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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-06-06
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.comARCHIVES
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Friday, June 6, 2008
FOOD SECURITY CONFERENCE WRAPS UP WITH AGREEMENT
ON INCREASING ASSISTANCE TO DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
The High-level Conference on World Food Security has concluded with the adoption by acclamation of a declaration calling on the international community to increase assistance for developing countries, in particular the least developed countries and those that are most negatively affected by high food prices.
There is an urgent need to help developing countries and countries in transition expand agriculture and food production, and to increase investment in agriculture, agribusiness and rural development, from both public and private sources, according to the declaration adopted Thursday night.
The Declaration added that it is essential to address the challenges and opportunities posed by biofuels, in view of the worlds food security, energy and sustainable development needs.
SECURITY COUNCIL MISSION ARRIVES IN CHAD, MEETS PRESIDENT
The Security Council mission in Africa is in Chad today, where they met with President Idriss Deby in the capital, NDjamena.
Earlier today, the Council delegation arrived in Abeche, in eastern Chad, where they met with the Force Commander of the European Forces (EUFOR) and with Victor Angelo, head of the MINURCAT peacekeeping mission, who briefed the Council on their respective operations.
From there, the Council team flew to Doz Baide, near the Sudanese border, and met with the governor of the region before visiting a camp for refugees from Darfur. Elders at that camp identified security as their main problem.
The Council mission also visited a camp for Chadians displaced by fighting in the region, and received briefings from UN and other humanitarian workers, who also cited security concerns and restrictions on their movement.
Before leaving Khartoum, the Security Council delegation visiting Africa met with
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
They discussed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the north and the south of Sudan, the situations in Abyei and Darfur as well as Sudan's non-cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC).
On the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Security Council delegation said that President Bashir has informed them that an agreement was reached yesterday between his side and the Government of South Sudan to resolve the dispute over Abyei. That agreement will be debated by the Parliament of South Sudan today and, if approved, will become effective on 10 June.
President Bashir also welcomed a greater role for the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) in its area of operation, including the region around Abyei.
On the Darfur peace process, the delegation said that President Bashir has welcomed the proposed creation of the position of Chief Mediator as outlined in the Secretary-General's latest report on Darfur.
On the ICC, the delegation regrets that President Bashir continues to reject any possibility of Sudan cooperating with the Court, contrary to its obligations under Security Council Resolution 1593.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN, HUMAN RIGHTS HEADS
DEPLORE RESTRICTIONS ON AID GROUPS IN ZIMBABWE
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes said in a statement that the directive in Zimbabwe instructing all private voluntary organizations and non-governmental organizations to suspend all field operations until further notice is a deplorable decision that comes at a critical humanitarian juncture for the people of Zimbabwe.
He strongly urged the Government to reconsider and rescind this decision as soon as possible, saying that the organizations concerned are engaged in vital humanitarian work fully respecting the principles of impartiality and neutrality, which are fundamental to all they and we do. They need unrestricted access, and guarantees for their safety and security.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour called Zimbabwe's decision to restrict the activities of non-governmental organizations in the country "absolutely outrageous" and said, "It is a true perversion of democracy." She described the Zimbabwe government's action as a cynical and offensive perversion of any notion of democracy and said it was against international human rights law.
Asked whether there has been agreement on sending Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Haile Menkerios to Zimbabwe, the Spokeswoman said that President Robert Mugabe had accepted such a visit in his meeting with the Secretary-General in Rome this week.
Montas said that Menkerios would not travel as an envoy but as the senior person in the Department for Political Affairs dealing with African issues. She could not confirm at this point whether Menkerios is traveling to the country.
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL HEARS BRIEFINGS ON FOOD SECURITY, MYANMAR
This morning in Geneva, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food briefed the Human Rights Council on the High-Level Conference on World Food Security held earlier this week in Rome.
The Human Rights Council also heard a presentation of a report by the new Special Rapporteur on Myanmar.
Earlier in the day, the Human Rights Council held two special events, one on the entry into force of the Convention on Persons with Disabilities, on which they heard an address by High Commissioner Louise Arbour, and one on the Draft Guidelines for the Appropriate Use and Conditions of Alternative Care for Children.
REFUGEE STATUS CAN END FOR SIERRA LEONEANS
The UN refugee agency on Friday said it is recommending to states to end refugee status for Sierra Leoneans who fled their country during the decade-long civil war which started in 1991, since the root causes of the Sierra Leone refugee problem have ceased to exist.
There have been fundamental and durable changes since peace was declared in January 2002, UNHCR says.
The cessation will take effect at the end of this year on December 31, 2008 following consultations with the governments of the main countries of asylum and Sierra Leone.
During the height of the conflict, as many as two million of the country's 6 million citizens were displaced with some 490,000 fleeing to Liberia and Guinea.
BAN KI-MOON HEARTENED BY STEPS TAKEN IN CYPRUS
The Secretary-General, in his latest report to the Security Council on Cyprus, says that a window of opportunity to finally resolve the Cyprus problem is clearly open.
It is particularly heartening, he says, that over the past two months, the two leaders have already taken decisive steps towards their shared objective of resuming negotiations aimed at a comprehensive settlement.
He says that the agreement of 21 March and the joint statement of 23 May are clear indicators of the renewed political will to seek a solution to the Cyprus problem.
