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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-06-27

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

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

TONY BLAIR NAMED MIDDLE EAST QUARTET REPRESENTATIVE

Quartet Principals noted that recent events in Gaza and the West Bank make it more urgent than ever that we advance the search for peace in the Middle East, the Quartet said in a statement.

The Quartet reaffirms its objective to promote an end to the conflict in conformity with the Roadmap and expresses its intention to redouble its efforts in that regard. The urgency of recent events has reinforced the need for the international community, bearing in mind the obligations of the parties, to help Palestinians as they build the institutions and economy of a viable state in Gaza and the West Bank, able to take its place as a peaceful and prosperous partner to Israel and its other neighbors.

To facilitate efforts to these ends, following discussions among the Principals, today the Quartet announced the appointment of Tony Blair as the Quartet Representative. Mr. Blair, who is stepping down from office this week, has long demonstrated his commitment on these issues.

As Quartet Representative, he will:

- Mobilize international assistance to the Palestinians, working closely with donors and existing coordination bodies;

- Help to identify, and secure appropriate international support in addressing, the institutional governance needs of the Palestinian state, focusing as a matter of urgency on the rule of law;

- Develop plans to promote Palestinian economic development, including private sector partnerships, building on previously agreed frameworks, especially concerning access and movement; and

- Liaise with other countries as appropriate in support of the agreed Quartet objectives.

As Representative, Tony Blair will bring continuity and intensity of focus to the work of the Quartet in support of the Palestinians, within the broader framework of the Quartet's efforts to promote an end to the conflict in conformity with the Roadmap. He will spend significant time in the region working with the parties and others to help create viable and lasting government institutions representing all Palestinians, a robust economy, and a climate of law and order for the Palestinian people.

Tony Blair will be supported in this work by a small team of experts, based in Jerusalem, to be seconded by partner countries and institutions.

The Quartet representative will report to and consult regularly with the Quartet and be guided by it as necessary.

The Quartet looks forward to welcoming Mr. Blair at its next meeting.

Asked whether the United Nations had approved of setting up an office in Jerusalem, the Spokeswoman said that the Quartets statement represented the consensus view of all its principal members, including the Secretary-General.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals reaction to the appointment, she said that his views were contained in the joint statement.

Asked with whom the Secretary-General consults on the UNs position in Quartet affairs, Montas said that the Secretary-General had made a point of reporting to the General Assembly and the Security Council on Quartet decisions. She added that the Secretary-General himself is one of the principal members of the Quartet.

BAN KI-MOON TO TRAVEL TO FIVE COUNTRIES IN EUROPE

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is planning to travel to Europe starting this weekend.His first stop is Geneva, where he is scheduled to open the High-Level segment of the Economic and Social Council.

From Geneva, he is expected to travel to Italy where he will attend in Rome the Conference on the Rule of Law in Afghanistan.

He is then back in Geneva for the Global Compact Leaders Summit.

An official visit to Portugal is to follow. The next stop is Brussels, where he plans to attend the Global Forum on Migration and Development.

The last leg is an official visit to the United Kingdom.

The Secretary-General is expected to be back in New York on July 12.

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON AU-UN FORCE DEPLOYMENT IN DARFUR

The Security Council this morning heard in closed consultations a briefing by Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi, concerning the timeline for the deployment of the UN-African Union hybrid force in

Darfur. He is also briefing on this week's enlarged contact group meeting on Darfur.

Also today, the Council will discuss the work of the sanctions committee dealing with Somalia.

REPORT ON LEBANON BORDER ASSESSMENT SENT TO SECURITY COUNCIL

The Secretary-General yesterday afternoon transmitted to Security Council the report of the Lebanon Independent Border Assessment Team, which he had establish to deal with the monitoring of that countrys borders.

In a letter to the Council President, the Secretary-General said he fully supports the Border Assessment Teams recommendations. He will provide further substantive comments in his own report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701; that report is currently being finalized.

The Secretary-General commends the members of the Team for their professional work and supports the recommendations they have made in their report. It is clear that efforts are required from the Lebanese Government, with the support of the international community, to develop a more efficient system for border management in Lebanon.

The Secretary-General also concurs with the recommendation that Syria should cooperate with the Lebanese authorities, noting that Syria has a shared responsibility in controlling its borders with Lebanon and in implementing resolution 1701 (2006).

Asked whether the report on resolution 1701 would be completed today, the Spokeswoman said that was not expected.

Asked about reports that Spanish troops for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) lacked a specific type of equipment, known as frequency inhibitors, the Spokeswoman noted that all the equipment used by the contingents is national in origin; the United Nations does not provide it.

This is the first time in more than 20 years that UNIFIL has faced this kind of terrorist attack, she said.

Montas added that the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations is constantly engaged with troop-contributing countries in discussions on a range of issues, such as the rules of engagement and the equipment being used.

Asked about rumours concerning who attacked the Spanish troops, the Spokeswoman said that UNIFIL and the Spanish Government are both investigating the attack.

