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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-06-02

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

Monday, June 2, 2008

BAN KI-MOON CONDEMNS ATTACK OUTSIDE EMBASSY IN PAKISTAN

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemns the car bombing outside the Danish Embassy in Islamabad today which reportedly killed at least six and injured dozens others.

A security guard at a nearby UN Development Programme (UNDP) building was among those killed, and six locally recruited staff working for a UNDP project were injured.

The Secretary-General reiterates his total rejection of such acts of terrorism and expresses condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Pakistan.

BAN KI-MOON IS DEEPLY CONCERNED BY ISRAELI SETTLEMENT

ACTIVITY IN EAST JERUSALEM

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned at the recent announcement by the Israeli Government to invite new tenders for construction in Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem.

The Government of Israel's continued construction in settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory is contrary to international law and to its commitments under the Road Map and the Annapolis process, as stressed by the Quartet when it met in London on 2 May.

BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES EXCHANGES BETWEEN ISRAEL & HEZBOLLAH

In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General welcomed the return by Israel of a released prisoner to Lebanon and Hezbollah's release of remains of Israeli soldiers killed during the 2006 war.

He believes these developments are a positive step towards addressing the humanitarian issues that are an important component of Security Council resolution 1701.

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY MUST HELP EASE HAITI CRISIS

The Secretary-General arrived in Rome this morning; he is there to attend the High-Level Conference on World Food Security, which starts tomorrow.

Today the Secretary-General visited the Headquarters of the World Food Programme (WFP), where he met with WFP staff, including those in the field who were patched in by video link. He also visited the Headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization and attended a flag-raising ceremony to inaugurate the offices of the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Also in Rome today, the Secretary-General addressed a High-Level Meeting on Food Security in Haiti.

In his remarks, he said that, over the past few weeks, he has been urging the international community to spare no effort to address the situation in Haiti. The islands fragile governance and deteriorating living conditions have created a volatile and potentially dangerous atmosphere. If we allow this crisis to go unchecked, he added, much of what has been achieved over the past four years in Haiti could easily unravel.

The Secretary-General noted that the United Nations has already begun to carry out emergency response programmes, and is reorienting existing activities and resources to tackle the crisis. But there is much more work ahead, and UN programmes in Haiti remain severely under-funded, he added.

He also held bilateral meetings the Presidents of Djibouti and Argentina. He is also scheduled to meet later today with the President of Brazil and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO VOTE ON RESOLUTIONS

DEALING WITH LEBANON TRIBUNAL & PIRACY NEAR SOMALIA

This afternoon at 3:00, the Security Council will hold its first meetings under the US Presidency of the Council, to vote on two resolutions.

The Council intends to vote on a resolution extending the mandate of the International Independent Investigation Commission dealing with Lebanon until the end of this year, and it also has scheduled a vote on a resolution concerning piracy off the coast of Somalia.

Then, tomorrow, the Council intends to hold consultations on its programme of work for this month. Following those consultations, the Council President for this month, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad of the United States, expects to speak to reporters about the Councils work during June.

SOMALIA TALKS ARE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR

A NEW CHAPTER IN SOMALI HISTORY

The Security Council is in Djibouti on a 10-day mission to Africa that will also visit Sudan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cote d'Ivoire.

The delegation received a briefing by the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, on the UN-sponsored talks that he is chairing between the Transitional Federal Government and the opposition Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia.

Later, the Council met with Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf and members of his cabinet. Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo of South Africa, who is leading this segment of the mission, said that the talks represented an opportunity for a new chapter in Somali history after 18 years of a debilitating armed conflict.

Security Council delegates then met with an African Union team, with representatives of the Somali opposition and with the UN Country Team. Meetings are also planned for tomorrow with a cross-section of Somali civil society.

The delegation will proceed to Juba, in southern Sudan, tomorrow morning.

DARFUR: U.N. ENVOY CALLS FOR RETURN TO PATH OF PEACE

Darfurians have once again been called upon to stop fighting and seek the path of peace.

Lets return to the path of peace

advised the Deputy Joint Special Representative of United Nations - African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Henry Anyidoho, while speaking with principal Arab tribal leaders attending the Ad Daen Equestrian Festival South Darfur.

He stated that UNAMID was in Darfur to work with all parties to the conflict with the view to achieve durable peace for all Darfurians. He stressed that UNAMID was very much committed to efforts that will bring peace to the Darfur region, but needs the cooperation of all Darfurians to be able to achieve it.

He admonished all Darfurians to remove all doubts and misconceptions from their minds regarding UNAMIDs neutrality, emphasizing that UNAMID is here for the peace of all Darfurians.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for Darfur, Jan Eliasson, is in Sudan for consultations with the Government of Sudan and other stakeholders.

