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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-06-18

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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

Monday, June 18, 2007

BAN KI-MOON DEPLORES ROCKET ATTACK ON NORTHERN ISRAEL

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly deplores the rocket attack on the Northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona that was launched from Southern Lebanon yesterday.

Noting that this attack represents the most serious violation of the Blue Line since the end of the war in 2006, and an attempt to destabilize the situation in Lebanon, the Secretary-General reiterates the importance of respecting and fully implementing Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006) and urges all parties to exercise maximum restraint.

He has been assured by the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the Lebanese Armed Forces that they will do their utmost to apprehend those responsible for this violation and will continue their close cooperation to prevent any further attacks.

Asked about Israels continuing overflights of Lebanon, the Spokeswoman said that UNIFIL continues to record each violation.

Asked about the demarcation of the Shebaa Farms area, she said that once that work was done, a report would be given to the Security Council.

BAN KI-MOON DISCUSSES MIDDLE EAST SITUATION

IN MEETING WITH ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER

The Secretary-General yesterday met for a working luncheon with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, with whom he discussed recent developments in Gaza, Lebanon and the wider Middle East.

He told reporters at a press encounter with the Prime Minister that the deteriorating situation in Gaza and in the region has been a source of great concern, as was what he described as the failure of the national unity government in Palestine.

The Secretary-General said that he knows that Israel has legitimate concerns over security, but he mentioned at the same time the United Nations humanitarian concerns, with some 80 percent of Palestinians requiring UN assistance. He urged all the parties concerned to exercise maximum restraint, and to resolve all the pending issues through peaceful means and through dialogue.

Asked why the meeting had taken place outside of UN Headquarters, the Spokeswoman said that Olmert and the Secretary-General had been invited to a luncheon hosted by Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman. She stressed that reporters had been informed and had access to the event.

UN RELIEF AGENCY RESTORES SERVICES IN GAZA

TO PRE-FIGHTING LEVELS

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) says its operations in Gaza have returned to the levels from before the current round of fighting. UNRWA had been forced to suspend temporarily all but its emergency health and food programmes following the killing of two of its workers last week.

At a meeting of UNRWAs Advisory Commission in Jordan, Commissioner-General Karen AbuZayd said the security situation is improving, but threats remain to staff on the ground.

WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME WARNS OF POTENTIAL SHORTAGES IN GAZA

As sporadic violence continued over the weekend, on Saturday a warehouse containing World Food Programme (WFP) food and managed by the Ministry of Social Affairs in Nablus was looted by armed militants and some 25 metric tons of food and equipment worth US$16,000 were stolen. The Palestinian Authority President's office has now committed to protect WFP warehouses and help WFP to return the stolen food.

All border crossings into Gaza are closed. The commercial crossing of Karni, Gaza's economic lifeline, has been closed since 11 June.

WFP appeals to all parties to immediately establish a humanitarian corridor that could assure the safe passage of humanitarian assistance to the exhausted and increasingly desperate population in Gaza. If the border crossings remain closed, it is expected that within two weeks Gaza will face serious food shortages.

BURUNDI: SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT

The Secretary-General welcomes the agreement in Dar Es-Salaam on 17 June between the President of Burundi, Mr. Pierre Nkurunziza, and leader of the PALIPEHUTU-FNL, Mr. Agathon Rwasa, concerning the implementation of the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement.

He hopes that both parties will maintain the momentum created in Dar-es-Salaam to allow for the earliest recovery and consolidation of peace.

The Secretary-General wishes to express his deep thanks to Tanzania, South Africa and the African Union for their valuable contributions to the peace process and assures the people of Burundi that the United Nations will continue to support their efforts to bring lasting peace to Burundi.

U.N.-LED TALKS ON WESTERN SAHARA GET UNDERWAY

Talks carried out under UN auspices on Western Sahara began today outside of New York, with representatives of the parties and the neighbouring countries in attendance.

The talks are being facilitated by the Secretary-Generals Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Mr. Peter van Walsum.

Attending todays opening session on behalf of the Secretary-General was the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe.

In his opening remarks, Pascoe said that today marked the beginning of a new phase in the search for a solution on Western Sahara. He urged the parties to proceed in good faith and to establish an atmosphere of mutual trust, and expressed the firm commitment of the United Nations to assist in the negotiations. He stressed that the stalemate is becoming intolerable and that the dispute over Western Sahara must be brought to a conclusion through a mutually agreed solution that will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

"The Secretary General, the Security Council, and indeed the entire international community are deeply interested in events unfolding here today. The time has come for a solution. We wish you the best of luck, and reiterate our commitment to assist this process in every way possible," Pascoe said.

In accordance with Security Council resolution 1754, the Secretary-General will report to the Security Council by 30 June 2007 with regard to the status and progress of negotiations.

Asked about press coverage at the meeting, the Spokeswoman said that the meeting is closed to media.

Asked why Pascoe, rather than van Walsum, had spoken at the outset, Montas noted that van Walsum was leading the negotiations.

SECURITY COUNCIL MISSION HEADS TO CÔTE D'IVOIRE

The Security Council delegation in Africa is heading to Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire from Accra, Ghana today on the fourth leg of its mission.

In Côte d'Ivoire, the delegation is scheduled to meet with President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro.

Yesterday in Khartoum, the co-chairs of the UN Security Council mission to Africa, Ambassadors Dumisani Kumalo of South Africa and Emyr Jones-Parry of the United Kingdom, said that they had come away from a series of high-level meetings with Sudanese officials, including President Omar al-Bashir, with the understanding that Sudan unconditionally accepts the deployment of the African Union (AU)/UN hybrid peacekeeping force for Darfur.

