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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-06-27

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 27, 2008

BAN KI-MOON STARTS OFFICIAL VISIT TO JAPAN, CHINA, REPUBLIC OF KOREA

The Secretary-General will begin, this weekend, an official visit to Japan. On Sunday he will deliver a lecture on Climate Change at Kyoto University, and in Tokyo the next day he will have an audience with the Emperor and Empress of Japan. He will also meet with Crown Prince Naruhito, the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, amongst others.

He will make an official visit to China, which will include meetings with the President, Premier and Foreign Minister, as well as with the UN country team. He will speak at the Foreign Affairs University, and is expected to visit Olympic Games sites.

In his first trip home to the Republic of Korea since becoming Secretary-General, he will be conferred an honorary degree at Seoul National University and lead a seminar on Climate Change at the National Assembly. He plans to meet with the President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, and he will attend a Model UN at Cheongju University.

The Secretary-General then returns to Japan to attend the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit. He will attend sessions on Development for Africa and Climate Change. He will also speak with students at Hokkaido University.

The Secretary-General will return to New York in the second week of July.

U.N. ENVOY CONTINUES DISCUSSION ON ZIMBABWE WITH REGIONAL LEADERS

Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Haile Menkerios is continuing to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe with leaders in southern Africa. Yesterday, he met in Luanda with Angolan President José Edoardo dos Santos, and this afternoon, he is to meet in Dar-Es-Salaam with the President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete. From there, he will travel onward to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, for the meeting of the African Union.

The Secretary-General has commented this week on the run-off round of elections taking place today in Zimbabwe, and he said repeatedly that the vote should have been postponed, given present circumstances. The Secretary-General and Haile Menkerios will continue to work with the African Union and other regional organizations to ensure a satisfactory and non-violent resolution.

Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour on Thursday

called for justice and accountability in response to the campaign of political violence that has corrupted the electoral process in Zimbabwe.

She said that serious violations of human rights need to stop immediately, and those who perpetrate crimes must be held to account.

Arbour described the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe as a perversion of democracy, saying that respect of fundamental human rights and the rule of law are at the heart of any meaningful political and democratic process. She welcomed the continuing regional and international efforts to resolve the crisis and urged that mediation efforts be guided by the necessity for justice and accountability, the essential first steps towards reconciliation.

GAZA CONDITIONS REMAIN EXTREMELY GRAVE

Lisa Buttenheim, Director of the Department of Political Affairs Asia-Pacific Division, briefed Council members this morning during their periodic meeting on the Middle East. She said it is clear that progress has been made on several fronts, compared to the situation twelve months ago.

She noted that the UNs Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, was in Ankara yesterday and will visit Damascus tomorrow to underline the UNs support and encouragement for the continuing indirect talks between Israel and Syria under Turkish mediation. On Lebanon, she said she hoped that agreement on the composition of the Lebanese cabinet will be reached soon and that it would foster a climate of lasting national reconciliation.

Buttenheim noted, however, that conditions in Gaza remain extremely grave and need urgent attention. For example, continuing fuel restrictions are leading to reduced water supply, the accumulation of 600 tonnes of rubbish a day on the streets, and the daily dumping of 77 million litres of sewage into the Mediterranean.

Buttenheim added that new procedures applied to the movement of UN agencies in the West Bank including searches of UN property, the refusal to accept UN identification, and a requirement on UN Palestinian staff to walk across crossings - are causing increased operational concerns to UN staff on the ground.

The Security Council followed her briefing with closed consultations on the Middle East, which included a discussion of a draft resolution introduced by Libya.

The Council also expects to discuss the Central African Republic in its consultations, and it will receive a briefing on that country by the Secretary-Generals Special Representative there, Francois Lonseny Fall.

Earlier this morning, the Council unanimously adopted a resolution and a Presidential Statement on the situation in the Golan Heights. The Council extended the UN Disengagement Observer Force in that region by six months, until the end of this year.

Asked about violations of the ceasefire, the Spokeswoman said that at the current time, the United Nations is not commenting on alleged violations of the ceasefire. It is not involved in any monitoring mechanism on the ceasefire.

She denied reports alleging that UN officials had commented on the number of Israeli and Palestinian violations, saying that, according to UN staff in Jerusalem, those media reports are not based on any official UN sources.

NEW MEMBER NAMED TO BOARD OF U.N. REGISTER OF DAMAGE FOR ISRAELI SEPARATION BARRIER

In compliance with the provisions of General Assembly resolution

A/RES/ES-10/17 (2007), Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has decided to appoint in his personal capacity Mr. Ronald J. Bettauer (USA) as one of the three members of the Board of the United Nations Register of Damage caused by the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (UNRoD).

