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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-06-06

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 MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N.

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

BAN KI-MOON SAYS TIME FOR ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE IS NOW

In Madrid today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and the two discussed, among other topics, UN reform, climate change, the Alliance of Civilizations, Western Sahara, Afghanistan, Lebanon and the Middle East.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference afterward, the Secretary-General said that, on climate change, the United Nations is uniquely placed to forge a common approach. He noted the upcoming G8 Summit in Germany, adding the time for action is now.

He added that he is very concerned about the announcement of the breaking of the ceasefire by the Basque group ETA. The Secretary-General urged ETA to redouble efforts to maintain the ceasefire.

Asked about the upcoming talks on Western Sahara, the Secretary-General said that he sincerely hopes that the forthcoming meeting in New York under the auspices of the United Nations will be a good starting point so that the parties concerned will be able to find lasting solutions on this issue. He noted that the Security Council has urged the parties concerned to enter negotiations without any preconditions.

AFRICA OFF TRACK TO MEETING POVERTY REDUCTION GOALS

This morning, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro introduced the UNs latest progress report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in sub-Saharan Africa.

The report says that, despite faster growth and strengthened institutions, the continent remains off-track to meeting the poverty-reduction goals. It shows also that although there has been growth in African economies, child mortality rates have fallen only marginally and maternal mortality rates remain shockingly high.

The Deputy Secretary-General expressed the hope that the report would stir the international community to move away from debating principles towards scaling up the pursuit of the MDGs while ensuring full accountability and transparency.

She said that the upcoming G-8 Summit provides an important opportunity for donor countries to lay out concrete timetables for how they will increase development assistance to each African country through to 2010 and 2015, which is the target date for achieving the MDGs.

UNAIDS URGES G-8 LEADERS TO HONOR AIDS COMMITMENT

UNAIDS is urging G8 leaders to show bold and decisive leadership by translating their previous commitments on HIV/AIDS into tangible action.

UNAIDS remains concerned that commitments for reaching universal access will not be met at the current rate of progress.

According to the latest data, there has been an increase in funding, but resources available for AIDS still fall short of estimated needs by $6 billion.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TRANSMITS UPDATED PROPOSAL

ON AFRICAN UNION-UNITED NATIONS FORCE FOR DARFUR

The Secretary-General has transmitted to the Security Council his revised report on the hybrid UN/African Union Mission in

Darfur.

In his letter to the Council President, the Secretary-General notes that during the discussion of the African Union-UN report on the Hybrid Operation in Darfur, he indicated that the African Union had requested some additional clarifications and revisions to the text.

Based on further consultations with the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Mr. Alpha Oumar Konaré, those adjustments have now been reflected in the text.

Mr. Konaré is taking appropriate steps to submit the report to the members of the AU Peace and Security Council, she added.

MORE THAN 100,000 SOUTHERN SUDANESE RETURN HOME

Over 100,000 displaced Sudanese from the southern part of the country have been assisted home by the United Nations, which represents a significant contribution to implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

In a joint press

release, the UN Mission in Sudan, together with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration, say that since January 2006, over 55,000 refugees and almost 50,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been provided transport to their place of origin -- a remarkable achievement, given that just two years ago it was not even possible to fly, let alone drive, between most towns in Southern Sudan.

Sudan offers one of the most challenging operational environments in the world, with most of Southern Sudan inaccessible during the rainy season from June to December, due to a lack of all-weather roads. To overcome these limitations, IOM has used air, river, rail and road corridors in ensuring a safe, dignified, and cost-effective return operation.

Much remains to be done in a region where the supply of basic services, such as water, health care, education, are far outstripped by demand.

SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS FOR JUSTICE FOR MISSING

KUWAITI AND THIRD-COUNTRY PERSONS IN IRAQ

The Security Council held consultations today on the Secretary-Generals recent report on missing Kuwaiti and third-country persons and property in Iraq. They received a briefing by Ambassador Yuliy Vorontsov, the High Level Coordinator dealing with that issue.

Afterward, the Council President, Ambassador Johan Verbeke of Belgium, read out a statement to the press, in which Council members agreed with the Secretary-General that those responsible for the execution of Kuwaiti and third-country nationals under the previous Iraqi regime should be brought to justice. Council members also noted with regret that there had been no further developments regarding the location of the missing Kuwaiti national archive.

UNITED NATIONS TAKES PART IN MEETING OF

INT'L CONTACT GROUP FOR SOMALIA

B. Lynn Pascoe, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, today attended and addressed a meeting of the International Contact Group for Somalia, which took place in London. That group is supporting peace and reconciliation efforts in Somalia.

Mr. Pascoe will then travel to the Horn of Africa region, starting with a visit to Nairobi on Thursday.

SEARCH UNDERWAY FOR POLICEMAN ACCUSED OF FATAL SHOOTING

In Timor-Leste, United Nations and Timorese police are continuing their search for a local police officer accused of fatally shooting a man in the Viqueque district on Sunday.

The UNs Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) says the search,led by UN police, is being conducted by foot and air, as it is believed that the man escaped into the mountains.

Investigations into a second incident are also continuing. In that incident, two people were shot, resulting in one death, during a disturbance at a road block.

The deputy head of UNMIT, Eric Tan, stressed that Sundays incidents involve only a few National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) officers and the majority of Timorese police officers across the country are working well.

YEMEN FACES WORST LOCUST INFESTATIONS IN 15 YEARS

The World Food Programme started distributing food assistance today to people who have been displaced by heavy fighting around Saada, in north-western Yemen. According to a UN assessment, fighting has displaced an estimated 20,000 people but the figure could be much higher.

Also in Yemen, the Food and Agriculture Organization warns that the country is facing its worst Desert Locust outbreak since 1993. It calls for an aerial control campaign before mid-July to avoid massive locust infestations and serious damage to food crops.

CORRUPTION THREATENS EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS, SAYS UNESCO

Corrupt Schools, Corrupt Universities: What can be done?--- Thats the name of a

research study released earlier today by UNESCO, in which the agency found that bribery, embezzlement, illegal registration fees, and academic fraud are all part of a long list of woes affecting educational systems in more than 60 countries on 5 continents.

The study also points the way forward and outlines anti-corruption strategies. Its available on UNESCOs website.

U.N. COMMITTEE ON OUTER SPACE STARTS ITS 50TH SESSION

In Vienna, the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space began its 50th session today with a high-level panel on space exploration activities.

Over the next 10 days, the Committee will also discuss such issues as nuclear power sources in outer space, space debris mitigation guidelines, and the use of geospatial data for sustainable development.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONTINUES TO ADVOCATE FREEDOM TO DEMONSTRATE PEACEFULLY: Asked about the Secretary-Generals response to arrests in Pakistan following demonstrations concerning the former Chief Justice, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General, on principle, has always been an advocate of the freedom to demonstrate peacefully.

UNMOVIC CONTINUES TO BE FUNDED: Asked about the funding of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) dealing with Iraq, the Spokeswoman confirmed that UNMOVIC continues to be funded, under an account set up on the basis of Security Council resolutions. Asked when UNMOVIC would be shut down, Okabe noted the recent comments by the Security Council President on that matter.

SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS NO IMMEDIATE RESPONSE ON BUDGET REPORT: Asked about the Secretary-Generals response to a recent report by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), the Spokeswoman said the report had just come out, and noted that the Secretary-General was currently traveling.

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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