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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-06-12

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, June 12, 2008

BAN KI-MOON ADDRESSES INT'L CONFERENCE ON AFGHANISTAN

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is on his way to London after attending the International Conference in support of Afghanistan today at the Kleber Conference Center in Paris.

The Secretary-General this morning addressed the Conference, convened by the French Government and where President Hamid Karzai launched a National Development Strategy for his country.

The Secretary-General said that the Strategy "will be tested in the most remote villages" of Afghanistan.

He said that the United Nations supports the Strategy's concept of "Afghanization", explaining that such a policy was not only about channeling more international assistance into Afghan institutions but to have all Afghans participate in the rebuilding of their country.

He also called the elections that are to take place in 2009 and 2010 , a crucial test of the institutions that we have created together and of the confidence that Afghans have in them. (We have his statement upstairs, as well as the final Declaration from the Conference itself.)

The Secretary-General then held today a number of bilateral meetings on the margins of the Conference. He first met with NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, and they discussed the proposals on Kosovo presented today by the Secretary-General to the UN Security Council.

The Secretary General also discussed Kosovo with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.

He met later with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, thanking him for China's strong assistance to Afghanistan and voicing his support for China's efforts to deal with the damage caused by the recent earthquake in Sichuan Province. He invited China's Prime Minister to attend the 25 September High-Level Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals. They also discussed the Kosovo proposals and Myanmar.

During his series of bilateral meetings, the Secretary-General met tete-a-tete with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Before leaving Paris for London, the Secretary-General met with President Hamid Karzai and afterwards with the convenor of the Conference, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, at the Elysee Palace.

The Spokeswoman, in response to a question, later said the Secretary-General and President Sarkozy discussed the Central African Republic, Chad and Sudan, Cote d'Ivoire, Kosovo, Lebanon and Somalia.

She also said that the Secretary-General's last meeting in Paris was with EU High Commissioner Javier Solana, with whom he discussed Afghanistan, Georgia, Kosovo and Iran.

The Secretary-General and his spouse, she added, have since departed Paris for London.

U.S. SUPREME COURT DECISION ON GUANTANAMO BAY IS WELCOMED

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, welcomed Thursday's decision by the United States Supreme Court in Boumediene v. Bush that the U.S. Constitution extends to foreign detainees held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and that they have the right to challenge their detention by habeas corpus in the civilian courts.

The Supreme Court has sent a vitally important message that the protections afforded by fundamental human rights guarantees extend to these individuals and that effective remedies must be available to them. After up to six years in detention in Guantánamo Bay without satisfactory review of the reasons for their detention, these detainees have the right to prompt review in the civilian courts, Arbour said.

SECRETARY-GENERAL OUTLINES PLANS ON KOSOVO

Today the Secretary-General has moved forward with a series of measures on Kosovo.

First, he has sent a special report to the Security Council on the reconfiguration of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

Second, he has sent letters to both President Boris Tadic in Belgrade and Fatmir Sejdiu in Pristina informing them of his intention to reconfigure the international civil presence in Kosovo, as set out in his special report to the Security Council.

Third, the Secretary-General has indicated his intention to appoint a new Special Representative in conjunction with the reconfiguration.

Regarding the report, it indicates the Secretary-General's intention to adjust the structure and profile of UNMIK in a manner that enables the European Union to perform an enhanced operational role in the area of the rule of law under a UN 'umbrella' headed by his Special Representative, within the framework of resolution 1244 (1999).

As for the letters, they confirm the UN's position of 'status-neutrality' on the question of Kosovo's status and indicate the UNs commitment to a dialogue with Belgrade in six issue areas: police, justice, boundary management, Serbian patrimony, transport and infrastructure and customs.

The Secretary-General has consulted with all relevant stakeholders including Member States of the Security Council and Contact Group, the EU, Belgrade and Pristina.

It is anticipated that the Council will meet to discuss the report in the near future.

ZIMBABWE: SECURITY COUNCIL TO HEAR HUMANITARIAN BRIEFING

We have confirmed that Haile Menkerios, the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs responsible for African issues, is scheduled to visit Zimbabwe from 16-20 June for discussions on the political situation and the upcoming elections.

His visit is in follow-up to the Secretary-Generals recent meeting with the President of Zimbabwe in Rome.

