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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-08-12

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

HIGHLIGHTS

OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY HUA JIANG

DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

ANNAN CONDEMNS TWO SUICIDE BOMBINGS IN MIDDLE EAST

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a statement, condemned the two suicide bombings in the Israeli town of Rosh Haayin and outside the settlement of Ariel today that killed two Israelis and wounded some dozen others. He extended his sincere condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims of these terrorist attacks.

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the current escalation in the violence, including the recent incursion into Askar refugee camp near Nablus and last nights shooting incidents in the Gaza Strip. He urges both parties to adhere to their Road Map obligations and to exercise restraint in the face of provocation.

UN AID AGENCIES STEP UP EFFORTS IN LIBERIA

An 11-person team composed of UN agencies and led by Deputy UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Carolyn McAskie has arrived in the Liberian capital of Monrovia today to accelerate humanitarian operations.

McAskie plans to meet today with UN national staff and humanitarian non-governmental organizations, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross, to discuss the most effective ways to proceed with humanitarian operations now that UN international staff have returned to Liberia.

Delivering food to people in need is the top humanitarian priority. Several non-governmental organizations are currently distributing high protein biscuits supplied by the World Food Programme.

UN humanitarian agencies reported stepped up aid efforts to Liberia today.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it has brought food and some equipment for the agency's office in the Liberian capital. On Wednesday, UNHCR will send in another plane with two additional international emergency staff as well as urgent supplies such as fuel and other equipment for the office.

The UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) reported that 10 international staff had arrived in Monrovia, including three specialists in child protection. UNICEF said that high-energy biscuits and oral rehydration salts would be arriving by plane Thursday or Friday. UNICEF said its main priority was the protection of children and flagged the dire situation of street children in Monrovia who had no access to food or water.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said that two WFP international staff had arrived in Monrovia on Monday. WFP hoped to have quick access to its food stocks in warehouses in the port of Monrovia. Once WFP had access, the agency said it could immediately start the distribution of food.

SPECIAL COURT DEMANDS THAT CHARLES TAYLOR FACE CHARGES

David Crane, the Prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, said that the departure of Charles Taylor from power and from Liberia constitutes a significant but incomplete step forward for West Africa in establishing a just and stable peace. He called on the international community to ensure that Taylor stands before the Special Court to face the serious charges against him.

Mr. Taylor left Liberia as an indicted war criminal and remains an indicted war criminal, Crane said.

UN SPECIAL ENVOY FOR LIBERIA TO DEPART FOR REGION

Jacques Klein, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Liberia, is scheduled to leave later today for the region.

On the peacekeeping front, no soldiers or equipment was flown to Monrovia from Freetown by the UN Mission in Sierra Leone because of bad weather in the Liberian capital. Helicopters that left for Monrovia had to return without landing due to heavy rain.

FORMATION OF COMMITTEE FOR IRAQI CONSTITUTION WELCOMED

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, warmly welcomed the formation by Iraqs Governing Council Monday of the Preparatory Committee that is to find the appropriate mechanism to draft a new Iraqi Constitution. He hopes that the Committee will succeed in achieving its goal in a speedy manner.

Vieira de Mello reaffirmed that the United Nations will put its capabilities at the disposal of the Iraqi people, if they so request, to support the process of drafting a new Constitution.

UNHCR recommends that States maintain a ban on forced returns to Iraq and that no returns take place at this time, including of people whose requests for asylum have been rejected. A UNHCR convoy that was to bring refugees back to Iraq from Saudi Arabias Rafha camp yesterday has been delayed, due to recent protests in Basra. That convoy is now expected to enter Iraq on August 16.

UN TROOPS READY TO TAKE OVER IN BUNIA, DR CONGO, ON SEPTEMBER 1

During a visit to Uganda on Monday, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), William Swing, announced that the UN Missions troops would be ready to take over from the Multinational Force due to withdraw from Bunia on September 1.

While in Kampala, Swing also updated the Ugandan Government on recent developments in the DRC peace process. He confirmed that the Transitional Government has effectively taken off.

WEAPONS AMNESTY TO TAKE PLACE NEXT MONTH IN KOSOVO

The UN Mission in Kosovo today announced that a weapons amnesty policy would be in effect throughout Kosovo for the month of September. During that time, any person in Kosovo who possesses a weapon without valid authorization can surrender it to law enforcement authorities without fear of prosecution.

If Kosovars are found to possess illegal weapons after the September 30 deadline, they could face imprisonment and fines of up to 7,500 euros.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECURITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS AFGHANISTAN WEDNESDAY: There are no Security Council meetings or consultations scheduled today. On Wednesday, the Security Council has scheduled consultations on Afghanistan, with the Secretary-Generals Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, attending.

PACE OF ANGOLAN REFUGEE REPATRIATION TO INCREASE: With over 12,000 Angolan refugees going home since the start of voluntary repatriation on June 20, UNHCR is increasing efforts to open up areas of return and to help returnees reintegrate in their home areas. A 27-year civil war displaced an estimated 4.5 million Angolans within the country and drove some 450,000 others into the region before the fighting stopped in 2002. To finance these repatriation and reintegration efforts in Angola, UNHCR has appealed for $29 million and received $16 million so far.

UN APPEALS FOR RETURN OF MISSING AID WORKER IN RUSSIA: The Office of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Russia today reiterated its appeal for the release of Arjan Ekrel, who had headed the Doctors without Borders relief mission in the Russian republic of Dagestan before he was abducted a year ago. The United Nations condemns his continuing abduction and underscores that such actions undermine the effective provision of humanitarian assistance to thousands of civilians in need in the northern Caucasus.

ANNAN SAYS JOB DEVELOPMENT NEEDED FOR YOUTH: Today is International Youth Day, and the Secretary-General, in a message to mark the occasion, says that youth unemployment is a problem affecting all countries, with an estimated 74 million young people currently out of work. We must develop strategies that give young people everywhere a real chance to find decent and productive work, he says a task that will become more crucial over the next decade, when more than a billion young people will enter the working-age population.

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