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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-04-10
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, April 10, 2008
BAN KI-MOON STRONGLY CONDEMNS ATTACK ON DARFUR PEACEKEEPERS
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is very troubled by the 9 April attack on United NationsAfrican Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) police personnel outside of the Zam Zam camp for internally displaced persons near El Fasher.
One UNAMID police officer was injured and two UN vehicles were hijacked by four unidentified gunmen in the incident.
The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms such attacks on UNAMID personnel who have been deployed to Darfur to contribute to peace and stability.
He calls on both the Government of Sudan and the rebel movements to ensure that UNAMID is able to fully implement its mandate.
According to a press release issued by UNAMID, one UNAMID police officer was injured and two vehicles hijacked when four unidentified gunmen attacked a UNAMID Police Patrol Wednesday afternoon only 2 kilometers north of the Zam Zam camp.
Sudanese police recovered one of the vehicles while the other remains missing.
The UNAMID Police team was returning from a routine patrol at the IDP camp when they were stopped by four armed men. The officers were ordered to dismount their vehicles, and were robbed of personal belongings and official identification cards. One officer was repeatedly hit in the neck by one of the assailants using the back of an AK 47, according to the Mission. The injured officer was later taken to UNAMIDs level II hospital for treatment. His condition is stable.
An investigation is underway and will continue until the perpetrators are brought to justice.
UNAMID police in Darfur carryout daily assignments designed to provide a safer environment for civilians, particularly the more vulnerable groups, such as the internally displaced and women. The protection of civilians is one of the main tasks in UNAMIDs mandate in Darfur.
BAN KI-MOON CONGRATULATES NEPAL ON ORDERLY/PEACEFUL ELECTION
The Secretary-General congratulates the people of Nepal on todays Constituent Assembly election which took place in a generally orderly and peaceful atmosphere.
He commends the Nepalese for their enthusiastic participation in this historical event and appeals to all parties to remain calm while awaiting the results.
BAN KI-MOON COMPLETES SECOND DAY OF OFFICIAL VISIT TO RUSSIA
Today in Moscow, the Secretary-General launched a Global Compact Network in Russia during a meeting with over 30 top executives of Russian businesses.
He welcomed todays launch of the Global Compact Network in Russia as a great sign that Russian businesses, representing one of the worlds largest economies, are putting their weight behind the universal values of the United Nations.
After that, the Secretary-General traveled to the State Duma, where he met with the Dumas First Deputy Chairman, Oleg Morozov. They discussed the important role Parliaments can play and the challenges the United Nations faces today not just conflict issues, but poverty, diseases, climate change, the illegal trade of small arms and gender balance.
Afterward, the Secretary-General went to Moscow University, where he delivered a speech in which he affirmed his expectation that Russias engagement in the United Nations will keep pace with the challenges and opportunities we face.
Since then, he has met with religious leaders from the Russian Orthodox and Catholic churches, as well as Muslim and Jewish representatives, before later meeting with Patriarch Alexiy II in the oldest monastery in Moscow. In those meetings, he discussed the Alliance of Civilizations; the importance of tolerance, human dignity and social justice; the protection of holy sites in Kosovo and Islamophobia.
This evening, the Secretary-General first had a tête-à-tête meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and they are following that up with a larger meeting and then a press conference.
Asked about a phone call between the Secretary-General and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Spokeswoman confirmed that they had spoken on Tuesday morning.
BAN KI-MOON CONDEMNS DEADLY ATTACK IN SOUTHERN ISRAEL AND GAZA
The Spokesperson issued the following statement yesterday afternoon.
The Secretary-General condemns the terrorist attack today by Palestinian militants against the Nahal Oz depot in southern Israel, in which two Israeli civilian contractors working to supply fuel to the Gaza Strip were killed and others injured.
He is gravely concerned at the prospect of an escalation in violence, and, while recognizing Israel's legitimate right to self-defense, deplores the reported civilian casualties among Palestinians during Israeli military operations this afternoon.
The United Nations calls for the protection of all civilians in the conflict.