Here at UN headquarters, John Holmes, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator will brief the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe at 3 p.m. closed consultations.

John Holmes will speak to reporters at the Security Council stakeout immediately after his briefing.

The Spokeswoman, in response to a question, said that the terms of reference for the mission to Zimbabwe by Haile Menkerios, the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, whose brief covers African affairs, were still being finalized. Montas added, in response to another question, that Menkerios is a citizen of South Africa.

SECURITY MECHANISM TO BE PUT IN PLACE

FOR COTE DIVOIRE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

The UN Mission in Cote dIvoire (UNOCI) has confirmed that a security mechanism will be put in place for the upcoming presidential election. This was one of the key subjects of discussions during the Security Councils visit to Cote dIvoire earlier this week.

The security mechanism will begin next week on June 19th.

It will see the coordinated participation of the Ivorian army, the former rebel Forces Nouvelles, UN peacekeepers in Liberia and Cote dIvoire and the Security Council-mandated French force Licorne. They will secure Ivorian borders and provide security inside the country during the voting period.

The Mission said that the idea was formally disclosed by its Force Commander at a meeting of regional UN Force commanders.

SECURITY COUNCIL HOLDS CONSULTATIONS

ON SUDAN SANCTIONS COMMITTEE

The Security Council held consultations this morning on the Sudan Sanctions Committee and other matters.

The Italian Ambassador, as chair of Sudan Sanctions Committee, briefed on the Committees work.

U.N. ENVOY MEETS WITH PARTIES ON NAME ISSUE

The Secretary-Generals Personal Envoy for the talks between Greece and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Matthew Nimetz, met with the parties today at Headquarters.

He said both parties have resolved to get back to work and see if they can move towards a breakthrough on the name issue.

He confirmed that he would go the region relatively soon and reiterated that the negotiation process does not have any deadline.

WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME APPEALS FOR PROTECTION OF AID SHIPS

AGAINST PIRATE ATTACKS IN SOMALIA

The World Food Programme (WFP) today appealed to naval powers to help protect its ships, which carry life-saving food aid, from pirate attacks.

WFP stressed that as many as 2 million Somalis could go hungry without this essential help.

Some 80 percent of WFP food for Somalia arrives by sea. .

Meanwhile, today, just after dawn, a WFP-contracted truck driver was shot and killed by gunmen in southern Somalia. He was part of a convoy of WFP-contracted trucks carrying more than 300 tons of food aid to the areas hit hardest by drought in central Somalia.

ATOMIC AGENCY TRAINING AND EQUIPMENT HELP CHINA RECOVER RADIOACTIVE SOURCES IN QUAKE AFTERMATH

In the wake of the deadliest 7.9-magnitude earthquake of 12 May that ravaged China´s Sichuan Province, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has joined hands with the Chinese emergency teams to recover stray radioactive materials buried in the rubble that could complicate relief efforts or cause contamination.

Immediately after the earthquake, experts from relevant Chinese authorities were sent to examine the safety status of nuclear facilities and radioactive sources within the quake zone.

Utilizing IAEAs training and donated equipment, a team of radioactive source search and recovery experts fanned out across all disaster-stricken areas using radiation detection equipment to pinpoint the location of 50 sources and safely recover all of them.

IAEA experts believe that this is the first time that training has been used for source recovery after an earthquake.

AFGHAN GOVERNMENT LAUDED FOR WORLDS LARGEST DRUG BUST

The Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), today congratulated the Minister of the Interior of Afghanistan for finding and destroying, with support from ISAF, what is believed to be the world's largest seizure of drugs.

The 236.8 metric tonnes of hashish would have had a wholesale value of $400 million, according to the NATO operation in Afghanistan. "This is a massive seizure, and a major success for counter-narcotics in Afghanistan", said the Executive Director.

He also said that drugs are financing terrorism and insurgency in Afghanistan and urged governments to come forward with the names and evidence needed to bring the most wanted drug traffickers to justice.

SECRETARY-GENERAL THANKS NEPAL FOR

PARTICIPATION IN PEACEKEEPING

On the 50th Anniversary of Nepals continuous participation in the UN Peacekeeping Operations, the Secretary-General in a message today expressed special thanks and congratulations to the Government and people of Nepal, a top five contributor of peacekeepers around the world.

