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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-05-29

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 NOON BRIEFING

BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, 26 May 2006

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPEALS FOR RELEASE OF AUNG SAN SUU KYI

Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a statement on Myanmar earlier today from Bangkok, Thailand. In it, he notes that Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari visited Myanmar and had the opportunity to meet both General Than Shwe and Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Secretary-General calls that a welcome development, as Gambari was the first foreigner in two years to see Aung San Suu Kyi, who, as you know, has spent 10 of the past 16 years in detention or under house arrest.

Noting that Myanmars Government will be reviewing her status within 24 hours, he appeals to Gen. Than Shwe and the Government to release her, as her release will facilitate a national dialogue, in which the National League for Democracy could participate.

Saying that her release would be in the interest of Myanmar, the region and the world at large, the Secretary-General says it would also allow the Government and the people to not only build the nation together, but to focus on the essential issue of economic and social development.

For the democratic process and the reconciliation process to be truly successful, it has to be inclusive, the Secretary-General says. And Aung San Suu Kyi has a role to play. The Secretary-General thus adds that he is relying on Gen. Than Shwe to do the right thing.

ANNAN PRESENTS U.N. AWARD TO KING OF THAILAND

Earlier today the Secretary-General began the day as the keynote speaker at a high-level panel on the contributions of Thailands King Bhumibol Adulyadej to human development in Thailand.

In the late afternoon, he travelled to the royal palace in the seaside town of Hua Hin to present the first UN Development Programmes Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award to the monarch.

Describing him as the worlds development king, the Secretary-General said hes made an extraordinary contribution to human development, reaching out to Thailands poorest and most vulnerable people regardless of their status, ethnicity or religion listened to their problems, and empowered them to take their lives in their own hands. The award was presented on the occasion of the kings sixtieth anniversary of his accession to the throne.

The Secretary-General also held a meeting with Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

U.N. SAYS 40,000 PERSONS DISPLACED BY VIOLENCE IN TIMOR-LESTE

The UN Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL) says that at around noon local time today, it asked for assistance from Australian troops to ensure the security of UN staff within its compound as a number of armed civilians tried to set up positions at the nearest road junction.

The Australians arrived, cleared the area and posted guards around the compound. This afternoon, automatic weapon fire was again heard about 500 meters south-east of the compound. Australian soldiers responded with two helicopters and ground forces and the firing ceased, and the area is now reported to be quiet.

UNOTIL estimates that around 40,000 people have been displaced from Dili since the outbreak of the crisis on 28 April. As of today, between 1,800 and 2,100 internally displaced persons are housed in a compound near UNOTILs headquarters.

Meanwhile, members of the Timorese police have continued to seek refuge within the UN compound. Following negotiations, they handed over their weapons to UN Security on the condition that they could join the other police officers who had already disarmed and remained under protection in the main UN compound.

Asked when Ian Martin, the head of the UN Human Rights Mission in Nepal who was recently tasked with going to Dili by the Secretary-General, would arrive in Dili, the Spokesman said that he is expected there sometime over the next few days.

In response to a question on Martins responsibilities and how those relate to the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Timor-Leste, Sukehiro Hasegawa, the Spokesman said that Martin had experience working with all the major political actors in Timor-Leste.

He will be there in an effort to try to calm the situation and to try to find some political agreement, but in no way does he take away from the authority of the Special Representative, Dujarric said.

SECURITY COUNCIL WELCOMES TROOP DEPLOYMENT TO TIMOR

The Security Council last night passed a

presidential statement supporting the bilateral deployment of troops to Timor-Leste.

The Council also welcomed the Secretary-Generals appointment of a special envoy to that country to facilitate political dialogue. The Council had no meetings today.

ANNAN URGES DARFUR REBELS TO SIGN PEACE ACCORD

The Secretary-Generals latest report on

Darfur was issued today, and in it he expresses his concern that there are rebel leaders who havent yet signed the Darfur Peace Agreement.

He says the international community must work to convince these rebel leaders to choose peace over conflict, and to immediately work towards strengthening the African Union presence in Darfur.

Noting that a shortage of funding has led to a scaling down of humanitarian operations there, he also appeals to the international community to continue supporting the humanitarian effort in order to help prevent a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. The report covers activities in March and April.

On a related note, following yesterdays agreement reached on a joint African Union-United Nations assessment mission, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hedi Annabi will be returning to New York to brief the Security Council. He has agreed to brief the press afterwards.

Asked if the Union-United Nations assessment mission will be dispatched before or after Annabi briefs the Council, the Spokesman said the missions departure dates are still being worked on. He noted that the United Nations was in close contact with the African Union to see who would join the mission from its side.

He added that on the UN side, the mission would be led by either Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guehenno or Annabi.

Asked if the assessment mission would be in Sudan at the same time as an upcoming visit there by the Security Council, the Spokesman said it was not yet known as the scheduling and logistics process was still underway.

Asked when the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk, would be returning to UN headquarters, the Spokesman said Pronk is expected in New York next week.

