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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-06-14
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, June 14, 2007
UNITED NATIONS TO OBSERVE PASSING OF
EX-SECRETARY-GENERAL KURT WALDHEIM
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon learned with sadness of the passing of Kurt Waldheim, the fourth Secretary-General of the United Nations and former President of Austria.
The Secretary-General notes that Mr. Waldheim served the United Nations at a crucial period in the history of the Organization, from 1972 to 1981. The Secretary-General extends his condolences to Mr. Waldheims family, as well as to the Austrian Government and people.
Asked how the United Nations would observe Waldheims passing, the Spokeswoman said that, in accordance with precedent, the UN flag would be flown at half-mast on Friday, and other flags would not be flown at UN headquarters.
Asked whether the United Nations would send a representative to Waldheims funeral, the Spokeswoman said that would probably happen, although she added that the United Nations had not been informed yet of the funeral arrangements.
U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF BRIEFS COUNCIL ON RECENT VISIT TO SOMALIA
The Security Council held consultations on Somalia today. It heard from Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe about his recent visit to Somalia and the region.
Pascoe has wrapped up and spoke to reporters at the stakeout. He said that the most important thing now was to ensure that the National Reconciliation Congress move things forward, saying this could be Somalias best chance for progress in more than a decade. Pascoe added that the Security Council had shown keen interest in Somalia and indicated that it would discuss that issue during their mission to Africa.
The Security Council then adopted a Presidential Statement on Somalia.
SOMALIA: U.N. ENVOY ENCOURAGES PARTIES TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO RECONCILIATION CONGRESS
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Somalia, Francois Lonseny Fall, took note of the decision by the National Governance and Reconciliation Committee to postpone the National Reconciliation Congress until 15 July.
Fall emphasized that every effort now has to be made to ensure that the Reconciliation Congress will be inclusive, independent and transparent. The postponement gives additional time for necessary preparations, including consultations among the various Somali stakeholders on the reconciliation process.
Fall encouraged all parties to lend further assistance to allow the Congress to achieve its objectives.
SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS STATEMENTS
CONDEMNING ATTACKS IN IRAQ AND LEBANON
The Security Council yesterday concluded its formal meeting on Iraq with a press statement, read out by Security Council President Johan Verbeke of Belgium, which thanked Special Representative Ashraf Qazi for his briefing and his work on behalf of Iraq.
The Council, Ambassador Verbeke added, also welcomed planning for the construction of a new compound in Baghdad for the UN Mission there. Council members also condemned in the strongest terms the attack yesterday on the holy shrines in the Iraqi city of Samarra.
The Security Council also adopted a Presidential Statement in which it unequivocally condemned the terrorist attack in Beirut which killed at least nine people, including Lebanese Member of Parliament Walid Eido. In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General condemned that attack and called upon the Lebanese authorities to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice. He urged all the Lebanese to unite in the face of acts of intimidation which attempt to divide them and encouraged Lebanese leaders to find a solution to the political issues facing the country.
Asked whether the Secretary-General had received a letter from Prime Minister Fouad Siniora concerning the Eido killing, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General had spoken by phone on Wednesday with the Prime Minister.
SECURITY COUNCIL MISSION HEADING TO AFRICA
A Security Council delegation is leaving New York later today for a week-long mission to Africa.
On Saturday, under the joint leadership of Ambassadors Emyr Jones-Parry of the United Kingdom and Dumisani Kumalo of South Africa, the delegation will meet in Addis Ababa with the African Union Peace and Security Council, AU and Ethiopian officials.
On Sunday, the Council delegation will head to Khartoum, where meetings are planned with President Omar al-Bashir and other top Sudanese officials and with officials from the UN Mission in Sudan.
On Monday, delegates will be in Accra, Ghana, to meet with President John Kufuor in his capacity as AU President.
Then, on Tuesday, under the chairmanship of Ambassador Jorge Voto-Bernales of Peru, the Council delegation will be in Abidjan, Cote dIvoire, for meetings with Ivorian leaders, including President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro.
Later on Tuesday, the delegation will proceed to Kinshasa where, with Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere of France leading, Council delegates will meet with President Joseph Kabila, key parliamentary leaders and officials from the UN peacekeeping mission.
The Security Council delegation is expected back in New York on Thursday, 21 June.
