as an administrative action, to help in finalizing the audit.

The Spokesman emphasized that these are administrative, not disciplinary, measures, adding that the names of the individuals placed on leave would not be released.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED BY EUROPEAN SECURITY BODY: The

Security Council this morning heard a briefing on the work being done by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe by the Organizations Chairman in Office, Belgian Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht. The Foreign Minister then met with the Secretary-General. Members of the Council also expressed their views on the OSCEs work, in an open meeting.

WOMENS ANTI-DISCRIMINATION BODY MEETS IN NEW YORK: The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) begins its 34th session today, which will run for the next three weeks. In this session, CEDAW will examine the reports of Australia, Cambodia, Eritrea, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mali, Thailand, Togo and Venezuela.

RURAL HOUSEHOLDS TEND TO WORK IN AGRICULTURE: The Food and Agricultural Organization today

reports that despite significant progress in income diversification, agriculture is still the principal activity of rural households in developing countries. However, the study also shows that rural households derive a large share of their incomes from non-farm rural activities. The agencys objective is to use country-by-country analysis and cross-country evidence on rural income-generating activities to help reduce rural hunger and poverty.

UNITED NATIONS AND BUSINESS GROUP COOPERATE ON A.I.D.S.: The UN Educational Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) today signed an

agreement with a business group employing more than 54 million people worldwide, aimed at helping prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. The agency said the agreement with the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS is designed not only to promote AIDS awareness among the groups employees and contacts, but also to use the worldwide influence both groups to integrate AIDS issues into global development efforts.

  • * The guest at todays noon briefing was the UNs Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Margareta Wahlstrom. She provided a humanitarian update on the 100th day after the earthquake in Pakistan.

    Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

    United Nations, S-378

    New York, NY 100178

    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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