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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-05-31

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

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

ANNAN URGES UNITY IN THE FIGHT AGAINST AIDS

Today is the first day of the General Assemblys three-day High-Level Meeting on AIDS.

At the opening of the meeting this morning, Secretary-General Kofi Annan noted that, over the last 25 years, AIDS has spread further, faster and with more catastrophic long-term effects than any other disease.

He also said that we must apply the main lesson of the past 25 years namely, that it is only when we work together with determination and unity of purpose that we can win against the disease. Such efforts require visionary leadership and unprecedented partnership, among Governments, the private sector and civil society, he said.

Acknowledging the importance of involving civil society in the High-Level Meeting, he paid special tribute to Khensani Mavasa of South Africa, who this morning became the first person living with HIV to address the General Assembly.

Following his address and subsequent appearance at the stakeout, the Secretary-General made remarks at an informal interactive civil society hearing on AIDS.

ANNAN CONDEMNS FATAL ATTACK IN DR CONGO

The

Secretary-General is deeply saddened at the death of a Nepalese peacekeeper, and the wounding of three other Nepalese peacekeepers, serving with the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on 28 May in the area of Tsupu in the Ituri district.

The Secretary-General strongly condemns this attack, and the capture of seven Nepalese peacekeepers by armed groups, and calls for their immediate release. It should be underscored that those responsible for these acts should be held accountable.

The Secretary-General wishes to express heartfelt condolences to the Government of Nepal and the bereaved family.

In a statement to the press was delivered on Tuesday by Acting Security Council President Pascal Gayama ( Congo), Council members of the Security Council condemned the attack against Nepalese troops.

UNITED NATIONS PAYS TRIBUTE TO FALLEN PEACEKEEPING COLLEAGUES

Today is International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, and a ceremony was held for the posthumous awarding of the Dag Hammarskjold medal to those who died in the line of duty.

The Secretary-General attended the ceremony and paid tribute to the fallen colleagues and friends who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving the cause of peace.

More peacekeepers died last year than in any other year in the past decade, with 124 of them (both national and international, civilian and uniformed) losing their lives to violence, disease and accidents. Another 33 have died so far this year.

Meanwhile, the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is continuing its indirect contacts with the militia believed to have captured the seven peacekeepers.

On this same topic, the Security Council President said yesterday that the Council members condemn the attack and also call for their release without delay.

U.N. AGENCIES HELPING VICTIMS OF UNREST IN TIMOR-LESTE

The UN Office in Timor Leste today reports that during the last 24 hours, the number of security related reports has decreased markedly, although youth gangs are still on the streets.

The Office says that the UN World Food Programme has begun distributing rice and high energy biscuits to displaced persons and local hospitals, augmenting supplies provided by the government.

The UN Office itself is providing assistance to approximately 5,000 internally displaced persons camped near its compound.

Several UN agencies are also helping displaced persons. The UN Population Fund, the UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization are providing hospital supplies and assisting pregnant women in the camps.

UNICEF is also aiding the government with technical assistance on water distribution and latrine construction. W-H-O is also providing immunization doses.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports that it will airlift in tents, plastic sheeting, blankets, jerry cans and cooking utensils.

The Secretary-General is expected today to record a videotaped message to the Timorese people.

AFRICAN UNION CHAIRMAN BRIEFS ON AFRICA

The Security Council began the day by holding a meeting with the troop-contributing countries to the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.

Then, in an open briefing, the Chairman of the African Union, Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso, briefed the Council on African issues concerning the Security Council. Discussions continued in a closed meeting of the Council.

Next on the agenda are closed consultations on Eritrea and Ethiopia, Somalia and other matters.

A formal meeting was expected on Eritrea and Ethiopia. The mandate of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea expires today.

UNITED NATIONS HELPS VICTIMS OF EARTHQUAKE IN INDONESIA

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that local health facilities continue to be overwhelmed in the post-quake situation in Indonesia, especially as the population has no homes to which to return.

The World Health Organization is covering the operational costs for the mobile clinics that the Indonesian Government is setting up. Meanwhile, the UN Population Fund plans to dispatch supplies to meet the emergency needs of pregnant women.

For its part, UNICEF is providing 22 trucks to supply 320,000 litres of clean water per day, and is planning a measles and vitamin A vaccination campaign. UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is organizing an assessment of cultural sites.

HUMANITARIAN OUTLOOK IN PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES SEEN WORSENING

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that, with the humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory looking extremely bleak and predicted to worsen in the coming months, the UN and non-governmental organizations have decided to revise their appeal for humanitarian assistance to Palestinians upwards by 80% -- from $215 million to $385 million.

