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United Nations Daily Highlights, 05-07-20
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON
BY MARIE OKABE
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
U.N. REPORT ON FORCED EVICTIONS GOES TO ZIMBABWE GOVT. TODAY
The report on Zimbabwe, resulting from Special Envoy Anna Tibaijukas mission to that country, is going to the Government of Zimbabwe today.
The Spokesmans Office hopes to make the report public on Friday or Monday.
The Spokesmans Office is planning for an 11:00 a.m. press conference by Tibaijuka on the day the report is made public.
Asked further about the plans for the launch of the report, the Spokeswoman said that the earliest possible time for the reports release would be Friday, to allow the Government of Zimbabwe to have 48 hours to consider the report. The briefing, she said, would be done by Anna Tibaijuka.
The report, she added, would be handed over today to Zimbabwes Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Asked why the Government had been allowed to have the report for 48 hours, the Spokeswoman said that was part of the agreement to obtain the Governments cooperation with Tibaijukas mission. She noted that Tibaijuka was the only independent official to carry out an in-depth assessment inside Zimbabwe, and her mission had required the Governments cooperation.
Asked whether the contents of the report would be changed depending on comments from Zimbabwe, the Spokeswoman said, Absolutely not. The Government was receiving the final text of the report, she said, and could react to it as it wished.
Asked when the Secretary-General had seen the report, Okabe said that Tibaijuka had arrived on Monday, and then submitted the report to the United Nations on Tuesday.
Asked whether Security Council members would also take up the report, the Spokeswoman said that that would be up to the Security Council. However, Tibaijuka had been sent to Zimbabwe on the Secretary-Generals initiative, and her visit was not a Security Council-related mission.
SECURITY COUNCIL TO DEBATE SITUATION IN MIDDLE EAST TOMORROW
Security Council this morning held an open meeting, to consider the work of its three committees that deal with terrorism. The chairs of those committees (the Ambassadors of Argentina, Denmark and Romania) briefed the Council on their work. The Council is expected to adopt a Presidential Statement on counter-terrorism once the debate is done.
The Security Council began its work with consultations on the
Middle East, to consider a request from the Arab Group for a meeting to discuss recent developments in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Council members agreed to have an open debate on the Middle East as part of tomorrows previously scheduled open meeting, which is to begin with a briefing by UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East, Alvaro de Soto. The open meeting will be followed by consultations on the Middle East.
SOUTHERN LEBANON STILL VOLATILE AND FRAGILE, ANNAN SAYS
The Secretary-General says that, during a period characterized by political uncertainty in Lebanon, the countrys south enjoyed a relative calm. Yet he adds, in a
report to the Security Council, that hostilities at the Blue Line in May, and the exchange of fire between Hezbollah and Israel in the Shaba farms area on 29 June, demonstrate that the situation remains volatile and fragile.
The Secretary-General reiterates his call on all the parties to abide by their obligations under the relevant Security Council resolutions and to exercise utmost restraint to contribute to stability in the wider region. He also emphasizes the pressing need for the Lebanese Government to exert control over the use of force throughout its entire territory and to prevent attacks from Lebanon across the Blue Line.
He recommends to the Council that, under the current conditions, the
UN Interim Force in Lebanons mandate should be extended until the end of January 2006, with no changes to the strength and composition of the force.
ANNAN ENCOURAGED BY RESUMED TALKS BETWEEN GEORGIA, ABKHAZ SIDES
In the Secretary-Generals latest
report on Abkhazia, Georgia, the Secretary-General says that the resumption of the UN-led peace process between the Georgian and Abkhaz sides, after over eight months, is an encouraging development.
Urging the Georgian side to be forthcoming in meeting Abkhaz security concerns, he also calls on the Abkhaz side to accept the deployment of civilian police officers from the
UN Observer Mission in Georgia in the Gali district, to permit the opening of a human rights sub-office there, and to allow for the teaching of local youth in their native Georgian language.
The Secretary-General also says that the UN Missions freedom of movement must be respected and unimpeded, and he notes that the security of the Missions personnel remains a major concern.
U.N. PEACEKEEPERS LAUNCH MAJOR OPERATION AGAINST REBELS IN D.R. CONGO
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), UN peacekeepers today launched another major operation in the Kabare and Walungu territories of the south Kivus.
The main thrust of this exercise was to ensure the safety of the Congolese population by removing armed elements. To this end, a deadline had been delivered days ago to rebel troops from the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) at their brigade headquarters in Miranda.
