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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-05-03

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

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

SECURITY COUNCIL TO TAKE UP REPORT ON IRAN

The

Security Council will hold consultations at 3:00 this afternoon on non-proliferation and other matters.

Security Council members are expected to discuss the

report submitted last Friday by the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, on the status of Irans compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. That report was issued as a document yesterday.

Asked whether the Secretary-General would speak at todays Council consultations on Iran, the Spokesman said he would not.

Asked about the visit of the head of the UN Mission in Afghanistan, Tom Koenigs, to Iran, the Spokesman said that was part of his meetings with countries in the region to discuss Afghanistan.

Asked about the UN response to a recent letter to the Secretary-General by the Iranian Government, the Spokesman said that the letter had included a request for it to be distributed to Member States, which had been done.

SUDAN: TOP HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIAL CONVEYS CONCERNS ABOUT RESTRICTIONS;

U.N. ENVOY HEADS BACK TO ABUJA TALKS ON DARFUR

On the fourth day of her

visit to

Sudan, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour today met in Khartoum with senior government officials, including the justice, humanitarian and state ministers.

According to her spokesman, she conveyed concerns about restrictions imposed by a new law on non-governmental organizations and the effects of a pervasive presence of officials of the states security and intelligence services, which was especially evident in Darfur.

Louise Arbour also asked for more access of human rights monitors to detention centres, including those of the national security service, around the country.

Meanwhile, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) reports a demonstration of about 2,500 internally displaced persons in the Kalma camp near the African Union compound in Darfur. The IDP representatives handed over a letter addressed to the Secretary-General's Special Representative Jan Pronk in which they complained of increased insecurity in the camp. They cited several shooting incidents and the abduction and rape of women, the failure of the AU to protect the camp, and insufficient humanitarian assistance. They called for UN forces to be deployed as soon as possible and compensation for their losses.

Asked about Jan Pronks activities, the Spokesman said that Pronk has been in New York, where he had been requested to appear before a General Assembly advisory committee on the budget to defend the Sudan Missions budget. He also met the Secretary-General today and would leave later today for Abuja to follow the peace talks on Darfur there.

Asked about UN efforts at the Abujatalks, the Spokesman said that the United Nations was following the Abuja talks very closely. The Secretary-General, he said, would urge the parties to redouble their efforts to reach a deal.

WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME WARNS OF RAPIDLY DEPLETING FOOD STOCKS IN CHAD

Amid rising tensions and reported preparations for armed attacks in Chad, the World Food Programme (WFP)

warned today that food is becoming a serious issue for some 70,000 people who have either fled the continuous armed incursions in the east of the country or are resident there.

A WFP-led food security assessment mission which has just returned from eastern Chad, said that while the situation was not yet cause for alarm, the food stocks of some 50,000 internally displaced people were rapidly being depleted as they share their limited resources with around 20,000 people hosting them.

ANNAN NAMES NEW DEPUTY ENVOY FOR IRAQ

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed Jean-Marie Fakhouri of Lebanon as his Deputy Special Representative for Iraq, with responsibility for Humanitarian, Reconstruction and Development issues. Fakhouri will succeed Mr. Staffan de Mistura of Sweden.

For over 25 years, Fakhouri has managed humanitarian operations and complex emergencies while serving in the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). For the past two years, he has been UNHCRs Director of Operations for the Sudan situation, addressing the needs of Sudanese refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons.

NEW ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON GENOCIDE ESTABLISHED

The Secretary-General has decided to establish an Advisory Committee on Genocide Prevention. This Committee will provide guidance and support to the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr. Juan Méndez, and contribute to the broader efforts of the UN to prevent genocide.

The Committee will be composed of senior personalities with a diversity of backgrounds related to conflict prevention, human rights, peacekeeping, diplomacy and mediation. It will be chaired by Dr. David Hamburg, President Emeritus of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and meet at least twice during this year. Its first meeting is scheduled for 19-20 June.

