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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-01-19

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

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING

BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, January 19, 2006

UNITED NATIONS CONDEMNS VIOLENCE IN COTE D'IVOIRE

[The Security Council, in a presidential statement issued after holding consultations, strongly condemned today the recent violent attacks against the UN Operation in Côte dIvoire (UNOCI) and international non-governmental organization facilities by street militias and other groups associated with the Young Patriots and expressed its deep concern at the violent and orchestrated street protests led by them.]

[Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who attended the consultations on Cote D'Ivoire, spoke to reporters afterwards and appealed to all Ivorian parties to implement the road map to bring an end to the crisis.]

The Secretary-General remains very concerned about the situation in Cote dIvoire, and he remains closely informed and briefed on the situation. He spoke earlier today to President Laurent Gbagbo who assured him that he would do his utmost to ensure the return of calm to the capital.

The UN Operation in Cote dIvoire (UNOCI) reports that the situation remains tense.

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative there, Pierre Schori, met today with leaders of UN humanitarian agencies to look into the impact of the situation on their work and security.

He is also examining ways to attempt to implement the communiqué published last night, in which the chairman of the African Union, President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny called for an end to the demonstrations and urged Ivorians to return to work.

Also, Jean-Marie Guéhenno Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations briefed the Security Council today on Cote dIvoire. It was a previously scheduled meeting in which he was to discuss the Secretary Generals latest report on the Mission.

Asked what the Secretary-General was doing to further a political resolution in Cote dIvoire, the Spokesman said that he was in touch with Nigerian President Obasanjo to be briefed on Obasanjos talks with President Gbagbo, and with the UN Mission on the ground.

The Secretary-General, he said, was trying to address the political issues arising from the parties refusal to implement the agreements that they have signed. He noted that the Secretary-General believes it is time for Cote dIvoires leaders to act like leaders and to take their peoples interests to heart.

Dujarric also said that the Security Council was currently debating the Secretary-Generals recommendations, and that Jean-Marie Guéhenno would talk to the press following those consultations.

COTE DIVOIRE: U.N. OFFICIAL CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON HUMANITARIAN OFFICES

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Cote dIvoire, Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, issued a statement today, vigorously condemning and expressing grave concern over the series of attacks on the offices of several humanitarian agencies and organizations working in the country. Regretting the loss of life and injuries sustained by civilians during yesterday's incidents, he also calls for an immediate end to the incitements for protesters to target humanitarian personnel.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), international staff from OCHA and other UN agencies were evacuated yesterday from the towns of Guiglo and Duekoue. The regular humanitarian activities of national staff have also been curtailed by the past four days' protests.

This is coming at a time when the United Nations is feeding and providing other humanitarian assistance to nearly 1 million food-insecure people throughout Cote d'Ivoire.

ANNAN DISMAYED BY GOVERNMENT ARRESTS IN NEPAL

The Secretary-General is

dismayed by the latest developments in Nepal where, on the eve of a major demonstration planned for tomorrow in Kathmandu, the Government has arrested a large number of political party leaders and other critics.

The Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal, Ian Martin, has raised the matter with the Government. Officers from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal have visited 97 of the more than 120 persons reported to be in detention.

The Secretary-General had repeatedly called for urgent dialogue in order to avoid confrontation, and for a bilateral ceasefire between the Government and the Communist Party of Nepal Maoist. This appeal was not heeded and the four-month unilateral ceasefire declared by the Maoists came to an end.

The Secretary-General once again appeals to all sides for calm, the suspension of fighting and the urgent initiation of an inclusive national dialogue.

SECRETARY-GENERAL SADDENED BY SUICIDE BOMBING IN ISRAEL

The Secretary-General is deeply

saddened by the news of todays suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, in which a number of innocent civilians were wounded. No cause can justify deliberate acts designed to kill or maim civilians. The Secretary-General sends his deepest condolences to those who have been injured, and to the Government and people of Israel.

He calls upon Palestinians and Israelis to do their utmost to maintain calm at this difficult moment. Those who ordered and carried out this attack must not be allowed to undermine democratic processes, or to derail efforts to promote peace between the parties.

U.N. MISSION IN HAITI GETS NEW FORCE COMMANDER

The Secretary-General has informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Lt. General José Elito Siqueira Carvalho from Brazil as the new Force Commander of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

Since 2004, General Siqueira has served as Commander of the 6th Military Region in Brazil, where he has been in charge of coordinating and preparing all military units in the area.

U.N. ENVOY IN IRAQ WELCOMES ELECTIONS ASSESSMENT REPORT

The Special Representative for the Secretary-General for Iraq, Ashraf Qazi, welcomed todays report from the International Mission for Iraqi Elections (IMIE) Assessment Team, and called on all parties to take note of the recommendations provided in the assessment report for future elections.

The IMIE report was a response to the concerns expressed by a number of parties in regard to the 15 December election. With the conclusion of this report, Qazi encouraged all to look to the future establishment of a government that would be both inclusive and representative.

ANNAN WELCOMES REPORT ON PEACEKEEPING CHALLENGES

The Secretary-General accepted on behalf of the United Nations the Concluding Report of Phase II of the Challenges Project, a major study on peace operations.

The report, entitled Meeting the Challenges of Peace Operations: Cooperation and Coordination is the result of an eight-year study compiled by 14 countries and partner organizations.

Speaking at the reports launch, at UN Headquarters, the Secretary-General said the report comes at an opportune time given the tremendous growth in the organizations

peace operations.

