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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-04-15

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

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

CAMBODIA: 10th ANNIVERSARY OF POL POTS DEATH

HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR CLOSURE

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the death of Pol Pot. I would like to remind the international community of the urgent importance of bringing to closure one of historys darkest chapters," said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement attributable directly to him.

The United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia remain actively engaged in efforts to hold the Khmer Rouge senior leaders and those most responsible accountable for their horrific crimes.

With the support of the international community, it is my hope that the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia will soon deliver long-overdue justice for the people of Cambodia.

D.R. CONGO: U.N. MISSION HELPS PLANE CRASH SURVIVORS

The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) has confirmed that a commercial plane crashed at take-off just a short while ago in the northeastern town of Goma, with more than 70 people onboard.

The Mission says it has dispatched first-aid teams with ambulance and fire crews to the site of the crash and UN medical teams are helping to evacuate victims to a UN hospital.

Seven passengers have survived the crash, according to the Mission, including two international UNICEF staff, one of whom is in critical condition, and one national staff member from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the spouse of a national OCHA staff member. The three other survivors are the pilot, his co-pilot and a flight attendant. Rescue efforts continue.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

This morning, Security Council members heard from Alan Doss, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in closed consultations.

Then, at 3:00 this afternoon, the Council is scheduled to vote on the mandate extension of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG).

After that, Council members received a briefing on Cyprus, in closed consultations, from Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe, who recently visited Cyprus and the region.

COTE DIVOIRE: HOLDING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IS

ONE OF THE PEACE PROCESSS GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS

The UN Mission in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) has welcomed yesterdays Government announcement that presidential elections will take place on 30 November.

The Mission says the decision to hold the presidential contest this year is one of the greatest achievements of the peace process.

The Mission encourages the Ivorian parties to consolidate the current momentum by showing the resolve to move ahead and a commitment to public interest.

CHAD: HUMANITARIAN APPEAL NEEDS MORE FUNDING

While Chads Humanitarian Appeal for 2007 was the best-funded worldwide, with 99% of its requirements met, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

reports that so far only 18 percent of this years Humanitarian Appeal for Chad for 2008 has been funded.

This Humanitarian Appeal for Chad is part of OCHAs Consolidated Appeals Process for 2008.

John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said that he is still hopeful that donors will respond generously to this appeal. But he warns that if funding trends do not significantly improve in the coming months, this could have devastating consequences for nearly half a million people who heavily rely on humanitarian assistance for their survival.

The 2008 Appeal currently requests $290 million, for 70 humanitarian projects proposed by 14 non-governmental organizations and 8 UN entities. So far this year, OCHA has received a total of $51 million.

AGENCIES CONCERNED ABOUT LIMITED FUEL SUPPLIES IN GAZA

UN humanitarian and development agencies working in the occupied Palestinian territory today said they are gravely concerned about the limited fuel supplies in the Gaza Strip.

According to the agencies, the current situation is a threat to the health and well-being of the people of the Gaza Strip, 56 per cent of whom are children. In addition, the UNs humanitarian work in Gaza has been severely hampered.

The agencies add that, while Israels decision to resume fuel deliveries to Gazas power plant is a positive step, it is insufficient.

At the same time, the agencies call for a cessation of all acts of violence, including such attacks as the recent one on the Nahal Oz fuel crossing.

Asked whether the Secretary-General supports former U.S. President Jimmy Carters efforts to talk to Hamas, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General generally favours any initiative to move forward on peace efforts in the region. She added that Carter was acting as a private individual.

She noted that the Secretary-General has called for dialogue between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

At the same time, Montas noted in response to further questions that the Quartet dealing with the Middle East, including the United Nations, has not changed its position concerning the conditions placed on contacts with Hamas officials. [In its statements, the Quartet stressed the need for any Palestinian Government to be committed to non-violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Road Map.]

NEPAL: NO ADDITIONAL POLLING STATIONS NEED TO BE RE-POLLED

The UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) says that there are so far no additional polling stations that needed re-polling following the 10 April elections in that country.

For now, 98 polling stations, out of more than 20,000 stations throughout the country, need re-polling. Re-polling is underway in some stations, and is expected to be completed within a week.

The Mission notes that official results from the ongoing 24-hour counting process are regularly posted to the Election Commissions website.

