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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-06-26

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 MICHELE

MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N.

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

BAN KI-MOON REAFFIRMS U.N. READINESS

TO ASSIST FLOOD VICTIMS IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is deeply concerned by the loss of life and serious damage caused by severe storms and flooding in parts of India and Pakistan. He extends his condolences to the victims and their families, and the Governments of both countries.

Commending the prompt and effective response to this disaster in both countries, the Secretary-General reaffirms the United Nations readiness to support national and local efforts to provide emergency assistance to the survivors.

According to the UN relief agencies on the ground, recent storms, combined with Tropical cyclone Yemyn which made landfall this morning in Pakistan's province of Balochistan have caused significant damage in both Pakistan and India, causing hundreds of deaths and bringing commercial activity in Karachi to a halt.

The United Nations remains in contact with both Governments and is ready to provide relief if so requested.

BAN KI-MOON CALLS FOR FINANCIAL AND POLITICAL SUPPORT

OF AU-U.N. HYBRID FORCE

The Secretary General was satisfied with the meeting in Paris, which he felt was a constructive conference that will contribute to the efforts towards a solution of the Darfur crisis.

The participants at the Paris conference reconfirmed the central role of the UN in the political, security and humanitarian domains in Darfur as well as its role in the future development of the Sudanese province.

The Secretary-General called for support to the AU/UN hybrid force both financially and politically. During the press conference, he spoke of slow but credible and considerable progress in recent months to resolve the crisis.

Asked whether the African Union had not been invited to the Paris meeting, the Spokeswoman underscored that the Secretary-General was not the organizer of that meeting, which was a French initiative.

She said that the AU was not present, but noted that the Secretary-General had urged the meetings participants to support the African troops on the ground. The Secretary-General, Montas added, has been speaking regularly with AU Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konaré.

Asked about a meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Montas said that the Secretary-General had met, for about 10 minutes, with the Prime Minister following the Darfur meeting. The meeting came at the Prime Ministers request. She said they discussed the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the killing of six UNIFIL soldiers from the Spanish contingent on Sunday, and had also talked about the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

SECURITY COUNCIL IS BRIEFED ON RECENT MISSION TO AFRICA

This morning, the leaders of the Security Councils recent mission to Africa briefed on their trip.

In his remarks, Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo of South Africa, who co-chaired the first segment of the mission, noted that the delegation and the African Unions Peace and Security Council have come to an agreement on peace and security issues.

There should be, he said, an exchange of views between the Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council to study how the United Nations, on a case by case basis, can assist the AU in restoring and maintaining peace and security on behalf of the international community.

Ambassador Emyr Jones-Parry of the United Kingdom, who co-chaired the first part of the trip with Ambassador Kumalo, said in his comments that such agreements would bring about coherence not just in peacekeeping but also in disarmament, demobilization and reinsertion and in security sector reform.

Ambassador Jones-Parry also said that the delegation briefed the AU Peace and Security on Somalia and emphasized the need for reconciliation and political inclusiveness in Somalia.

Both Jones-Parry and Kumalo also briefed on meetings with Sudanese officials in Khartoum and with the AU chairman, Ghana's President John Kufuor, in Accra. Jones-Parry welcomed the confirmation by Sudan of the agreement with the UN and the AU on the deployment of a hybrid force for Darfur but cautioned against complacency in ensuring that Sudan hold its end of the bargain.

REFUGEES ON IRAQ-SYRIA BORDER NEED URGENT MEDICAL CARE

The UN Refugee Agency is expressing concern about the plight of some 14-hundred Palestinians who have fled Baghdad and are now stranded in camps on the Iraq-Syria border.

A team from UNHCR visited the Al Waleed camp last week, where it found an urgent need for medical care. The agency is trying to help but says that the lack of access to proper water, sanitation, care and shelter in addition to a snake and scorpion infestation is making the situation nearly impossible.

High temperatures and sandstorms are adding to the misery, and refugees and relief agencies have also faced armed threats from local Iraqis, UNHCR says. It is calling on the international community to do more to help.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL ADDRESSES OPENING

OF SEVENTH GLOBAL FORUM IN VIENNA

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro is in Vienna, where she delivered the opening statement at the Seventh Global Forum, Re-Inventing Government.

Trust remains in short supply and yet it is a critical component of governance in all countries, the Deputy-Secretary-General told more than 2,000 delegates from 150 countries. Clearly, trust in government, and in governance, needs to be restored, she said, adding that there was evidence from both the developing and developed world that the governed have very limited trust in their governments.

She urged delegates to examine how governments can better manage and meet the expectations of their citizens.

From Vienna, the Deputy Secretary-General is scheduled to travel to Guinea Bissau, the second leg of her trip that will also take her to the African Union Summit in Accra.

SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES MIDDLE EAST MEDIA SEMINAR

TO EXPLORE CREATIVE APPROACHES

A two-day media seminar, organized by the UN to address the latest situation in the Middle East and discuss ways to re-engage the Israelis and Palestinians in the peace process, got underway today in Tokyo.

Delivering a message from the Secretary-General, Under-Secretary-General for Public Information, Kiyo Akasaka, expressed concern about recent intra-Palestinian violence and about the fact that Israeli and Palestinian societies stand further apart than ever before.

He urged conference participants to come up with creative solutions for spreading the message of peace and coexistence.

U.N. AND GOVERNMENTS AGREE ON ROAD MAP

TO TACKLE RISING HUNGER IN HORN OF AFRICA

Six African Governments and the United Nations today agreed on a road map to tackle the root causes of rising hunger across the Horn of Africa, and they warned that the next major crisis could affect more than 20 million people.

The road map came out at the end of two-day talks in Nairobi that brought together various UN humanitarian and food agencies with representatives from Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda.

Kjell Magne Bondevik, the UNs Special Humanitarian Envoy to the Horn of Africa, said that the biggest challenge is to scale up successes to extinguish hunger in the Horn of Africa, rather than just fighting fires each time one breaks out.

ZIMBABWES ECONOMIC SITUATION SERIOUSLY AFFECTING CHILDREN

UNICEF today said that it is deeply concerned about the increased suffering of children in Zimbabwe, a situation the agency had blamed on the grave economic problems facing the country.

Zimbabwe continues to face severe shortages of medicine, key health and education staff, and is also going through yet another drought, in addition to having inflation rate at 4,530 per cent. All these woes have seriously affected childrens access to the basic elements of a decent and healthy childhood, including affordable education, food, clothing and shelter, the agency said.

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS AND SENEGALS NIOKOLO-KOBA NATIONAL PARK

ADDED TO UNESCOS WORLD HERITAGE "IN DANGER" LIST

UNESCOs World Heritage Committee, which is meeting all this week in Christchurch, New Zealand, has

added two new sites to its list of World Heritage in Danger.

Ecuadors Galapagos Islands are threatened by invasive species and by changes caused by growing tourism and immigration,

UNESCO says.

Meanwhile, the Niokolo-Koba National Park in Senegal which is home to elephants, lions, chimpanzees and other animals is facing threats from poachers and plans for a dam on the Gambia River just a few kilometers upstream.

Asked about UNESCOs intention to perform

reconstruction work in Iraq as soon as security conditions are guaranteed, the Spokeswoman said that the UN role in Iraq has been limited by security conditions, and the UNESCO work would begin once it became possible to do it.

BAN KI-MOON UNDERLINES NEED FOR PREVENTION AND TREATMENT

Today is the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

In a message, the Secretary-General stressed that drug abuse could be prevented, treated and controlled. He urged Member States to devote more attention to early detection, to the prevention of diseases spread through drug use and to the treatment of all addictions.

Also marking the occasion, the Executive Director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, said more investment was needed to fight drug addiction and underlined the need to continue to push back against drugs.

UNODC is launching its 2007 World Drug Report. It provides evidence that the world drug problem is overall being controlled despite some remaining problems such as the opium production in Afghanistan.

BAN KI-MOON URGES COUNTRIES TO ACCEDE TO

CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE

On the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture which is also todaythe Secretary-General reaffirmed the need for a global commitment to rehabilitate all victims of such abuse. He urged all UN Member States to accede to the Convention Against Torture which came into force 20 years ago today.

The Secretary-General also urged Member States to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances which opened for signature in the past year.

High Commissioner Louise Arbour also

called on states to cooperate with the Committee against Torture and follow its requests to not deport individuals to countries where they run the risk of being tortured.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

LEBANON BORDER ASSESSMENT TEAM REPORT IS TRANSMITTED TO SECURITY COUNCIL: Asked whether the Security Council has received a report by the Border Assessment Team sent to Lebanon, the Spokeswoman said after the briefing that the Secretary-General transmitted that report to the Security Council. She added that the report was not yet public, and declined to comment on leaks concerning it.

NO DECISION YET ON POSSIBLE APPOINTMENT OF QUARTET ENVOY: Asked whether Tony Blair will be made an envoy of the Middle East Quartet, the Spokeswoman said that a decision has not been announced, and any announcement will be jointly made by the principal members of the Quartet.

SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS NOT RECEIVED LETTER FROM RWANDAN GENOCIDE SURVIVORS: Asked about a letter from survivors of the Rwandan genocide that was addressed to the Secretary-General, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General has not received that letter.

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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