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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-06-15

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

Friday, June 15, 2007

GAZA: BAN KI-MOON IS CLOSELY CONSULTING WITH PARTIES

AND REGIONAL AND QUARTET PARTNERS ABOUT WAY AHEAD[

The shocking violence of recent days in Gaza, much of which has involved violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, has caused great alarm and sadness around the world. Secretary-General Ban ki-moon is deeply concerned for the welfare of ordinary Palestinians and calls for full respect for their human rights.

The ongoing crisis is of deep concern to the United Nations, particularly in view of the work of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), World Food Programme (WFP) and other agencies in delivering humanitarian assistance to a large majority of the population in Gaza.

The United Nations is determined to ensure the safety and security of the large number of United Nations employees working in Gaza, and to ensure that they can continue their vital work to assist a large section of the Palestinian population in Gaza, many of whom are dependent on emergency aid for daily sustenance. This will require the cooperation of all parties to ensure appropriate security and access conditions for the passage of humanitarian goods and personnel both within the Gaza Strip and at key crossing points.

The Secretary-General is deeply disappointed at the failure of the National Unity Government, and the violence, destruction and fragmentation that has brought about its demise. This must end immediately and calm must be restored.

The Secretary-General renews his support to President Abbas as he moves to discharge his responsibilities under the Palestinian Basic Law.

The Secretary-General remains in close consultation with the parties and regional and Quartet partners about the way ahead.

The Spokeswoman clarified that, when the Secretary-General had an initial exchange of views with the members of the Security Council at their monthly luncheon on Tuesday about the possibility of an international presence in Gaza, he was not presenting his own idea. She said that the Secretary-General had earlier spoken by phone with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who had raised with the Secretary-General the idea of an international presence. So when he met with the Council members on Tuesday, the Secretary-General conveyed President Abbass views, not his own.

Asked who would represent the Palestinians at a forthcoming meeting of the Middle East Quartet, the Spokeswoman said those details had not been given yet. She said that the Secretary-General remained in close contact with his Quartet partners, with whom he had a teleconference this morning. The principals expect consult each other as needed, possibly as soon as early next week.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals upcoming meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Okabe said that he would meet with Olmert on Sunday, in a meeting being arranged by Israels Mission to the United Nations. She emphasized that he was in touch with all the parties, noting in addition his contacts with President Abbas.

HUMANITARIAN AGENCIES RAISE ALARM ABOUT GAZA NEEDS

Several UN agencies are expressing deep concern about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. The World Food Programme says it is carrying on as best as it can, given the current security situation. It continues to distribute bread to Gaza hospitals. Noting that the crossing points from Gaza into Israel have all been closed, WFP estimates that there are enough food supplies in the markets to last a week.

The World Health Organization (WHO), meanwhile, says that the escalation of violence is posing particular problems for health workers and patients, many of whom are not able to leave their homes. At least four hospitals in Gaza have been fired upon, and the increased number of patients with grave injuries is overwhelming emergency wards, according to WHO.

SECRETARY-GENERAL IS SHOCKED AND SADDENED

BY DEATH OF RADIO OKAPI JOURNALIST IN D.R CONGO

The Secretary-General was shocked and saddened to receive the news of the brutal killing of Mr. Serge Meheshe, a respected national radio journalist at Radio Okapi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The Secretary-General extends his condolences to Mr. Meheshes family, to his colleagues in MONUCs Radio Okapi and to its partner, Fondation Hirondelle.

The free flow of information and ideas and the freedom of expression are the lifeblood of democracy. Mr. Meheshes death is a great loss for the United Nations and the people of the DRC as they continue their efforts to build a sustainable peace in their country.

The United Nations will do everything possible to support the authorities of the DRC to identify the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice.

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF

U.N. PEACEKEEPING FORCE IN CYPRUS

The Security Council this morning unanimously

voted to extend the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus by six months, until the middle of December. The Council also expressed its full support for the process enshrined in the 8 July 2006 Agreement on a comprehensive settlement, and noted with concern the lack of progress on that process.

