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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-06-13

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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

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

BAN KI-MOON IS EXTREMELY CONCERNED ABOUT VIOLENCE IN LEBANON

Asked about the killing of a member of the Lebanese Parliament, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General was aware and extremely concerned about this tragic development and the violence in Lebanon.

[She indicated that there could be a statement on the killing later in the day.]

BAN KI-MOON STRONGLY CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON HOLY SHRINES IN IRAQ

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was deeply shocked to learn of todays destructive attack on the holy Shrines of Imam Ali Al-Hadi and Imam Hassan Al-Askary in Samarra, which follows a similar attack in 2006.

The Secretary-General strongly condemns this act, which was clearly aimed at provoking sectarian strife and undermining the peace and stability of Iraq.

The Secretary-General calls on all Iraqis to avoid succumbing to the vicious cycle of revenge and to exercise maximum restraint while demonstrating unity and resolve in the face of this terrible attack. The Secretary-General welcomes the efforts by political and religious leaders of Iraq to calm the situation and to promote respect for human rights and the protection of religious sites.

The United Nations will continue to do everything possible to help the Iraqi people promote inter-communal dialogue and national reconciliation.

Ashraf Qazi, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for

Iraq, also condemned in the strongest terms possible the sacrilegious attack on the shrines in Samarra this morning.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS IRAQ THIS AFTERNOON

Qazi is in New York and was scheduled to brief the Security Council on Iraq in an open meeting in the afternoon.

HEAVY STREET FIGHTING IN GAZA IS CUTTING OFF CIVILIANS FROM

REACHING ESSENTIAL SERVICES AND FOOD OUTLETS

UN organizations working in the Occupied Palestinian territory, in a

statement they issued jointly, voiced their grave concern about the spiraling violence in the Gaza Strip, which has claimed 59 lives and caused 273 injuries since 9 June.

They are particularly troubled by reports of attacks on hospitals, ambulances and extra-judicial killings, which raise concerns of serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

The United Nations is also concerned about the humanitarian consequences arising from the heavy street fighting, which is preventing the civilian population from reaching essential health services and food outlets.

The fighting is also hampering the UNs ability to deliver emergency services, mainly food and health assistance.

UN organizations call upon all parties engaged in the current hostilities to exercise their responsibilities under international humanitarian and human rights law and refrain from attacks on civilians, humanitarian institutions and carrying out extra-judicial killings.

Asked whether the Secretary-General would agree on the need for an international peacekeeping force in Gaza, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General has been listening to views from different world leaders on the subject but has not reached any conclusions. She noted that this issue had been raised in his conversations in the last 24 hours with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday and with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak earlier today.

TWO U.N. AGENCY WORKERS KILLED IN GAZA

John Ging, the director of operations in Gaza for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA),

announced with deep sadness the death of two local UNRWA workers who had been killed during the escalating violence in Gaza. Two other UNRWA workers, he added, have been seriously injured but are in stable condition.

We at UNRWA will not forget their bravery and commitment at this most difficult time, Ging said.

He said that, in view of the increased threats to the Agencys staff, it has no choice but to scale back its operations in Gaza. With immediate effect, the Commissioner General, Karen AbuZayd, has decided to suspend temporarily UNRWA operations in Gaza, except essential medical services and emergency food distributions. She will keep the situation under constant review with a view to restoring full services at the earliest opportunity.

FORMER MIDDLE EAST ENVOYS LEAKED INTERNAL REPORT

REFLECTS HIS OWN PERSONAL VIEWS

Asked about an internal report by former UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Alvaro de Soto, which had leaked to a newspaper, the Spokeswoman said it was an end-of-mission report.

Such reports, she said, are an opportunity for UN envoys and Special Representatives to be as candid as possible in expressing their personal views. De Sotos report, Montas said, reflects his personal views.

The Secretary-General finds the end-of-mission reports to be a valuable tool to contribute to his own analysis. However, Montas said, that does not mean that the Secretary-General agrees with the contents of those reports.

She declined to comment on the details of the leaked report. Asked about the Secretary-Generals own views on the issues raised in the report, she noted his extensive public comments on the Middle East.

Asked whether a recent UN bulletin concerning the confidentiality of documents was part of a clampdown on transparency, the Spokeswoman said it was not, and said that the bulletin had specifically come about after a policy document has leaked. She said that, once decisions are made, the press is informed, but the decision-making process is not part of the public domain, as is the case with other institutions.

SECURITY COUNCIL HEARS BRIEFING ON UN-AU HYBRID FORCE

The Security Council this morning heard from Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno about the recent UN-African Union-Sudan talks that took place in Addis Ababa concerning the UN-AU hybrid force for Darfur.

The Council also held consultations to receive updates on the sanctions regimes in Liberia and Côte dIvoire, two countries that a Council mission will soon visit.

In addition to the afternoon meeting on Iraq, Council members are also holding their monthly luncheon with the Secretary-General.

BAN KI-MOON TO STRESS PARTNERSHIP IN FIGHT AGAINST HIV/AIDS

The Secretary-General is meeting this afternoon with senior business executives of the Global Business

Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, an alliance of 220 international companies.

He is expected to stress the vital role of the partnership between the U.N. and the private sector in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The participants include Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of the Virgin Group; Sir David Bell, Chairman of the Financial Times Group; and Peter Robertson, Vice Chairman of Chevron.

CAMBODIA: SECRETARY-GENERAL LOOKS FORWARD TO EARLY COMMENCEMENT OF THE EXTRAORDINARY CHAMBER

The national and international judicial officers for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia unanimously adopted the courts Internal Rules, concluding a two-week session in Phnom Penh. These Rules, the judicial officers said in a statement, enable them to hold fair, transparent trials before an independent and impartial court.