He said the report will help guide the UNs efforts in this area, and he noted how its recommendations for more cooperative and coordinated action by Member States complement the UNs own internal initiatives to strengthen system coherence.

MORE PROGRESS MADE IN TIMOR-LESTES PATH TO DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE

The Secretary-General, in a

report on the work of the UN Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL), says that over the past six months, Timor-Leste and its partners have made further progress towards establishing effective democratic governance in the country.

Notwithstanding some border incidents, the situation in Timor-Leste remains generally calm and stable, and relations with neighboring countries continued to improve, he added.

The report notes the major challenge the country faces in dealing with presidential and parliamentary elections in 2007. The Secretary-General says he would welcome the Security Councils suggestions on how to best face that challenge.

AUDIT REPORT ON U.N. PROCUREMENT TO BE HANDED OVER ON FRIDAY

Asked about the release of an audit report on UN procurement, the Spokesman said he expected it to be handed over on Friday.

He corrected a reporter who asked about the implications of the European Commission investigating UN procurement; instead, Dujarric said, the person heading the Office of Internal Oversight Services investigation was an expert seconded by the European Commission. However, he said, the OIOS is in charge of the investigation.

He also corrected the reporters statement that eight UN staff had been suspended, noting instead that they had been placed on special leave, with full pay.

MORE COMMUNICATION NEEDED ON ISSUE OF BOSNIAN POLICE DECERTIFICATION

Asked about the UN response to a demonstration being carried out by Bosnian police officers, who contend that they had been unfairly decertified and were seeking UN help in receiving new certifications, the Spokesman noted that Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean Marie Guéhenno had met with Bosnian leaders last year.

On the issue of certification, they agreed on the need for intensifying communication with UN Security Council Member States, and coordinating activities with the European Union on continuing the reform of police structures in Bosnia and Herzegovina in accordance with standards defined by the EU.

That call for intensified communications, he noted, would require the Security Council to get involved.

The Spokesman added, in response to a question, that he was not aware of direct negotiations between Bosnia and the UN Secretariat regarding the recent action by the decertified officers.

REFUGEE AGENCY WELCOMES RELEASE OF MORE SUDANESE IN EGYPT

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a total of 233 people, including 176 Sudanese women and children and 57 Darfurians have been

released from three prisons in Cairo. The Sudanese were released Wednesday night and were part of a group of more than 2,000 people who were removed from a Cairo square near UNHCR's office on 30 December following a three-month demonstration.

"We are extremely relieved that this group has been released and an additional group of 39 -- women children and UNHCR card holders -- will also be released today," said Radhouane Nouicer, UNHCR's Geneva-based deputy director for the region, on mission in Cairo. "We are grateful to the Egyptian authorities for this humane gesture."

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. ENVOY CALLS FOR AID FOR DROUGHT-STRICKEN SOMALIA: The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Somalia, Francois Lonseny Fall, today appealed to international donors to respond quickly and generously to the humanitarian drought crisis now engulfing Somali communities. UN agencies have

warned that 1.7 million people are in need of urgent assistance. The current emergency is complicated by some 14 years of fighting between warlords and chronic insecurity in much of the country.

ERITREAN HELICOPTER BAN STILL RESTRICTING U.N. PEACEKEEPERS: The UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE)

says that, because the helicopter ban is still in force, demining activities are still suspended in Eritrea. Restrictions on UN peacekeepers in the Temporary Security Zone continue and their monitoring capability remains diminished by 60%, according to the Mission. The situation in the Zone is described as `tense'.

ASIA CHALLENGING THE WEST IN RESEARCH: Emerging Asian economies, led by China, are challenging the leadership of North America, Europe and Japan in research and development (R&D), according to a new report published by the UN Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO). The Science Report 2005

says that growth in R&D in Asia is remarkable. The agency said China nearly doubled its R&D budgets between 1997 and 2002. The full report is available by request to UNESCO.

SECURITY COUNCIL HAS ADDRESSED LEBANESE MILITIA ARMS SUPPLY: Asked about concerns that militia groups in Lebanon continue to receive supplies from outside the country, the Spokesman noted that the matter had been addressed by the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy dealing with the implementation of Security Council

Resolution 1559.

UNITED NATIONS HASNT RECEIVED LETTER FROM SYRIAN GOVERNMENT: Asked about a formal letter from the Syrian Government complaining about remarks by outgoing investigation head Detlev Mehlis, the Spokesman said that the United Nations has not yet received the letter.

TURNSTILES AT U.N. HEADQUARTERS TO BE ACTIVATED IN MARCH: Asked about the turnstiles being put up at UN Headquarters, the Spokesman said the system is expected to be in place by the end of March. It would require the replacement of all the ID cards possessed by those who use the building.

SECRETARY-GENERALS JOB REQUIREMENTS FOUND IN U.N. CHARTER: Asked about a job description for the next Secretary-General, the Spokesman said that the requirements for the job are partially detailed in the

UN Charter. The Secretary-General, in his last press conference, has also detailed the traits that he thought were necessary. The ultimate decision on the next Secretary-General, Dujarric said, is in the hands of the 191 Member States.

SPOKESMAN UNAWARE OF ALLEGATIONS AGAINST NEW UNDP OFFICIAL: In response to a question about the unpopularity in the Netherlands of, and allegations of mismanagement during his career in the Netherlands against, Ad Melkert, the new Associate Administrator of the UN Development Programme, the Spokesman said that he was not aware of any complaints made against Melkert.

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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