REFUGEE AGENCY SUSPENDS OPERATION FOR AFGHAN RETURNEES

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has temporarily suspended its voluntary return operation for Afghan refugees returning home from Pakistan, because of a dispute between local tribes in north-western Pakistan that has blocked the main highway from that area to Afghanistan.

The blockage has left hundreds of Afghan families who had been processed for repatriation stranded, with more than 360 families unable to leave the Peshawar area last night. UNHCR provided 45 needy families with food, plastic sheets and blankets to help them through the night.

UNHCR says that assisted returns will resume once the road is cleared.

ATTITUDES IMPROVE TOWARDS CO-WORKERS WITH H.I.V.

In its latest report on workplace attitudes towards HIV/AIDS, the International Labour Office (ILO) says it has

seen a significant improvement in recent years.

In six pilot countries surveyed (Belize, Benin, Cambodia, Ghana, Guyana and Togo), the ILO found the proportion of workers who reported supportive behaviour towards co-workers living with HIV rose from 49 per cent to 63 per cent over the last four years.

Separately, ILO also notes a greater acceptance of condoms and other preventive measures, as a result of effective HIV policies and practices.

FOOD-GROWING METHODS NEED TO BE CHANGED

An international assessment group, co-sponsored by the World Bank and several UN agencies, is

calling for a radical change in the way the world grows its food, to better serve the poor and hungry.

The report by more than 400 scientists notes that modern agriculture has brought significant increases in food production, but the benefits have been spread unevenly. They also come at an increasingly intolerable price for small-scale farmers, workers, rural communities and the environment.

The report calls for combining production, social and environmental goals, including by addressing trade regimes and subsidy systems, as well as by focusing on the conservation of natural resources.

Also, UNICEF is expressing concern that rising food prices, in addition to posing the threat of widespread malnutrition and social disturbance, may force families to remove their children from school and send them to work.

Humanitarian actors are taking several measures to try and prevent that, especially by continuing to provide free meals at schools, UNICEF says.

BAN KI-MOON DISCUSSES WORLD ISSUES WITH PRESIDENT BUSH

The Spokeswoman, in response to a question, confirmed that the Secretary-General had spoken by telephone this morning with U.S. President George W. Bush.

They had discussed Kosovo, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, and Darfur.

Asked whether the Secretary-General believes that the United Nations should be involved in Zimbabwe, Montas said that the Secretary-General had asked for the speedy release of electoral results there.

LANGUAGE WAS NOT RELATED TO DEATH OF U.N. PEACEKEEPER IN HAITI

Asked whether UN peacekeepers had retaliated in Haiti following the killing of one peacekeeper, the Spokeswoman said she was not aware of any retaliation. Rather, she said, Haitian police had made some arrests after the killing.

In response to a question about how language related to the nationality of the peacekeeper killed on Saturday, Montas added that the UN Mission tried as much as possible to provide French-speaking personnel in Haiti, although most Haitians speak Kreyol, a language most international peacekeeping troops do not speak.

At any rate, she said, language was not the issue in the case of the peacekeeper who was dragged out of his car and killed.

BAN KI-MOON TO SPEAK ABOUT UN-KOREAN RELATIONS

The Secretary-General tonight will be speaking at the annual dinner of the Korea Society, highlighting that the United Nations needs the Republic of Korea on many fronts as challenges multiply in the world.

In his remarks, the Secretary-General asks for Korea to share its experience in becoming a democracy and an economic power-house, and expresses hope for developing countries to benefit from its real-life experience in going from a receiving to a donor country. He also asks that Korea be even more generous in its Official Development Assistance, to play its full part in the global efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals.

Asked whether the Secretary-General would meet Korean President Lee Myung-bak, the Spokeswoman said that they would meet at tonights dinner.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

NO REQUEST RECEIVED ON NAVAL FORCE: In response to a question, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General had not received a formal request from France on the formation of an international naval protection force.

VETO REPORTS INCORRECT: Asked whether the Russian Government had threatened to block a second term for the Secretary-General, the Spokeswoman said that, while the Secretary-General was in Russia, all his meetings -- with the President, President-elect and Foreign Minister -- had been very cordial, with no threats or tensions expressed.

U.N./EUROPEAN AGREEMENT REVIEWED: Available today is a press release concerning the latest review of the implementation of the Financial and Administrative Framework Agreement that was signed in 2003 between the United Nations and the European Commission. That agreement is reviewed every year, and the fifth annual review took place this year in Vienna on 10-11 April.

  • **Alan Doss, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was the guest at todays noon briefing.

    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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