U.N. MISSION SENDS CONDOLENCES IN WAKE OF DEATH OF SUDANESE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR

The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) says it has learned with shock and sadness of the passing early this morning of Presidential Advisor Dr. Majzoub Al Khalifa.

UNMIS expresses its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Majzoub Al Khalifa, who it says was one of the key interlocutors of the mission since its inception.

The mission, in a press release, said that he will be remembered as a tenacious negotiator and a high caliber statesman, and for his contribution to the peaceful resolution of the Darfur conflict through the Abuja peace process and subsequent negotiations, in the context of the Addis Ababa conclusions of November last year.

In its weekly briefing, meanwhile the UNMIS notes a recent surge in car-jacking, killings, abductions, and rape in West Darfur.

U.N. POPULATION FUND EXPERTS VISIT SOUTH SUDAN

A team of experts from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is currently visiting Juba, in South Sudan. They will travel across the region to review reproductive health conditions there. The team will then help develop a five-year national Plan of Action.

According to last years Sudan Household Survey, the maternal mortality rate in Southern Sudan was more than two thousand per hundred thousand live births the highest in the world.

PEACEBUILDING COMMISSION MARKS END OF FIRST YEAR OF WORK

The Secretary-General today addressed the conclusion of the first session of the UN Peacebuilding Commission.

He congratulated the Commission for its work, and its efforts to help the people of Burundi and Sierra Leone over the past year.

I am proud to be associated with your first year, and your important achievements, the Secretary-General said. He asserted that the Peacebuilding Commission has a long and exciting future in front of it, and said that the entire UN system will continue to offer its full support.

DESPITE ECONOMIC IMPROVEMENTS,

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC CONTINUES TO FACE SECURITY THREATS

Out today is the Secretary-Generals latest report on the Central African Republic and the work of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in that country.

In it, he says that while the countrys economy has seen relative improvement this year, with new World

Bank and IMF-backed poverty-reduction programmes, widespread highway banditry and rebel activities are damaging the prospects for improvement in the security and humanitarian conditions.

In the northern parts of the country, where security is most volatile, UN agencies have intensified the protection of the internally displaced and distribution of emergency supplies. UN agencies have also carried out the voluntary repatriation of close to 10,000 Sudanese refugees and are poised to do the same for Congolese refugees.

Among his recommendations to the Republics leadership, the Secretary-General calls for an inclusive political dialogue, pledging UN support to such a dialogue.

He also condemns the continued attacks on humanitarian workers and welcomed the Central African Economic and Monetary Community to extend the mandate of its multinational force deployed there until December 31. The African Union and European Union should continue to provide political and financial support to the Force.

TIMOR-LESTE: OFFICIAL CAMPAIGN PERIOD

FOR PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION ENDS

The official campaign period for Timor Lestes parliamentary elections is ending today and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in that country has welcomed its largely peaceful conduct.

Atul Khare said, in a statement, that local political parties have acted in the spirit of the Political Party Accord and Code of Conduct signed last month when they made their case to Timorese voters without resorting to violence or inflammatory language.

The actual voting is expected to take place on Saturday.

SIGNIFICANT STRIDES NOTED IN RESPONSE TO AVIAN INFLUENZA

The Food and Agriculture Organization says that response to avian influenza has significantly improved. It noted that -- in the last six months -- the deadly H5N1 virus was introduced in some 15 countries but was rapidly detected and controlled.

The UN Agency, however, warns against complacency. It stresses that recent outbreaks are a clear reminder that the virus still succeeds in spreading to new countries and that there are still serious concerns with the situations in Egypt, Indonesia and Nigeria.

POPULATION OF AFRICAN AND ASIAN CITIES EXPECTED TO DOUBLE BY 2030

The population of African and Asian cities will double by 2030, according to a new report issued today by the United Nations Population Fund.

The" State of World Population 2007: Unleashing the potential of Urban Growth" states that urbanization is inevitable and calls for policymakers to harness the potential of cities to improve the lives of all.

UNESCO ADDS THREE NEW SITES TO WORLD HERITAGE LIST

Three new sites have been added to the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) World Heritage List.

The World Heritage Committee which is meeting this week in New Zealand - has decided to inscribe the Atsinanana Rainforests in Madagascar for their role in maintaining the countrys biodiversity and protecting the threatened species they support.

Also added to the list are the South China Karst and the Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes in the Republic of Korea.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

NO U.N. INVESTIGATION PLANNED INTO RECENT DEATHS BLAMED ON COALITION FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN: Asked whether the United Nations would investigate recent deaths blamed on coalition forces in Afghanistan, the Spokeswoman said there would be no UN investigation, but added that there has been great concern at the United Nations about recent events.

U.N. PREPARED TO HELP WITH FLOODING IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN: Asked whether the United Nations would help deal with the problems caused by the floods in India and Pakistan, the Spokeswoman recalled the statement issued on Tuesday by the Secretary-General, in which the United Nations offered to help, and she said it would do so if the countries asked for UN assistance.

  • The guests t the briefing were Ann Erb Leoncavallo, Speechwriter in the Office of the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Anika Rahman, President of Americans for UNFPA, who launched the State of the World Population 2007 report.

    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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