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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-08-04

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 NOON BRIEFING

BY FARHAN HAQ

ASSOCIATE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

WITH

AHMAD FAWZI, DIRECTOR OF THE NEWS AND MEDIA DIVISION,

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INFORMATION

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, August 4, 2006

ANNAN AFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR U.N. OPERATIONS IN HAITI

The Secretary-General is in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, today, where he and President Leonel Fernández have been participating in a forum dealing with the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals in that country.

Later today, the Secretary-General will speak at a gathering organized by the Global Foundation on Democracy and Development, before attending a state dinner hosted by President Fernández.

Yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General met in Haiti with President René Préval, and he noted, in a joint press conference with the President, that Préval had asked him whether he would visit the country while the crisis in Lebanon persists. The Secretary-General replied, I was determined to come, because your problems are important, too.

He said that, to re-affirm his belief that peace-building is a long-term proposition, he had asked the Security Council to extend UN operations in Haiti for twelve months.

The Secretary-General also met with UN staff in Haiti, telling them, We have made significant progress in ensuring a secure and stable environment for the political transition and the electoral process. But much remains to be done.

In a separate programme, Nane Annan, accompanied by the wife of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Frédérica Alexis, visited a UN-supported project focusing on HIV/AIDS and violence against women. She first toured a telephone hotline centre for rape victims and HIV/AIDS information, and then visited a clinic providing emergency medical services for rape victims, HIV testing and treatment and psychosocial counselling.

U.N. PEACEKEEPERS COME UNDER FIRE IN LEBANON

The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) reports today that Hezbollah fired rockets from various locations, at a reduced level compared to the record of the previous day, but in large numbers nonetheless. The Israeli Defense Forces continued intensive shelling and aerial bombardment across the south.

A UNIFIL convoy from the Indian battalion came under small arms fire in the area of Markaba yesterday evening, causing damage to an armoured personnel carrier. It was not possible to establish the origin of the fire.

In response to a question about the four UN military observers who had been killed at Khiam, the Middle East spokesperson said that a Board of Inquiry would travel to the region from UN Headquarters as soon as possible.

Asked about an investigation into the recent bombing of civilians at Qana, the Middle East spokesperson said that the Security Council requested last Sunday that the Secretary-General report to it on the Qana incident in seven days. Fawzi added that the UN had not conducted an investigation of its own at this time, but that the Secretary-General would report on the facts that were currently known.

SECURITY COUNCIL CONCERNED BY DETERIORATING HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN LEBANON

The Security Council held consultations this morning on Lebanon and other matters.

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno and Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Margareta Wahlstrom briefed Council members on the latest developments on the ground.

Speaking to reporters afterward, the Council President, Ambassador Nana Effah-Apenteng of Ghana, said that Council members were concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Lebanon, with infrastructure being destroyed there. He urged States to be more generous in their response to the UN

flash appeal for the country.

Asked how the Secretary-General viewed the current impasse in the Security Council over a Lebanon resolution, Fawzi said the Secretary-General was deeply concerned that it was taking so long.

Asked if the three-person team led by the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser Vijay Nambiar had any plans to visit Syria and Iran, the Middle East spokesperson said that there were no immediate plans for such a visit.

HIGHWAY BOMBING DISRUPTS HUMANITARIAN ACTIVITIES IN LEBANON

Overnight bombing of the highway north from Beirut to the Syrian border has cut the road in three or four places and reportedly destroyed critical bridges. This could effectively sever the vital humanitarian overland link between Lebanon and the outside world.

The UN is

concerned about destruction along what has been the main supply route as it will greatly hamper our ability to deliver essential goods and emergency personnel from the north and from across the border in Syria, from our humanitarian hub in Arida.

Despite the road damage, the World Food Programme (WFP) is still working to get aid to those who need it by air. This morning, 10 tons of WFP high energy biscuits and 2 tons of other essential supplies departed for Lebanon from the UN Humanitarian Depot in Brindisi, Italy. In addition, a UN convoy did manage to proceed today without problem from Beirut to Jezzine.

Meanwhile, UNICEF, which has begun its campaign to immunize tens of thousands of displaced children, reports that, because of the overnight bombing, its efforts have been greatly disrupted. Nevertheless, it is still continuing its campaign.

Asked how many Lebanese had been displaced by the current crisis, the Middle East spokesperson said that, according to Lebanese Government figures, the number was 913,000. Of those, 700,000 were internally displaced within Lebanon.

In response to further questions, the Middle East spokesperson confirmed that the UN was looking into alternative humanitarian routes now that key roads had been bombed. He also confirmed that the UN was in touch with the Israeli Defense Forces.

