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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-05-02

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

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

ANNAN PRESENTS COUNTER-TERRORISM STRATEGY

Shortly before midday,

Secretary-General Kofi Annan submitted to the Member States his

report, Uniting against terrorism: Recommendations for a global counter-terrorism strategy. He said the reports recommendations stem from the fundamental conviction that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, is unacceptable and can never be justified.

The recommendations are to address terrorism by dissuading people from resorting to terrorism or supporting it; denying terrorists the means to carry out attacks; deterring States from supporting terrorism; developing State capacity to defeat terrorism; and defending human rights.

The Secretary-General said it is essential that Member States conclude, as soon as possible, a Comprehensive Convention on International terrorism. However, lack of progress in building consensus on a Convention cannot be a reason for delay in agreeing on a strategy.

As he spoke at the launch of the report, the Secretary-General also expressed his deep regret at the Member States inability to reach consensus on management reform in the

Fifth Committee. Despite this, he said, he is convinced that all Member States remain committed to reform in principle, and he urged them to work together to rebuild the spirit of mutual trust that is essential to the smooth functioning of the United Nations.

NUCLEAR WATCH-DOGS REPORT ON IRAN ISSUED PUBLICLY TODAY

The

International Atomic Energy Agencys (IAEA)

report on Iran, which was given to the Security Council and the Agencys Board of Governors last Friday, was issued as a document today.

In the report, Director General Mohamed ElBaradei says that, after more than three years of IAEA efforts to seek clarity about all aspects of Irans nuclear programme, the existing gaps in knowledge continue to be a matter of concern. Any progress in that regard requires full transparency and active cooperation by Iran, which goes beyond the measures prescribed in the Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol.

Regrettably, ElBaradei adds, these transparency measures are not yet forthcoming.

Asked about a reported threat from Iran to attack Israel if the United States attacks Iran, the Spokesman said that the United Nations would call on all nations to lower the rhetoric and focus on the diplomatic discussions that are to take place.

Asked whether the Secretary-General had responded to a letter sent to him from Iran, the Spokesman noted that the letter had been sent to the Secretary-General for the purpose of being distributed to Member States; that distribution has been done.

SECURITY COUNCIL AGREED ON PROGRAMME OF WORK FOR MAY

The

Security Council this morning held its first consultations under the Congolese Presidency, agreeing to its programme of work for May.

Ambassador Basile Ikoube of the Republic of Congo, the Councils new President, spoke to the press about the Councils work in the coming month shortly after midday.

U.N. ENVOY CONCERNED OVER INCREASE IN FIGHTING IN DARFUR

Jan Pronk, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative in

Sudan, is concerned that, despite an improved atmosphere and continuing negotiations in the talks in Abuja, the level of fighting and violence on the ground in Darfur has been increasing further.

This includes clashes between different Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) factions in North Darfur and attacks by the Government and militias in southern parts of South Darfur. Some of these attacks are on areas held by the SLA, contrary to earlier agreements.

The area around Gereida in South Darfur is under particular threat at the moment, and Pronk is very concerned that the tensions could escalate into a full-scale attack on Gereida itself where close to 100,000 internally displaced persons have taken refuge. He calls on the Government of Sudan, as well as the rebel groups, to exercise maximum restraint at this crucial stage.

Asked whether Pronk was blocking an investigation by the

UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), the Spokesman said he was not aware that Pronk was doing any such thing. He reiterated the expectation that all UN officials should cooperate with OIOS investigations.

U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF CONTINUES VISIT IN DARFUR

The

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,

Louise Arbour, who

is in

Sudan, spent a second day in Darfur today. Yesterday, she was in south Darfur where she travelled to Nyala and met with local non-governmental organizations, community leaders and local authorities.

Today, the High Commissioner was visiting west Darfur. While in El-Geneina, she met with UN relief officials on how persistent insecurity was hampering humanitarian aid delivery. The lack of access was having a dramatic effect there, her office reported.

This evening, the High Commissioner will return to Khartoum and she is expected to meet senior Sudanese Government officials and representatives of the diplomatic community tomorrow. On Thursday, Arbour will travel to Juba in southern Sudan.

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY REGRETS DEATHS NEAR CAMP IN CHAD

The Office of the

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

says it deeply regrets the deaths of four Chadian civilians and the wounding of five others yesterday in an attack near the village of Dolola, in south-eastern Chad, just a few kilometers from a UNHCR-run refugee camp.

The camp is one of a dozen UNHCR-run camps in eastern Chad and is currently home to some 17,700 Sudanese refugees from

Darfur. Several hundred internally displaced Chadians have also settled near the camp in recent weeks, having fled earlier janjaweed attacks for the relative safety they hope to find in the refugee camp, says UNHCR.

U.N. ENVOY COMPLETES VISIT TO HORN OF AFRICA

The UNs Special Humanitarian Envoy for the Horn of Africa,

Kjell Magne Bondevik, today wrapped up his visit to Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.

