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United Nations Daily Highlights, 05-07-18

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 MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, July 18, 2005

ZIMBABWE: U.N. ENVOY REPORT TO BE MADE PUBLIC

Secretary-General Kofi Annan is increasingly

concerned by the human rights and humanitarian impact of the recent demolitions of what the Government of Zimbabwe has called illegal settlements. He

appointed on 20th of June Anna Tibaijuka, the Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), as his Special Envoy and asked her to visit the country and investigate the situation.

Tibaijuka visited the country and, with the cooperation of the Government of Zimbabwe, conducted an exhaustive examination.

The Secretary-General will receive her report in the coming days and will study its contents to determine the next steps for the United Nations.

The report will be made public after the Government of Zimbabwe has received an advance copy.

Asked when Tibaijukas report would be ready, the Spokeswoman said she expected it to be submitted in the next couple of days. Then, she said, the final report would be sent to the Government of Zimbabwe, which would have 48 hours to comment on the report, after which the report would be made public, possibly this Friday or next Monday. The text of the report given to the Government of Zimbabwe would not be changed, she added.

She said, in response to questions, that Zimbabwes comments were also expected to be made public.

Asked whether Tibaijuka would be in New York and hand over the report to the Secretary-General, Okabe said that she was expected at UN Headquarters early this week. She noted that the Secretary-General was working from his home following shoulder surgery last Friday.

Asked when the Secretary-General spoke last with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, the Spokeswoman noted that they had met on 4 July at the African Union Summit in Sirte, Libya, and discussions on Zimbabwe took place in a tête-à-tête encounter.

ANNAN WELCOMES PEACE AGREEMENT FOR INDONESIAS ACEH PROVINCE

The Secretary-General warmly

welcomes the agreement in principle reached yesterday between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement, intended to bring peace after nearly thirty years of conflict in the province.

He looks forward to the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on 15 August 2005 and hopes this breakthrough heralds a new and brighter future for the people of Aceh."

The Secretary-General commends both sides for their determination to reach a lasting and sustainable peace in Aceh and strongly urges them to demonstrate continued resolve and commitment throughout the implementation of the agreed terms. He also applauds the crucial role played by Martti Ahtsaari as the mediator in these negotiations.

The Secretary-General is encouraged to learn of the readiness of the European Union, and possibly, the

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to provide a monitoring team in Aceh once the Memorandum of Understanding is official.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS SUICIDE BOMBINGS IN IRAQ

The Secretary-General

continues to be dismayed by the unrelenting wave of suicide bombings in

Iraq that have killed large numbers of civilians, including at least 80 people in Musayyib on Saturday.

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The Secretary-General emphatically condemns these heinous attacks, perpetrated in an apparent effort to undermine Iraqs political transition, and extends his deepest sympathies to the families of the victims.

The Secretary-General urges all Iraqis to set violence aside and to join together, through peaceful means, in building a united, democratic and prosperous Iraq.

IRAQ: U.N.S RETURN MUST BE CAUTIOUS & STEP-BY-STEP, GIVEN RISKS

Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-Generals Deputy Special Representative for Iraq, today told a reconstruction conference in Amman, Jordan, that the international community must be more responsive to Iraqs needs as the Iraqis see them. There has to be more flexibility in the use of funds to tackle emerging priorities.

He said that the UNs commitment to the Iraqi people remains unchanged, although its path back to Iraq must be calculated, cautious and incremental, given the risks.

Meanwhile, the United Nations is playing a key role in ensuring that both the electoral and constitutional processes are legitimate and credible.

UNITED NATIONS WORKING TO PROTECT PEACEKEEPERS

FROM AIDS, SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD

This morning, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS),

briefed the Security Council on progress made in implementing Security Council

resolution 1308.

That resolution, which was adopted five years ago, called on the United Nations and Member States to develop effective AIDS education, prevention, testing and treatment strategies for peacekeepers and national uniformed services.

In his remarks to the Council, Guéhenno said that, five years ago, the peacekeeping department barely crossed paths with agencies like UNAIDS. Now, however, the two groups had undertaken joint missions to Haiti and Sudan to establish AIDS programmes in advance of major troop deployments. And in the last two years, the number of AIDS advisers in major peacekeeping operations had risen from 4 to 10, with smaller missions now all having AIDS focal points.

Speaking after Guéhenno, Piot

told the Council that AIDS-focused actions for each and every mission included the promotion and provision of condoms, voluntary counselling and testing services and the provision of post-exposure prophylaxis kits. In addition, some one million AIDS awareness cards, in 13 languages, had been distributed among peacekeepers and national security forces.