Asked what the committee will do, the Spokesman said it would provide support and guidance to the Special Adviser. He noted that the group includes individuals with expertise in diplomacy and conflict prevention, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Gen. Romeo Dallaire of Canada and former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans.

Asked why the committee was deemed necessary, Dujarric said that any support given to the Special Adviser would be helpful, including providing access to a range of experts. He declined to interpret the formation of the committee, as one reporter did, as a tacit admission that efforts to prevent genocide have not been succeeding.

Asked about the committees expenses, the Spokesman said that they would work pro bono. He added later that additional expenses would be paid for out of a trust fund.

ANNAN TO HEAD TO WASHINGTON, D.C. TO ADDRESS JEWISH GROUP

The Secretary-General will travel tomorrow to Washington DC, and he will address the centennial dinner of the American Jewish Committee that takes place that evening.

On the following day, he will deliver the inaugural speech in an annual series sponsored by the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, on the topic of the relationship between the United States and the United Nations. He will also receive an honorary degree.

He is scheduled to return to New York later that day.

YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT THREATENS STABILITY IN SIERRA LEONE

The first

report of the Secretary-General on the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone is out as a document.

The report says the overall security situation in the country has remained calm since the departure of the UN peacekeeping mission, UNAMSIL. Currently, it says, the most immediate threat to stability in Sierra Leone is the worsening youth employment situation.

It also notes that there is also growing concern that the ongoing trials of the former fighting groups at the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the recent transfer of the former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor, to the Court could be a source of potential security incidents. So far, the small contingent of UN troops protecting the Court, who are under the UN Mission in Liberias command, have the security situation at the Court premises under control.

WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY OBSERVED ACROSS THE GLOBE

Today is

World Press Freedom Day, and the Secretary-General has issued a

message, in which 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.

The head of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Koïchiro Matsuura, also issued a

message.

Meanwhile, some 300 participants attending a UNESCO conference in Sri Lanka today adopted a declaration calling for freedom of the press to be recognized as a core element in development strategies.

At UN Headquarters this morning, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Shashi Tharoor is moderating a discussion on press freedom.

In Sudan, UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) Radio today organized in Khartoum a debate on the evolution of the once tightly controlled Sudanese media towards more freedom since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed.

In Burundi, a roundtable meeting was organized at the Maison de la Presse, the headquarters of Burundi's media professionals, in Bujumbura. The UN was represented by Ibrahima Fall, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Burundi, and UNESCO Representative Colin Nicholas.

U.N. STAFFERS FILLING OUT FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE FORMS

In response to questions about the number of Under-Secretaries-General and Assistant Secretaries-General who had not yet filled out the financial disclosure forms, about 80% of those required have filled out the forms.

The Deputy Secretary-General is now contacting those who have not yet filled them out.

Those required under the new rules and regulations are directors and all staff in procurement, people with access to information regarding to accounts or financial information and anyone else that each departments executive office deems appropriate.

Asked whether the Secretary-General has filled out the disclosure form yet, the Spokesman said that he had not, but would do so, as it had been said before. The Spokesman, in response to questions about why the Secretary-General had not yet filled out the form, said that he had not been required to do so, since he is not a staff member, but would fill them out in order to set an example to staff.

Asked whether Mark Malloch Brown had filled out the form, the Spokesman confirmed that he had.

Asked how many staff were affected, he said that the forms presently affected about 125 Assistant Secretaries-General and Under-Secretaries-General. He added that an effort to expand financial disclosure to include directors and anyone with access to sensitive financial information would affect about 1,300 people.

Asked who would receive the forms, the Spokesman said they would be handled by the Ethics Office. In that context, the Spokesman noted that Tunku Abdul Aziz, the Special Advisor for the Ethics Office, would brief the press a week from tomorrow Thursday May 11th on the work of the Office.

