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United Nations Daily Highlights, 05-07-14

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 SPOKESMAN'S NOON

BRIEFING

BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, July 14, 2005

ANNAN ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF ALLIANCE OF CIVILIZATIONS

Secretary-General Kofi Annan is

pleased to announce the launch of an initiative for an Alliance of Civilizations. The initiative is intended to respond to the need for a committed effort by the international community -- both at the institutional and civil society levels -- to bridge divides and overcome prejudice, misconceptions, misperceptions, and polarization which potentially threaten world peace.

The Alliance will aim to address emerging threats emanating from hostile perceptions that foment violence, and to bring about cooperation among various efforts to heal such divisions.

Events of recent years have heightened the sense of a widening gap and lack of mutual understanding between Islamic and Western societies -- an environment that has been exploited and exacerbated by extremists in all societies. The Alliance of Civilizations is intended as a coalition against such forces, as a movement to advance mutual respect for religious beliefs and traditions, and as a reaffirmation of humankind's increasing interdependence in all areas -- from the environment to health, from economic and social development to peace and security.

The call for an alliance was initiated by Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of Spain, and co-sponsored by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. Both Governments will continue, as co-sponsors, to provide support. Several other Governments and organizations have expressed interest in joining them, and the Secretary-General hopes that more will do so. The co-sponsors have already pledged substantial initial contributions to a Trust Fund set up to finance the initiative, and the Secretary-General will be inviting other Governments and entities to contribute.

The Secretary-General is also bringing together a high-level group of eminent persons to guide the initiative. The group is expected to present a report with recommendations and a practical plan of action in late 2006.

Asked whether this initiative was distinct from the Dialogue among Civilizations that had come before the General Assembly previously, the Spokesman said the two initiatives were different ones, but participants in them were working closely together.

He said, in response to a question, that todays announcement was not linked to the terror attacks last week in London, noting that Prime Ministers Zapatero and Erdogan had been working on this for some time. But, he added, any initiative that can build understanding between the Western and Islamic worlds is a welcome one.

CLINTON URGES SUSTAINED MOMENTUM IN TSUNAMI RECOVERY EFFORT

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the UNs Special Envoy for

Tsunami Recovery, was in the Economic and Social Council Chamber today, where he was working to sustain the momentum of the tsunami recovery effort.

Regarding the way ahead, he told the Council that UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, donor and affected governments, and the corporate sector all needed to agree on who was going to do what, when and where.

President Clinton also highlighted the need for disaster risk awareness education and urged governments to keep their people informed about what was going on, when they could expect results, and how they could meaningfully participate in their own recovery.

In related news, the United Nations and its humanitarian partners are continuing their relief and recovery work in the Indian Ocean region.

As of the tsunamis six-month anniversary, almost one month ago: more than 1.1 million displaced survivors had been sheltered; more than 1.7 million had received food aid; more than 1 million had been given daily drinking water; and more than 1.2 million children had been vaccinated against measles.

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON SOMALIA,

CONGRATULATES SUDAN ON NEW GOVERNMENT

The

Security Council held consultations today on Somalia. Council members were briefed by Francois Lonseny Fall, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Somalia. They also heard from the Chairman of the Sanctions Committee on Somalia, Ambassador Lauro Baja of the Philippines.

The Council then went into a formal meeting to adopt a Presidential Statement on Somalia.

In a

press statement on Sudan following the meeting, the Council welcomed the inauguration of the new Government of National Unity in Sudan on 9 July. It also congratulated the people of Sudan on the historic event.

MASSACRES IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO CONDEMNED

The Security Council heard a briefing yesterday afternoon on the

Democratic Republic of the Congo from the head of the UN Mission in that country, William Swing.

In a

Presidential Statement afterward, the Council condemned with the utmost firmness the massacre of some 50 people, most of them women and children, on 9 July in Ntulu-Mamba. The Council requested that Swing establish the facts and report to the Council as quickly as possible, and called on the Congolese authorities to bring those responsible to justice.

Under other matters, the Council also heard a briefing on the Great Lakes region yesterday from the Secretary-Generals Special Representative, Ibrahima Fall.

"DEMOCRACY DEFICIT" MUST BE CORRECTED, ANNAN SAYS

The Secretary-General

spoke to reporters yesterday following his luncheon with the members of the Security Council. He said, in response to questions about the debate on Security Council reform, that we should not jump to conclusions, with discussions still at a very early stage.

He added that the Security Council can be more democratic and more representative, asserting, There is a democracy deficit in the UN governance that has to be corrected. If we lecture to the world about democracy, he said, we should apply that lesson to ourselves.