While in the region, he saw firsthand how drought was threatening the lives of more than eight million people.

In early April, the United Nations launched a regional appeal for the Horn of Africa for $443 million. To date, only $95 million has been committed.

U.N. ENVOY FOR PROTECTION OF JOURNALISTS RIGHTS IN IRAQ

In a

message to mark World Press Freedom Day,

Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Iraq, said that Iraq has become a very risky environment for journalists, with more than 70 journalists killed there since March 2003.

Qazi urged all concerned to show the Iraqi media corps respect and appreciation for their courage and the sacrifices they have made. He appealed to the new Iraqi government to reaffirm its commitment to protect the right of journalists to go about their daily work free from intimidation and threats.

The

Secretary-General has issued a

message for

World Press Freedom Day, which will be observed tomorrow. In it, he says that it is tragic and unacceptable that the number of journalists killed in the line of duty has become a barometer for measuring press freedom.

He also urges all governments to reaffirm their commitment to the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers, as set out in Article 19 of the

Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Asked why Qazi delivered a World Press Freedom Day message, the Spokesman noted Qazis stated concerns about the high number of deaths of journalists in Iraq. Dujarric added that the Secretary-General also had issued a statement to mark the Day, which would be formally observed on Wednesday.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT ENCOURAGES MEMBER STATES

TO AGREE ON COUNTER-TERRORISM STRATEGY

The Spokesperson for the

General Assembly

President said that this morning the General Assembly met in plenary to hear the Secretary-General introduce his report on Uniting against terrorism.

The General Assembly President,

Jan Eliasson, included this issue and report in his keynote address today to the InterAction Council of former heads of state and government, meeting in Amman, Jordan. He said that he is doing all he can to encourage Member States to agree on a counter-terrorism strategy which can deliver practical and concrete results on the ground.

Informal consultations of the plenary will begin on 11 May, for Member States to make general comments on the Secretary-Generals report, and then for further consideration starting 15 May. The schedule of work was outlined in a letter to Member States from the Co-Chairs, Ambassador Juan Antonio Yanez-Barnuevo of Spain and Ambassador Vanu Gopala Menon of Singapore.

In the plenary this morning, Member States are also scheduled to take action on

Fifth Committee recommendations on several items, including appropriations and budgetary commitments for the Capital Master Plan and operationalization of the Peacebuilding Support Office.

The Presidents office is continuing to hold consultations on the way forward on management reform issues, following the vote in the Fifth Committee Friday, and the plenary meeting on that item has not yet been scheduled. It is expected that the consultations on the way forward will continue through this week.

In light of the difficult situation following the Fifth Committee vote last week, General Assembly President Jan Eliasson has decided to compress his visit to Nairobi and return to UN Headquarters in New York on Friday at midday.

He will be holding a number of important meetings in Nairobi, with senior officials from the UN and the Kenyan Government, to discuss UN reform, development, African issues and environmental issues being taken up by the General Assembly.

It is a tradition that the President of the General Assembly visits the major United Nations Offices during his term. Eliasson has traveled to the UN Offices at Vienna, Geneva and The Hague for various events, and he felt it was important to also make this trip to Nairobi. He is following closely the situation here in New York, and is being briefed by phone several times a day.

CURRENT, FORMER U.N. OFFICIALS PARTICIPATED IN RETREAT

Asked whether the

Secretary-General had participated in a retreat last weekend concerning his legacy, the Spokesman confirmed that a retreat had taken place. He described it as a private affair that had brought together a number of the Secretary-Generals current and former colleagues to look at the past ten years and draw lessons for the UNs work.

The retreat, he said, was funded by the Greentree Foundation, where the retreat was held. Asked about the acceptance of free services from the Foundation, the Spokesman said that the Foundation had made an offer to pay for the costs of the day-and-a-half retreat, and that offer was accepted.

Asked about the participation of journalists at the retreat, he said that a number of journalists had attended. Asked whether some were writing books about the United Nations, he noted that a number of books on the Secretary-General are being written, but by independent individuals; the United Nations is not paying for any such books, as the questioner alleged.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

REPORT ON DILEEP NAIR ALMOST COMPLETE: Asked when investigator Jerome Ackerman will finish his report on former Under-Secretary-General for

Internal Oversight Services Dileep Nair, the Spokesman said the report was near completion. No decision has been taken yet on how that report is to be handled. Asked how Ackerman is paid, he said that Ackerman is paid on a daily rate for days actually spent working on the report.

ANNANS FOUNDATION IN PROCESS OF BEING SET UP: Asked about the

Secretary-Generals earlier pledge to set up a foundation for agriculture and girls education in Africa with the money he won earlier this year from the

Sheikh Zayed Award, the Spokesman said that the foundation was in the process of being set up.

ANNAN TO COMPLETE FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE FORM: Asked whether the

Secretary-General has filled out a UN financial disclosure form, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General would fill one out, and the United Nations also expects full compliance in filling out those forms from all Under-Secretaries-General and Assistant Secretaries-General.

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 100178

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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