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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-06-11

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 MICHELE

MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N.

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, June 11, 2007

BAN KI-MOON, IN PRESS COMMENTS, ENCOURAGED BY G-8 SUMMIT, MOVEMENT ON DARFUR

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke to reporters this morning upon his return from his trip to Panama, Spain and Germany which included his participation in the G-8 Summit. On that summit, he said he was very much encouraged by the leaders agreement to take early and strong action to address climate change issues.

He was asked about reports on the misuse of UNDP money in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, and said he was concerned about any such possible misuse of funds. The Secretary-General said he was asking the External Board of Auditors dealing with the issue to consider sending auditors to the DPRK.

Asked about Kosovo, he said that he would like the Security Council to exercise fair and sound judgment and move forward without wasting time.

Asked about the letter that the Secretary-General had referred to in his remarks on

Sudan, the Spokeswoman clarified that he had referred to a letter from Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, which the Secretary-General had found to be positive.

She characterized the letter as one which accepted the UN-African Union proposal on a hybrid force for Darfur. She noted that the details of that force are being worked out this week.

Asked why the Secretary-General felt that there was a different attitude on the part of the Sudanese Government, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations was at a different point than it was six months ago, given the Sudanese acceptance of the hybrid force.

Also, there had been movement in getting the Sudanese Government and rebel groups to meet. There were positive steps, Montas said, adding that progress wont happen overnight.

Asked what the Secretary-General has been doing to move the Darfur issue forward, the Spokeswoman said that he had met for more than an hour on Darfur last week in his talks in Germany with African Union Chairman Alpha Oumar Konaré, and has raised the issue as a priority in all his meetings with world leaders.

BAN KI-MOON URGES LEBANON TO PROBE KILLING OF RED CROSS WORKERS

The Secretary-General deplores the killing of two workers of the Lebanon Red Cross, and the wounding of a member of a delegation of clerics at the Nahr al-Bared camp, and offers his condolences to their families. He hopes the Lebanese authorities will fully investigate the matter.

The Secretary-General is also deeply concerned about the security of some 3,000 civilians remaining in the camp and reminds all parties to do their utmost to ensure the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

SECRETARY-GENERAL BEGINS STEPS TO SET UP LEBANON TRIBUNAL

The Secretary-General has begun, pursuant to resolution 1757 (2007), to undertake the steps and measures necessary to establish the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in a timely manner. As of 10 June, since the United Nations had not been notified in writing by the Government of Lebanon that the legal requirements for entry into force had been complied with, the document annexed to

resolution 1757 (2007), has entered into force.

In establishing the Tribunal, the Secretary-General will work in coordination with the Government of Lebanon wherever appropriate. He will report to the Security Council within 90 days of the adoption of the resolution on its implementation. The Secretary-General believes that the establishment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will make an important contribution toward ending impunity for the crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the Special Tribunal.

TOP LEBANON INVESTIGATOR EXTENDED FOR ANOTHER SIX MONTHS

The Secretary-General sent on Friday 8 June a letter to the President of the Security Council informing the Council of his intention to extend, until 31 December 2007, the appointment of Serge Brammertz of Belgium as the Commissioner of the UN International Independent Investigation Commission into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. He wishes to thank Brammertz for his leadership in advancing the investigation and for his commitment to providing continuity in the Commissions work.

The Spokeswoman, in response to a question, said that Brammertz had been consulted before todays announcement.

U.N CHIEF IN AFGHANISTAN CONDEMNS ATTEMPT ON PRESIDENT

Tom Koenigs, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Afghanistan, today condemned the attempt made yesterday on the life of President Hamid Karzai. This is an outrage, and I condemn it utterly, he said.

Koenigs added that he was deeply saddened by the murders during the past two weeks of the journalists Zakia Zaki and Shakiba Sanga Amaj. Whatever the motives of these murders, these were two prominent and respected women and their deaths are a great loss to Afghanistan, Koenigs said. He added that such attacks must stop, women must be protected and their roles in society respected.

COUNCIL DISCUSSES AFRICAN PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS, LEBANON

The members of the Security Council today received briefings in closed consultations about several major UN peacekeeping operations in Africa, days before the Council sends a mission to visit those areas.

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno briefed the Council on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while Assistant Secretary-General Hédi Annabi briefed them on Cote dIvoire, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

This afternoon, Terje Roed-Larsen, the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for the implementation of Resolution 1559, will brief the Council on the latest developments in implementing that resolution.

SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS U.N. MAY CONSIDER EXPANSION OF ROLE IN IRAQ

The Secretary-Generals latest report on the UN Mission in Iraq, which is out on the racks today, says that the situation in that country remains precarious, with insurgent attacks persisting and civilian casualties continuing to mount.

The Secretary-General says that the political process in Iraq is entering an exceptionally sensitive phase, adding that contentious issues, such as the referendum on Kirkuk and other disputed areas, must be approached carefully, with solutions found through sustained national dialogue.

He says that, circumstances permitting, he would consider an expanded UN role and presence in Iraq where possible, and added that, for this, clear direction from the Security Council and the Government of Iraq would be essential.

Also, Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, on Sunday met with the Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and discussed recent developments in Iraq and the role of neighbouring countries in bringing peace and stability.

NUCLEAR WATCHDOG CHIEF IS INCREASINGLY DISTURBED BY STALEMATE ON IRANS ACTIVITIES

International Atomic Energy Agency Chief (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei today briefed the IAEA Board of Governors on a range of nuclear issues, including IAEA safeguards in Iran, nuclear plant safety and budget concerns.

The nuclear chief said it is incumbent on Iran to work urgently with the IAEA on verification of its nuclear programme, under a policy of full transparency and active cooperation, in order for the agency to give assurance on the peaceful nature of Irans nuclear activities.

