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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-05-04

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

Thursday, May 4, 2006

ANNAN TO VISIT WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR CENTENNIAL DINNER AND SPEECH

Secretary-General Kofi Annan will be in Washington, D.C., this evening to attend the 100th anniversary celebration dinner of the American Jewish Committee.

He will speak at that event, detailing the ways in which, in recent years especially, the United Nations and the Jewish community have moved closer together. He will describe how the United Nations is fully engaged in the struggle against anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination.

On Friday, the Secretary-General will deliver a speech on the relationship between the United States and the United Nations, during the convocation of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. He will also receive an honorary degree.

Asked whether the Secretary-General would provide an interview to U.S. public television today, the Spokeswoman confirmed that he was scheduled to give an interview in Washington this afternoon, to be aired later this evening.

Asked whether he would hold any press encounters while in Washington, she said that none were scheduled as of now.

U.N. EMERGENCY RELIEF CHIEF TO ASSESS HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN SUDAN

The UN Under-Secretary-General for

Humanitarian Affairs,

Jan Egeland, will head to

Sudan this weekend. He is scheduled to land in Khartoum and visit South Darfur. Then, on Wednesday, 10 May, he will head to Chad for a one-day visit.

The purpose of his visit is to get a firsthand look at the humanitarian situation on the ground, and to hold discussions with Government officials and aid workers.

Egeland has warned that funding for aid in Darfur has all but dropped off. Donor support in Europe and the Gulf States is seriously flagging. The UN appeal for lifesaving support has less than 20% of funds needed, and the United Nations will soon be forced to cut daily food rations in half. The amount needed for Darfur is $648 million, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The people of Darfur urgently need aid, but they need much more, Egeland argued. They need protection on the ground and they need peace, not just on paper in Abuja but implemented and enforced throughout each and every village across Darfur.

Asked whether Egeland has been granted a visa to visit Darfur, the Spokeswoman said he had.

Asked about the meeting of the Group of Friends of Darfur that took place at the United Nations this morning, Okabe said that the

Secretary-General had attended and spoken at that meeting, which had brought together 18 countries and three regional organizations.

[Speaking to reporters following the meeting, the Secretary-General said, We also agreed that, for the immediate [phase], we need to strengthen the African Union force, because they will have to take steps to initially begin implementing the agreement once it is signed, and as the follow-on UN force is going to take time, it is extremely important that we take measures to strengthen the African force, which will mean additional troops, additional logistical support, additional financial support, and of course we need to press the parties to honour their commitments, particularly with regard to the ceasefire that they sign in Abuja.

He added, And we also discussed the urgent humanitarian situation on the ground, both in Darfur and on the Chadian side, and as you know, we have had to halve the rations that WFP (World Food Programme) gives to the refugees.]

ANNAN VERY SAD ABOUT RESIGNATION OF HEAD OF CAPITAL MASTER PLAN

Asked about the status of Fritz Reuter, the head of the

Capital Master Plan, the Spokeswoman said a statement was expected later in the day. [A statement by Reuter was issued following the briefing.]"

[The Secretary-General later told reporters, I am very sad about Fritz Reuters resignation. He is a good man. He brought lots of energy, professionalism, and creativity to the task. And I am sorry that he has had to leave because of frustration and a lack of major stakeholder commitment.]

U.N. EMERGENCY RELIEF CHIEF WELCOMES UGANDAN

INITIATIVE TO IMPROVE CONDITIONS IN DISPLACED PERSONS' CAMPS

The UN Under-Secretary-General for

Humanitarian Affairs,

Jan Egeland, welcomed Ugandas new Joint Monitoring Committee, which was launched today by the Ugandan Government.

The Committee, which was discussed between Egeland and the Ugandan authorities last March, will focus on improving conditions in camps for internally displaced persons in the countrys north.

SENIOR U.N. OFFICIAL TO REVIEW SITUATION ON THE GROUND IN NEPAL

A senior political officer from the

UN Department for Political Affairs, Tamrat Samuel, is travelling to Nepal today as a continuation of consultations the United Nations has maintained to encourage a peaceful resolution of the country's armed conflict and political instability.