Mr. Bettauer, a prominent international expert in all aspects of damage claims processing and registration, will replace Mr. Michael Raboin, who tragically died in April 2008. The Board is expected to pursue its mandated work next month in a meeting at UNRoDs Headquarters in Vienna.

U.N. ENVOY CONTINUES TALKS ON NAME ISSUE IN SKOPJE

The Secretary-Generals Personal Envoy for the talks between Greece and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Matthew Nimetz, is currently in the region for continued consultations on the name issue.

Nimetz met in Skopje today with the President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and other officials from The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. He heard detailed assessments of their latest positions.

Yesterday, Nimetz had what he said was a good meeting with the Greek Foreign Minister and other Greek officials in Athens. No specific new proposals were put forth but the outline of a solution was discussed.

No decision has been taken on the next steps at this point but that will be addressed soon, perhaps next week.

EXECUTIVE SECRETARY FOR CONFERENCE TO REVIEW MONTERREY CONSENSUS IMPLEMENTATION NAMED

The Secretary-General has decided to appoint Oscar de Rojas of Venezuela, Director of the Financing for Development Office in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, as the Executive Secretary of the Follow-up International Conference to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, which will be held in Doha, Qatar, from 29 November to 2 December 2008.

The Review Conference will assess progress made, reaffirm goals and commitments and share best practices and lessons learned. It will also identify obstacles and constraints that have been encountered, actions and initiatives to overcome them, and important measures for further implementation, as well as new challenges and emerging issues.

PAKISTAN SHOULD DROP CHARGES AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS DETAINED DURING STATE OF EMERGENCY

High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour has wrapped up her first official visit to Pakistan. In a statement today, she said she was deeply impressed by the historic mobilization of Pakistans civil society in defense of democracy and the rule of law.

At the same time, however, she warned that the current judicial crisis in Pakistan risks paralyzing the new Governments ability to address other critical policy challenges.

Arbour added that, as a gesture of reconciliation, Pakistans Government should drop all outstanding charges against those human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers and political activists who were detained during last Novembers state of emergency.

AFGHANISTAN: U.N. ENVOY TO INAUGURATE NEW MECHANISM FOR VIOLATIONS AGAINST CHILDREN IN ARMED CONFLICT

Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, will be visiting Afghanistan from tomorrow until 3 July, at the invitation of the Government.

Her main objective is to inaugurate a Security Council-mandated monitoring and reporting mechanism on grave violations committed against children in armed conflict.

Coomaraswamy will also meet with children affected by conflict, as well as Government officials and religious and tribal leaders.

Meanwhile, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes is on a five-day

visit to Afghanistan. He is there to review the humanitarian situation, in order to improve response to the needs of the Afghan population.

Holmes today arrived in Jalalabad, where he visited two sites for Afghan refugees who have returned home from Pakistan.

Yesterday, Mr. Holmes met the UN humanitarian team in Kabul. On Saturday, he will travel to another field location before returning to Kabul.

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY CONCERNED BY RECENT REPATRIATION OF LAO HMONG FROM THAILAND

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has written to the Government of Thailand to express

concern over the repatriation of 837 Lao Hmong last Sunday, following a protest by thousands of refugees who broke out of a camp run by the Thai Army.

UNHCR says the lack of transparency surrounding the repatriation raises doubt about whether the returns were voluntary. The agency is particularly concerned that a group of eight leaders and their families appear to have been deported against their will without any determination of whether they needed international protection. UNHCR is also concerned that families may have been separated in the process.

UNHCR says it stands ready to help both the Lao and Thai governments.

NEW INITIATIVE TO DISPOSE OF OBSOLETE AND USED COMPUTERS

A new initiative on the disposal of computing equipment was launched today at a

conference on waste management in Bali, Indonesia.

The initiative is part of the Basel Convention on Waste management administered by the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP).

The Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE) will tackle the management of obsolete and used computers and develop technical guidelines for proper repair, refurbishing and recycling.

The conference also adopted a declaration on Waste Management for Human Health and Livelihood. It calls on the World Health Organization (WHO) to consider a resolution on the improvement of health through safe and environmentally sound waste management.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS FULL CONFIDENCE IN SPECIAL ADVISER ON SPORT FOR DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE: Asked about comments made by Wifried Lemke, the Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, concerning the Zimbabwe cricket team, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General had not commented on the matter but had full confidence in his Special Adviser.

NO NAME TO CONFIRM FOR NEW SENIOR MEDIATOR FOR DARFUR: The Spokeswoman, in response to a question, said that there was no name to confirm for the new senior mediator for

Darfur until the Security Council has been informed of that appointment.