However, Piot also said that, despite achievements, there was still a long way to go, a fact made evident by recent reports of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers. He also highlighted key challenges, saying that troops and civilians must have unrestricted access to HIV testing and counseling during deployment, and that the consistent implementation of programmes must be ensured, especially during conflicts, when vulnerability increased.

At the open meeting, Piot also released the agencys new

progress report, entitled On the Front Line.

The Security Council adopted a Presidential Statement at the end of todays meeting.

ANNAN ALARMED BY RENEWED VIOLENCE BETWEEN ISRAEL & PALESTINIANS

Over the weekend, a

statement was issued, expressing the Secretary-Generals alarm at the renewed violence between

Israel and the Palestinians in the past fortnight.

The recent suicide bombing in Netanya and rockets fired from Gaza killing innocent Israeli civilians are shocking and condemnable, the statement added. There is a pressing need to put a stop to such actions. The recent move by the Palestinian Authority security forces to act to prevent them was a welcome development.

Israel has resumed forceful action in the face of the serious deterioration that has shattered the lull in violence of the past few months. There should be no doubt about Israels legitimate right to self-defense, but it must be exercised proportionately and in conformity with international law, the statement noted.

The Secretary-General strongly believes that at this critical moment a glimmer of a better future with two States living side-by-side in peace still exists. It is therefore essential that all committed to a negotiated settlement remain focused on this goal.

U.N. ENVOY APPEALS FOR WISDOM AND SENSIBILITY IN LEBANON

At the invitation of the Presidency of the European Union, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, Terje Roed-Larsen, briefed today the Foreign Ministers of the European Union in Brussels at the General Affairs Council, on the implementation of Security Council

resolution 1559. The meeting was chaired by British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw.

Roed-Larsen discussed with the Foreign Ministers the following issues: the withdrawal of Syrian military and intelligence apparatus from Lebanon; the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Lebanon, in particular the results of the recent parliamentary elections and the ongoing conflict-ridden efforts to form a new government; and the disarming and disbanding of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias, in the context of the extension of the control of the Government of Lebanon over all its territory, as called for by Security Council resolution 1559 and the Taef accords.

In spite of significant progress on some of the provisions of the resolution, Roed-Larsen underlined the necessity for the full implementation of all the requirements of resolution 1559. He expressed his concern over the rising tensions in the Syrian Lebanese relations on economic and security related issues.

After the discussions, Roed-Larsen called upon all parties concerned to continue to use dialogue and he made an appeal to wisdom and sensibility, based on the Lebanese people's right to political independence and economic well-being.

He said, The meeting was constructive and forward looking. It displayed a remarkable international similarity and consensus in policy related to 1559. This is reflected in the conclusions of the meeting released by the British presidency of the European Union.

On the behalf of the Secretary-General, Roed-Larsen stays in close contact with the key players and has over the last few days spoken extensively with Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Prime Minister designate Fuad Siniora and others.

NEPAL FACING SERIOUS CRISIS AND MUST RETURN TO DEMOCRACY

Lakhdar Brahimi, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, and his team have completed a

six-day visit to Nepal, and he issued a statement last Friday before leaving the country. The visit is part of the Secretary-Generals continuing effort to help find a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Nepal.

Brahimi said Nepal is facing a very serious crisis, but added that a solution is not beyond reach. That solution, he said, rests on three critical elements: a return to constitutional order and multiparty democracy, an end to hostilities, and an inclusive national dialogue towards a negotiated solution to the underlying causes of conflict.

Brahimi said he will now report to the Secretary-General on his findings. The United Nations will continue to take a keen interest in the situation in Nepal and stay closely engaged. It will remain available to provide its assistance in whatever form it may be needed.

Asked how the United Nations would help Nepal, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General had met with King Gyanendra of Nepal in April, at the Asia-Africa Summit in Jakarta, and said afterward that the United Nations was open to assisting Nepal in any way it could. For now, she added, the United Nations would await Brahimis report.

Asked about Brahimis work for the United Nations, the Spokeswoman said he is a Special Adviser, without a specific geographic portfolio.

SUDAN: U.N. ENVOY TO DISCUSS DARFUR W/ INTL. CRIMINAL COURT PROSECUTOR

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Sudan, Jan Pronk, is on his way to The Hague, where he will meet the International Criminal Courts chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, to discuss the situation on the ground in Darfur. He will then travel to New York to brief the Security Council on Darfur and the state of the Comprehensive Peace Agreements implementation.

Late last week, Pronk traveled to Asmara, Eritrea and returned convinced that the Eastern Front is prepared to start serious negotiations with the Government with the aim of finding a lasting solution to the problems of Eastern Sudan.