Yesterday, the Council ended its consultations on Somalia by adopting a Presidential Statement on the situation there, reiterating its support for the National Reconciliation Congress as a mechanism for much-needed political dialogue and reconciliation in Somalia. The Council expressed its grave concern at the recent pattern of attacks by extremist elements in that country.

SECURITY COUNCIL MISSION TO DISCUSS SUDAN AND OTHER ISSUES WITH

WITH AFRICAN UNION IN ADDIS ABABA ON SATURDAY

Tomorrow in Addis Ababa, the traveling Security Council delegation will begin its official programme in the morning with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Alpha Oumar Konaré, in a meeting expected to focus on AU-UN cooperation, Sudan and Somalia.

After that the Council delegates will hold a working lunch with Konaré and Commissioner Said Djinnit to discuss Sudan and AU-UN peacekeeping issues.

The Security Council will then meet with the AU Peace and Security Council that afternoon, and the two Councils are expected to adopt a joint communiqué detailing their consultations when the meeting adjourns. There will be a press conference afterward.

The delegation will depart from Addis Ababa early on Sunday for Khartoum, where a meeting is planned with the senior management of the African Union Mission in Sudan. The Council mission will also meet with President Omar al-Bashir and other senior Sudanese officials and hold a press conference in Khartoum.

Asked about the future status of the High Representative dealing with elections in Cote dIvoire, Gerard Stoudmann, the Spokeswoman noted that the Security Council, which deals with that issue, would also visit Cote dIvoire on its current mission to Africa. She later told the reporter that the Secretary-General in his latest report on Cote d'Ivoire had referred to this issue.

The Spokeswoman, in response to a question, confirmed that the Secretary-General had written an opinion column on Darfur that was scheduled to appear in the Washington Post on Saturday.

SECRETARY-GENERAL ENVOY TO HOLD TALKS ON WESTERN SAHARA

Asked whether the Secretary-General would personally attend the talks on Western Sahara next week, the Spokeswoman said that he was not scheduled to attend in person. However, she said, he had shown his interest in the issue by convening the meeting, and deputizing his Personal Envoy, Peter van Walsum, to lead the discussion, following up on the Security Council's latest resolution on the matter.

The Spokeswoman said that the talks are private, but said that a readout was requested to be provided afterward.

Asked who requested that the talks be held at an undisclosed location, Okabe said that was done at the parties request.

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL TO CONCLUDE SESSION MONDAY

In Geneva, the

Human Rights Council continued its consultations today in preparation for adopting the various proposals on its institution building measures, which it must decide by Monday.

Those proposals relate to a Universal Periodic Review mechanism to monitor the human rights records of Member States, a review of mandates of the special procedures of the Council, the agenda for the Councils future sessions, a complaints procedure and an expert advice body.

The Council is planning to hold informal consultations on Sunday, at which time the President intends to circulate a revised Text on Institution Building.

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF MEETS WITH SRI LANKA PRESIDENT

High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, held what she characterized as a very productive meeting with the President of Sri Lanka yesterday.

Arbour relayed the concerns of the international community about the situation there and explained what role her office could play in extending the national human rights protection system in that country.

She also stressed the value of accurate and independent reporting of the human rights situation on the ground.

U.N. HUMANITARIAN OFFICE LEADS MISSION TO MOGADISHU

In Somalia, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that its Coordinator for the country led a mission to Mogadishu yesterday to continue discussions with the Transitional Federal Government on how to improve the distribution of humanitarian assistance.

An estimated 112,000 displaced Somalis have returned to the capital of Mogadishu since the beginning of May. According to OCHA, many have lost properties and need water, sanitation and hygiene assistance, as well as shelter and household items.

UNICEF MARKS DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD TOMORROW

UNICEF is marking the Day of the African Child which is tomorrow -- by supporting the African Unions call to increase efforts to prevent child trafficking.

An estimated 1.2 million children worldwide are the object of trafficking each year. UNICEF is calling on governments, communities and families to work together to put an end to these crimes. The agency stresses that achieving the Millennium Development Goals will help families stay together and keep children in school two vital safeguards against child trafficking.

