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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-04-09

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

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

NEPAL: BAN KI-MOON URGES RESTRAINT ON EVE OF ELECTIONS

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is deeply concerned about the violence on the eve of the Constituent Assembly election, including the killing of seven Maoists and a Unified Marxist-Leninist candidate.

He urges all parties to exercise restraint and remain calm while cooperating to allow this election to take place in a peaceful atmosphere.

He expressed appreciation for the strong commitment to the democratic process shown by Nepalese leaders across the political spectrum. The Nepalese have worked hard to reach this historic moment and deserve a credible ballot to cement democracy in Nepal.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Nepal, Ian Martin, has also

expressed deep shock over the deaths. A team from the UN Mission in Nepal is already on location investigating the deaths.

BAN KI-MOON STRONGLY DEPLORES VIOLENCE IN HAITI

The Secretary-General expresses concern at the violence resulting from the recent demonstrations in Haiti and deeply regrets the consequent loss of life.

The Secretary-General strongly deplores the attacks against the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) personnel and facilities, as well as against the Government of Haiti and private property.

The Secretary-General appeals for calm and urges all demonstrators to refrain from any further acts of violence.

The Secretary-General expresses his sympathy for the suffering that the Haitian people are enduring as a result of rising food and fuel prices.

The Secretary-General emphasizes that MINUSTAH and the UN System in Haiti will continue to support the Haitian authorities to bring emergency relief assistance to the Haitian people and to maintain public order. He encourages international donors to provide urgent assistance to Haiti to address this situation.

In Haiti, violent demonstrations against the rising cost of living are continuing in Port-au-Prince today as the nation awaits an address by the President of the Republic.

MINUSTAH has taken all necessary measures to assist the Haitian authorities in protecting key installations and institutions. Private property has been attacked and looted by demonstrators, who have set up barricades in various parts of the city.

BAN KI-MOON MEETS RUSSIAN LEADERS IN MOSCOW

The Secretary-General is in Moscow today, and he met with Russian President-elect Dmitry Medvedev, and later with President Vladimir Putin. Each meeting lasted more than an hour and a half.

The talks were cordial and covered a wide range of issues, with a particular focus on UN-Russian relations, climate change, and a review of international hot spots, including Kosovo, the

Middle East,

Afghanistan and Georgia, among other issues.

On climate change, the Secretary-General welcomed Russia's contribution to the United Nations' effort, and there was a renewed commitment to the Bali road map.

On Kosovo, the Secretary-General stressed the need for a pragmatic approach by all major stake-holders. He reaffirmed the UNs position of being status-neutral in Kosovo and operating in accordance with Security Council resolution 1244.

The Secretary-General expressed appreciation for Russia's growing contribution to international humanitarian efforts, and hoped that there would be a continued increase in Russia's commitment in this area.

SECURITY COUNCIL IS CONCERNED OVER SITUATION

IN CHAD AND CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

The Security Council today heard about the UN Mission in Chad and the Central African Republic (MINURCAT) in its closed consultations.

Council members received a briefing on the Mission from Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet.

The Council President, Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo of South Africa, then read out a statement following consultations, saying that Council members reiterated their concern at the situation in eastern Chad and north-eastern Central African Republic, in particular on the humanitarian level. They welcomed the progress in the deployment of MINURCAT and the European Force.

Yesterday afternoon, the head of the International Independent Investigation Commission dealing with Lebanon, Daniel Bellemare, briefed the Council on his investigators work. He said that, while the preparatory steps for the establishment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon are continuing, the Council should consider extending the mandate of the Commission beyond the date of June 15, 2008. This would give the Commission the needed time to continue its investigation, he said.

DARFUR ENVOYS DISCUSS WAY FORWARD FOR PEACE PROCESS

The United Nations and African Union Special Envoys for

Darfur, Jan Eliasson and Salim Ahmed Salim, continued their visit to Sudan today with a trip to Juba in southern Sudan where they met with the First Vice President, Salva Kiir and members of the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement Task Force on Darfur.

They also met with the newly formed United Resistance Movement (URF) alliance that brings together five Movements.

They briefed their audience about last months meeting in Geneva with the regional partners and the international community and discussed the way forward for the political process.

They will be back in Sudans Darfur region on April 16 during which they are expected to meet with Darfur's Movements and Civil Society.