DARFUR PEACE AGREEMENT OFFERS UNIQUE CHANCE TO AVOID MORE VIOLENCE

The Secretary-General, in his latest report to the Security Council on Darfur, provides details on the Darfur Peace Agreement and says it presents a unique chance to avoid more violence there.

He recommends that the UN Mission in Sudan be expanded, starting at the beginning of next year, to promote and support the efforts of the parties to implement the Darfur Peace Agreement. The Secretary-General presents three options for expanding the UN Mission, which would call for forces ranging from approximately 15,300 to approximately 18,600 troops, among other assets.

The Secretary-General says that the African Union Mission in Sudan cannot carry out its duties effectively with its current mandate and capabilities. At the same time, he says, the United Nations cannot take over full peacekeeping responsibilities until it has the consent and cooperation of the Government of Sudan.

He stresses that the agenda of the United Nations is strictly to deal with the urgent need to help the population in Darfur and prevent the crisis from spreading further. And he asserts that peace cannot take root in one part of Sudan while another part remains chronically unstable and prone to extreme violence.

TIMOR-LESTE & INDONESIA SHOULD CONTINUE TO MAKE THEIR JUDICIAL SYSTEMS STRONGER

Available today is a report by the Secretary-General on justice and reconciliation for Timor-Leste.

In it, the Secretary-General recommends that the Indonesian and Timorese Governments continue their efforts to strengthen their respective judicial systems,

particularly with respect to the prosecution of serious human rights violations committed in East Timor in 1999.

While he commends the two Governments for investing much effort in pursuing reconciliation, further efforts and cooperation will be required to bring those who committed serious crimes to justice, in keeping with international human rights standards.

And in related news, the three Commissioners of the Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste arrived today in Dili for their first visit.

UNICEF CONCERNED BY TARGETING OF SCHOOLS IN AFGHANISTAN

UNICEF reports today that schools in Afghanistan are becoming increasingly the targets of attacks, noting that reported incidents have spread to all provinces and include 11 explosions, 50 school burnings, and 37 threats against schools and communities.

Six children have died as a result of the violence.

While UNICEF and the Afghan government are taking steps to protect students, the latest string of threats, intimidations and violent attacks are worrisome.

UNICEF calls on all parties to cease targeting children, education works and schools.

ZIMBABWE MEDIATION EFFORTS CONTINUING

Asked what the Secretary-General was planning to do about the report on

Zimbabwe that was prepared last year by his envoy Anna Tibaijuka, the Spokesman said Tibaijuka had presented a frank report to the Security Council and it was now up to the Council to determine how it would follow up.

For the time being, Zimbabwe had agreed to work with former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa as a mediation envoy. The Secretary-General therefore was allowing Mkapa to do his work, in order to avoid duplication of efforts and a confusing overlap. The UN would be prepared to step in afterwards depending on the results of those efforts, the Spokesman added.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

HEAD OF LEBANON BOMB PROBE IN CYPRUS: Asked for an update on the

investigation by Serge Brammertz into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the Middle East spokesperson said that Brammertz and a small group of his staff had been evacuated to Cyprus, where they were continuing to work. Some of Brammertzs staff was still in Beirut, and it was Brammertzs desire to rejoin them there as soon as possible. In response to a further question, the Spokesman later added that Brammertzs next report was due in mid-September.

U.N. CONTINUING REGULAR CONTACTS WITH CUBA: Asked if the UN had been in contact with Cuba over the current political developments in that country, the Spokesman said that the UN did not have any specific contacts with the Cubans on that matter. He added that he wished the Cuban leader well, in terms of his health, and that the UN was continuing its regular contacts with the Cuban Government through the Cuban Mission.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

5-11 August 2006

Monday, August 7

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations on the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq. It will also receive a briefing on Lebanon from the UN Secretariat during consultations.

Tuesday, August 8

This morning the Security Council is scheduled to hold a private meeting with troop contributing countries to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, followed by consultations on Haiti.

Wednesday, August 9

Today is the International Day of the Worlds Indigenous People.

At 11:00, the Department of Public Information and MTV will hold a press conference to launch the UN-MTV global campaign on water. Among the participants will be Jay-Z, hip-hop artist and President of Def Jam, and Christina Norman, President of MTV.

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold an open debate on Peace consolidation in West Africa

Thursday, August 10

This morning the Security Council is scheduled to vote on a draft resolution on the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, followed by consultations on Timor-Leste.

Friday, August 11

This morning the Security Council is scheduled to vote on a draft resolution on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.

Today the Secretary-General will attend the Security Council luncheon.

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055


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