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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-05-09

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

HIGHLIGHTS

OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, May 9, 2003

style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: DR CONGO: BUNIA ON VERGE OF HUMANITARIAN CATASTROPHE

style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: The already volatile situation in Bunia, in the north east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has degenerated.

style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: Hundreds of civilians, mixed with students and militia, stormed the UN mission headquarters in the town, demanding a more robust response for the protection of civilians and delivery of humanitarian assistance. style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: The mob destroyed UN vehicles and other property. style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: The UN sector commander was slightly injured when attacked by a machete. style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: The mob was dispersed by UN troops who fired warning shots in the air.

[style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: The crowd later returned and thestyle="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: UN missions headquarters then came under renewed attack. Machine guns and light arms were discharged at the UN headquarters, and at least one explosion, from either a grenade or a rocket, was heard. There was no immediate information on casualties. Sstyle="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: everal UN APCs and a bulldozer were called in from thestyle="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: small UN style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: contingent stationed at Bunia airport, and managed to clear the street in front of the headquarters. Although the area is still under siege, and sporadic gunfire continues to be heard in the vicinity, night has fallen and things are reported to be style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: quieter.Tstyle="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: he situation remains extremely tense.]

style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight:

Several thousand civilians have sought refuge at the airport where a small UN force is stationed. These people have no food, water or sanitation facilitates.

style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: Today, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean Marie Guehenno is to brief the Security Council and to advise Council members that Bunia is on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe.

style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: The fighting between Hema and Lendu militias started in the wake of the Ugandan armys withdrawal on May 6th. Fighting between the two militias has continued daily, mostly near the airport, affecting the civilians gathered there. The Lendu are currently in control of the town while the Hema are three kilometers outside. The more than 700 Congolese national police who were sent to Bunia have been unable to provide any real security and have reportedly dispersed.

The mission has some 625 Uruguayan troops in Bunia and is today sending an additional 50. This constitutes the total reserve force of MONUC.

ANNAN, EXTREMELY CONCERNED ABOUT DRC, ON PHONE WITH REGIONAL LEADERS

style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: The Spokesman was asked if the situation in Bunia could be considered a crisis and if it might be a repeat of what happened in Rwanda.He replied that Secretary-General Kofi Annan is extremely concerned about the situation in eastern DRC.He has been on the phone to leaders in the region and in particular to Ugandan President Museveni, asking for coordination between the United Nations and Uganda as Ugandan troops are withdrawn and the United Nations tries to move additional military resources to the region to replace them. He said that there was concern among the Secretary-Generals advisers that the situation could escalate as it did in Rwanda and the Secretary-General has expressed his concerns to the Security Council.

style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: The Spokesman was also asked if the number of UN troops in the region could be considered enough and he said that in light of what had happened today, it was safe to say that there was not a sufficient number to guarantee security.

style="line-height:12.0pt;mso-layout-grid-align:none; SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON NEW IRAQ RESOLUTION

style="line-height:12.0pt;mso-layout-grid-align:none; Prior to receiving the briefing on the DRC, the Security Council met in consultations and received a draft resolution dealing with the UN role and sanctions in Iraq.

Then, starting this evening the Security Council will take part in a weekend retreat with the Secretary-General. The topic of the fifth retreat of its kind is: New Challenges to International Peace and Security.

VICTIMS OF MINES INCREASE IN NORTHERN IRAQ

From northern Iraq, the United Nations says the number of victims of mines and unexploded ordinance in the three northern governorates during March and April 2003, increased by more than 90% compared to the same period last year; an important number of those victims were children.

Today, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees sent a three-truck from Jordan into Iraq with emergency supplies for up to 2,000 people, including 400 tents, 1,200 mattresses and 2,000 blankets as well as stoves, jerry cans and soap.These supplies will be distributed to some of the reported 1,000 Palestinian refugees have been evicted from their homes in the Iraqi capital since the end of the war. Some of them are camping in disused schools and other abandoned buildings, as well as on plots of open land in Baghdad. UNHCR fears that more of the estimated 60-90,000 Palestinian refugees living in Iraq could lose their homes. The agency says that Palestinians are being targeted because they are perceived as having benefited from the previous regime especially with free housing.

Also in Baghdad, teams from the UN Development Programme are undertaking assessment of electricity and water sanitation sites. That work is being done with technical personnel from the relevant Iraqi ministries.

style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: Yesterday a C-130 cargo plane lostyle="font-size: aded with UNICEF and WFP supplies landed in Baghdad. The UNICEF supplies included oral re-hydration kits, black fever medicine and emergency health kits. All are destined for the Baghdad pediatric sites.

MULTIPLE EFFORTS UNDERWAY TO EASE CRISES IN WEST AFRICA

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for West Africa Ahmedou Ould Abdallah is meeting with the heads of UN regional offices in Dakar, Senegal, today to deal with the crises in West Africa.

According to the Special Representative, in addition to trying to come up with a new approach to address these issues of life and death for the sub-region, it is also essential that the international community, notwithstanding its current focus on Iraq, North Korea and elsewhere, should continue to keep in mind the grave situation in West Africa.

He said he would share the outcome of this meeting with members of the Security Council who will be visiting the region next week.

British Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock, who is leading the 15-member,style="mso-spacerun: seven-nation mission (S/200/525) to Nigeria, Ghana, Cote DIvoire, Guinea, Liberia, Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone starting next Thursday, is scheduled to brief reporters at UN headquarters on the visitstyle="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: on Monday at 12:30 p.m.