They added that they have resolved all of the matters that had needed further discussion last November, including ways to ensure the rights and involvement of victims.

The next step forward for the Extraordinary Chambers will be the filing by the Co-Prosecutors of their first Introductory Submission. That could take place within weeks.

INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL FOR RWANDA HANDS OVER FIRST CASE TO NATIONAL JURISDICTION

In its first-ever request for transfer of a case to Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda yesterday asked that the case of Fulgence Kayishema be handed over for further prosecution under Rwandan national jurisdiction.

The suspect is among the 18 persons indicted by the Tribunal who remain at large. He was indicted in 2001 for genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity.

The Tribunal says that Rwanda is willing to prosecute the case, and has assured Tribunal officials that the indictee will get a fair trial, and that in the event of conviction, the death penalty (recently outlawed in Rwanda) will not be applied.

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES ENTRY INTO FORCE

OF CONVENTION ON NUCLEAR TERRORISM

The Secretary-General welcomes the 22nd State depositing a ratification or accession to the International

Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

The Convention will enter into force 30 days after the deposit of the 22nd instrument, on 7 July 2007, nearly two years from its adoption by Member States. The Secretary-General congratulates the States that have already ratified or acceded to the Convention for making it possible for it to enter into force with such speed.

Nuclear terrorism is one of the most serious threats of our time. Even one such attack could inflict mass casualties and create immense suffering and unwanted change in the world forever. This prospect should compel all of us to act to prevent such a catastrophe.

The Nuclear Terrorism Convention will help prevent terrorist groups from gaining access to the most lethal weapons known to man. It will strengthen the international legal framework against terrorism, which, together with this Convention, comprises 13 universal instruments. The Convention, among other matters, will encourage cooperation among States, which is crucial in defeating terrorism.

Preventing terrorism and becoming parties to the international anti-terrorism conventions and protocols are key elements of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which the General Assembly adopted last September.

Therefore, all States are called upon to ratify or accede to this Convention without delay. They will have an opportunity to deposit instruments of ratification or accession to the Convention during this years annual treaty event taking place at the beginning of the sixty-second General Assembly Session, when the Convention, along with other counter-terrorism instruments, will be highlighted.

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL TAKES UP

PALESTINIAN, LEBANESE AND DARFUR SITUATIONS

In Geneva, the Human Rights Council this morning

discussed the urgent high-level fact-finding missions to the occupied Palestinian territories, including Beit Hanoun, and the updated report by the High Commissioner for Human Rights on follow-up to the report of the Commission of Inquiry on Lebanon.

In the afternoon, it heard a presentation from the experts group on the situation of human rights in Darfur.

The Council also heard a presentation by its President, Luis Alfonso de Alba of Mexico, on a Presidential text which aimed to serve as a basis for discussions on finalizing the institution-building of the Council during its current session.

UNICEF CONDEMNS DEATH OF TWO GIRLS IN SCHOOL SHOOTING IN AFGHANISTAN

UNICEF strongly condemned the shooting that took place yesterday in front of a girls school in Afghanistan, in which two schoolgirls were killed and four other people injured.

UNICEF said the attackers were hurting childrens right to education and threatening the fabric of society.

TIMOR-LESTE: U.N. MISSION HEAD CALLS FOR ALL PARTIES TO RESPECT DEMOCRATIC PROCESS

As campaigning continues across Timor-Leste, the head of the United Nations Integrated Mission there (UNMIT), Atul Khare, has called on all parties and the Timorese people to respect each other and ensure the observance of a democratic process.

Special Representative Khare said it is important that campaign messages be delivered freely, fairly and without violence or intimidation or misuse of state resources.

He also commended all parties on the signing of the Political Party Accord just before the start of campaigning, which demonstrates the collective will of all sides to a free and fair election on 30 June.

Meanwhile, 94 people were arrested by U.N. and Timorese police during gambling raids in the capital, Deli, on Saturday.

The operation included raiding three illegal gambling venues in central Deli, where police seized 259 machines and US$20,000 in cash.

Khare congratulated police for their work over the past couple of weeks, adding that success of this operation demonstrates the excellent cooperation between U.N. police and the PANT, supported by the IS.

He also said the arrest of the 94 people so soon after apprehending the person responsible for the killing in Iquique last week demonstrates the growing strength of the security sector of Timor-Leste.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

NEARLY $6 MILLION MADE AVAILABLE TO RESPOND TO CRISIS IN LEBANON: UN agencies responding to the crisis in Lebanon are set to receive nearly $6 million, following the approval of grants from the Central Emergency Response

Fund. The money will provide food, shelter, water, sanitation, and health care to Palestinian refugees displaced by the fighting in and around the Nair El Bared refugee camp.

SECRETARY-GENERAL DISCUSSED NIGERIAS ELECTIONS WITH COUNTRYS PRESIDENT: Asked whether the Secretary-General had discussed the Nigerian elections in his meeting in Germany last week with the President of Nigeria, the Spokeswoman said that they had talked extensively about the elections, and the need to respect the decisions of the electoral authorities on all pending issues.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPROVEMENTS COULD SAVE 13 MILLION LIVES: The World Health Organization (WHO) is out with its first ever country-by-country analysis of the impact of environmental factors on health. The study

found that environmental improvements could save 13 million lives every year. Some of the leading environmental risk factors are unsafe water and indoor air pollution from the use of solid fuels for cooking, WHO says.

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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