U.N. WORKING TO STOP SUDANESE REBEL INFILTRATION IN CHAD CAMPS

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

says it is very disturbed by reports of ongoing infiltration by armed Sudanese rebels in refugee camps in eastern Chad. The agency fears the further recruitment of refugees for military activities, an activity that it calls totally unacceptable.

UNHCR notes that the responsibility for security in and around the camps rests with the Chadian government. It is therefore working with the Chadian authorities on increasing their resources. The agency is also continuing its information campaign to dissuade refugees from joining political and military activities.

ANNAN TO SEND POLITICAL ENVOY TO CYPRUS, GREECE, TURKEY

The Secretary-Generals latest report on Cyprus was issued today. In it, the Secretary-General notes that, over the past six months, both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders have renewed their calls for a resumption of his good offices mission. However, there have been no real indicators of any change in their general positions.

Saying that there is a need to match words with action, the Secretary-General reiterates his intention to send his Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs to Cyprus, Greece and Turkey in the near future, to assess the political situation in and around Cyprus and the prospects of resuming his good offices.

The Secretary-General also refers to the efforts of his Special Representative on the ground, Michael Moller, to initiate bicommunal technical discussions between the sides, as a way of fostering contacts. Although not intended as a substitute for negotiating a comprehensive settlement, the discussions are aimed at building trust, he says.

The Secretary-General also recommends that the Security Council extend the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus for a further six months, until 15 December 2006.

NUMBER OF DETAINED U.N. STAFF IN ERITREA RISES TO TWELVE

The UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea was informed today informed that another staff member was arrested by Eritrean authorities earlier this week, bringing the total number of its Eritrean staff detained to twelve.

The Spokesman said the United Nations has not been told of the reasons behind these detentions, despite having sent letters of protest. We would like to see them release as soon as possible Dujarric added.

U.N. NAMES MORE CANDIDATES FOR CLIMATE CHANGE GROUP

On 16 March 2006, an announcement was made about six shortlisted candidates for the post of Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The interviews of the candidates would be conducted by a panel of senior officials, with the inclusion of an outside expert, appointed by the Secretary-General. Since that announcement, two of the six candidates, i.e. John W. Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda and Luis Gomez Echeverri of Colombia have withdrawn their candidatures.

That meant that the remaining candidates are: Yvo de Boer of the Netherlands, Miklós Persányi of Hungary and Simon Upton of New Zealand.

The additional candidates to be interviewed shortly are: Sálvano J. Brice&#328;o of Venezuela, Luis Gylvan Meira of Brazil, Richard James Kinley of Canada and Leela Krishnamurthy Ponappa of India.

INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPERS DAY TO BE OBSERVED WEDNESDAY

The International Day for UN Peacekeepers will be observed around the world on Monday, 29 May.

That is the date the General Assembly chose to honour those serving in UN operations, especially the men and women who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. Since Monday is a holiday here in New York, the Headquarters ceremony will be held on Wednesday.

At 11:00 a.m., the Secretary-General will address the main event in the library auditorium, where the Dag Hammarskjöld medal will be awarded posthumously to peacekeepers who died over the past year.

U.N. PUBLISHES BIRD FLU PREVENTION GUIDE

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has published a

guide for the non-specialist how to help reduce the spread of bird flu among animals and minimize the risk of its transmission to humans.

The eleven-page pamphlet contains tips for small farmers, game keepers, bird collectors, and hunters. The guide gives ideas on separating bird species, and cleaning pet areas, among other suggestions.

U.N. PENSION FUND WILL NOT BE PRIVATIZED

Asked about a reported dispute between the Deputy Secretary-General, Mark Malloch Brown, and the Under-Secretary-General for Management, Chris Burnham, over the possible privatization of the UN Staff Pension Fund, the Spokesman said that the Deputy Secretary-General has made it clear on a number of occasions that the Fund would not be privatized.

He noted that the Secretary-General does not have the power to unilaterally decide on how the Fund is operated.

For any decisions, the Secretary-General would have to consult the (Funds) Pension Board and seek the advice of the Pension Boards investment committee, Dujarric said. He added that a healthy debate is part of policy discussions among senior officials. Sometimes they agree, sometimes they disagree but its part of our own internal decision-making process, Dujarric said.

U.K. PUSH FOR REFORM WELCOMED

Asked about a speech by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair in which he calls for UN reform, the Spokesman said the United Nations welcomes the push for reform, noting that the Secretary-General has repeatedly called for greater UN management reform as well as reform of the Security Council.

On a question as to whether there should be just one UN office in each country, the Spokesman noted that the Panel on UN System-wide Coherence was formed to consider issues such this one. Gordon Brown is on that panel and will no doubt make the views of the Prime Minister known, Dujarric said.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N ASSESSING RAIN DAMAGE IN BURUNDI: The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that a joint UN task force has been sent to assess damage caused by torrential rainstorms in Burundi. Specialists from OCHA, the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization are paying particular attention to damage to crops. The rain that has caused damage throughout the country, and was particularly destructive in the eastern provinces, destroying houses and rendering roads unusable.