High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers leaves tomorrow on a mission to five West African nations Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The West Africa region accounts for more than half a million refugees.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO EUROPE NEXT WEEK

style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight:

style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette is scheduled to travel all of next week, starting with an official visit to Poland from May 11 to 13.

style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; During that visit, she will have meetings with Government officials, including President Aleksander Kwasniewski, and on Monday, she will deliver an address at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ostyle="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: n Wednesday, May 14, the Deputy Secretary-General will travel to Strasbourg, where she will have meetings with a number of European parliamentarians, as well as the President of the European Parliament, Patrick Cox. In the evening, she will attend an informal meeting of the ministers of Foreign Affairs of the members of the Council of Europe, hosted by the Secretary-General of the Council.

style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; Then on Thursday, the Deputy Secretary-General will go to Brussels for her yearly meeting with officials of the European Union, at which she will discuss with them crisis management and specific country and regional issues of concern to both the United Nations and the European Union. On Friday, she will address the ministerial meeting of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and the European Union.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

COLOMBIAN ASYLUM SEEKERS IN ECUADOR INCREASE: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, said the number of Colombians seeking asylum in Ecuador has surged in the first four months of this year. A record 5,100 have entered Ecuador asking for protection, more than four times the number for the same period last year. UNHCR says the upsurge coincides with the deterioration of the conflict in Colombia, especially the department of Nariño, which borders Ecuador and which has seen a marked increase in fighting since January. UNHCR is supporting the government of Ecuador in dealing with the increase in new arrivals by providing training and equipment for government officials.

UN-HABITAT TO ESTABLISH PROGRAMME FOR PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES: The 19th session of the Governing Council of the UN Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, ended today after the adoption of a record number of resolutions. In an unprecedented more, delegates adopted a resolution asking UN-HABITAT to establish a special Human Settlements Programme in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to address the difficult housing situation there.The new programme will improve shelter and basic urban services and the resolution asks the donor community for $5 million to fund the first two years of the project.

INDIGENOUS FORUM TO FOCUS ON CHILDREN AND YOUTH: Starting on Monday, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will meet for two weeks, holding its second session. More than 1,500 people are registered to attend, in a meeting that will be opened by Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Nitin Desai. The theme of this years session is indigenous children and youth, and an honor guard of children from the Onondaga Nation will participate in the opening ceremonies.

style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:13.0pt; WHO BEGINS DIALOGUE WITH FOOD INDUSTRY: style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size: Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland of the World Health Organization today in Geneva hosted the first formal roundtable meeting between WHO and senior executives from the food industry on diet and chronic diseases. Following the recently-released WHO and FAO report on diet and nutrition and todays high-level dialogue in Geneva, WHO is planning a series of consultations with civil society groups, UN agencies and industry trade associations. The outcome of these discussions will be used for the drafting of a Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, which will be presented to the World Health Assembly in May 2004.

style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: MRS. ANNAN ADDRESSES MODEL UN: Nane Annan, wife of the Secretary-General, today addressed 1,300 high school students at the opening of the 4th Annual Model UN conference organized by the United Nations Association of the United States, taking place at the Jacob Javits Center. She talked about meeting children and visiting UN projects in many countries when traveling with the Secretary-General.She also thanked the students for their participation in the Model UN and encouraged them to learn more about the world and to reach out to those in need.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Saturday, May 10

The Secretary-General and Security Council Ambassadors will attend a retreat at which they are expected to discuss new challenges to international peace and security.

Sunday, May 11

Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette will begin an official visit to Poland, where she will meet with President Aleksander Kwasniewski and other senior officials.

Monday, May 12

The Security Council intends to hold consultations on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and on Cote d'Ivoire.

The Secretary-General will issue a message to the second session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which is beginning in New York.

The Committee on World Food Security will begin a weeklong meeting in Rome.

The guest at the noon briefing will be Lee Sweptson of the International Labour Organization, who will present an ILO report on discrimination.

At 12:30 p.m., British Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock will hold a press briefing on the upcoming Security Council mission to West Africa.

In Poland, the Deputy Secretary-General will deliver an address at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Tuesday, May 13

The Security Council has scheduled a public meeting on the Councils role in the pacific settlement of disputes.

style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; The exhibit In Celebration of Indigenous Peoples will be officially opened at 6:30 p.m. in the Public Lobby.

The Secretary-General will issue a message to the UN meeting in support of Middle East Peace in Kiev, Ukraine.

Wednesday, May 14

The Security Council is expected to hold consultations on Iraq.

The Deputy Secretary-General will travel to Strasbourg, to meet with European Parliamentarians and the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe.

Thursday, May 15

A Security Council mission headed by British Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock will begin a visit to West Africa, which is to last until May 23.

The Deputy Secretary-General will travel to Brussels, Belgium, for her yearly meeting with officials of European Union institutions.

This is the International Day of Families.

Friday, May 16

The Security Council has scheduled a troop contributors meeting on Timor-Leste.

The Deputy Secretary-General, in Brussels, will address the ministerial meeting of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and the European Union.

style="line-height:12.0pt;mso-layout-grid-align:none; style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt;

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162 - press/media only

Fax. 212-963-7055

All other inquiries to be addressed to (212) 963-4475 or by e-mail to: inquiries@un.org


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