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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-04-17

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MICHELE MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, April 17, 2008

[Pope Benedict is scheduled to visit the United Nations tomorrow.

There will be no noon briefing.]

DARFUR: BANDITRY AGAINST FOOD TRUCKS FORCES CUT IN RATIONS

The World Food Programme announced today that it will be forced to cut monthly rations in Darfur starting next month, because banditry against WFP-contracted trucks is preventing sufficient stocks of vital food relief from getting through.

In May, the cereal ration will be cut in half to 225 grams per person per day, pulses will be cut in half to 30 grams and sugar by half to 15 grams. This will reduce the daily kilocalorie value of the ration by 40 per cent (down to 1,242 k/cal per day from the recommended rate of 2,156 k/cal).

A WFP press release quotes Executive Director Josette Sheeran as saying Attacks on the WFP food pipeline are an attack on the most vulnerable people in Darfur. With up to three million people depending on us for their survival in the upcoming rainy season, keeping WFP's supply line open is a matter of life and death. We call on all parties to protect the access to food.

Asked whether there are any new political initiatives for Darfur, the Spokeswoman said that the political track is ongoing, and the Secretary-General continues to put his weight in support of the political process.

HAITI: UNITED NATIONS TAKES URGENT MEASURES

TO ADDRESS FOOD INSECURITY

The UN Country Team in Haiti says it has taken a new set of urgent measures to respond to food insecurity in that country.

The World Food Programmes Haiti office will be handing out some 8,000 tonnes of food in the coming days in the north, west and central regions. This operation will focus on children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

UNICEF will double its child feeding programme to combat malnutrition and will spend some 1.6 million dollars on water and sanitation in the north-west and the Artibonite regions.

Meanwhile, the UN Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH) and WFP continue to support various projects aimed at creating jobs. These projects, with a combined $2.3 million budget, already employ some 2,500 Haitians.

BAN KI-MOON IS GRAVELY CONCERNED AT ESCALATING VIOLENCE IN SOUTHERN ISRAEL AND GAZA

In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, the Secretary-General is gravely concerned at the escalation of violence in Gaza and southern Israel.

He condemns the reported civilian casualties among Palestinians, including children, during Israeli military operations, and calls on Israel to abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law.

The Secretary-General also reiterates his condemnation of rocket fire against Israeli civilian targets. He urges all parties to exercise restraint.

SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS RESOLUTION

ENHANCING RELATIONS WITH THE AFRICAN UNION

Yesterdays high-level Security Council meeting ended with the unanimous adoption of a resolution recognizing the need to enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing regional organizations peacekeeping operations under a United Nations mandate.

The Security Council endorsed the Secretary-Generals proposal to set up, within three months, an African Union-United Nations panel to consider the modalities of such support.

The Council stressed the utility of effective partnerships between the United Nations and regional organizations, particularly the African Union, in order to enable early responses to emerging crises in Africa, and expressed its determination to enhance that relationship.

TIMOR-LESTE LEADER IS BACK HOME

The UN Mission in Timor-Leste today

applauded the return of President José Ramos-Horta, two months after he was sent to Australia for medical treatment after being wounded in the 11 February attack by rebels.

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative, Atul Khare, congratulated President Ramos-Horta on his return, which he called an opportunity for Timorese society to pull together with renewed determination.

Khare added that sustained peace depends upon the commitment of everyone - including politicians, the security sector and citizens.

BAN KI-MOON TO CO-CHAIR IRAQ COMPACT MEETING ON MAY 29

Invitations to the Iraq Compact Annual Review Conference, which is to be held in Stockholm, Sweden, on 29 May, were issued yesterday to all Member States and a number of regional and international organizations and institutions.

The invitations were extended by Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, and by the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General, Ibrahim Gambari.

The Secretary-Generals plans to co-chair that high-level meeting, along with the Prime Minister of Iraq, Mr. Nouri Al-Maliki, and he strongly encourages Member States to attend.

GLOBAL INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT CRISIS IS WORSENING

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres is calling on the international community to urgently address the growing problem of internal displacement.

His remarks came in the wake of a new report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre of the Norwegian Refugee Council. It found that the global internal displacement crisis continued to worsen last year. The number of people displaced within their countries by armed conflicts and violence passed the 26 million mark, the highest since the early 1990s.

Among those countries with the largest numbers of internally displaced persons are Iraq, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Sudan and Colombia.

UNITED NATIONS PAYS TRIBUTE TO DECEASED POET AIMÉ CÉSAIRE

The Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Koïchiro Matsuura, today paid tribute to Martinique poet Aimé Césaire, who passed away today.

Matsuura said that Césaire had dedicated his life to poetry and politics, and that, since the 1930s, had been an untiring opponent of colonialism and racism.

UNESCO has lost one of its most valuable friends, Matsuura said. He was addressing UNESCOs Executive Board, whose 179th session ends today.