The Secretary-General told the new government of Sudan this month that the peace process between North and South must be made irreversible which it will not be, unless it takes root in the East and in the West as well.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO DISCUSS AFRICAN DRAFT RESOLUTION

ON SECURITY COUNCIL REFORM TODAY

The General Assembly will hold a plenary meeting this afternoon at 3:00 pm to discuss the draft resolution submitted by the African Union on Security Council reform. The countries inscribed on the speakers list so far are Nigeria, which is introducing the draft resolution, Egypt and Algeria.

Later in the week, on Friday, 22 July, General Assembly (GA) President, Jean Ping, will submit to the GA a revised draft out come document for the September summit. (Ping is traveling tonight to Gabon and will be away through Thursday.)

Next week, on Wednesday, 27 July, and Thursday, 28 July, the General Assembly will hold closed informal consultations on the revised draft outcome document.

The next planned item on the General Assembly calendar is the submission by Ping of a further revised draft outcome document on 5 August.

ANNAN: CULTURE OF FULL RESPECT OF HUMAN RIGHTS NEEDED

The foreign ministers of the so-called Group of Four nations -- Brazil, Germany, India and Japan -- called on the Secretary-General on Sunday to brief him on the state of play and to reassure him that they are interested in broader UN reform, as well as Security Council reform.

Meanwhile, in a

message to a two-day International Conference on

UN Reform which began in Tehran yesterday, the Secretary-General said he believes the World Summit of 2005 will be an occasion for states to embrace the concept of the responsibility to protect, and to renew commitment to disarmament and nonproliferation.

He also said that a culture of full respect for human rights must be built. On terrorism, he opined that a definition must be agreed on, and a comprehensive convention outlawing it must be adopted. He asserted that his proposals must be seen in the broader reform context, in which development has pride of place, and reiterated the need for an all-out global effort to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

Asked whether Member States would work on reforming the Commission on Human Rights, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General, in his In Larger Freedom report, had spelled out plans for human rights reform which Member States were looking at closely.

CIVIL SOCIETY ACTIVISTS TO HOLD CONFERENCE AT U.N. HEADQUARTERS

Tomorrow morning at 9:30, hundreds of civil society activists will begin a three-day conference at UN Headquarters, to launch a new international movement to prevent armed conflict. This meeting is the culmination of a process that began in 2002, when the Secretary-General urged civil society to meet and define its position on conflict prevention.

Steve Stedman, the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on the Follow-up to the Report of the High-Level Panel, will deliver a statement on the Secretary-Generals behalf, and Under-Secretaries-General Ibrahim Gambari and Jan Egeland will also address the conference.

The meeting is being organized by the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, in partnership with the Department of Political Affairs.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

FORMER SENIOR OFFICIALS CONTRACT NOT RENEWED: In response to a question about former senior UN official, Maurice Strong, the Spokeswoman said that Strongs contract had expired last week, on 14 July, and had not been renewed.

U.N. WORKING WITH TAJIKISTAN TO HELP FLOOD VICTIMS: The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that there is an urgent need for fuel, spare parts, food, medication, tents, blankets and household supplies, following flooding in Tajikistan. In response to the countrys request for international assistance in mitigating the disaster, the United Nations has worked in close cooperation with the Government to provide medication, equipment and information about the flooding.

NIGER NEEDS SEEDS IN WAKE OF FOOD CRISIS: The UNs Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

reports that Niger is facing a food crisis. FAO says that some 2.5 million people, including 800,000 children are at risk. It also says that Niger needs an immediate delivery of seeds.

RELIEF SUPPLIES SENT TO HURRICANE SURVIVORS IN GRENADA: Over the weekend the UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF)

sent supplies to Grenada to help prevent the spread of disease among people hit by Hurricane Emily. UNICEF flew in water purification tablets, collapsible water containers and rehydration tablets.

U.N. OFFICIAL CONDEMNS KILLING OF HAITIAN JOURNALIST: Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), today condemned the killing of Haitian journalist Jacques Roche. Roche, the cultural editor of the daily, Le Matin, was kidnapped for ransom on 10 July. His body was found on 14 July in the capital. Matsuura said, the press is one of the sectors most at risk in this climate of terror in Haiti. I trust that the government of Haiti will play its part in restoring order and the rule of law.

NEW GLOBAL CULTURAL SITES RECOGNIZED: The UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has

designated 17 new cultural sites for its World Heritage List. The new sites range from prehistoric mountains in Israel to the 20th century works of Antoni Gaudi in Spain.

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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