  • **The guests at noon were Léo Mérorès, President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, and Nikhil Seth, Director, Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination/DESA, who briefed ahead of ECOSOCs substantive session and its high-level segment which is taking place from 30 June to 3 July.

    THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

    28 June 04 July 2008

    Saturday, June 28

    The Secretary-General is in Japan, his first stop on an official visit to northeast Asia.

    From today through Thursday, Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, is in Afghanistan, where she will inaugurate a Security Council-mandated monitoring and reporting mechanism on grave violations against children in armed conflict.

    From today through Tuesday, the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories visits Jordan before continuing on to Syria from 1-5 July.

    Sunday, June 29

    The Secretary-General is scheduled to deliver a lecture on climate change at Kyoto University.

    Monday, June 30

    In Tokyo, the Secretary-General is scheduled to have an audience with the Emperor and Empress of Japan, as well as meet with the Crown Prince, the Prime Minister, and the Foreign Minister.

    Today and tomorrow, the Deputy Secretary-General is in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, where she will represent the U.N. at the African Union Summit.

    This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations on its Counter-Terrorism Committee. Today is the last day of the U.S. Council presidency.

    At 11 a.m. in Room S-226, Philip Alston, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, briefs on his recent visit to the United States.

    At 12.30 p.m. in Room S-226, Lakhdar Brahimi, Chairman of the Independent Panel on Safety and Security of UN Personnel and Premises Worldwide, briefs on the Panel's report.

    At 1.15 p.m. in Room S-226, Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and Lord Stern of Brentford, brief on their work in the area of sustainable development.

    From today through 25 July at U.N. Headquarters, the Economic and Social Council holds its 2008 substantive session. In the Trusteeship Council, the high-level segment opens at 9 a.m., followed at 11 a.m. by a high-level policy dialogue with the heads of international financial and trade institutions, moderated by Under-Secretary-General Sha Zukang. The opening of the Development Cooperation Forum takes place at 3 p.m.

    From today through 18 July in Conference Room 2, the forty-first session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women takes place.

    In Geneva, the World Health Organization is scheduled to take part in the announcement of two major initiatives in the fight against the global tuberculosis epidemic.

    From today through Friday in Geneva, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a joint FAO-WHO body that provides recommendations on food safety and trade, holds its 31st session.

    Tuesday, July 1

    The Secretary-General begins an official visit to China. Today he is scheduled to speak at the Foreign Affairs University in Beijing.

    Today is the first day of Viet Nams Security Council presidency.

    At 11.15 a.m. in Room S-226, Léo Mérorès, President of ECOSOC; Liu Guijin, Chinas Special Envoy on African Affairs; and George Gyan-Baffour, Ghanas Deputy Minister of Finance, brief on the launch of the first ECOSOC Development Cooperation Forum and on lessons learned in international development cooperation.

    At 12.30 p.m. in Room S-226, Jean-Maurice Ripert, Permanent Representative of France, briefs on Frances priorities for its six-month presidency of the European Union, which begins today.

    At 1.15 p.m. in Room S-226, Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, presents The World Economic and Social Survey 2008: Overcoming Economic Insecurity.

    Today is the 40th anniversary of the opening for signature of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

    In Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency is scheduled to issue its annual report.

    Wednesday, July 2

    In Beijing, the Secretary-General is scheduled to visit Olympic Games sites and meet with Chinas President, Foreign Minister, and other top officials.

    At 9:30 a.m., the Economic and Social Council begins its Annual Ministerial Review.

    At 12.30 p.m. in Room S-226, Le Luong Minh, Permanent Representative of Viet Nam and President of the Security Council for the month of July, briefs on the Councils programme of work for July.

    General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim begins a two-day official visit to Italy.

    Thursday, July 3

    The Secretary-General begins an official visit to the Republic of Korea. Today he is scheduled to meet with U.N. staff and peacekeeping soldiers, as well as receive an honorary Ph.D. from Seoul National University.

    At 11 a.m. in Room S-226, Manouchehr Mottaki, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, briefs following his participation in the Economic and Social Council's High-level Segment.

    At 3 p.m. the Economic and Social Council begins its thematic debate on Promoting an integrated approach to rural development in developing countries for poverty eradication and sustainable development, taking into account current challenges.

    From 3 to 4.30 p.m. in Conference Room 4, the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations meets to conclude its 2008 regular session.

    Friday, July 4

    In Seoul, The Secretary-General is scheduled to attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the National Cemetery, address the National Assembly, and meet with the President and Prime Minister.

    U.N. Headquarters in New York is closed for an official holiday (Independence Day of the Host Country).

    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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