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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-08-29
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: firstname.lastname@example.orgARCHIVES
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
ANNAN WELCOMES TRUCE IN NORTHERN UGANDA CONFLICT
Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomes the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Uganda and the Lords Resistance Army, under the auspices of the Government of Southern Sudan.
The Agreement is a step in the right direction and could pave the way for a comprehensive settlement after decades of violence.
The Secretary-General encourages the two parties to continue the discussions aimed at finding a lasting and expeditious political settlement to the conflict. It is hoped that with the cessation of hostilities, concerted efforts can now be deployed to help improve the deplorable condition of the nearly two million internally displaced people in Northern Uganda.
The Secretary-General commends the Government of Southern Sudan for facilitating this agreement and calls on both parties to fully implement its provisions.
The United Nations stands ready to assist in the resolution of the conflict in Northern Uganda, and will continue doing its utmost to mobilize resources so that people suffering from the violence can receive much-needed assistance.
ANNAN BEGINS ISRAEL LEG OF MIDDLE EAST MISSION
The Secretary-General began the day today with a meeting with the UN country team in Beirut during which he briefed them on the purpose of his visit and expressed his appreciation for their steadfastness over the past five weeks.
He then flew to Naquora in southern Lebanon, where he visited United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon headquarters, heard a briefing on the situation on the ground by Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Alain Pellegrini and took part in a wreath laying ceremony in honor of the UNIFIL peacekeepers killed to date in the line of duty.
Accompanied by Pellegrini and Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guehenno, the Secretary-General then took a helicopter tour of the Blue Line and several UNIFIL positions on the Blue Line. He flew over Khiam and saw the site of the flattened bunker where the UNFIL military observers were killed last month.
Before leaving Naquora, he spoke to reporters.
The Secretary-General is currently in Jerusalem, where he is scheduled to meet with the families of the three Israeli soldiers abducted last month.
After that, he was to meet with the Israeli Defense Minister.
Asked if the Secretary-General, in light of comments made by him yesterday, sees any similarities in the manner in which he is dealing with Israeli authorities and the manner in which he dealt with the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Spokesman said the Secretary-Generals point is that a gun-free zone is needed in southern Lebanon as is the aim of
resolution 1701. And thats what he was saying, Dujarric said. Theres no comparison between the rule of the Taliban, the Government of Lebanon or the Government of Israel. What he was just expressing is the need for the creation of a zone in southern Lebanon where you have one gun, one authority and that is the authority of the Lebanese government.
Asked why the Secretary-General is visiting Iran in light of comments reportedly made by Irans President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Secretary-Generals upcoming visit will not sway Iran from its plans to continue with its nuclear programme the Spokesman said the aim of the Secretary-Generals visit to the region is to see the full implementation of resolution in 1701. In Iran, if other issues come up in the discussions, they will, but the aim of the visit is resolution 1701, Dujarric said.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals views on Irans relationship with Hezbollah, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General has repeatedly called for any country which has an influence in Lebanon to exercise that influence positively.
Asked if the Secretary-General has confidence in the ability of the Lebanese Armed Forces to halt the transfer of weapons from Syria, the Spokesman said that task is the responsibility of the Lebanese forces and the United Nations will do whatever it can to assist should it be asked.
Asked if the Secretary-General believes that it would be helpful if the Lebanese authorities asked for international help to bolster security along its borders, the Spokesman said the point of resolution 1701 is to bolster the authority of the Lebanese government. It is up to them to decide on how to proceed and we will assist them, Dujarric said.
Asked about the Israeli naval blockade of Lebanon and the United Nations activities in relation to the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah and a third Israeli soldier in Gaza, the Spokesman said these issues are part of the discussions the Secretary-General is having in the region.
Asked if the Secretary-General would also be raising the issue of Israels detention of Palestinian law-makers in his meetings with Israeli authorities, the Spokesman said the issue was expected to be raised in his discussions.
Asked if the Secretary-General would have talks relating to revival of the Middle East peace process, the Spokesman said the aim of the Secretary-Generals trip is the implementation of resolution 1701 and it is hoped that this would help lead to a renewed effort in the Middle East peace process. The Spokesman added that the issuer would be discussed during the Secretary-Generals meetings in the region.
Asked if the Secretary-General had met with any associates of Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General had met with the Lebanese energy minister, who is also a Hezbollah representative in the Lebanese government.
SECURITY COUNCIL EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR ANNAN EFFORTS ON CYPRUS
The Security Council met this morning on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and adopted a resolution, extending the service of a judge.
It then moved into consultations, to take up Cyprus and other matters. On Cyprus, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari briefed the Council on his July visit to Cyprus and the wider region, as well as developments on the Island since.