DR CONGO: JOURNALIST FROM U.N.-SPONSORED RADIO KILLED
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo William Lacy Swing, condemns in the strongest terms the killing of a Radio Okapi journalist.
Serge Maheshe was shot by two men on a street in Bukavu, in eastern DRC, last night, while he was about to get into a vehicle marked with the UN logo.
The UN Mission in DRC and the Hirondelle Foundation are asking Congolese authorities to do their utmost to arrest and bring to justice those responsible for this crime.
Radio Okapi is a partnership between the UN Mission in DRC and the Hirondelle Foundation, a Swiss NGO. It is the largest francophone radio in sub-Saharan Africa.
UNITED NATIONS TO HOLD TROOP CONTRIBUTORS MEETING FOR DARFUR
The Secretary-General yesterday afternoon said he considered as a milestone development the agreement in Addis Ababa by the African Union, United Nations and Sudanese Government on the joint proposal on a hybrid operation in Darfur.
And he said that he is working to implement it as soon as possible.
The Security Council members, in a press statement read out by the Council, called for its timely and full implementation.
The Department of Peacekeeping Operations is planning a meeting of potential contributors to the hybrid operation shortly.
Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) has launched an emergency food airlift to more than 2,600 refugees from Darfur who recently crossed into the remote north-eastern corner of the Central African Republic. WFP says that airlifts are an expensive last resort, but it had no other option.
TALKS ON WESTERN SAHARA TO BEGIN ON MONDAY
Asked about the arrangements for talks on Western Sahara, the Spokeswoman said that talks are scheduled to take place on Monday and Tuesday outside of New York.
The Secretary-Generals Special Envoy, Peter van Walsum, is leading the discussions between the Frente Polisario, Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania.
The meeting is taking place at an undisclosed location in the New York area, Montas said. It is a private one, and there will be no arrangements made for media coverage.
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL DISCUSSES INSTITUTION-BUILDING MEASURES
Turning to Geneva, the Human Rights Council held consultations today on a revised president's text outlining the various proposals on the institution building measures which it must adopt by this coming Monday, the one year anniversary of when the Council began its work.
Among the proposals being discussed and finalized for adoption are those concerning the Universal Periodic Review, the review of mandates of the special procedures, the agenda for the Council's future sessions, a complaints procedure and an expert advice body.
It is expected that these consultations will continue tomorrow before the 47 members take action on the proposals on Monday.
U.N. AGENCIES ASSIST BANGLADESH IN WAKE OF LANDSLIDES
UN agencies are assisting Bangladesh in the wake of a series of landslides triggered by torrential rains in the Chittagong District.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) have sent four emergency assessment teams to the area and that the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has mobilized logistical support to reinforce rescue and relief operations.
INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL FOR RWANDA
SHOULD COMPLETE TRIALS BY END OF 2008
The President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Erik Mose, has issued a report to the Security Council on that courts completion strategy.
In it, he says that it is estimated that the Tribunal would have completed trials involving 65 to 70 people by the end of 2008. So far, he writes, the Tribunal has issued judgments regarding 33 people, but 18 of the suspects who have been indicted remain at large.
Asked about the timetable for the Tribunals operations, the Spokeswoman said that it expects to finish initial proceedings by the end of 2008, with work being done on appeals until 2010.
Asked whether the Rwanda Tribunal was working more quickly than its Yugoslav counterpart, the Spokeswoman said that the two tribunals operated under different sets of circumstances and the pace of their work could not be compared.
Montas said that, in certain cases, it was a question of political will: if countries do not transfer suspects to the tribunals, she said, that hampers their ability to act.
AFRICAN MINISTERS REACH AGREEMENT ON IVORY TRADE
Today in The Hague, at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, African ministers
reached a compromise on Ivory sales.
Under the deal, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe will each be allowed to make a single sale of all their registered and verified government stocks to countries with approved controls on ivory sales.
After that, there will be a resting period of nine years, during which no new proposals for sales from these countries will be considered.
WORLD BLOOD DONOR DAY FOCUSES ON SAFE MOTHERHOOD: Today is World Blood Donor Day which
focuses this year on Safe Blood for Safe Motherhood. More than half a million women die each year during pregnancy, childbirth or in the post-partum period and 25% of those deaths are caused by severe bleeding. The World Health Organization has picked June 14 to promote universal access to safe blood through voluntary unpaid blood donations.
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
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New York, NY 10017
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