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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-08-30
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
ANNAN MEETS WITH ISRAELI AND PALESTINIAN LEADERS
Secretary-General Kofi Annan began today with a working breakfast with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem during which discussions focused on the full implementation of Security Council
In a joint press encounter after that breakfast, the Secretary-General appealed to the Israelis to urgently lift the blockade on Lebanon, which would not only help resolve the economic crisis but also strengthen Lebanons democratic government with which Israel has repeatedly said it has no problems. He once again called for the immediate and unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers.
While in Jerusalem, he also met with Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres with whom he discussed implementation of resolution 1701 and the situation in the Palestinian territory.
The Secretary-General concluded his visit to Israel with a meeting with Foreign Minister Tzipori Livni. At a press conference afterwards, the Secretary-General highlighted the importance of creating a weapons-free zone in southern Lebanon. He added that the full implementation of 1701 provides a foundation and a basis to move forward and settle the differences between Israel and Lebanon once and for all.
The Secretary-General then travelled to Ramallah, where he had a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority. Those talks focused on the financial situation, and how to unblock the financial crisis to ease the social turmoil in the territories. A joint press encounter followed that meeting, in which the Secretary-General said that the suffering of the Palestinian people must not be forgotten as the world was striving to bring peace to Lebanon.
The Secretary-General arrived in Amman, Jordan, where he is scheduled to hold meetings with Foreign Minister Abdul Ilah Khativ and King Abdullah tomorrow.
Asked about the Palestinian law-makers and government officials being detained by Israel, the Spokesman noted that after his meeting with Abbas today, the Secretary-General called for the release of the parliamentarians and other officials recently arrested, and he also called for progress on the wider issue of detained Palestinians.
Asked about recent violence in the occupied Palestinian Territory during which six Palestinians were reportedly killed by Israeli forces, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General has always deplored such violence and he has brought the issue up with his interlocutors on both sides.
The violence is continuing in the Palestinian territory and one of the aims of the Secretary-Generals visit is to bring about a renewed effort in the peace process, Dujarric said.
Asked if the Secretary-General had met the Palestinian Prime Minister, the Spokesman noted that the Secretary-Generals interlocutor is Abbas.
LEBANON: ISRAELI WITHDRAWALS CONTINUE
The UN Interim Force for Lebanon (UNIFIL) reports that the Israeli Defense Forces have withdrawn from the general area of Bastra as well as from areas along the Blue Line in the southeastern part of Lebanon.
The UN Force says it will establish checkpoints and intensify its patrolling of these newly vacated areas to confirm the Israeli withdrawal before handing them over to the Lebanese Armed Forces.
humanitarian front, three World Food Programme (WFP) trucks left Beirut today carrying canned meat, vegetables and wheat flour.
Five UNICEF trucks were also dispatched from Beirut, carrying bottled drinking water to those who need it.
Meanwhile, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has been sending convoys to villages around Nabatiyeh and Tyre, with blankets, mattresses, and cooking kits.
U.N. FUND AWARDS GRANTS TO DEMOCRACY-PROMOTING PROJECTS
The UN Democracy Fund today announced its first beneficiaries, awarding grants totalling $36 million to 125 projects selected from around the world. The grants were selected from over 1300 proposals and range from projects aimed at promoting civic education to voter registration, democratic dialogue and access to information. Over 60% of recommended recipients are civil society organizations.
The Secretary-General warmly welcomes the announcement and believes that the initial response from applicants is powerful evidence of the strong demand for support from the UN for this very important agenda. He calls on all Member States to support the Democracy Fund and use it as an innovative and flexible mechanism for advancing the UN democracy agenda.
The projects that were selected favor the participation of marginalized segments of society and vulnerable groups in political processes; ensure that gender issues are explicitly addressed; and promote the participation of women.
A large number of the projects are based on partnerships between civil society groups and the UN or government agencies.
To see a list of the 125 projects that were chosen, please visit: www.un.org/democracyfund.
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES NEW RESOLUTION ON DARFUR, SUDAN
The Security Council held closed consultations on
Sudan during which they discussed a draft resolution on Darfur.
The Council President told reporters that the resolution was expected to be voted on tomorrow.
SECURITY COUNCIL TO RECEIVE REPORT ON IRAN TOMORROW
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), there will be a report on Iran tomorrow, which will be transmitted by IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei to the IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna, and in parallel, to the President of the Security Council.
The Spokesman later announced that the transmission was expected late morning/early afternoon New York time Thursday.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ADDRESS LEBANON
DONOR CONFERENCE IN SWEDEN
Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown is in Oslo today where he will be attending a meeting of the UN High-Level Panel on System-Wide Coherence.
Tomorrow, he will go to Stockholm where he will address the International Donor Conference on Lebanon.
He is expected to say that, while the Lebanese people and Government will surely rebuild again, they must not be left to do so alone; and that if the international community fails in supporting Lebanon now, it will fail not just the people of Lebanese, but also their national aspiration for a stable, strong and democratic Government that reaches, and supports, all its people throughout the country.
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland will also be in Stockholm for the Donor Conference.
TIMOR-LESTE: U.N. POLICE ASSIST IN SEARCH FOR ESCAPED PRISONERS
UN Police and international security forces in Timor-Leste have mounted a search for an estimated 57 prisoners who escaped from Becora Prison, just east of the capital Dili. The group includes Major Alfredo Reinado, the leader of an armed group that demanded the resignation of the Prime Minister during the recent unrest there.
UN Police are asking for the population to contact them or the international security forces should they have any information about the escaped prisoners.
The exact details of how they managed to escape are not yet known.
U.N. AGENCIES LAUNCH HUMANITARIAN PLAN TO HELP SRI LANKA
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is concerned by serious humanitarian consequences that have arisen from the spiralling conflict in northern and eastern Sri Lanka.
In response to the growing crisis, a collection of UN agencies and NGOs working in Sri Lanka today
launched a Common Humanitarian Action
Plan, which requires $37.5 million for urgent relief from September to December 2006.
D.R. CONGO: SOME 5,000 MILITIAMEN ARE DISARMED
The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) reports that some 5000 Congolese militiamen have been disarmed and demobilized since the beginning of June in the course of a UN-sponsored national disarmament initiative.
The Mission says UN peacekeepers are continuing operations to restore security throughout the country. And that, together with European Union troops and the Congolese police force, UN peacekeepers are continuing to patrol Kinshasa, where calm has now been fully restored after the recent post-elections violence.
The Mission says that the Independent Electoral Commission, meanwhile, has announced partial results for 186 seats out of the 500 that were open during the election. And complete results for all the 194 electoral districts and the capital will be made public early next week.
ANNAN SADDENED BY DEATH OF NOBEL LAUREATE: Asked about the Secretary-Generals reaction to the death of Naguib Mahfouz, the Egyptian winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General is saddened by Mahfouzs passing. It is a great loss for the Arab world and for the world of literature as a whole. He was a man whos brought so much and done so much for Arab culture, Dujarric said.
NEW BIRD FLU HANDBOOK PUBLISHED: The Food and Agriculture Organization published a handbook today, primarily for small-scale poultry farmers in Latin America and the Caribbean, to help prevent a possible outbreak of bird flu in the region. The illustrated publication stresses the measures needed to ensure on-farm bio-security and prevent contact between domestic poultry and potentially infected wild birds.
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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