It will be the first opportunity to review the situation on the ground following the important developments of the past several weeks, including the announcement of a three-month cease-fire by the Maoists and its reciprocation by the Government.

HUMAN RIGHTS ARE SYSTEMATICALLY VIOLATED IN DRC PROVINCE

The

UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

says that soldiers from the national Congolese armies, as well as members of the Mai-Mai groups, are systematically committing human rights violations against civilians in the Katanga province.

The findings follow an

investigation by the Missions Human Rights Division in Mitwaba, in North-Katanga, in February.

The Mission has addressed recommendations to the

Democratic Republic of the Congos Minister of Defense and these include replacing a brigade, prosecuting identified perpetrators of human rights violations; and opening an investigation into alleged summary executions and alleged mass graves.

SECURITY COUNCIL IS BRIEFED ON U.N. OFFICE IN SIERRA LEONE

The

Security Council today held consultations on Sierra Leone. The Executive Representative of the Secretary-General,

Victor da Silva Angelo, introduced the Secretary-Generals first

report on the

UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone.

Wednesday afternoon, the Council held consultations on non-proliferation, to discuss Irans compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Council members received a draft resolution on that matter.

Asked about progress on finding a residence for Charles Taylor following a judgment in his case, the Spokeswoman said she was not aware of any progress. But she noted that the

Secretary-Generals report on the new office in Sierra Leone, while noting the stability in the country, mentioned the concerns about the potential effect on security of the current trials of high-profile prisoners.

FUNDS URGENTLY NEEDED TO FEED AFGHANS

The

World Food Programme (WFP) has

called on donors to provide urgently needed funds to its Afghanistan operation to ensure food assistance to 3.5 million hungry Afghans. It warns that there will be a break in food supplies this month without fresh donations.

WFP requires more than 50,000 tons of food, costing $40 million, to maintain its current operations until December 2006.

BURDEN OF HIV/AIDS, TUBERCULOSIS AND MALARIA REMAINS UNACCEPTABLY HIGH

Today is the last day of a three-day African Union Summit in Abuja on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.

Addressing the gathering, Luis Sambo, the

World Health Organizations Regional Director for Africa

said the burden of the three diseases remains "unacceptably high" in sub-Saharan Africa and that a special approach is now needed to address the specific needs and challenges of children affected by the illnesses.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT CONCLUDES VISIT TO KENYA

The Spokesperson for the General Assemblys President, Jan Eliasson, said that Eliasson today concluded a two-day visit to Nairobi, where he discussed issues related to development, UN reform, Africa and the environment with senior officials at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), and with Kenyan Government representatives.

Yesterday President Eliasson visited the Kibera slum to witness first-hand conditions in what is reportedly the largest slum in Africa. He was welcomed by members of the community and was briefed on UNEP and UN-HABITAT projects there.

At a press conference today, he commented on his visit to Kibera and the need to translate the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) into reality by improving the lives of people in need. He said, "We can talk about the MDGs, but we must make them more concrete, in the form of malaria medicines, clean water, toilets and sanitation. We are in a hurry."

This morning, the President addressed Government delegations in Nairobi, where he called on the permanent representatives to embrace the programme for United Nations reform and to help strengthen the UN. He said that his vision was of a world in which countries understand that "well functioning international structures are in the national interest of each country."

Eliasson will be returning to UN Headquarters in New York at midday tomorrow. He will hold meetings in the afternoon to assess where we stand on a range of issues. It is expected that a Plenary meeting to take action on all the remaining reports of the Fifth Committee, including on management reform, will be held sometime next week.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

GLOBAL COMPACT AIMS AT GETTING BUSINESS TO ADHERE TO INTERNATIONAL NORMS: Asked about a report that two companies that had signed up to the UNs

Global Compact that allegedly used child labour, the Spokeswoman said that the Compact was set up with the intention of getting businesses to adhere to international norms.

  • **The guest at the noon briefing was David Nabarro, the Senior UN System Coordinator for the Avian and Human Influenza.

    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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