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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-06-25

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

Monday, June 25, 2007

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS TERRORIST ATTACK ON U.N. PEACEKEEPERS IN LEBANON

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is deeply saddened by and condemns in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attack on a United Nations patrol in South Lebanon yesterday that killed six and injured two other United Nations peacekeepers belonging to the Spanish contingent. He calls for a full investigation into this very disturbing incident and hopes that the Government of Lebanon will succeed in its efforts to bring to justice those responsible.

The Secretary-General notes the fragility of the situation in Lebanon and reiterates the importance of the UN Interim Force in Lebanons UNIFIL's mandate for stability in the area. Targeting of UNIFIL is in fact an attempt to undermine peace and security in the region and in particular the Lebanese and international efforts to stabilise the situation in Southern Lebanon within the framework of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

The Secretary-General extends his sincere condolences to the families of the fallen peacekeepers and to the government of Spain and the peoples of Spain and Colombia. He reiterates his support to the UNIFIL troops in their unwavering commitment to fulfill their mandate under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 in close collaboration with the army and authorities of Lebanon.

UNIFIL IS INVESTIGATING BOMB ATTACK IN KHIAM

Peacekeepers from the Spanish contingent in UNIFIL were on a patrol in the Khiam area when the explosion occurred. UNIFIL has an investigation under way to determine the circumstances. Initial findings show that the attack involved the remote-controlled detonation of a car bomb along a main road between Khiam and Marjayoun, where the Spanish contingent is headquartered.

The UNIFIL Force Commander, Major General Claudio Graziano, said, This is the most serious incident since the end of the war last summer He stressed that all UNIFIL troops remain committed more than ever to its mission and resolve to implement the tasks mandated by the Security Council.

The Security Council, meanwhile, received a briefing on the Lebanon attack from Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi. It then adopted a Presidential Statement condemning the attack in the strongest terms, and appealing to all parties concerned to abide scrupulously by their obligation to respect the safety of UNIFIL and other UN personnel.

Asked whether the Secretary-General has been briefed on the security situation in southern Lebanon, the Spokeswoman said that he had been fully briefed, and has been closely following developments on the ground. She noted that he met today in Paris with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

Asked about UNIFILs security measures, the Spokeswoman declined to comment at length on security issues but asserted that UN security is consistently being monitored, especially in fragile areas. If peacekeepers found that a change in the security situation was warranted, they would act accordingly.

BAN KI-MOON IN PARIS FOR TALKS ON SITUATION IN DARFUR

The Secretary-General attended todays High-level Meeting in Paris of the Expanded Contact Group to discuss the way forward in addressing the situation in

Darfur.

At a press conference, the Secretary-General said that he believes todays meeting has helped generate additional momentum and has confirmed the concrete steps that key international stakeholders should take to move cohesively toward the common objective of ending the suffering of the people of Darfur.

As for the United Nations, the Secretary-General said it is maintaining its focus on four distinct tracks, which are: the political process, peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, and reconstruction and development in Darfur.

He noted considerable progress with respect to the Hybrid Operation, as well as in reinvigorating political dialogue among the parties.

The Special Envoys of the African Union and the UN have developed a roadmap to negotiations, with the objective of restarting peace talks by the end of the summer.

While in Paris, the Secretary-General also attended a luncheon hosted by Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner of France.

On the sidelines of the meeting, he met with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He also had meetings scheduled with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and President Nicolas Sarkozy before flying back to New York.

He is expected back at headquarters on Tuesday.

Also attending that meeting from the United Nations were the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for Darfur, Jan Eliasson, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno and Margareta Wahlstrom, Assistant Secretary-General for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The UN mission in Sudan, meanwhile, reports that the Senior Adviser to the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Darfur, Pekka Haavisto, visited Sudan from 20 to 24 June. During his visit, he held extensive consultations with various stakeholders on the status of implementation of the roadmap.

The mission continues to report violent attacks on civilians and aid workers and convoys in Darfur.

Asked whether the lack of attendance by Sudan and the African Union of the meeting could complicate efforts to deploy the UN-AU hybrid force, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General, in his press comments, had made clear the momentum created by the agreement among Sudan, the AU and the UN on the hybrid force.

He is working with his senior officials, including Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno and Special Envoy for Darfur Jan Eliasson, to galvanise efforts to find a solution to Darfur as soon as possible.

Asked about President Omar al-Bashirs reported comments rejecting the deployment of non-African peacekeepers, Okabe said that the United Nations has consistently said that the emphasis will be on trying to get as many African troops as possible, while trying to ensure that the force on the ground is as effective as possible.

U.N. HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR FOR OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY CONDEMNS ATTACK AT CROSSING

Kevin Kennedy, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the

occupied Palestinian territory, condemned todays rocket attacks on the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza, which directly led to the closure of that crossing.

Such attacks, he said, are completely unacceptable and endanger the provision of vital humanitarian assistance to the civilian population of Gaza. He called on all parties to respect international humanitarian law.

Kennedy continues to work with all parties to ensure appropriate security and access conditions for the passage of humanitarian goods at key crossing points into Gaza.