ANNAN SETTING UP FOUNDATION TO DEAL WITH ISSUES DEAR TO HIM

Asked whether the Secretary-General was setting up an outside foundation to distribute the prize money he received from the Sheikh Zayed Award because he did not trust the United Nations to do so, the Spokesman denied that was the case. The Secretary-General, he said, wanted to set up a foundation to deal with issues close to his heart in Africa, and that entity would likely deal with the United Nations.

Asked whether the prize had been given to Kofi Annan as an individual or as UN Secretary-General, the Spokesman answered that it had been given to Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations for his work in the field of the environment.

He cautioned reporters to wait for the foundation to be formed before judging its work, in response to further questions.

Asked what would happen to the interest accrued on the prize money, Dujarric said that was expected to add to the money going to the foundation.

NEW AFRICA WORLD HERITAGE FUND TO BE LAUNCHED

A fund to help the States of sub-Saharan Africa improve the preservation of their cultural and natural heritage will be launched in South Africa on 5 May. The African World Heritage Fund will also be used to help boost the number of African sites on UNESCOs World Heritage List.

Sub-Saharan Africa is severely under-represented on the List. Despite great cultural and natural diversity, only 65 of the 812 World Heritage sites are to be found in this region. They constitute 43 percent of sites on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

UNITED NATIONS TO SUPPORT CONGOLESE AUTHORITIES: Asked about a possible postponement of elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokesman said that was a decision to be taken by the Congolese electoral authorities. The United Nations, he said, would support them and help them in whatever decision they take.

NEXT ROUND OF KOSOVO STATUS TALKS START TOMORROW: Tomorrow and Friday morning, the Deputy Special Envoy for the

Kosovo status talks, Albert Rohan, will chair in Vienna the fourth round of direct talks between Pristina and Belgrade. Like the previous round, these talks will focus on decentralization and the creation of new municipalities, including but not limited to those with Kosovo-Serb majorities.

ANNAN TO MEET WITH AMBASSADORS TO ESTABLISH CONSENSUS ON MANAGEMENT REFORM: Asked about UN efforts on management reform, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General remains focused on it. He will discuss and meet with a number of ambassadors to see how to re-establish consensus on reform.

ANNAN MEETS WITH WOMENS GROUPS ABOUT NUMBER OF FEMALE U.N. OFFICIALS: Asked about a meeting the Secretary-General had today with representatives of womens non-governmental organizations, the Spokesman said that was held to follow up to a letter sent to the Secretary-General about the representation of women at the United Nations. The Secretary-General felt much more can be done on that issue. Asked about the appointment of a man, Mark Malloch Brown, to serve as Deputy Secretary-General, Dujarric noted that Malloch Brown was replaced as Chef de Cabinet by a woman, Alicia Barcena.

CONCERN EXPRESSED OVER DWINDLING BANANA SUPPLIES: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is concerned about the shrinking numbers of wild bananas in India, the worlds premier producer. Bananas and plantains are the staple food of 400 million people in the developing world. FAO says overexploitation and the loss of forests are causing a rapid loss of wild banana species that have existed in India for thousands of years, and its calling for studies to assess the damage and catalogue the number and types of surviving wild species in India and Southeast Asia.

SOMALI LEADERS TO ATTEND U.N.-ORGANIZED CONSTITUTIONAL WORKSHOP: Some 250 Somali Members of Parliament will attend a six-day training seminar in Baidoa, starting today, to prepare the ground for a new Federal Constitution. The seminar on Federalism and Constitutional Affairs has been organized by the UN Political Office for Somalia to stimulate a dialogue on the Transitional Federal Charter, to help members understand how federal government works and to enhance their legislative and policymaking capacity.

KNOWLEDGE EXPO HIGHLIGHTS MILLENNIUM GOALS: The UN Development Programmes Knowledge Expo on Energizing the Millennium Development Goals starts today and will last until Friday, in the outdoor tent in the Visitors Plaza, at UN Headquarters in New York. In addition to interactive exhibits, the Expo will feature a keynote address by Jeffrey Sachs, the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on the Millennium Development Goals. The Knowledge Expo is being held in connection with the current session of the UNs Commission on Sustainable Development.

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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