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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-11-08
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING
BY FRED ECKHARD
SPOKESMAN FOR THE
OF THE UNITED NATIONS
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, November 8, 2004
COTE D'IVOIRE: FOREIGN NATIONALS SEEK REFUGE IN U.N. BUILDINGS;
HATE MEDIA BROADCASTS CONTINUE
UN Mission in Cote dIvoire reports that hate media broadcasts aimed at foreigners continue, and some 800 foreign nationals have sought refuge within the compounds and sites of the UN mission in Abidjan, where they are being guarded by UN peacekeepers, according to the Mission spokesman. They are taking refuge in UN buildings because they are being harassed or are frightened by the thugs who are roaming the streets.
The UN mission also reports unruly mobs roaming some streets in Abidjan, and that the city is relatively quiet with most avenues deserted and people staying at home.
[The UN Mission adds that the situation in the North is also calm but tense. Following the initial cease fire violations last Thursday, UN forces have for the most part been able to prevent further transit of Ivorian military personnel through the zone. The Armed Forces of the Government of Côte dIvoire have now withdrawn south of the zone of confidence.
[UN forces are protecting many government officials, as well as UN personnel and property, and some UN troops have been redeployed from the North to reinforce UN positions in Abidjan.
[ONUCI-FM, the peacekeeping operations radio station, continues to stay on the air to broadcast calls for calm and to stress the need for a return to the political process, in line with the international agreements.]
Spokesman Jean-Victor Nkolo, speaking to
UN radio, said that, in order for the peace process to be put back on track, the Linas Marcoussis and Accra III Agreements remain the only solution out of this crisis. He said that first we need to reach a level where we will have a full and immediate cessation of all hostilities.
Nkolo said, The first sign over the past 36 to 48 hours are quite promising, but it remains to be seen whether this will actually take hold on the ground.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals efforts to help bring an end to the fighting, the Spokesman noted that the Secretary-General had made a number of calls over the weekend to world leaders, to emphasize his main message of the need to stop all military actions.
The Spokesman said that today had been relatively quiet, but the United Nations remains worried about bands of roving youths and hate media broadcasts. Neither of these things helps to calm the situation, he said, saying that the hope is that the Government will bring them under control.
The Spokesman said that there was no military solution to the conflict, and the solution has been clearly laid out in the Linas-Marcoussis and Accra III agreements.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals reaction to the French retaliation in Cote dIvoire, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General hasnt made any public comments on the French actions, apart from his general concern about the threatening situation in the country.
Asked whether actions to resolve the situation could involve the removal of President Laurent Gbagbo, the Spokesman asserted, Thats not the kind of thing that I would anticipate the United Nations getting involved in.
SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS WEEKEND ATTACKS IN COTE DIVOIRE
Security Council met on Saturday to receive a briefing on the deteriorating situation in
Cote dIvoire. In closed consultations, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi informed Council members about the Ivorian Governments attacks on Forces Nouvelles positions in the countrys north.
He said that a Government air raid took place in Bouaké, in which a French base was hit, with eight French soldiers and one US civilian reported dead and 23 French soldiers injured.
Following consultations, the Security Council adopted a
Presidential Statement condemning that attack, as well as the fatal air strikes in the north. The Council demanded the immediate cessation of military operations by all Ivorian parties and full compliance with the May 2003 cease-fire agreement.
The Council also confirmed that the French and UN forces are authorized to use all necessary means to carry out their mandate fully. It also confirmed that the UN Mission, within its capabilities and areas of deployment, is authorized to prevent any hostile action.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan had attended the consultations and formal meeting. Afterward, he spoke to reporters and
said he had spoken twice that day with President Laurent Gbagbo, French President Jacques Chirac and other leaders on the need to take all measures to calm the situation.
Asked what steps he would recommend, the Secretary-General said it is important that the hostilities stop immediately. He added that it is important that President Gbagbo calms the population so they stop violent demonstrations in Abidjan.
SECURITY COUNCIL TO TAKE UP AFGHANISTAN, COTE D'IVOIRE
There are no
Security Council meetings or consultations scheduled so far today.
Informal discussions on
Cote dIvoire are taking place at the experts level.
Afghanistan and Cote dIvoire are on the Security Council agenda for Tuesday.
ANNAN CALLS BUSH OVER WEEKEND, DISCUSSES FALLUJAH
Asked what the Secretary-Generals reaction to the military offensive in Fallujah was, the Spokesman noted that the Secretary-General had spoken about the topic over the weekend with US President George W. Bush, in what was essentially a courtesy call following the Presidents election victory. The Secretary-General initiated the call.
President Bush respects the Secretary-Generals position, he said. The Secretary-General, he noted, has commented that sometimes force is necessary, but the use of force could destabilize
Iraq at a critical point in the preparation for elections.
Asked about comments from EU foreign policy head Javier Solana that January elections might not be possible, the Spokesman said that the timing of elections was a call for the Iraqi Interim Government to make. On the technical side, he noted, Carina Perelli, chief of the UN Electoral Affairs Division, said on Friday that everything was basically on track for January elections.
Eckhard added that he was unaware of any consultations between Solana and the United Nations since Friday.