SAHEL REGION IS GROUND ZERO FOR CLIMATE CHANGE

The Secretary-Generals Special Adviser, Jan Egeland, is in Burkina Faso today at the outset of a five day mission to draw attention to the needs of countries in Africas Sahel region for assistance and cooperation in coping with the effects of climate change, arms and drug trafficking and other risk factors that could lead to conflict.

In comments reported in Ouagadougou today, Egeland called the Sahel region ground zero for climate change, but said this need not lead to conflict if there is sufficient investment in adaptation and cooperation between the countries. "Look at the water wars which we were predicting 15 to 20 years ago that didn't happen because people were able to cooperate," Egeland said.

From Burkina Faso, Egeland travels to Mali and Niger. He will visit vast lake areas in each country which have evaporated due to climate change and see how this has affected communities and increased social pressures.

WFP NEEDS SUPPORT OF MYANMAR TO OPEN UP DELTA TO AID WORKERS

The Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Josette Sheeran, wrapped up a two-day

visit to cyclone-hit Myanmar this weekend.

During a meeting with Myanmars Deputy Foreign Minister on Saturday, Sheeran said that, while access for international staff has improved, Government procedures for clearing the deployment of aid workers remain a constraining factor.

She also stressed the importance of allowing recently deployed helicopters to operate with greater freedom into and within hard-hit areas.

So far, WFP has managed to dispatch enough food to provide 575,000 people with a first ration of rice. But many people have not yet been reached, and others are now due for a second round of distributions.

Meanwhile, the agencys $70 million operation is facing a 64 percent shortfall. Sheeran stressed the importance of sustained support by the international community, saying that, under the current level of contributions, WFP will run out of food by mid-July.

ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, CULTURAL RIGHTS DESERVE MORE ATTENTION

The Human Rights Councils eighth regular session started today in Geneva.

Addressing the body for the last time as High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour

sounded a cautious note of optimism about progress in the new system of scrutinizing the performance of States, known as the Universal Periodic Review.

But she also called for a stop to the pursuit of narrow parochial political agendas, which she said is the greatest impediment to the realization of human rights.

Arbour said increasing recourse to special sessions such as the recent one devoted to the global food security crisis will reinforce the Councils relevance. She hoped the food session might herald a new era when as much attention is given to economic, social and cultural rights as to civil and political rights, and pointed out that they are inextricably linked.

Arbour also called for new mechanisms to strengthen the system designed to prevent and punish genocide, which she called the worst crime generated by discrimination and intolerance. She added that we should not hesitate to condemn human rights violations, irrespective of the origins of the perpetrators.

Louise Arbour will complete her four-year mandate as High Commissioner for Human Rights on 30 June.

Asked whether the Secretary-General had prepared a shortlist of candidates to succeed Arbour, the Spokeswoman said that there was a shortlist of strong candidates, which had not been made public.

The Secretary-General, Okabe said, expects to submit one name to the General Assembly for its consideration before the end of this month. In accordance with a General Assembly resolution, the Secretary-General would send a name to the General Assembly, and to this end, an interview panel has been constituted which will be chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General.

NUCLEAR WATCHDOG TO VISIT SYRIA THIS MONTH

Today in Vienna, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, presented his report on the Agencys work to its Board of Governors.

He noted that this April, the Agency was provided with information claiming that an installation destroyed by Israel in Syria last September was a nuclear reactor.

He said that the IAEA had been in discussions with the Syrian authorities to arrange a visit to Syria at an early date to verify the veracity of the information available to the Agency. It has now been agreed that an Agency team will visit Syria during the period of 22-24 June, ElBaradei said.

CLIMATE CHANGE TALKS OPEN IN GERMANY

The latest

round of UN-sponsored global climate change negotiations began today in Bonn, Germany, where more than 2,400 participants including government delegates from 172 countries are taking part in a two-week meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Conventions Executive Secretary, Yvo de Boer, said that the challenge now is to start identifying what can be written into a climate change deal which is to be agreed to in December 2009 in Copenhagen.

Meanwhile, talks on further commitments for Parties to the Kyoto Protocol will also continue in the Bonn talks during the next two weeks.

NEW REPORT HIGHLIGHTS GAINS IN FIGHT AGAINST A.I.D.S.

Regarding the fight against HIV/AIDS, nearly 3 million people are now

receiving antiretroviral therapy in low- and middle-income countries. That is according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS and UNICEF.

The report highlights other gains as well including improvements in preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission, expanded testing and counseling, and greater country commitment to male circumcision in hard-hit regions of sub-Saharan Africa.

The findings represent a remarkable achievement for public health, says WHO Director-General Margaret Chan.

  • ** The guest at the noon briefing today was Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. She briefed on her recent visit to Chad and Central African Republic.

    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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