During that press encounter, the Secretary-General was also asked about Zimbabwe, and he said that he expects a report from Anna Tibaijuka, whom he sent there as an envoy, sometime next week. He added he would give the report to the Government of Zimbabwe for comments before he releases it. He added, Depending on the contents of the report, we will take appropriate action and we will have a lot to say.

AFRICAN UNION PRESENTS RESOLUTION ON SECURITY COUNCIL REFORM

The African Union has presented a draft General Assembly resolution on Security Council reform.

No date has yet been set for debate on that draft resolution, or for further debate on the draft resolution by the Group of Four (G4), namely Brazil, Germany, India and Japan.

Intensive informal consultations are continuing among member states on the subject.

General Assembly President, Jean Ping, will meet with the G4 Foreign Ministers late Sunday afternoon.

Asked whether the Secretary-General would still want a vote on Security Council reform, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General was watching developments extremely closely, and cautioned that these are early days yet. He reiterated the Secretary-Generals view that the September World Summit is an opportunity not to be missed to address a wide range of UN reforms.

Asked about a schedule for the UN reform discussions, the Spokesman said that arrangements for discussions were being led by General Assembly President Jean Ping.

ANNAN COMMENDS BENIN & NIGER FOR WORKING TO SOLVE BORDER DISPUTE

A

statement was issued yesterday afternoon concerning the judgment of the International Court of Justice, delivered on Tuesday, concerning the border dispute between the Republic of Benin and the Republic of Niger.

The Secretary-General commends the two countries for resorting to the International Court of Justice for a peaceful settlement of their border dispute. He notes with satisfaction their reaffirmation that they will respect and implement the judgment of the Court.

NEW INDEPENDENT REPORT PROPOSES GLOBAL FORUM

TO TACKLE INTERNET GOVERNANCE PROBLEMS

The

Working Group on Internet Governance, an independent working group, today released a report on Internet governance, the conclusions of which will be considered during the second phase of the

World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), to be held in November in Tunis.

The report proposes the creation of a global forum for dialogue among all stakeholders such as governments, the private sector and civil society, to address problems linked to Internet governance, including spam and cyber crime. It also calls for the further internationalization of Internet governance.

The Secretary-General will today transmit the report to the President of the Preparatory Committee of the World Summit, Ambassador Janis Karklin of Latvia, as well as to the Secretary-General of the WSIS, Yoshio Utsumi.

The report, which has a strong focus on development, advocates a meaningful participation of developing countries in Internet governance and recommends ways to reinforce their capacities to use the Internet more efficiently.

Asked how it would affect talks on internet governance if the United States did not relinquish control over internet domains, the Spokesman noted that the report offers a range of options that member states, including the United States, can discuss and consider. He said that the point of the internet discussions was not a question of ownership, but that everyone has a say in the use of the internet.

SEVENTY COUNTRIES NOW PARTICIPATING IN DEATH PENALTY SURVEY

Available today is an

update from the Secretary-General on capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty. The update contains information received from 18 states since the issuance of his earlier report on 9 March this year, bringing to 70 the total number of states participating in the survey.

While there has been some progress in restricting the scope of capital punishment, and in restricting further the imposition of the death penalty on those under the age of 18, the report concludes that many of the countries which retain the death penalty did not provide accurate or comprehensive statistics on death sentences imposed, appeals allowed, or executions carried out by age, gender or type of offence.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

CORRECTION ON ANNANS INJURY: It was announced two days ago that the Secretary-General was getting an operation on his right shoulder. That information was incorrect. The operation will be on his left shoulder.

MORE OUTRAGE ON ATTACK AGAINST IRAQI CHILDREN: The UN Mission in

Iraq and the UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) have

expressed their outrage at the recent horrific events in Iraq that have led to so many deaths among children. The loss of innocent childrens lives is appalling and unacceptable, they say.

TOP U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIAL IN SIERRA LEONE: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, is now in Sierra Leone after completing a four day visit to Liberia. Her visit to West Africa is aimed at looking into the human rights situation in those two countries and Cote dIvoire.

U.N. PEACEKEEPERS IN COTE DIVOIRE ASSIST REFUGEE RETURNS: Troops from the

UN Operation in Cote dIvoire provided security during the repatriation of some 200 refugees from the western border town of Bin Houyé to Liberia. The UN troops accompanied officials for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to the border town of Gankazou to assess the situation there in preparation for the repatriation of some 423 refugees, which includes many children.

WORLD TEA PRODUCTION REACHES NEW HIGHS IN 2004: World tea production has continued its upward trend in 2004, with output growth at a steady 2 percent and overall production reaching an estimated 3.2 million tonnes, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

said today. According to an FAO report prepared for the Intergovernmental Group on Tea meeting in Bali from 20 22 July, the largest expansions in production took place in Turkey, China, Kenya, Malawi, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

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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