Asked whether the Middle East Quartet would appoint Tony Blair as its envoy, the Spokeswoman said she had nothing further to say following the confirmation last week that the matter had been discussed. She noted that the envoys of the Quartet would meet in the region on Tuesday.

U.N. IRAQ ENVOY CONDEMNS SUICIDE BOMBING OF BAGHDAD HOTEL

Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, condemned the suicide attack in Al Mansour Melia Hotel, which killed and injured dozens of Iraqi civilians. Qazi described the attack, which targeted a meeting of Iraqi tribal leaders seeking to resolve differences and chart a path to reconciliation, as a deplorable crime aimed at sabotaging efforts to promote a peaceful resolution. He called on the Iraqi authorities to pursue the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

In a separate development, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) commends the Review Committee for the Constitution on the delivery of its draft report to the Council of Representatives.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN NATURAL RESOURCES AND CONFLICT

The Security Council today is holding an open debate on natural resources and conflict, which is being chaired by Belgian Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht.

B. Lynn Pascoe, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told the Council that, in too many cases, the illegal exploitation of natural resources has triggered, exacerbated and prolonged armed conflict. He pointed to such cases as the fight over food and water in Somalia, the role played by conflict diamonds in Liberia, the illegal exploitation of resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the drug economy in Afghanistan.

Pascoe said that neither sanctions nor peacekeeping alone can produce sustainable solutions to the problem. What is required is a commitment on the part of all stakeholders to equitable sharing of natural resources and to good governance, accountability and transparency.

DR CONGO: U.N. MISSION WORKING TO IMPROVE SECURITY IN EASTERN PROVINCES

UN peacekeepers have taken new measures to improve assistance to the authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in their efforts to restore security and public safety in the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu.

Thats according to the UN Mission in the DRC, which adds that UN peacekeepers there have also conducted some 600 patrols in the two provinces in recent weeks, including some 330 during last week alone, in cooperation with the Congolese Army. UN peacekeeping naval units have also stepped up patrols on Lake Kivu to stop illegal traffic of firearms between the DRC and neighboring countries.

IRAN INVITES NUCLEAR AGENCY TO SEND TEAM TO TEHRAN

Ali Larijani, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, flew to Vienna last night to meet with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed ElBaradei.

Larijani invited the IAEA to send a team to Tehran to

develop an action plan for resolving outstanding issues related to Irans past nuclear programme. The IAEA says it intends to send a team as early as practicable.

Asked about shortfalls in the IAEAs funding, Okabe noted that the IAEA is a specialized agency with a separate budget from that of the United Nations.

HUNDREDS KILLED IN FLOODS IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN

The United Nations remains in close contact with the relevant national authorities in India and Pakistan following the recent flooding there that reportedly killed several hundred people and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of others.

Current weather forecasts are for additional rains and severe weather over the affected areas.

NEPAL TO HOLD CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS ON NOVEMBER 22

The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) is welcoming the announcement that the Constituent Assembly election will be held on November 22, calling it a critical step in the peace process that indicated the strong commitment of the political parties to work together to form a democratically elected Assembly.

UNMIN also called on all parties to promote an atmosphere of political tolerance and to work to settle differences without violence.

WORLD DRUG REPORT TO BE LAUNCHED TUESDAY

Tuesday is the International Day against Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking, and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) will mark the day by publishing a report on the narcotics situation in the world.

Today, UNODC presented some of its findings on Afghanistan in a press briefing in Kabul, in which it said that drugs are a security issue for the country, with close links between the criminal networks dealing in drugs and the insurgents.

U.N. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ATTENDED GOVERNMENT CONFERENCE

The Spokeswoman, asked about the attendance by UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) official Guido Bertucci at a conference this week on Reinventing Government, later confirmed his attendance.

Asked about a review by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) into a UN centre at Thessaloniki, Greece, the Spokeswoman said that OIOS had issued its final report on that on 23 February. DESA, she said, discussed the report with OIOS and made further comments and clarifications.

These, she added, will be taken into account in the formal outcome of the audit that will be presented shortly in a report to the General Assembly.

Okabe emphasized strongly that there was no indication, regarding the audits findings, that the funds had been used for non-project activities. The recommendations focus largely on identifying factors which impeded the achievement of the projects objectives, with an aim of improving management practices that will strengthen the implementation of DESAs technical cooperation programme.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

FOOD SECURITY TALKS UNDERWAY IN NAIROBI: Talks on food security in the Horn of Africa got underway in Nairobi today. The two-day consultations involve representatives from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti and Uganda, as well as UN resident coordinators in those countries and donors and non-governmental organizations. The talks are being led by the Secretary-Generals Special Humanitarian Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Kjell Magne Bondevik.

TWO-DAY MEDIA SEMINAR TO FOCUS ON MIDDLE-EAST SITUATION: The United Nations is organizing a two-day media seminar to address the latest situation in the Middle East and discuss ways to re-engage the Israelis and Palestinians in the search for a comprehensive and lasting settlement. The event which starts tomorrow in Tokyowill gather some 100 participants.

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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