SECRETARY-GENERAL ATTENDS MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR WALDHEIM

The Secretary-General this morning spoke at the General Assemblys memorial service for former Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim, saying that Waldheims 10 years at the helm covered a deeply challenging time in the world and in the life of the United Nations. When he left office in 1981, the world had undergone profound changes which could hardly have been imagined 10 years before.

The Secretary-General express his condolences today to Waldheims family, and to the people and Government of Austria, and paid tribute to him and to all his predecessors, who have served in what has been called the most impossible job on Earth.

In observance of the former Secretary-Generals passing, the UN flag is flying at half-mast today, and no other flags are flying at UN Headquarters.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

ENVIRONMENT GROUP WRAPS UP TWO DAY BIENNIAL MEETING: The Advisory Group on Environmental Emergencies wrapped up its two-day biennial meeting in Stockholm today. Environmental experts and disaster managers called for a stronger global regime to meet the challenge of environmental emergencies, especially given additional pressure from climate change and related natural disasters.

WORLD LABOUR ORGANIZATION AWARDS FIRST DECENT WORK RESEARCH PRIZE: The International Labour Organization today awarded its first annual Decent Work Research Prize. Nobel peace laureate and former South African President Nelson Mandela received an exceptional prize for his extraordinary lifetime contribution to understanding and advocating ILOs central concerns.

Professor Carmelo Mesa-Lago from the University of Pittsburgh also received an award for his research on social security in Latin America.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

[This document is for planning purposes only and is subject to change.]

Saturday, June 16

Through Wednesday, a Security Council delegation is visiting Africa. Stops are planned in Addis Ababa, Khartoum, Accra, Abidjan, and Kinshasa.

Sunday, June 17

Today and tomorrow in Doha, Qatar, the General Assembly is scheduled to hold an informal meeting on Financing Development to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Union Square Park, New York Citys first International EarthBox Day, sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization, takes place. The event will feature demonstrations of the EarthBox, a breakthrough tool for growing high-value produce.

Today is World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.

Monday, June 18

The Security Council is scheduled to hold a debate this morning on the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda.

From 3 to 6 p.m. in Conference Room 4, Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Larry Johnson will moderate an expert panel discussion on the preparedness of the international community to face threats posed by nuclear terrorism.

In Geneva, the Human Rights Council is scheduled to conclude its fifth session today.

Also in Geneva, a one-day meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the first Conference of the High Contracting Parties to Protocol V of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, on Explosive Remnants of War, is taking place.

All this week in Geneva, the World Intellectual Property Organizations Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights is meeting to continue work on a treaty to update the protection of broadcasting organizations on a signal-based approach.

Paul Hunt, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, will visit Sweden at the invitation of the Government.

Tuesday, June 19

At 11 a.m. in Room 226, Mr. José Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, will hold a press conference to launch the World Economic and Social Survey 2007.

From 1:15 to 2:45 p.m. in Conference Room 6, there will be UN University panel discussion on How can regional integration contribute to social equity?

Today through Thursday, the General Assembly President is visiting China.

From today through Friday, the Group of Governmental Experts of the States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons is meeting in Geneva.

Wednesday, June 20

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to adopt resolutions on the UN Disengagement Observer Force and on Liberia sanctions before it hears a briefing and holds consultations on the Middle East.

From 6 to 9:30 p.m. in the Delegates Dining Room, the Secretary-General and the UN Development Programme Administrator, Kemal Dervis, will host the 2007 Human Development Awards Celebrating Peoples Participation in Development.

In Freetown, the Special Court for Sierra Leone is scheduled to hand down its first verdicts.

Today is World Refugee Day. High Commissioner António Guterres will be in Southern Sudan, where tens of thousands of refugees and internally displaced people are returning home after decades of conflict.

Thursday, June 21

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to receive a briefing on its 1737 Sanctions Committee.

The guest at the noon briefing will be Mr. David Shearer, Head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories, who will be briefing on the situation in the Gaza and the West Bank.

Today and tomorrow in Santiago, Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, José Antonio Ocampo, will attend a workshop on Development Options for Latin America, organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Friday, June 22

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

  • Saahir Lone, Senior Liaison Officer of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Office in New York, was the guest at the noon briefing to give an update on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and UNRWA's emergency assistance.

    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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