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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-06-20

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 MICHELE MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, June 20, 2008

BAN KI-MOON: KOSOVO PACKAGE REPRESENTS

"LEAST OBJECTIONABLE" WAY FORWARD

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this morning presented his package of proposals on Kosovo at an open meeting of the Security Council, telling Council members that, in his almost 40 years of diplomatic life, he has never encountered an issue as divisive, as delicate and as intractable as the Kosovo issue.

Nevertheless, he said, he believes that the package given to the Council last week represents the least objectionable way forward.

In that report, the Secretary-General noted, a reconfigured and restructured UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) will continue to carry out a number of functions, including, significantly, functions related to the dialogue on the implementation of provisions in six areas contained in his letter to President Boris Tadic police, courts, customs, transport and infrastructure, boundaries, and Serbian patrimony.

Meanwhile, the European Union will take on some increasing operational responsibilities in the areas of international policing, justice and customs in Kosovo, within a reconfigured UNMIK, within the mandate established by Security Council resolution 1244, and under an umbrella headed by the Secretary-Generals Special Representative.

To lead this new phase of the mission, the Secretary-General told the Council that he intends to appoint Lamberto Zannier of Italy to be his Special Representative. He will help to carry forward the vision presented in the Secretary-Generals report, and to lead a new phase of dialogue, and he will be scrupulously balanced in his approach.

He stressed that his overriding objectives are to ensure Kosovos overall stability, to protect and promote the interests of all of its communities, and to maintain international peace and security in Kosovo and the broader region.

The Councils open meeting also included presentations from President Tadic, representing Belgrade, and Fatmir Sejdiu, representing Pristina.

After the meeting, the Security Council intends to hold consultations on the Great Lakes region, to hear from the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy, Joachim Chissano, about the peace talks with the Lords Resistance Army.

Asked about a timeline for future UN action, the Spokeswoman said that, after consulting widely with all key stakeholders and presenting his report to the Security Council, the Secretary-General was, today, listening to the views of Council members and the next steps would follow after he hears from them.

Asked about the UN role in Kosovo, Montas said it is based on resolution 1244 and the mandate provided by the Security Council.

BAN KI-MOON INTENDS TO SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR KOSOVO

The Secretary-General, in his statement to the Security Council this morning, expressed his intention to appoint Lamberto Zannier of Italy as his Special Representative for Kosovo.

Mr. Zannier is currently on secondment from the Italian Government to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) as Director of the Conflict Prevention Centre there. In that capacity, he has been responsible for overseeing around 20 civilian field operations.

He has held a number of high level appointments since joining the Italian Foreign Ministry in 1978 and has been closely involved with the UN system.

SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS RESOLUTION AGAINST SEXUAL VIOLENCE

The Security Council late yesterday wrapped up its meeting on women, peace and security by adopting a resolution demanding the immediate and complete cessation by all parties to armed conflict of all acts of sexual violence against civilians.

The Council determined in that resolution that rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide.

It also affirmed the Councils intention to consider imposing targeted and graduated measures against warring factions who committed rape and other forms of violence against women and girls.

UNICEF IS DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT INCREASED ABDUCTION OF CHILDREN

A day after the Security Council adopted a landmark resolution on sexual violence as a tool of war, UNICEF says it is deeply concerned by the increasing number of kidnappings and abduction of children, particularly in violence-torn countries. In many cases these abductions are being carried out with impunity by criminal gangs and armed groups.

The agency recalls that more than 50 children were kidnapped since the start of the year in Haiti. In the Central African Republic, armed gangs are terrorizing rural communities, including by kidnapping children for ransom.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, children are forcibly recruited by armed groups or are reduced to sexual slavery. In Iraq a growing number of boys are made to fight for insurgent groups while young girls are kidnapped and raped, murdered or trafficked within or out of the country for sexual exploitation.

UNICEF calls on governments to live up to their responsibility to enact and enforce measures to protect all children.

LEADERS OF GREEK AND TURKISH CYPRUS TO MEET AGAIN IN JULY

Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Cyprus, announced today that the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities, Demetris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat, respectively, will meet again on 1 July.

He spoke following the announcement by representatives of the two communities of a series of measures aimed at easing the daily life of Cypriots across the island.

The measures provide for: educational programs in connection with cultural heritage; steps on road safety; easing the movement of ambulances between the two sides; the establishment of a Cyprus Joint Committee on Health; cooperation for an island-wide assessment of all major waste streams; and agreement on environmental education.

Zerihoun also announced that additional measures could be announced in the coming days. The momentum of the process has not slowed, he said. It is in fact producing tangible results.