INT'L COMMISSION OF INQUIRY ON SUDAN ARRIVES IN KHARTOUM
The International Commission of Inquiry dealing with
Sudan arrived in Khartoum late last night. Their
task is to investigate reports of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in Darfur by all parties. Their mandate includes the determination of whether or not acts of genocide have occurred and the identification of the perpetrators of such violations. They will travel to Darfur from November 10 to 20.
Meanwhile, the UN mission reports that all major roads in South Darfur remain closed to UN movement.
Following the destruction of the al-Jeer camp on November 3-5 and the forced relocation of its residents, humanitarian agencies remain concerned about the protection of those who returned to al-Jeer and those who dispersed to Nyala town.
World Food Programme says it has carried out food distribution to camps in Nyala and they have requested permission to distribute food to the dispersed IDPs from the al-Jeer camp.
AIR VIOLATIONS FROM LEBANESE SIDE OF BLUE LINE REPORTED
At approximately 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, an unmanned aerial vehicle was launched from the
Lebanese side of the Blue Line and into Israeli airspace, constituting a Lebanese air violation of the Blue Line.
The aircraft was reported to have flown over Israeli territory before re-entering Southern Lebanon and landing in the vicinity of Naqoura. Later the same day, two Israeli air violations, involving five jets, were recorded. There were no reports of anti-aircraft fire from the Lebanese side.
All air violations of the Blue Line are an issue of concern. The Personal Representative of the Secretary-General, Staffan de Mistura, reiterated the United Nations position that there should be no air violations from any side of the Blue Line. He calls on all sides to fulfill their obligations to fully respect the Blue Line.
AFGHAN LEADERS EXPRESS DISAPPROVAL OF ABDUCTION OF UN STAFF
The leaders and people of
Afghanistan continue to express their disapproval of the abduction, 11 days ago, of three UN staff members, the
UN Mission in Afghanistan said.
The Mission noted that the chief of staff of the Afghan Defense Ministry said that the abduction goes against Afghan culture. Four former presidential candidates issued a joint statement strongly condemning the abduction as an inhuman act and asking for the staff members release.
Asked to comment on new demands from the hostage takers, the Spokesman declined to comment. He said that the United Nations was gratified by the strong public statements being made by political and religious leaders that disapproved of hostage taking. He said that the United Nations is hopeful that the Afghan Governments efforts to obtain the staff members release will be fruitful.
U.N. MISSION TO SUPPORT DRC OPERATIONS IN SOUTH KIVU
UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be providing supporting military operations by the national Congolese army in the province of South Kivu.
The joint operation, the first of its kind, will deploy troops in the area of Walungu, some 80 kilometers southwest of Bukavu, to protect the population from attacks by rebel groups.
According to a joint communiqué by the United Nations and the Congolese armed forces, all combatants are urged to cease voluntarily their activities and either join the national army or sign up for the demobilization and reintegration program. In addition, all foreign forces in the area are asked to go home.
U.N. ENVOY ESTABLISHES NEW MINISTRIES IN KOSOVO
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative in
Kosovo, Søren Jessen-Petersen, told political leaders in the province that he had decided to create a number of new ministries. These will be in the area of energy, local self-government, and returns and communities.
He also informed them about his agreement with their proposal to establish the posts of deputy prime minister and deputy ministers.
ANNAN APPOINTS ASSISTANT SECRETARY-GENERAL ON DEVELOPMENT
The Secretary-General today announced the appointment of Jomo Kwame Sundaram of Malaysia as his Assistant Secretary-General on Economic Development in the
Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
The new post was created this year, as part of the Secretary-Generals reform, to support policy coherence and management in the Department. Sundarams responsibilities will be to act as the principal economic adviser to the Under-Secretary-General and to lead and coordinate statistical demographic and macroeconomic data gathering and analysis.
Sundaram is currently Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore and Professor in the Applied Economics Department at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur.
PANEL REPORT TO BE ISSUED ON DECEMBER 2: Asked when the report of the
High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change would be released, the Spokesman said it would be made public on December 2, when it goes to the General Assembly.
MOROCCAN PEACEKEEPERS ARRIVE IN HAITI: The
UN Mission in Haiti has reported the arrival on Sunday of 163 peacekeepers from Morocco. The Moroccan troops came in on a military vessel and will be deployed in Northern Haiti alongside the Spanish contingent, which arrived at the end of October.
LIBERIAN REPATRIATIONS CONTINUE: Undaunted by the recent unrest in Monrovia, Liberians uprooted by 14 years of civil war continue to repatriate. The Liberian repatriation operation has expanded with the start of airlifts from Nigeria and return convoys carrying internally displaced Liberians back to their home areas, according to the
UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIAL VISITS CAMBODIA: The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for human rights in
Cambodia, Peter Leuprecht, arrived in Phnom Penh today. The Special Representative is there for an update on the human rights situation in Cambodia, to prepare his recommendations to the next session of the UN Commission on Human Rights. He will also continue his strong focus on land and natural resources.
SIXTEEN U.N. RUNNERS PARTICIPATE IN MARATHON: Sixteen members of the UNs Athletic Club ran in the New York marathon on Sunday. On the male side, Kevin Shelton-Smith of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations ran the course in just under 3 hours to finish 336th out of more than 36,000 runners. As for the women, Lesley Brough of the Department of Political Affairs finished the race in slightly over five hours.
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