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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-06-11
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
BAN KI-MOON LAUNCHES MEDIATION PROCESS
FOR EQUATORIAL GUINEA-GABON DISPUTE
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has opened today a high-level meeting between Equatorial Guinea and Gabon which was convened to launch the next phase of the mediation process to resolve the border dispute between the two countries.
In his remarks, the Secretary-General commended both Parties for their continued commitment to finding a peaceful settlement to their dispute and assured them of the United Nations support and of his personal engagement to assist them in this process.
Todays meeting is dedicated to the adoption of a formal framework for the next phase of the mediation process.
U.N. EXTENDS CONDOLENCES FOR SUDAN PLANE CRASH
The leadership of the two UN Missions in
Sudan has extended, on behalf of the United Nations, its deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to the Government and people of Sudan, especially to the families of the victims, for last night's tragic air crash at Khartoum International Airport.
AFGHANISTAN: SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS FOR INCREASED COOPERATION IN FIGHTING DRUG PRODUCTION & TRAFFICKING
The Security Council this morning adopted a resolution calling upon all Member States to increase international and regional cooperation in order to counter the illicit production and trafficking of drugs in Afghanistan.
That cooperation would include strengthening the monitoring of the international trade in chemical precursors.
VIOLATIONS AGAINST CHILDREN INCREASING IN SOMALIA
A report by the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Somalia is available today. It stresses that the level of grave violations against children in Somalia has been increasing over the past year, particularly with regard to the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict; the killing, maiming and rape of children; and the denial of humanitarian access to children.
The Secretary-General strongly urges Somalias Transitional Federal Government to stop all new recruitment of children and to demobilize unconditionally all children who participate in any capacity in its armed forces.
He also urges the Ethiopian forces to refrain from indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian objects, including but not limited to schools and hospitals, and to ensure that all necessary precautions are taken to minimize child casualties during military operations.
MYANMAR: U.N. AGENCIES EXPRESS CONCERN OVER SUPPLY SHORTAGES
Over a month since the devastating cyclone struck
Myanmar, a joint relief and early recovery assessment coordinated by the Tripartite Core Group was officially launched in Yangon on Monday. An assessment will look into both humanitarian needs and extent of damage, with results expected out at the end of June.
In a joint press conference in Bangkok, this morning, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that funding, through the Flash Appeal, currently stands at just over 40 per cent, with pledges of a further $50 million unconverted as of now. Agencies have been expressing concerns regarding possible shortages of much needed food and supplies in the coming weeks.
According to the World Food Programme (WFP), some 11,000 tons of food assistance have been dispatched to the affected areas to date, with approximately 60 per cent of that amount now being delivered.
But with food prices rising due to scarcity of commodities, WFP is distributing cash in lieu of food in certain areas, with figures based on the cost of the typical WFP food basket in the local market. Some 16,448 beneficiaries have received a cash allocation to date. The Myanmar Government has now agreed to allow importation of rice.
Three joint Ministry of Health/World Health Organization mobile health teams will undertake a one-week mission this week to Laputta, Ngaputaw and Bogolay to trace tuberculosis patients with interrupted treatment, and provide general non- tuberculosis curative and public health services.
ARREST OF BOSNIAN SERB WAR CRIMES SUSPECT WELCOMED
The Office of the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has been informed by the Serbian authorities that indicted Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Stojan upljanin was arrested today.
The Prosecutors Office has welcomed this development and the fact that this now brings the number of fugitives from four to three. It adds that the arrest also confirms what the Prosecutor has been saying for some time now that the remaining fugitives are within Serbias reach.
CHAIR OF INTERNAL JUSTICE COUNCIL APPOINTED
The Secretary-General has appointed Justice Kate O'Regan of South Africa as the fifth member and chairperson of the Internal Justice Council, the body established by the General Assembly to help ensure independence, professionalism and accountability in the new system of administration of justice at the United Nations.
Justice O'Regan was chosen by consensus by the four other members of the Internal Justice Council. She was appointed a judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa in 1994, and has worked as an attorney and a law professor, specializing, among other areas, in labour law, race and gender equality, and constitutional law.