ZIMBABWE: U.N. ENVOY MEETS WITH SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT

Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Haile Menkerios is in South Africa today, where he has met with President Thabo Mbeki.

It appears that he will remain in the area for some additional days.

In case the Security Council decides to discuss the issue on Monday, the briefing will be given by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe.

UN MISSION STARTS SENSITIZATION CAMPAIGN FOR CONGOLESE ARMY

The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and a number of UN agencies have launched a week-long sensitization campaign for the new integrated brigades of the Congolese army.

Some 1,800 soldiers will be trained in child protection, human rights, how to combat sexual violence and the role of military justice.

The training lies not only within MONUCs mandate of support to the reform of the security sector in the DRC, but is also part of the new zero tolerance campaign against child recruitment into armed groups, which Alan Doss, the Secretary Generals Special Representative, launched last week. The training is taking place at an army camp in Uvira, in South Kivu.

Meanwhile, the Mission reports a relative calm in the west, and several violations of the ceasefire in the northeast, a situation made worse by a wave of forced recruitment of children by various armed groups.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL DISCUSSES FOOD SECURITY WITH IMF

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro is in Washington, D.C., today to participate in a working lunch with the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the 24 members of the IMF Executive Board.

The focus of the discussion will be on the Food and energy crises the role of the UN and the Bretton Woods Institutions. The lunch provides an opportunity to discuss ways and means for the international community to act together in addressing the crises.

The IMF is already a member of the Secretary-Generals High-level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis.

REFUGEE AGENCY ALARMED BY REPORTED FORCED RETURNS

OF ERITREAN ASYLUM-SEEKERS IN EGYPT

The UN Refugee Agency says its very alarmed over credible reports of ongoing, forcible returns of Eritrean asylum-seekers from Egypt, despite UNHCRs appeals for a halt to such returns until it can access detention centers and evaluate claims for international protection.

UNHCR is asking Egyptian authorities for unhindered access to all asylum-seekers currently in detention.

It is also requesting them to urgently provide information on the location and well-being of 1,400 Eritreans and other persons of concern, whose names and detention locations had previously been provided.

NEARLY $450 MILLION SOUGHT TO REBUILD PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMP

A high-level donor conference to provide for the reconstruction of the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon will take place in Vienna next Monday, and is to help obtain funding for what the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) says will be its largest reconstruction project ever.

UNRWA and the Lebanese Government have appealed for $445 million to rebuild Nahr el-Bared following the heavy fighting that took place at the camp last year.

FUNDS FOR HELICOPTER OPERATION IN MYANMAR CRITICALLY LOW

The World Food Programme warned today that critical shortage of funds for a helicopter operation providing essential logistical support to nearly 50 aid agencies is threatening the relief effort for 2.4 million survivors of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar.

WFP says that the operation to move life-saving supplies to distressed communities by boat, truck and air will all halt by the end of this month, unless they receive additional funding.

To date, only just over half of the $50 million required for the logistical operation has been secured and much of this money has already been spent on barges, boats, rivercrafts and basic infrastructure needed to reach cyclone survivors in remote, hard-hit villages across the Irrawaddy Delta.

Meanwhile, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says the private sector is generously supporting the Myanmar cyclone emergency response, with $30 million worth of contributions. This includes $10 million raised by the United Nations Childrens Fund and National Committees across the world.

Some of the largest private sector contributors to the Myanmar cyclone relief effort include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which gave a total of $3 million to non-governmental organizations.

WORLD REFUGEE DAY IS MARKED WITH THEM OF "PROTECTION"

Today is World Refugee Day. Events taking place around the globe today are focusing on the fundamental need for protection.

In his message to mark the day, the Secretary-General notes that conflict and poverty are the most common reasons why people are compelled to leave their homes. Those factors are now amplified by the effects of climate change, increasing scarcity of resources and food shortages.

The Secretary-General says that, contrary to public perceptions, developing countries actually bear the burden of hosting a larger number of refugees, despite their limited resources.

He calls on the international community to redouble efforts to address both the causes and consequences of forced human displacement.

UN-BACKED ALLIANCE REPORTS STEADY PROGRESS IN IMMUNIZATION

There has been steady progress in global efforts to improve immunization programmes and strengthen health systems in the worlds poorest countries. Thats according to the latest annual report by the GAVI Alliance, a public-private partnership that includes the World Health Organization and UNICEF among its members.

The report notes a steady increase in immunization coverage rates in the 72 GAVI-eligible countries. In 2007, 75-percent of children in those countries were immunized with three doses of diptheria, tetanus and polio vaccines. Thats up from 64 per cent in 2000.