BAN KI-MOON TO BEGIN TRIP TO WEST AFRICA THIS WEEKEND

The Secretary-General will begin his official trip to West Africa this weekend.

He will visit Ghana, Liberia, Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire.

His first stop will be Accra, Ghana, where he will address the opening of the 12th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in a speech outlining his vision for improving African performance toward the Millennium Development Goals. He will also touch on the current global crisis caused by soaring food prices. While in Ghana, the Secretary-General will also meet with President John Kufuor to discuss regional issues.

From Accra, he will travel on Monday to the Liberian capital, Monrovia, where he will meet with the countrys Vice-President, address a joint session of the Legislature and meet with UN peacekeepers and the UN Country Team.

From Monrovia, he will travel to Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso on Tuesday. There he will meet with President Blaise Compaore, the Facilitator of the Inter-Ivorian Dialogue and Chairman of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). He will also meet with the UN Country Team and is scheduled to visit a refugee camp near the capital.

His final stop is Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, on Wednesday and Thursday, and meetings are planned with President Laurent Gbagbo, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, and with opposition leaders and civil society. The Secretary-General will also meet with the leadership of the UN peacekeeping mission there and visit a UN-funded poverty-reduction project.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO APPEAL FOR GLOBAL SOLUTION TO FOOD CRISIS

Asked whether the Secretary-General will make an appeal on the need to deal globally with the impact of food prices, the Spokeswoman said that he intends to make such an appeal. She noted that the meeting later this month in Switzerland of the Chief Executives Board, which brings together the senior officials of the UN system, would focus to a great extent on the food situation.

She also pointed out that there will be a special meeting of the Economic and Social Council in May on a global response to the food crisis and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has announced a summit in June on food supply. The Secretary-General, she added, would certainly take a leadership role on the issue.

Asked whether the Secretary General is considering a world summit on the food situation, Montas said that he was.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

TOP COUNTER TERRORISM OFFICIAL ATTENDS G-8 WORKING GROUP MEETING: The Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), Mike Smith, is in Tokyo today for a meeting of the G-8 Counter-Terrorism Action Group, or CTAG. There, Smith is to discuss the coordinated provision of counter-terrorism assistance to priority recipients of such aid, and to examine ways the two bodies can enhance their coordination on technical assistance matters.Earlier this week Smith was in Beijing, where he held consultations officials of the Chinese Government.

NEW COORDINATOR FOR BODY DEALING WITH MISSING KUWAITIS FROM 1991 GULF WAR: Out as documents are an exchange of letters between the Secretary-General and the Security Council concerning the appointment of Russian Ambassador Gennady Tarasov as the new High-Level Coordinator dealing with missing Kuwaiti and third-country persons and property in Iraq. Ambassador Tarasov is to replace Yuliy Vorontsov, also of Russia, who passed away last year.

INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT SWEARS IN NEW REGISTRAR: Ms. Silvana Arbia of Italy was earlier today sworn in as the new registrar of the International Criminal Court. Following a formal ceremony at the seat of the Court in The Hague, she said that her focus would be on judicial proceedings and, in particular, the first trial scheduled to commence this year. She said she perceives international criminal justice as a factor of new world civilization, as she is certain it will assist the international community to make effective progress in reducing conflicts and discrimination.

UNITED NATIONS WILL NEITHER ASSIST NOR HINDER PLANNED SERBIAN ELECTIONS INSIDE KOSOVO: Asked about Serbias reported intentions to hold elections in Kosovo, the Spokesperson said that, regarding parliamentary elections on 11 May, the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) will maintain its position of neither assisting nor hindering them, as it has done in the past. On Serbian local municipal elections in Kosovo, however, Montas said that it is not within the mandate of the Secretary-Generals Special Representative to authorize them. The Secretary-Generals Special Representative can only authorize the organization of elections for institutions provided for under resolution 1244.

NO LETTER RECEIVED ON PAKISTANI REQUEST FOR A BHUTTO TRIBUNAL: Asked about a request from Pakistans Government for a UN investigation into the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the Spokeswoman said that no formal letter has been received.

ZIMBABWE HAS NOT REQUESTED U.N. ELECTORAL ASSISTANCE: Asked whether the Secretary-General would ask Zimbabwes Government whether it would allow UN observers for its elections, the Spokeswoman noted that, usually, it is up to Governments to ask for technical support on elections or for electoral observers.

TAJIKISTAN: FLOODS AND LANDSLIDES HIGHLY LIKELY: In an update on the situation in Tajikistan, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that the likelihood of floods and landslides remains high. It is urgently seeking $1.4 million to purchase and preposition emergency water, sanitation and cooking items for up to 1,500 households. OCHA also warns that locust infestations could be especially severe, due to favorable weather conditions and incomplete spraying last year.

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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