Highlighting that Nepal has contributed 60,000 peacekeepers in some 40 peacekeeping missions over the past five decades, the Secretary-General commended Nepals and all peacekeeper-contributing nations participation to foster global peace.

Since the first operations began 60 years ago, peacekeeping has developed into a flagship enterprise of the United Nations. Today, there are more than 110,000 men and women from nearly 120 countries deployed in conflict zones around the world.

Nepal and four other nations of the south together contribute nearly half of the U.N.s peacekeepers.

U.N. MISSION IN TIMOR-LESTE SUPPORTS

GROWTH OF LOCAL PRIVATE SECTOR

The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste is

looking to increase its local financial expenditure in the coming years in an effort to support the Buy Local: Build Timor-Leste campaign.

The campaign is an initiative of the Peace Dividend Trust following a study by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in 2005 that found that increasing peacekeeping and partners expenditure in post conflict states has a positive effect on local economies by creating employment and building the private sector capacity.

The Peace Dividend Trust is now working in two countries where peacekeeping missions operate Timor-Leste and Afghanistan. It will also look to increase its presence in other countries where there are UN peacekeeping operations.

MARKING WORLD DAY AGAINST CHILD LABOUR

The World Day Against Child Labour is marked today and calls the worlds attention to the plight of millions of girls and boys around the world who are victims of child labour. In 2008, the message of the World Day is that Education is the right response to child labour.

According to estimates of the

International Labour Organization (ILO), there are 218 million child labourers, of whom the vast majority is denied educational opportunities.

In his message on occasion of the World Day, the Director-General of the ILO, Juan Somavia, says meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals - in particular Goal 2 related to universal primary education - also means tackling child labour.

The Director-General calls for action to ensure education for all children at least to the minimum age of employment and for education programmes that reach out to child labourers.

UNICEF also sees education as the best weapon in the global fight against child labour and says recent data has provided hope: The number of children out of school has dropped from 115 million in 2002 to 93 million in 2006.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

IRAQI REFUGEES IN IRAN SEEKING REPATRIATION FACING DELAYS: Small groups of long-time Iraqi exiles in Iran seeking repatriation are being delayed by complicated clearance procedures and sporadic border closures, according to the UN refugee agency.

LEBANESE FARMERS RECEIVE FARM ANIMALS: Farmers in south Lebanon have received 200 cows and 1600 goats from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The gift is the first direct UN contribution to a compensation programme set up by the FAO to average losses in south Lebanons agricultural sector caused by the summer 2006 war. Some 450 families of farmers and cattle-breeders in some 40 villages in south Lebanon are expected to benefit from the programme, which will cost around 1.9 million dollars in total. FAO estimates that the region lost some 1600 cows and 20,000 goats during the 2006 war.

NO ANNOUNCEMENT YET ON NEXT HEAD OF PEACEKEEPING: The Spokeswoman, in response to a question, said she could neither deny nor confirm press reports that a French diplomat, Alain le Roy, was tapped to become the new head of UN Peacekeeping in replacement of Jean-Marie Guehenno, also of France, who is expected to step down at the end of July.

NEW REPORT ADDRESSES ROLE OF PEACEKEEPING AND FIELD SUPPORT DEPARTMENTS: Asked for a reaction to criticisms included in a report by the General Assembly's Fifth Committee about the roles of Department of Peacekeeping Operation and the Department of Field Support, Montas said that the Secretariat has received the report and will soon be answering questions raised by the state members of the Committee.

UP TO SECURITY COUNCIL TO DECIDE: Asked if the Security Council would be seized of the apparent dispute between Pakistan and the United States over a reported U.S. raid on alleged Islamist militants in northern Pakistan, a raid Pakistan has called an "act of agression", the Spokeswoman said that it was up to the Council to decide how to deal with the matter if and once Pakistan requests it to take it up.

LAURA BUSH TO HOST UNESCOS SECOND LITERARY MEETING: The Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, today welcomed the announcement by Mrs. Laura Bush that she will host a second literacy meeting in New York on 22 September 2008 in her capacity as Honorary Ambassador for the UN Literacy Decade. The symposium will draw together the conclusions of the six regional literacy conferences organized by UNESCO during 2007 and 2008.

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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