The Secretary-General says he is firmly committed to helping the leaders move forward to the formal talks as expeditiously and smoothly as possible and he intends to appoint a Special Adviser at the appropriate time.
Notwithstanding the improved prospects for a settlement, the Secretary-General believes that the UN peacekeeping mission, UNFICYP, continues to play a vital role on the island and recommends that the Security Council extend its mandate by six months, until 15 December.
BAN KI-MOON TO TRAVEL TO FRANCE, U.K. AND SAUDI ARABIA
Next Thursday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to participate in the International Conference on Afghanistan taking place in Paris. While he is in Paris, he also expects to meet with President Nicolas Sarkozy.
On the following day, the Secretary-General will be in London, where he expects to meet with Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other senior British officials, and also intends to address the United Nations Association of the United Kingdom on the theme of Securing the Common Good: the United Nations and the Expanding Global Agenda.
He will then travel over the weekend to Saudi Arabia, at the invitation of the Saudi King, where he will discuss issues of mutual concern with the King and the Saudi Foreign Minister, among others.
Then, on Monday, 16 June, the Secretary-General will participate in the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the London-based International Maritime Organization, before returning early in the week to New York.
Asked what the Secretary-General would discuss while he is in Saudi Arabia, the Spokeswoman said that one of the topics would be the call made by the Saudi King for interfaith dialogue among Muslims, Christians and Jews, which is in line with the Alliance of Civilizations initiative.
SECRETARY-GENERAL OPENS SUMMIT AT JACKSON HOLE FILM INSTITUTE
The Secretary-General will head to Jackson, Wyoming, this afternoon to open the first-ever Global Insight Summit, which is being convened by the UN and the Jackson Hole Film Institute.
The Summit, which will be held during the fifth annual Jackson Hole Film Festival, represents a unique collaboration, bringing together entertainment leaders and UN officials to explore how film and television can be better used to raise public awareness of critical global issues and the UNs role in addressing them.
The Secretary-General will be back in New York on Saturday.
SECRETARY-GENERAL RECEIVES LETTER ON BHUTTO INVESTIGATION: The Spokeswoman, in response to a question, confirmed that the Secretary-General today received a letter from the Pakistani Mission concerning the assassination last year of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. She said that the letter is being studied.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONTINUES TO STUDY OPTIONS ON KOSOVO: Asked how the Secretary-General intends to respond on the status of Kosovo as 15 June approaches, the Spokeswoman said that he is still studying his options and talking with concerned leaders. She noted that his recent discussions on the issue included those with Javier Solana, the European Union High Representative, and, on Thursday, a phone call he received from the President of Serbia.
GAZA: U.N. AGENCY HAS FUEL FOR TWO WEEKS OF OPERATIONS: Asked about fuel supplies in Gaza for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the Spokeswoman noted that the Agency has enough fuel for two weeks of operations at present.
SECRETARY-GENERAL ISSUED STATEMENT ON MIDDLE EAST VIOLENCE: Asked about the killings of Palestinians on Thursday, the Spokeswoman noted the statement issued by the Secretary-General that day condemning the recent killing of Israeli and Palestinian civilians.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
Monday, June 9
The Security Council expects to hold consultations on the UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus.
The Security Council mission to Africa is expected to be in Cote dIvoire.
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, the General Assembly holds a debate on Global Private Investment and Climate Change. At 11 a.m. in S226, the General Assembly President, Srgjan Kerim, will be joined by other speakers, to brief on the debate.
At 2 p.m., in S226, Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS, and Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, hold a press conference to present key findings on the global AIDS response, including updates on progress made and new global estimates of people receiving antiretroviral treatment.
From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Conference Room 2, UN Secretary-Generals Special Envoy to Stop TB, Jorge Sampaio, convenes the first HIV/TB Global Leaders Forum. Prior to the Forum, Mr. Sampaio and Winstone Zulu, HIV/TB activist, hold a press conference as guests at the noon briefing in S226.
Tuesday, June 10
The Security Council mission to Africa is expected to return to New York.
From today through tomorrow, the General Assembly holds a high-level meeting on AIDS to review progress towards realizing the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS.
At 11.30 a.m. in S226, there will be a press conference by General Assembly President, Srgjan Kerim; Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and Ratri Suksma from the Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility (CARAM) Asia.
Wednesday, June 11
At 11.30 a.m. in S226, Ambassador Carsten Staur of Denmark and InÚs Alberdi, Executive Director of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), will hold a press conference during which Ms. Alberdi will be presented with an MDG3 Champion Torch, which symbolizes Denmarks global call to action on gender equality.
From 3 to 6 p.m. in Conference Room 2, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, Ambassador Kirsti Lintonen of Finland, and former Special Representative of the Secretary-General Lakhdar Brahimi hold a panel discussion on "Harmonizing UN Action on the Rule of Law".
Thursday, June 12
The Secretary-General will attend the International Conference on Afghanistan in Paris, France. He also expects to meet with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The Security Council has scheduled consultations on the work of the Sudan Sanctions Committee.
Friday, June 13
The Secretary-General expects to meet in London with UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and to address the United Nations Association of the United Kingdom on the theme of Securing the Common Good: the United Nations and the Expanding Global Agenda.
The Security Council will hold a formal meeting to consider the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus. It has also scheduled meetings on the work of the 1737 Committee and on Iraq.
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