Also on Darfur, according to an

update from the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Joint AU-UN Special Representative Rodolphe Adada and Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor have discussed issues related to normalization between Chad and Sudan, within the context of the Dakar Agreement.

A meeting to follow-up on the implementation of the agreement is due to take place in Libreville, Gabon, tomorrow, and Adada will attend as an observer.

The Secretary-General attaches great importance to normalization between Chad and Sudan, which has a direct impact over security and stability in Darfur and the entire region. It is crucial that the two countries remain steadfast in their resolve to restore peace and stability along their shared border,Adada is quoted as saying.

UNAMID also said that Adada is expected, on the 22nd of April, to deliver to the Security Council the latest UNAMID report by the Secretary-General.

He will also participate in a joint meeting between the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council on Africa, on the 17th of April, which is expected to discuss a number of African issues, including Darfur.

In response to a question, the Spokeswoman added that Eliasson and Salim started their visit yesterday to push forward the Darfur political process, an effort which is greatly needed.

U.N. ENVOY PROMISES TO ADDRESS AFGHAN GOVERNMENT CONCERNS

Kai Eide, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Afghanistan, gave his first press conference in Kabul today, underscoring that all his efforts will be based on Afghan leadership and that he will listen closely to the concerns and priorities of the Afghan Government.

Eide said that the summit that took place in Bucharest, Romania, last week was very encouraging for the UN Mission in Afghanistan, since it reaffirmed that the international community wants a stronger UN role in the country.

He added that the conference displayed a strong international commitment to help Afghanistan not just by increasing troop levels but also by strengthening efforts in reconstruction and development and in governance.

U.N. AGENCIES WARN ABOUT SPIRALING FOOD PRICES

A top World Food Programme (WFP) official today warned about the rise of a new face of hunger that will require the combined efforts of governments, the private sector, and humanitarian organizations to overcome.

Speaking at a humanitarian aid conference in Dubai, WFP Deputy Executive Director John Powell said that food prices are rising at rates that few people have seen in their lifetimes. He expressed particular concern about the fact that markets are full of food, but large numbers of people simply cannot afford to buy any.

Yesterday, at the same conference, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes warned that rising food prices could spark worldwide unrest and threaten political stability.

Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is calling for urgent measures to reduce the impact of high food prices on the poor. Jacques Diouf made that appeal at the first-ever Global Agro-Industries Forum in New Delhi, India. That conference has been sponsored by UN agencies to focus on how such industries can contribute to poverty reduction.

FISTULA SURGERY CAMP IN BANGLADESH OFFERS TREATMENT/TRAINING

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) says that it has helped 29 Bangladeshi women suffering from obstetric fistula successfully to undergo repair surgery. The operations were conducted last week in the Bangladeshi town of Sylhet during a three-day training session for medical staff from four Asian countries.

UNFPA says that the seminar was part of a national effort to increase the number of doctors and nurses with skills to treat fistulae, internal wounds in a womans reproductive organs that cause incontinence.

Some 1,200 Bangladeshis have undergone fistula surgery since 2003, when the UNFPA-led Global Campaign to End Fistula began providing medical equipment and financial support for training efforts and patient rehabilitation.

UNESCO TO GIVE PRESS FREEDOM AWARD TO MEXICAN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST

UNESCO today

announced this years winner of the Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. The award goes to Lydia Cacho Ribeiro, a freelance reporter based in Cancun, Mexico, who contributes to the daily newspaper La Voz del Caribe.

The prize jury cited her courage in exposing political corruption, organized crime and domestic violence in the face of death threats, an attempt on her life, and police harassment.

Her investigations have uncovered the involvement of businessmen, politicians and drug traffickers in prostitution and child pornography. She has also reported on the violent death of hundreds of young women in the northern city of Ciudad Juarez.

Ms. Cacho will receive the prize in a ceremony on World Press Freedom Day, which is May 3rd.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

BAN KI-MOON HAS NOTED PROGRESS MADE BY U.N. MISSION IN DR CONGO: Asked about reported criticism by a Belgian official of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General, in his report on that Mission issued yesterday, had outlined the progress that has been made there, as well as the remaining challenges. She noted that the mandate of MONUC is in the hands of the Security Council.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055

to the Spokesperson's Page


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