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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-05-30
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, May 30, 2006
ANNAN IS DISAPPOINTED AT DETENTION OF MYANMAR LEADER
Secretary-General Kofi Annan was deeply disappointed to learn that the Myanmar authorities have extended the detention under house arrest of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD).
He believes Myanmars leadership has missed a significant opportunity to confirm, through concrete actions, its expressed commitment to move toward true national reconciliation and all-inclusive democracy, as well as improved relations with the international community.
Despite this setback, the international community cannot abandon the search for improvements in the difficult situation in Myanmar.
The Secretary-General will continue to make every effort to secure not only the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other political detainees, but also to urge Myanmars authorities to take other steps they discussed with the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari, during his recent visit to the country. These include improved safety and access for humanitarian assistance, restraint in military operations that have affected civilians, and- ultimately the possibility of internal dialogue that could lead to national reconciliation.
Asked about the Government of Myanmars failure to release Aung San Suu Kyi, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General had noted in his statements that his efforts to continue to secure her release will continue.
Obviously, lines of communication have now been opened with Yangoon following Mr. Gambaris visit and we hope to exploit those lines to move the process forward, Dujarric said.
Asked what would be communicated through those lines of communication, the Spokesman said Gambari had indicated that he would have to fully brief the Secretary-General on messages he had received while in Myanmar.
The way we work is through diplomatic contacts and we will continue those contacts and put every effort to move the process forward, Dujarric said. From where we stand, we cant give up and we have to keep trying.
Asked if an analysis would be made of the developments leading up to the decision of the Government of Myanmar, the Spokesman said the primary focus now is for Gambari to fully brief and discuss the issue with the Secretary-General. As we move forward, we will analyze and see what happened, Dujarric said.
U.N. MISSION REPORTS CALM RETURNING TO KABUL
The UN Mission in Afghanistan says calm has returned to the streets of Kabul, following violence there that was believed to have been sparked by a road accident.
Several UN offices and guesthouses where UN staff have been staying were damaged during the violence.
The Mission says itll keep a close eye on the situation but it expects UN offices to return to normal operations tomorrow.
Speaking to the press here at UN Headquarters, the Secretary-General said he was saddened by the loss of life, and that hes been in contact with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about measures that could be taken to bring the situation under control.
He added that the United Nations would keep working with the Afghan government to strengthen its institutions.
ONE BLUE HELMET KILLED, SEVEN MISSING IN DR CONGO FIGHTING
The UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) is searching for seven Nepalese peacekeepers who went missing during a fire-fight between armed militias and soldiers from the Congolese national army in the
Ituri district in the countrys north-east.
The clash also left one Nepalese peacekeeper dead and three wounded.
The peacekeepers were part of a group of 20 who had been providing support to national army troops in the area of Tsupu, 100 kilometres from Bunia, the capital of Ituri, during a fire-fight with armed elements believed to be part of the militia run by the warlord Peter Karim and known by the French name Front des Nationalisses and Integrationnistes.
The UN Mission says militia men claim to have captured the seven peacekeepers but have failed to provide any evidence to back up their claims.
Speaking to the press earlier today, the Secretary-General said the United Nations has been in contact with Karims militia and had demanded their release. He added that Karim and any other militia leaders involved in these activities must understand that they will be held individually accountable.
The latest death brings to 12 the number of UN peacekeepers who have died in the line of duty since the beginning of this year in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and to 74 the total number of "Blue Helmets" who have lost their lives since the inception of MONUC.
Asked about press reports which claim that a ransom is being demanded for the missing peacekeepers, the Spokesman said that the United Nations does not pay ransoms for staff taken hostage. He added that efforts are underway to obtain their release.
Asked if efforts to end impunity among government soldiers and police are being left until after the DRCs upcoming elections, the Spokesman said that there is no impunity for those who commit crimes and MONUC is working closely with the DRCs armed forces in the area of human rights training for Congolese troops.
INCREASING NUMBERS OF DISPLACED REPORTED IN TIMOR-LESTE
In Timor-Leste, the UN Office there reports that the special envoy Ian Martin has arrived in Dili to assess the situation and has begun his work.
The Office said that although violence has decreased some looting has continued and camps holding internally displaced persons have been attacked.
UN agencies have resumed temporarily disrupted food distribution to the camps, but conditions in them are worsening because of overcrowding and rain.
According to an assessment completed today by the UN agencies and NGO staff, some 100,000 persons are being sheltered in IDP camps, including some 65,000 in the Dili area. The population of Dili is 150,000.
The World Food Programme says it has rushed to Timor Leste five days worth of rationing for some 95,000 people, but more help is needed, not only with food but with shelter, sanitation, and health care.
The UN Office said the numbers of displaced persons are swelling because of continued lack of security.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is sending in an extra team to coordinate UN and NGO assistance.
SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON TERRORISM;
SCHEDULES CONSULTATIONS ON AFGHANISTAN, TIMOR, DRC, SOMALIA
The Security Council met this morning on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts. It heard briefings by the chairs of: the Counter-Terrorism Committee; the 1276 Committee, which deals with Al-Qaida and the Taliban; and the 1540 Committee, on weapons of mass destruction.
In afternoon consultations, the Security Council will be briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno on Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Timor-Leste. It will also get a briefing by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tuliameni Kalomoh on Somalia, before turning to other matters. The Secretary-General is expected to attend.
UNITED NATIONS ASSISTS VICTIMS OF EARTHQUAKE IN INDONESIA
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that increasing international assistance is arriving in Yogayakarta, Indonesia, following the earthquake. OCHA has released emergency cash grants, and a UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team is now on the ground.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has sent medicines, emergency health kits and communications equipment to the quake-hit area. And UNICEF has set up child centre tents and provided water storage units, hygiene and recreational kits, tarpaulins, lanterns, stoves, and cooking sets. For its part, the World Food Programme (WFP) has sent high-energy biscuits and noodles to hard-hit areas. To make up for a lack of storage space, WFP is flying in 10 mobile warehouses. But it still needs more non-governmental organizations to help with food distributions. We have more information on this upstairs.
The Secretary-General, in a statement issued Saturday, expressed his deep sadness at the loss of life, injuries and destruction.
ANNAN URGES RESTRAINT IN BLUE LINE CLASHES
statement isssued yesterday on Lebanon, the Secretary-General expressed his concern at the serious clashes across the Blue Line that took place over the weekend.
The Secretary-General continues to follow the situation closely, and calls on all parties to exercise maximum restraint and fully respect the Blue Line. He particularly urges the Government of Lebanon to make every effort to exercise its control over the use of force from its territory.
Asked why the Secretary-Generals statement about recent clashes across the Blue Line, did not reflect the Security Council having called for Hizbollah to disarm, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General has clearly stated in the past that the issue of disarming armed militias in Lebanon needs to be addressed and should be done through the National Dialogue in Lebanon.
ANNAN SEEKS NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENTS SUPPORT FOR U.N. REFORM
In a message to the Non-Aligned Movement Coordinating Bureau Ministerial Meeting held in Putra Jaya, Malaysia, the Secretary-General said he counted on the Movement's support for UN reform, including changes in working practices in the Secretariat.
The message was delivered yesterday by Vijay Nambiar, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General.
NEW WHO DIRECTOR-GENERAL TO SELECTED IN NOVEMBER
According to a
press release by the World Health Organization, the WHO Executive Board has decided on a November timetable for electing a new Director-General for the Organization.
The decision follows the sudden death of Dr Lee Jong-wook last week.
U.N. ENVOY IN SOMALIA ASKS COMBATANTS TO ACT WITH HUMANITY
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia appeals to warring factions in Mogadishu to act with humanity. The Coordinator, Eric Laroche, also expressed his shock at the targeting of hospitals, which is in blatant violation of the basic rules of international humanitarian law.
Meanwhile, Dennis McNamara, the UN Special Adviser on Internal Displacement, said today in Nairobi that the conflict in Somalia could accelerate into a major humanitarian and political disaster unless the international community ceases ignoring what was unfolding in that country, He said the situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) was "sub-standard in every respect". Describing the media as an essential tool in getting governments to act, he lamented that "if Mogadishu was Sarajevo, the world press would be clamoring to get there".
UNITED NATIONS CONSULTING WITH NEPALESE GOVERNMENT: Asked if the Nepalese government had asked the United Nations to mediate in its national affairs, the Spokesman said while the United Nations is not mediating, it has been actively involved in Nepal and would help in any what it can. We are currently studying with the Nepalese government in what areas we would be best be helpful, Dujarric said, adding that a senior UN official had been dispatched to Nepal recently and that official is still in discussions with Nepalese authorities on how the United Nations could best help.
SUDANESE GOVERNMENT HAS AGREED TO ASSESSMENT MISSION: Asked about mixed messages that the Government of Sudan had reportedly given about the deployment of a joint African Union-United Nation to Darfur, the Spokesman said that the Sudanese Government had reached an agreement on the matter with Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi last week. He noted that the Sudanese Government had issued last week a press release confirming the assessment missions deployment.
KILLINGS OF JOURNALISTS IN IRAQ CONDEMNED: The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization today
condemned the killing of CBS cameraman Paul Douglas and soundman James Brolan in Baghdad on Monday and called for improved safety for media workers in Iraq. UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said, The death toll among media personnel, both national and international, in Iraq has reached truly alarming levels.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY IS CONCERNED ABOUT VIOLENCE IN COLOMBIA: The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refuges reports that they are extremely concerned about the security situation in the Colombian department of Nariño in the southwest, where at least 15 people were killed only days after the agency and humanitarian NGOs escorted displaced persons back to the area. The displaced persons were part of a group which left their homes mid-May at the end of a protest march against continuing by irregular armed groups. UNHCR is sending teams to the area.
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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