That revision is a consequence of the fiscal crisis facing the Palestinian Authority.

ASSESSMENT MISSION TO DARFUR MAY DEPART WITHIN A WEEK

Asked for an update on the status of the UN peacekeeping assessment team that would be going to

Sudan and how it would relate to the upcoming Security Council mission to Sudan, the Spokesman said that the details of the assessment team were still being worked out. The Security Council mission is a separate trip, the Spokesman clarified.

The Spokesman added that the United Nations was in contact with the African Union (AU), which would be fielding personnel to travel with the UN team.

He also explained that the team would probably depart within the week, and that its first stop would most likely be Addis Ababa, where it would hold talks with the AU. The team would then go to Khartoum and then Darfur, before returning to Khartoum again.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY WOULD DECIDE ON MEMBERSHIP

Asked for updates on the Kosovo status talks, the Spokesman said that Martti Ahtisaari, the Secretary-Generals envoy for the Kosovo status talks, and his team were working hard and working under the radar on this sensitive issue. When Ahtisaari was ready to announce something, he would.

Asked if the Secretary-General was prepared to see an independent Kosovo or Montenegro enter the United Nations the Spokesman said it would be foolish to prejudge the outcome of Ahtisaaris efforts discussions regarding the future status of Kosovo. He added that, on the question of UN membership, that was a matter for the General Assembly to decide.

Asked about media reports concerning contingency planning for an exodus of Kosovo Serbs from Kosovo, the Spokesman later added that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was in the lead on that, and that such contingency planning was routine and necessary for humanitarian agencies, so that they could be prepared to help alleviate any human suffering that might or might not happen in the future.

POSSIBILITY OF U.S. ENGAGEMENT IN TALKS WITH IRAN WELCOMED

Asked to respond to a recent statement by the United States that if Iran stopped enriching uranium, the United States would join in talks with Iran, the Spokesman said that this was a welcome development and that he hoped that Iran would respond in a positive fashion.

He added that the initiative was consistent with the Secretary-General's repeated calls for dialogue and a negotiated diplomatic solution.

The Spokesman also said that the long and detailed statement would require close study before any further comments could be made.

REPORT LOOKING INTO FORMER STAFF MEMBER IS MADE PUBLIC

The Staff Council, in February 2005, made serious allegations against Mr. Dileep Nair, then Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services concerning violations of rules, regulations and administrative issuances regarding appointments and promotions in the

UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).

At the request of the Secretary-General, an outside investigation was undertaken by Jerome Ackerman, former President of the United Nations Administrative Tribunal, and John Vanderstar. The time it took to complete the investigation was regrettably longer than was expected.

On 1 May 2006, the Deputy Secretary-General, on behalf of the Secretary-General, received the report of the investigation. The Secretary-General transmitted the report to Mr. Nair, through his lawyers, for comments.

The main conclusions of the report are that the investigation found no evidence supporting the regrettable anonymous allegations of improper payment by one senior staff member to Mr. Nair or improper sexual behaviour on the part of Mr. Nair and another staff member.

The report, however, found that in two cases involving appointment and promotion in the OIOS, it appeared that Mr. Nair had predetermined the outcome of the selection process. In other promotion cases, the investigation refrained from drawing any conclusions with respect to legal issues pending before the Joint Appeals Board.

The investigation report and Mr. Nairs comments were thoroughly reviewed by the Secretary-General. He took note of the findings and conclusions of the report, as well as Mr. Nairs comments.

The Secretary-General decided that there was no further action to be taken by him in the case and, accordingly, decided the matter closed. Mr. Nair and the President of the Staff Council have been informed of the decision. The full report and Mr. Nairs comments thereon, as well as the two letters have been made public.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. AND DHL TEAM UP FOR DISASTER ASSISTANCE: The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today announced the formation of a DHL Disaster Response Team (DRT) Americas, to be based in South Florida. The DRT is a pool of some 80 DHL experts specially-trained to ensure that relief supplies reach people quickly and effectively in the case of a major natural disaster. The team will aim to reduce bottlenecks at airports close to the scene of a major natural disaster by helping to organize the handling, warehousing and loading of relief supplies for onward transportation in an effective manner.

MILOSEVICS DEATH BROUGHT ON BY NATURAL CAUSES: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia today released the report of its inquiry into the death of Slobodan Milosevic. The inquiry found that Milosevics heart attack had been brought on by natural causes. Thus, any allegations that he had been poisoned are false.

U.N. UNIVERSITY TO OPEN RESEARCH CENTRE IN MALAYSIA: The UN University today reports that it will open a research center in Malaysia to specialize in public health issues in developing countries. The Malaysian government has pledged $40 million for the center.

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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