Code named Thunder Storm, todays operation involved 1,200 blue helmets - Pakistani quick reaction forces, Guatemalan special forces, with Indian air support - alongside 200 troops from the Congolese army. They fanned out over a 70 by 30 kilometre area, with 100 blue helmets entering Miranda village. They found it empty.
The FDLR had moved to an area of forest where there is no civilian population, west of Kabare, and outside the territory. The UN troops searched the abandoned camp, assured that no people or ammunition were left, and set fire to the 120-150 huts.
This zone is now controlled by the
UN Mission in the DRC, which will continue to monitor FDLR activities.
NIGER: FOOD CRISIS FORCES 2.5 MILLION TO LIVE ON LESS THAN 1 MEAL A DAY
Around two months ago, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Jan Egeland, called Niger the number one forgotten and neglected emergency in the world. The situation in that country still remains troubling, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Currently, some 2.5 million people in Niger are living on less than one meal a day, because of a food crisis that was brought on by last years drought and locust plague.
The funds requested in the UNs
Flash Appeal for Niger, which was launched on 19 May, were revised upwards last week from $16 million to $30 million, following the World Food Programmes need for additional resources. To date, only $10 million has been pledged by donors.
For its part, OCHA has deployed extra personnel to Niger, to support the UN Resident Coordinator in emergency coordination and response, and to provide regular updates on the situation.
Asked about other food crises in Africa, the Spokeswoman noted that a number of areas in Africa are undergoing serious crises. Egeland has been raising attention to those forgotten emergencies, and the United Nations has appealed for help so that other areas do not become major crises as has happened in Niger.
EXPERTS PANEL HEADS TO SUDAN TO MONITOR
IMPLEMENTATION OF SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS
The Security Council has
announced that a panel of experts on Sudan will head to the region in the next few days to begin their mission to assist the Security Council Sanctions Committee on Sudan in monitoring the implementation of measures approved by the Council such as the arms embargo on Darfur, and the travel ban and assets freeze applied to individuals designated by the Committee.
They will be based in Addis Ababa and travel frequently within Sudan.
The group, authorized by Security Council
resolution 1591, adopted in March, will report back to the council within 90 days.
Also, the Food and Agriculture Organization is sending seeds and tools to North Darfur, to help some 70,000 families get planting done in time for the rainy season. The
project is aimed at helping war refugees -- and at encouraging local farmers to stay on their lands and produce food.
BURUNDI: TWO U.N. PEACEKEEPERS BEING SENT HOME
BECAUSE OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
Burundi, two Ethiopian soldiers were found in breach of the UN code of conduct by a UN investigation, and are currently in the process of being repatriated.
Specifically, one soldier was found guilty of paying for consensual sex, while the other was found guilty of sex with a legal minor.
There are currently no other cases under investigation for sexual exploitation in the UN mission in Burundi.
In this case the mission moved quickly and decisively against the soldiers in question, and the UN in turn will be following up with the member state with regard to disciplinary action.
The Secretary General has a zero tolerance policy, and the UN Operation in Burundi, along with the UNs other peacekeeping missions, take this very seriously. When mission focal points for code of conduct issues receive allegations against UN personnel they are investigated thoroughly and if substantiated, they are acted on immediately and robustly.
U.N. NUCLEAR WATCHDOG WELCOMES U.S.-INDIAN AGREEMENT: Asked about the US bilateral deal with India on nuclear issues, the Spokeswoman later noted that the International Atomic Energy Agency had issued a
statement reacting to that development. She noted the Secretary-Generals concerns in general about nuclear non-proliferation and his hopes that the matter would be addressed during the September World Summit.
NEW GROUP HELPS WOMEN CANDIDATES IN HAITI: The
UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti reports that a group of local women have launched a new organization aimed at helping women candidates in the upcoming elections. The
initiative follows a political training seminar for women, organized by the UN mission.
ANNAN ON U.N. REFORM: Asked about the Secretary-Generals views on UN reform, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General had
commented on that matter following his luncheon with Security Council members last week.
U.N. OFFICIAL EXPECTED TO COOPERATE WITH OIL-FOR-FOOD INVESTIGATION: Asked about the whereabouts of Benon Sevan, the Spokeswoman reiterated that Sevan is on a dollar-a-year contract to facilitate his cooperation with the
Independent Inquiry Committee. If the Committee had any problems with his cooperation, they would alert the United Nations, and up to now, they have not done so.
**The guest at the noon briefing was Inga-Britt Ahlenius, the new Under-Secretary-General for the
Office of Internal Oversight Services. She was introduced by the Secretary-Generals Chef de Cabinet, Mark Malloch Brown.
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