Kumalo and Jones-Parry also said that Sudan has reiterated its agreement that the United Nations oversee the command and control structure of such a force.

At a press conference, jointly held with Sudanese Foreign Minister Lam Akol, Jones-Parry also announced that the UN Security Council would, upon its return to New York, begin work on a draft resolution authorizing the effective deployment of the force.

While in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Saturday, the Security Council and its AU counterpart agreed to bolster their collaboration in addressing conflict and building peace.

U.N. SUDAN MISSION REPORTS JANJAWEED ATTACKS IN SOUTH DARFUR

The UN mission in Sudan (UNMIS) reports that it conducted a four day mission to Gereida in South Darfur to follow up on the impact of the Darfur Peace Agreement on the overall security situation, livelihoods and tribal reconciliation. It said that the security situation in Gereida has not improved and that Janjaweed attacks outside towns were ongoing and women were still subject to rape and harassment.

Asked whether there is any reason to believe that the current agreement will hold, the Spokeswoman said that President Bashir and other senior Sudanese officials had provided assurances about the agreement to the Security Council mission that visited there.

Asked when the Secretary-General had last spoken with President Bashir, she said they had spoken to each other on Saturday morning. In that conversation, she said, they had discussed the agreement on the hybrid force, and President Bashir had provided further assurances that the force would go forward.

Asked how significant it would be if the agreement held, Montas said it would be very significant, and she emphasized that this has been one of the Secretary-Generals priorities from the start. We have reached a milestone, she said.

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL SET TO CONCLUDE CURRENT SESSION

The Human Rights

Council is wrapping up its fifth session in Geneva today. Delegations are discussing a package of measures put forward by the Councils President.

The package includes a framework for the Universal Periodic Review mechanism, which will review on a periodic basis the fulfilment of the human rights obligations of all Member States.

Asked about a UN response to the proposals being considered by the Human Rights Council, the Spokeswoman said that the senior UN official dealing with the matter was High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour. She added that the discussions underway at the Council were likely to continue into the night.

U.N. ENVOY CONDEMNS OUTRAGEOUS ATTACK ON AFGHAN POLICE TRAINERS

Chris Alexander, the Secretary-Generals Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, today

expressed his condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of all those killed by what he said was yesterdays outrageous attack against Afghanistans police trainers.

Alexander condemned the attacks, and called on Afghans to speak out against the perpetrators, saying, These acts are repugnant in the eyes of Afghans and in the eyes of the world.

SECURITY COUNCIL IS BRIEFED ON RWANDA, YUGOSLAV TRIBUNALS

The Security Council today received, in an open meeting, the latest update from the Presidents and Prosecutors of the two International Tribunals on the work that they are doing to complete their work over the coming years, with most trial activity wrapping up during 2008 and 2009.

Carla Del Ponte, the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, said that it remains a permanent stain on that tribunals work that four suspects, including Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, remain at large.

Her counterpart on the Rwanda Tribunal, Hassan Jallow, told the Council that most of that tribunals fugitive suspects are reported to be in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT INVITES COMMISSION TO ASSIST IN INVESTIGATING KILLING OF LEBANESE PARLIAMENTARIAN

Now available as an official document is a letter from the President of the Security Council to the Secretary-General, which invites the International Independent Investigation Commission to extend appropriate technical assistance to the Lebanese authorities in the effort to investigate the murder last week of Member of Parliament Walid Eido.

Asked whether Brammertz had resigned from the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Spokeswoman later said that he did resign from the ICC. In response to questions about domestic judicial proceedings in Lebanon, Montas noted that Brammertz was not in charge of detaining or releasing suspects in Lebanon; that was a matter for the countrys own judicial system.

D.P.R.K. INVITES U.N. ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY

TO INSPECT YONGBYON NUCLEAR FACILITY

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei has received a letter from the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea that asks for an IAEA delegation to visit Pyongyang. That visit would be to discuss the modalities for verification and monitoring by the IAEA of the shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear facility.

In his letter of reply today, Dr. ElBaradei said that a team headed by IAEA Deputy Director-General for Safeguards, Olli Heinonen, will travel to Pyongyang shortly to discuss and agree on these modalities.

The team is scheduled to visit Pyongyang in the week that starts on 25 June.

ATTACKS ON AID WORKERS AROUND THE GLOBE ARE UNACCEPTABLE

UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman is expressing concern over deadly attacks on aid workers in the past week in the Central African Republic, Lebanon, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

She called such attacks unacceptable, noting that as a result, aid that is essential to the survival of millions of civilians is often scaled back.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSING FUTURE OF MONITORING COMMISSION: Asked about the fate of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), the Spokeswoman said that it was being discussed by the Security Council.

REBEL GROUP IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC AGREES TO LET CHILD SOLDIERS RETURN HOME: UNICEF announced over the weekend an agreement with the Government of Central African Republic (CAR) and the Assembly of the Union of Democratic Forces rebel group, which will allow those children associated with armed groups to be returned to their families wherever possible and be able to go to school. This will allow all of the CARs child soldiers to become children once more, says UNICEF.

U.N. AGENCIES RESPOND TO DIARRHOEA OUTBREAK IN ETHIOPIA: U.N. agencies are continuing to respond to a yearlong outbreak of Acute Watery Diarrhoea in Ethiopia that has killed nearly 900 people and affected tens of thousands more. The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided nearly $60,000 to health authorities in Oromiya and Somali regions for training of medical staff and procurement of essential drugs, as well as for monitoring and surveillance activities.

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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