On the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions, ElBaradei said he was increasingly disturbed by the current stalemate, and that dialogue and diplomacy are the only way to achieve a negotiated solution.

The nuclear chief also said that the agencys financial situation remains vulnerable even with the proposed budget, falling short of what is needed to carry out its mission in an effective manner, adding that significant additional resources are still sorely needed.

U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF CONCLUDES MISSION TO SHORE UP EFFORTS TO STABILIZE SOMALIA

In Addis Ababa today, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, concluded a week-long visit to the Horn of Africa aimed at shoring up efforts to bring peace and stability to Somalia. He held meetings in the Ethiopian capital today with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, and with Said Djinnit, the African Unions Commissioner for Peace and Security.

Addressing a news conference in Addis today before departing for New York, Pascoe said that many of the people he spoke with believe the current moment is the best opportunity Somalia has had in many years to move toward peace and reconciliation. He praised the work of the African Union force, AMISOM, which is working to provide security on the ground, and also expressed hope that a National Reconciliation Conference planned for the coming days in Mogadishu will be an important step in a long process of rebuilding a shattered society.

Pascoe said, however, that more troops were needed to provide security so that Ethiopian forces could withdraw without leaving a vacuum.

DARFUR HUMANITARIAN FLIGHTS TO RESUME AFTER INFLUX OF CASH

Humanitarian workers will be able to keep flying to remote locations in

Darfur, thanks to a hefty $18 million package of new contributions from several donors that will allow the United Nations World Food Programmes Humanitarian Air Service (WFP-HAS) to keep operating until October.

The volatile security situation and lack of infrastructure, plus the coming rainy season which is beginning now and will run until October means that helicopter travel is often the only way that humanitarian workers from UN agencies and non-governmental organizations can reach people affected by the Darfur conflict.

Also in Darfur, UNICEF reports that the Sudan Liberation Movement signed an agreement today to begin handing over children associated with its armed groups. UNICEF said this was only the start of the process. It hopes that others groups will now agree to hand over children that may be attached to their own forces. According to the agencys estimates, at least 7,000 children could be linked to armed groups in the region.

Also, the UN Mission in Sudan issued a press release, saying that, following a detailed investigation by the independent UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), there was no evidence of an incident of sexual abuse in Wau.

RIGHTS COUNCIL BEGINS SESSION ON STRUCTURE AND METHODOLOGY

The Human Rights Council opened its fifth session. During the next week, the one-year-old body is expected to decide on its institution-building mechanisms and future working methods.

During todays meeting, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour,

urged the Council to continue to draw on the system of Special Rapporteurs. She also stressed the importance of the Universal Periodic Review, which will allow the Council to scrutinize the human rights records of all countries in a regular, rotating manner.

On Wednesday, the Council is to hold discussions on reports from its special sessions.

PEACEKEEPERS, DR CONGO POLICE LAUNCH CHILD-PROTECTION DRIVE

The Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) says that UN peacekeepers and Congolese police will this week launch a joint six-month law-enforcement and sensitization campaign to improve the protection of children. The campaign is scheduled to coincide with the commemoration of the 16th International Day of the African Child on Thursday.

The Mission says the campaign will aim to increase Congolese police awareness of childrens rights through specialized law-enforcement units and to elevate the protection of children to a matter of priority in a country where armed conflict, poverty and other woes have seriously undermined and endangered the situation of children.

Asked about reports that one contingent of UN peacekeepers had mistreated and killed prisoners in the eastern DRC, the Spokeswoman said this was not a new investigation, but an ongoing one on facts dating back to 2005.

Montas later added that there had been a number of investigations into this case. MONUC found that excessive force was used against detainees who were reportedly trying to escape.

In addition, the head of the UN Mission in the DRC, William Swing, had announced last week that he has asked the Office for Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) to conduct a full investigation into all detainees held by MONUCs Ituri Brigade in 2005.The Spokeswoman noted, in response to further questions, that High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, had provided subsequent information that would be shared with OIOS.

Montas also added that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations is vigorously pressing the Government concerned to take the appropriate action to hold accountable those responsible.

U.N. AND PARTNERS DECRY SRI LANKAS FORCED REMOVAL OF TAMILS

The United Nations and its partners on the ground are condemning the forcible removal of Tamil residents from Colombo.

The Inter Agency Standing Committee, which is made up of more than a dozen UN agencies and NGOs, says there is an urgent need to ensure respect for basic liberties and security, as well as freedom of movement, in the country.

The Committee welcomes the granting of an interim order by the countrys Supreme Court to stop the evictions. It appeals in the strongest possible terms to the Government in Sri Lanka to uphold its legal obligations.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

HEALTH AGENCY, UNICEF BOOST VACCINATION EFFORTS IN ETHIOPIA: Ethiopias Health Ministry, in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund, is conducting a four-day, house-to-house polio immunization campaign. The project, which began on Friday, is targeting more than 14 million children under the age of five.

SECRETARY-GENERAL IS MONITORING IRAN/ISRAEL SITUATION: Asked about threats made by Israel against Iran, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General is following the situation.

TRIBUNALS DEFINITION OF GENOCIDE STANDS: Asked about the use of the word genocide to describe the 1995 Srebrenica killings, the Spokeswoman said the view expressed by the relevant UN tribunals stands.

BAN KI-MOON ADDRESSES GENERAL ASSEMBLY BODY ON PEACEKEEPING REFORM: Asked about the main subject of the Secretary-Generals meeting today with the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), the Spokeswoman said that it was about his reform proposals.

  • The guest at the noon briefing was UNDP Communications Director David Morrison, who discussed the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK).

    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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