He emphasized the importance of full implementation of the so-called 8 July Agreement, signed in his presence by Messrs. Papadopoulos and Talat. He invited the Council to reinforce that message.
Following consultations, the Ghanaian ambassador, who is the Security Council President, read out a press statement, expressing the Councils support for the Secretary-Generals continued efforts aimed at reaching a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem. The Council also welcomed the 8 July agreement and called for its full implementation without further delay.
D.R. CONGO LAUNCHES INQUIRY INTO RECENT VIOLENCE
The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) says that it and the Secretary-Generals Special Representative there, William Swing, are still trying to get President Joseph Kabila and Vice-President Jean Pierre Bemba to meet.
MONUC says that both parties have agreed on setting up two sub-commissions: one will be in charge of an inquiry into the events in
Kinshasa last week; and the second sub-commission will work on "new rules designed to prevent a repeat of violence during the upcoming campaign for the presidential run-off vote, and also during the post-electoral period.
On the electoral side of things, MONUC says the Independent Electoral Commission continues the publication of partial results for the parliamentary elections.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals views on Swings efforts to bring stability to the Democratic Republic of the Congo following the recent violence in Kinshasa, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General supports the work Swing is doing and the success he has achieved, along with the European Union and other members of the international community, in defusing what could have been an extremely dangerous situation in the aftermath of the publication of the election results.
We did have three days of fighting, but I think the preparations from the UN side and the European Union, proved that everything that was in place actually worked and the forces were able to deploy and prevent further violence, Dujarric said.
Asked if, ahead of the run-off vote, any changes would be made in relation to the transparency of the electoral process and the professionalism of those involved, the Spokesman said that whatever could be refined in the process would be refined, but the elections constitutional and legal framework of the election will not change.
UNITED NATIONS URGES SOMALI PARTIES TO RESUME DIALOGUE
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Francois Lonseny Fall, met earlier today in Stockholm with members of the International Contact Group on Somalia and urged them to consider additional and improved support to the Transitional Federal Institutions.
Fall noted that the situation in Somalia was volatile and appealed to both the transitional federal government and the Supreme Council of Islamic Courts to demonstrate the political will to resume dialogue without preconditions in order to achieve peace.
FORMER IRANIAN PRESIDENT TO ATTEND UNITED NATIONS MEETING
Asked if the United Nations has recommended that the U.S. State Department grant a visa to His Excellency Hojjatoleslam Seyyed Mohammad Khatami so that he can attend an upcoming meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations, the Spokesman said the United Nations is following the regular visa process, and it hopes that he will be granted a visa so that he can carry out his business at the United Nations.
Asked if Khatami was coming as an official of the Iranian government, the Spokesman said Khatami was coming in his capacity as a member of the Alliance of Civilizations.
He added that the meeting would be a technical one, ahead of the finalization of the groups report.
This is the last working meeting before theyre scheduled to hand in a report and make recommendations to the Secretary-General based on their terms of reference which were announced over a year ago, Dujarric said.
In response to a question, the Spokesman said recent world events show that the Alliance provides an important avenue to pursue peace.
MUCH-NEEDED RELIEF SUPPLIES REACH NEPALESE TOWNS
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has sent an assessment mission to western Nepal, following heavy monsoon-related floods there.
For its part, United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has pre-positioned relief supplies, including tarpaulins, blankets and oral rehydration salts, in hard-hit districts. UNICEF has also sent two trucks with water purification materials, household utensils and other relief supplies to the western town of Nepalgunj.
U.N. PROBE OF ALLEGED HOUSING SUBSIDIES CONTINUES: Asked about reports that some Member States provide housing subsidies to some UN officials, the Spokesman said the United Nations the rules pertaining to supplementary housing subsidies and deductions are regulated by administrative instructions issued by the Secretary-General, and these say that any supplemental housing subsidies received by a staff member is to be declared to in the relevant financial disclosure form and any such additional subsidies will be subject to payroll deduction. The Spokesman said the UN Secretariat is currently checking data to determine those staff members who receive such supplementary assistance, and that the Secretariat is also in the process of replying to a letter sent by U.S. Ambassador John Bolton on this issue.
ANNAN COMMITTED TO RESOLVING DARFUR CRISIS: Asked about the Secretary-Generals comments on Darfur, the Spokesman noted that the issue has not been forgotten and it is still very important to the Secretary-General as evidenced by a recent letter to the Security Council in which he described the extremely bleak situation and called on members to help convince the Sudanese government of the need for a transition to a UN peacekeeping force in Darfur. He also noted the recent comments by the Deputy Secretary-General regarding Darfur.
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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