COTE D'IVOIRE: PRE-ELECTORAL IDENTIFICATION PROCESS IS ON TRACK
The Electoral Division of the UN Mission in Côte d'Ivoire (ONUCI) says that good progress is being made in the identification of the population ahead of general elections.
According to figures released by the Mission today, some 7,400 audiences foraines or public hearings were conducted in 11 provinces with more than half a million applications for birth certificates filed.
Of these, 480,000 applicants were given new birth certificates, which will allow them to formally seek recognition of their right to citizenship, which in turn should allow them to cast their ballots during the elections.
The right to citizenship or its denial to some has been among the root causes of the conflict in Côte d'Ivoire.
The public hearings are being facilitated by the Mission, whose radio station has helped garner public interest in the operation by broadcasting detailed daily reports on its progress.
SIERRA LEONE: PROVINCIAL HUMAN RIGHTS MONITORS
RECEIVE OFFICES AND EQUIPMENT
Starting tomorrow, the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) will be handing over resource centers and office equipment to human rights committees in three districts.
The initiative is funded by the Programme of Assistance of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which seeks to enhance the capacity of rural authorities and empower civil society groups to protect and promote human rights.
The United Nations has also helped train district-level human rights monitors and will continue to ensure that their work receives appropriate visibility and follow-up by higher or national authorities whenever necessary.
PEACEKEEPERS CASH DONATIONS ADD NEW CLASSROOMS
TO A LIBERIAN SCHOOL
The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has handed over a newly-constructed block of three classrooms and a Headmasters office to a local town not far from the capital, Monrovia.
Construction was made possible through voluntary individual financial contributions and efforts by Nigerian peacekeepers from UNMILs Nigerian Battalion 15.
BAN KI-MOON TO APPOINT TOP U.N. OFFICIALS FOR LEBANON AND CYPRUS
The Secretary-General has informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Johan Verbeke of Belgium as the Special Coordinator for Lebanon, the senior official coordinating the UNs work in that country; he would replace Geir Pedersen of Norway.
Since September 2004, Ambassador Verbeke has been the Permanent Representative of Belgium to the United Nations, and, in this capacity, he has served on the Security Council as well as on the Peacebuilding Commission.
The Secretary-General also informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Tayé-Brook Zerihoun of Ethiopia as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Cyprus and Head of UNFICYP. He will replace Michael Moller.
Mr. Zerihoun is currently the Secretary-Generals Principal Deputy Special Representative in the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS). He has been serving also as Chief UN Mediator for the Darfur Peace Talks since October 2007, in support of the efforts of Special Envoy Jan Eliasson.
We await the Security Councils response to the Secretary-Generals letters.
MYANMAR IS URGED TO ENSURE
INCLUSIVE AND CREDIBLE CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM
In response to questions asked about the UNs reaction to the announcement of a date for the referendum in Myanmar, the announcement yesterday by the Myanmar authorities that the planned constitutional referendum will be held on 10 May confirms the timeframe announced by the Government in February.
What is more important for the United Nations and the international community is that the Government honors its stated commitment to a free and fair process.
In this regard, the United Nations once more strongly urges the authorities in Myanmar to ensure that conditions will be put in place that are conducive to making the referendum inclusive and credible.
BAN KI-MOON HAS CONVEYED TO BEIJING HIS POSITION ON TRAVEL PLANS
In response to another question about the Secretary-Generals travel plans regarding an invitation to attend the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing, the Secretary-General had conveyed to the Chinese Government some months ago that he may not be in a position to attend this important event as a result of scheduling issues.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals schedule, the Spokeswoman declined to provide further details for now, noting that the standard practice is to announce the Secretary-Generals travel plans seven to ten days before he travels. She said, in any case, a substantive trip to China is being planned.
Asked when Beijing had been informed of the Secretary-Generals plans, Okabe said that it had been several months ago.
**The guest at noon was Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, who discussed the outcome of the first round of negotiations on a new global climate change agreement in the recent Bangkok Climate Change Talks.**
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