U.N. CONDEMNS MURDER OF IRAQ MINISTER: The Director-General of the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Koďchiro Matsuura, today

condemned the assassination of Sabah al-Jaf, Director-General of Evaluation and Examination at the Iraqi Ministry of Education, denouncing the growing number of attacks against education officials in Iraq.

U.N. CONTINUING STUDIES ON POSSIBLE LEBANON TRIBUNAL: Asked for an update on the work of a UN mission which is studying the possible establishment of an international tribunal in Lebanon, the Spokesman said the missions consultations are continuing in line with Security Councils instructions.

ANNAN REMAINS CONCERNED ABOUT U.N. SECURITY: Asked about the security preparations for the UN compound in Iraq in 2001, the Spokesman said that the United Nations, the Spokesman noted that the issue had been examined in two UN reports, put together separately by Marti Ahtisaari and Gerald Walzer. The security of UN staff operating in Iraq currently is at the forefront of the Secretary-Generals mind when considering deployment or an increase in the UN presence, Dujarric said.

AFRICAN MINISTERS AGREE TO TERRORISM DECLARATION AT U.N. MEETING:: Foreign Ministers from West and Central Africa, meeting in Madrid, agreed on Friday on a political declaration and a plan of action to improve terrorism prevention. The Ministerial round-table, organized by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) with the support of the Government of Spain, met on 25 and 26 May to strengthen national and sub-regional counter-terrorism efforts and to identify areas for further action, particularly in bolstering the legal regime against terrorism. They agreed a declaration reaffirming the commitment of 27 countries from West and Central Africa to ratify and implement all universal instruments against terrorism.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

27 May 2 June 2006

Monday, May 29

The UN will be closed for Memorial Day.

The Secretary-Generals Special Adviser, Vijay Nambiar, will be delivering a message on behalf of the Secretary-General to the Ministerial Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement, in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

Tuesday, May 30

There will be a public meeting in the Security Council this morning on threats caused by terrorism.

At 11:00, UNAIDS will hold a press conference to launch the 2006 report on the global AIDS epidemic, featuring the latest AIDS estimates and news trends in the epidemics evolution.

At 12:00, UN staff will form a giant human red ribbon in the North Lawn area, ahead of the 2006 High Level Meeting on AIDS.

Wednesday, May 31

Today is the last day of Congos Presidency of the Security Council.

There will be a private meeting this morning in the Security Council with troop-contributing countries of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.

At 11:15, Mr. Jorge Sampaio, the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy to Stop Tuberculosis, will brief the press.

Today is the first day of the 2006 High Level Meeting on AIDS. There will be an opening plenary meeting at 9:00 in the General Assembly Hall. Speakers will include the Secretary-General, the General Assembly President, and the head of UNAIDS. At 9:45 a.m. the Secretary-General and the General Assembly President are expected to speak to the press at the General Assembly Hall stakeout.

At 12:45, Drs. Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS, and Richard Feachum, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, will brief on the 2006 High Level Meeting on AIDS.

At 1:30, DPI is sponsoring a press conference by Binaifer Nowrojee, Director of the Open Society Institute for East Africa, and Mary Balikungeri, Director of the Rwanda Womens Network, who will brief on the continuing impact of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda on women in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

At 3:00, UNAIDS is sponsoring a press conference by the Global Business Coalition.

Thursday, June 1

Denmark assumes the rotating Presidency of the Security Council today.

At 10:15, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, will hold a press conference on the financial needs of the global Fund. Speakers will include Stephen Lewis, the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, and others.

At 11:00, Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS, will launch the UNAIDS-led Global Coalition on Women and AIDS Agenda for Action on Women and AIDS.

At 12:30, Mr. Hans Blix, Chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, will hold a press conference on the occasion of the presentation to the Secretary-General of the Final Report of the Commission.

At 3:00, the Secretary-General is scheduled to meet in Conference Room 8 with people living with HIV, including HIV positive UN staff members. He is expected to speak to the press at approximately 3:45, at a location to be determined.

At 8:00 p.m., the Secretary-General will make brief remarks at An Evening of Remembrance and Hope: Uniting the World Against AIDS in the General Assembly Hall. Attendees will include Naomi Watts, Whoopi Goldberg, Wyclef Jean and Angelique Kidjo.

Friday, June 2

The Security Council will hold consultations on its work programme for the month, following which Ambassador Ellen Margrethe Loj, Security Council President, will brief the press.

At 9:00, the 2006 High Level Meeting on AIDS continues in the General Assembly Hall. The Secretary-General and the General Assembly President are expected to speak. The Meeting will break at 1:00 and resume at 3:00. At the Meetings conclusion, a Political Declaration will be adopted.

At 3:00 in Conference Room 4, the Secretary-General will join the Foreign Ministers of France and Brazil, the Minister for International Development of Norway and the Health Minister of Chile, at a press conference on the Fight against AIDS/International Drug Purchase Facility.

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055


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