The Secretary-General had approved earlier the appointment of the other four members of the new Internal Justice Council.
The two members nominated by staff, following a process inclusive of all staff unions, are Jenny Clift of Australia and Geoffrey Robertson of the UK and Australia. The two members nominated by management are Maria Vicien-Milburn of Argentina and Sinha Basnayake of Sri Lanka.
The Internal Justice Council will play a critical role in establishing the UN's new system of administration of justice, due to enter into effect on 1 January 2009.
VIETNAM: BAN KI-MOON REGRETS
PASSING AWAY OF FORMER PRIME MINISTER
The Secretary-General has learned with profound sadness that Mr. Vo Van Kiet, the former Prime Minister of Vietnam, passed away today.
As a major force behind the economic reforms in Vietnam that started in the late 1980s, Mr. Vo Van Kiet paved the way for the countrys transition from poverty to a decade of impressive economic growth. During his time as the Prime Minister from1991 to 1997, he also played a pivotal role in improving Vietnams diplomatic relations with other countries.
The Secretary-General wishes to convey his heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Vo Van Kiet, and to the people and the Government of Vietnam.
SMALL ARMS TRACING WORKSHOP OPENS IN BRAZIL
A workshop in support of the implementation of the International
Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (International Tracing Instrument) opened its session today in Rio de Janeiro.
As part of the UNs partnership with INTERPOL, the workshop is organized by the Office for Disarmament Affairs, through its Conventional Arms Branch and its Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Government of Brazil.
Aiming to promote the International Tracing Instrument and assist States in building their capacity to implement it, the workshop is expected to help relevant Government officials to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Instrument and technical tools for the tracing of illicit small arms and light weapons, such as INTERPOLs Electronic Weapons Tracing System.
U.N.S PRESENCE IN KOSOVO GUIDED BY RESOLUTION 1244
Asked when the United Nations expects to come out with a new report on Kosovo, the Spokesperson said she had nothing new on Kosovo to confirm today.
Pending Security Council guidance, Montas said, the United Nations continues to operate on the understanding that resolution 1244 remains in force throughout Kosovo.
In view of the evolving circumstances on the ground, she added, we are closely consulting with all key stakeholders on how best to implement the mandate entrusted to the UN under resolution 1244.
SECURITY REPORT TO BE STUDIED IN DETAIL
Asked about a timeframe for releasing the report from the High-level Panel, chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi, on the security of UN personnel and premises, the Spokesperson said that the report will be studied in detail before considering appropriate follow-up action.
The Secretary-General, she said, would release the report after taking into account the due process rights of individuals.
Montas added, in response to questions, that the report mentioned the bombing last year in Algeria and that Brahimi and his team had visited that country.
Asked whether the report by Martti Ahtisaari on the 2003 Baghdad bombing had been treated in a similar way, she said it had.
MEDIA REPORT ABOUT GAZA FORCE NOT TRUE: The Spokeswoman denied a media report, saying in response to a question that the Secretary-General has not offered to send multinational forces to Gaza. He and the United Nations continue to support efforts led by Egypt to achieve a ceasefire and an easing of humanitarian conditions and the orderly reopening of crossings, as emphasized by the Quartet on 2 May, she added.
HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF PROBABLY TO BE SELECTED BEFORE JULY: Asked when the Secretary-General expects to name a new High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Spokeswoman said that would probably be before 1 July.
U.N. ENCOURAGES PARTIES TO SIGN SOMALIA AGREEMENT: Asked about the agreement signed earlier this week in Djibouti among Somali parties, the Spokeswoman noted that the United Nations has been encouraging non-signatory groups to sign on to the agreement.
LATIN AMERICA HAS NEW OPPORTUNITIES: The 32nd session of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) was inaugurated yesterday in Santo Domingo.The session will guide ECLACs work and sets its priorities for the next two years. Executive Secretary Jose Luis Machinea stated in his opening remarks that Latin America faces new opportunities. He called upon the delegates present to take advantage of those opportunities.
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