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United Nations Daily Highlights, 05-07-22

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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

Friday, July 22, 2005

ANNAN FINDS ZIMBABWE REPORT PROFOUNDLY DISTRESSING

The Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues in Zimbabwe,

Anna K. Tibaijuka, briefed the press today about her

report based on her recent visit to that country.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a statement: "It is a profoundly distressing report, which confirms that Operation Murambatsvina has done a catastrophic injustice to as many as 700,000 of

Zimbabwes poorest citizens, through indiscriminate actions, carried out with disquieting indifference to human suffering."

The Secretary-General called on the Government to stop these forced evictions and demolitions immediately, and to ensure that those who orchestrated this ill-advised policy are held fully accountable for their actions.

"Criticism, while fully justified, is not enough," he said. "We have a duty to help those in need."

"In keeping with the recommendations of my envoy, the United Nations will urgently seek agreement with the Government of Zimbabwe to mobilize immediate humanitarian assistance on the scale that is required to avert further suffering, " the statement said. "I urge the international community to respond generously to this call. For its part, the Government must recognize the virtual state of emergency that now exists, allow unhindered access for humanitarian operations, and create conditions for sustainable relief and reconstruction."

"Once the most acute human needs are addressed, the United Nations will play its part, and give whatever help it can, in implementing the reports other recommendations. Among these is the call for dialogue between the Government of Zimbabwe, domestic constituencies and the international community with a view to working together to address

Zimbabwes serious social, economic and political problems."

Also today, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland told reporters in Geneva that, because there were no plans for those who had lived in the demolished dwellings in Zimbabwe, it was a human tragedy. He noted the desperate lack of funding for relief operations in Zimbabwe, at a time when the

World Food Programme is feeding more than one million people in the country.

ROOM FOR OPTIMISM IN SUDAN, BUT BE REALISTIC, PRONK SAYS

Jan Pronk, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Sudan, told the

Security Council that, all in all, there is room for optimism, but we must be realistic. The situation is fragile, utterly fragile.

Speaking at an open meeting of the Council this morning, Pronk noted such positive developments as the countrys Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which led to the formation of the Government of National Unity earlier this month.

Also, the fifth round of peace talks on Darfur, being held in Abuja, Nigeria, made progress, and proceeded without being disturbed, Pronk said. Further confidence building is necessary, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Talks to address the conflict in the East have yet to start, while violence in Eastern Sudan has increased since the beginning of this year, Pronk added. Yet here too, he contended, reaching an agreement before the end of the year may become a reality.

The open briefing on Sudan was followed by consultations on the same subject.

Pronks briefing to the Council comes at the same time as the Secretary-Generals monthly

report to the Council on

Darfur, which says that violence there has diminished greatly compared to the period from early 2003 until the middle of last year. There can be little doubt that the situation in Darfur is less dangerous for civilians than it was a year ago, the Secretary-General says.

Nevertheless, he adds, these developments are only a modest step forward. The decrease in attacks on civilians may be because, after so many villages have been destroyed since the war began, there are fewer locations for militia to strike.

He says that violations of human rights continue to occur frequently in Darfur, and active combat has been replaced by a suffocating environment of intimidation and fear. Yet he is optimistic that an agreement can be reached by the end of the year, if the parties show serious good-faith commitment to the Abuja process and if there is sustained international pressure on them to do so.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC ALSO DISCUSSED BY COUNCIL

In its consultations today, the Security Council also discussed sanctions on Sudan, with a briefing by the chair of the Council sanctions committee, Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis of Greece.

In addition to discussing Sudan this morning, the

Security Council took up the Central African Republic in its closed consultations. Council members considered a draft Presidential Statement on the Central African Republic, and held a formal meeting to adopt that statement once consultations ended.

U.N. HEADQUARTERS RENOVATION PLAN DISCUSSED IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

Asked about the Thursday U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing on the Capital Master Plan, the Spokeswoman said that Under-Secretary-General for Management Chris Burnham had attended the hearing and had given an initial briefing, the notes of which were made available to the press.

Asked about the next steps for the Plan, Okabe said that the Secretary-General had urged the General Assembly to give the green light to a loan offer made by the United States, and he hopes for a quick decision to approve that loan. The Secretary-General, she noted, has taken into consideration all the advice that was given to him.

Asked about Donald Trumps testimony at the hearing, the Spokeswoman said the UNs initial reaction was that it hoped that Trump will consider bidding for the project.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

WORLD SUMMIT 2005 OUTCOME DOCUMENT READY TODAY: The General Assembly President's report dealing with Member States' views on UN reform to be discussed at the September summit is being issued today.

TOP U.N. MILITARY AND POLICE COMMANDERS TO VISIT NEW YORK: The

Department of Peacekeeping Operations will host, from Tuesday to Friday of next week, two conferences - one with Force Commanders and Heads of the Military Components of peacekeeping operations around the world, and the second with Police Commissioners and Senior Police Advisers. This is an annual meeting which gives the participants a chance to share experiences from their various areas of operation.

EXPECT 3,500 FEWER CHILD SOLDIERS IN AFGHANISTAN: The UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) has announced the beginning of a second round of demobilization of child soldiers in Afghanistan. According to UNICEF

estimates, some 3,500 children will turn their backs on war and learn a new trade during the new phase.

U.N. FOCUS IS ON ASSISTANCE TO THE LIVING, NOT COUNTING THE DEAD: Asked about civilian casualties in

Iraq, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations did not provide casualty tolls in any country, focusing instead on ascertaining levels of humanitarian assistance among the living.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Monday, July 25

The Secretary-General will host a two-day meeting between the United Nations and the heads of regional and other intergovernmental organizations.

The Security Council has scheduled private meetings with the troop contributing countries for the UN Missions in Georgia and Lebanon.

The second in a series of lectures and conversations to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of former United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld will be held from 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., on the topic, The tsunami disaster: beyond relief towards development.

Tuesday, July 26

The Security Council has scheduled a public meeting on Cote dIvoire and consultations on Lebanon.

The Department of Peacekeeping Operations will host the Force Commanders/Heads of Military Components Conference and UN Police Commissioners/Senior Police Advisers' Conference in New York.

Wednesday, July 27

The Security Council has scheduled consultations on Georgia.

Thursday, July 28

The Security Council has scheduled consultations on the sanctions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Friday, July 29

The Security Council has scheduled formal meetings to consider resolutions on the mandates of the UN Missions in Georgia and Lebanon, and on sanctions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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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