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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-06-05
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
BAN KI-MOON REMEMBERS VICTIMS ON
40TH ANNIVERSARY OF 1967 ARAB-ISRAELI WAR
On this day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon remembers the men, women and children who have been killed or had their lives shattered by the tragedies of conflict in the Middle East, particularly the Palestinians who continue to live under an occupation that has lasted forty years.
The United Nations remains committed to bringing assistance to those who suffer, and to working tirelessly for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region in accordance with international law and the resolutions of the Security Council.
As the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war reminds us, statehood for Palestinians, security for Israelis, and peace in the region cannot be achieved by force.
An end to the occupation and a political solution to the conflict is the only way forward for Israelis, Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese and the wider region. This will only be achieved through negotiations to bring about an end to the occupation, on the basis of the principle of land for peace, as envisaged in Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), and 338 (1973).
The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, also has a
statement to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1967 war, saying that, in the long-standing search for a solution, human rights have for too long taken a back seat. It need not and must not be so, she says.
BAN KI-MOON SENDS SENIOR OFFICIAL TO HORN OF AFRICA
FOR CONSULTATIONS ON SOMALIA
The Secretary-General is dispatching his Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, to the Horn of Africa later this week for consultations in and around the region focused largely on peace and stabilization in Somalia.
Pascoe is planning to visit several countries on the trip, beginning with Kenya. The final itinerary is still being determined.
En route to the region, he will on Wednesday take part in a meeting in London of the International Contact Group (ICG) for Somalia, to be attended by leaders of Somalias Transitional Federal Government, senior officials from ICG member states, and the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Somalia, Francois Lonseny-Fall.
Pascoe is scheduled to brief the Security Council upon his return.
WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY FOCUSES ON CLIMATE CHANGE
IN POLAR REGIONS
Today is World Environment Day.
In a message to mark the occasion, the Secretary-General expresses concern about greenhouse gas emissions and the dramatic climate changes theyre causing in the polar regions. But he also notes that the entire planet is threatened by rising sea levels, shrinking water supplies, and desertification and food insecurity from changing weather patterns.
The head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Achim Steiner,
stressed that climate change is aggravating tensions over increasingly scarce natural resources. Today, the heads of more than 20 leading financial service companies all members of UNEPs Finance Initiative
called on the G8 to back deep emission reduction targets when they meet in Germany this week.
Meanwhile, several events are taking place here at Headquarters to mark World Environment Day. This afternoon, a thousand pairs of painted shoes are being displayed outside on the Plaza. Theyve been painted by students around the country to symbolize young peoples commitment to reducing their carbon footprint.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO MEET WITH SPANISH LEADERS
The Secretary-General is in Madrid today, where he spoke to the staff of the World Tourism Organization (WTO). He told them about the importance of tourism as a means of bringing peoples together, and, noting that today is World Environment Day, he also drew attention to efforts to create a greener United Nations.
The Secretary-General and Mrs. Ban are to meet in a private dinner this evening with the King and Queen of Spain.
LEBANON: U.N. AGENCIES BUSING STUDENTS AND TEACHERS
TO SCHOOL FROM REFUGEE CAMP
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and UNICEF are supporting a programme in Lebanon in which eight school buses have been transporting about 1,000 Palestinian youths and teachers from the refugee camp in Beddawi to UNRWA schools in the Tripoli area, to help provide normalcy following the fighting in some Palestinian camps in northern Lebanon.
UNICEF and UNRWA are also closely monitoring the emergency in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian camp near Sidon, in southern Lebanon, where thousands of civilians are estimated to have fled recent fighting.
called for $12.7 million to address the urgent needs of thousands of Palestinians displaced by the fighting around Nahr El Bared in the north, near the Beddawi camp. The money will be used for food assistance, non-food items and shelter over the coming 90 days.
IRAQI REFUGEE SITUATION IS WORSENING
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is calling for increased international support, as the situation in Iraq continues to worsen.
UNHCR reports that more than two million Iraqis are now believed to be displaced inside Iraq and another 2.2 million are sheltering in neighboring states.
The refugee agency is rapidly expanding its operations and presence in the region but the magnitude of the crisis is staggering, and access to social services for Iraqis remain limited.
Asked if the monies left over from the UN-run Oil-for-food programme for Iraq might be better spent helping Iraqi refugees, the Spokeswoman said that UNHCR, whose mandate it is to protect refugees, is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions. She added that the agency recently held a major conference in Geneva, drawing the world's attention to the plight of Iraqi refugees and asking for international support.
TWO NEW REPORTS ON IRAQ RELEASED
In a report out on the racks today, the Secretary-General calls on the Government of Iraq to ensure that those responsible for the killings of Kuwaiti and third-country nationals by the previous Iraqi regime be brought to justice. He says he is greatly concerned about the lack of progress with regard to finding and returning the Kuwaiti archives, and asks all parties with knowledge of the archives to come forward and share information.
Also on the racks today is the latest quarterly report on the activities of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) dealing with Iraq.
TIMOR-LESTE: U.N. POLICE CONTINUE INVESTIGATION
INTO ALLEGED MURDERS
In Timor-Leste, the security situation in the country has been stable, although the district of Viqueque remains tense following the shootings on Sunday.
The UN Mission there says that U.N. police conducted 43 patrols and attended a total of five incidents today in Dili. There were no injuries or damage to property.
U.N. police are continuing their investigation into the alleged murders that took place in Viqueque last Sunday. Officers from the Major Crime Investigation Unit are working with forensics experts and other officers from the National Investigation Unit who arrived on the scene today.
ONE THIRD OF ZIMBABWEANS TO FACE FOOD SHORTAGES BY EARLY 2008
Roughly a third of Zimbabwes 12 million people will face serious food shortages between now and early next year due to a poor harvest and a worsening economic crisis. Thats according to a new joint report by the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Drought conditions across southern Africa are also likely to cause food shortages in Swaziland, Lesotho and elsewhere, the report says.
U.N. POLICY ON SHORT LISTS FOR SENIOR APPOINTMENTS UNCHANGED
In response to a question yesterday, the Spokesperson announced that the practice of announcing short lists for senior appointments remains the same. In the case of senior appointments which involve intergovernmental bodies in the appointment process such as UNHCR, UNDP and UNEP, short-lists are made public.
However in terms of appointments made directly by the Secretary-General, and in conformity with established practice, short lists are not announced.
BAN KI-MOON CLOSELY MONITORING SITUATION IN NORTHERN IRAQ: Asked for a Secretary-General reaction about the killing by Kurdish rebels of Turkish soldiers and subsequent threats by the Turkish Prime Minister of a military invasion of northern Iraq, Okabe said that Ban Ki-moon is closely monitoring the situation in Iraq and the region as a whole and that Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Lynn Pascoe, was expected to discussed the matter with Turkish authorities.
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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