In related news, however, WHO is reporting a new outbreak of polio in northern Nigeria that has begun to spread to nearby countries and that could cause a major international outbreak on the scale of the one that occurred between 2003 and 2006. More than 20 per cent of children in high-risk areas of Nigeria remain unimmunized, WHO says. The agency notes that Nigeria has planned two large-scale rounds of emergency polio immunization in those areas in July and August.

U.N. COMMITTEE ON OUTER SPACE WRAPS UP 51ST SESSION

The UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space has wrapped up its 51st session in Vienna earlier today. During the 10-day session, delegates discussed how to apply space technology to improve the worlds food security, prevent and manage disaster and combat climate change.

The Committee also debated the impact of water scarcity and floods on global food production and how to deploy space technology to collecting data for sustainable development in areas such as agriculture, deforestation assessment, disaster monitoring, drought relief and land management.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

NO IMMEDIATE ACTION ON REPORTS OF POTENTIAL ISRAELI ATTACK ON IRAN: Asked whether the Secretary-General would act in response to reports about a potential Israeli attack on Iran, the Spokeswoman said that there was not enough information to act on, adding that the Secretary-General would stay informed on the matter.

SECRETARY-GENERAL YET TO RECEIVE LEETER FROM EGYPT ON SHABA FARMS: In response to a question, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General had not received a letter from Egypt concerning the status of the Shaba Farms, which has been claimed by Lebanon and by Syria.

BAN KI-MOON EXPECTED TO BRIEF PRESS NEXT WEEK: Asked when the Secretary-General would brief the press next, the Spokeswoman said he intended to do so next week.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS[1]

Monday, June 23

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold a private meeting with Troop Contributing Countries to the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), followed by consultations on UNDOF and Eritrea/Ethiopia.

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Conference Room 2, the UN Public Service Day and Awards Ceremony celebrates the 60th Anniversary of the Programme on Public Administration and Development.

General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim begins an official visit to Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Austria.

From today through Thursday in Vienna, the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization holds its 30th session.

Today in Vienna, a high-level donor conference takes place to raise funds for the reconstruction of the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

From today through Friday, the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories visits Egypt, before continuing on to Jordan and Syria.

Tuesday, June 24

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to be briefed by Salim Ahmed Salim and Jan Eliasson, the African Union and UN Envoys on Sudan. In the afternoon, a debate on peace and security in Africa (Djibouti/Eritrea) is scheduled.

At 10.15 a.m. in Room S-226, Steven Kull of the University of Marylands Program on International Policy Attitudes; Yvonne Terlingen of Amnesty International; and Craig Mokhiber from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights brief on new survey data on the acceptance of the use of torture, racial discrimination, womens rights, freedom of the press, democracy and governance.

At 11 a.m. in Room S-226, the Prime Minister of Djibouti, Deleita Mohamed Deleita, and Djiboutis Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, brief on peace and security in the Horn of Africa.

The guests at the noon briefing are Jan Eliasson and Salim Ahmed Salim, the UN and African Union Special Envoys for Darfur, who will brief on the Darfur peace process.

Wednesday, June 25

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations on Iraq/Kuwait (missing persons and property) and Guinea-Bissau.

From 10 to 11.30 a.m. in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, the launch of Transparency Internationals Global Corruption Report 2008: Corruption in the Water Sector takes place.

At 12.30 p.m. in the Office of Legal Affairs, there will be a ceremony to honour the 11 countries that have ratified the 2005 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Safety of U.N. and Associated Personnel

Thursday, June 26

This morning in the Security Council, a briefing and consultations on the Middle East are scheduled.

At 11.30 a.m., the Secretary-General is scheduled to brief the press at the Security Council stakeout. There will be no noon briefing by the Spokesperson today.

At 12.30 p.m. in Room S-226, Special Adviser Jan Egeland is scheduled to brief on his recent trip to the Sahel and on climate change in that region.

At 1 p.m. at the Trygve Lie Center for Peace, Security & Development International Peace Institute, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Antonio Maria Costa launches the World Drug Report 2008.

From 2 to 4 p.m. in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, there will be an interactive briefing on genocide preventionSaving succeeding generations.

Today is the International Day against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking, as well as the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

Friday, June 27

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution on the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force, followed by consultations on the Central African Republic.

At 11.15 a.m. in Room S-226, Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, briefs the press.

The guests at the noon briefing are Léo Mérorès, President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, and Nikhil Seth, Director of the Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination/DESA, who will brief in advance of ECOSOCs High-level Segment, which begins on 30 June.

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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