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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-11-01
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Wednesday, November 1, 2006
ANNAN DOING ALL HE CAN TO PRESERVE CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES BETWEEN ISRAEL & LEBANON
Asked about the UNs work to obtain the release of prisoners in Israel and Lebanon, the Spokesman said that the UN facilitator is working very hard on the prisoner issue with both parties. He noted that todays statement by Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is confirmation that a mechanism is in place.
He noted, in response to a further question, that this facilitator dealt strictly with the Israel-Lebanon prisoner issue and not that of Corporal Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier abducted in Gaza. The United Nations has no direct role on the latter issue.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals meeting this morning with the ambassadors of the five permanent Security Council members, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General wanted share with them his reflections on where the United Nations stands on the elaboration of the legal basis for a tribunal of international character in Lebanon.
This is part of his continuing discussions with all stakeholders on this issue, Dujarric said. There have been other briefings to a number of the elected members of the Security Council who had expressed interest in the process.
The Spokesman said that the Secretary-General is expected to submit the draft proposal for the tribunal to the Security Council when he is ready. Asked when that may be, he added that the proposal is still being elaborated.
Asked about Israels contention that it will continue to fly over Lebanon as a way of implementing
resolution 1701 as long as the weapons embargo on Lebanon is not enforced, the Spokesman said that resolution 1701 calls for Lebanon to do its utmost to secure its borders and for its neighbours to do all they can to stop arms smuggling.
However, he added, Israeli overflights and any violation of the Blue Line are also violations of the resolution. The Secretary-General, he said, would never approve of any violation of 1701 and has consistently called for Lebanon to assert its authority over all its territory and for Israeli overflights of Lebanon to stop.
Asked about UNIFIL Force Commander Maj. Gen. Alain Pellegrinis recent comments that there was no weapons smuggling observed by UNIFIL, Dujarric said that Pellegrini was talking about activity within UNIFILs area of operations. The primary responsibility to deal with weapons smuggling outside that area lay with the Lebanese authorities, he added.
Asked whether UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen based his recent comments about weapons smuggling in Lebanon on rumours, the Spokesman said that Roed-Larsen did thorough work. His recent report, Dujarric said, speaks for itself, and Roed-Larsen has the Secretary-Generals full confidence.
Asked about a recent incident between Israeli planes and a German ship, the Spokesman said that the incident happened outside of UNIFILs area of operations, but UNIFIL understands that the Israelis and Germans have tightened their communications since then.
Asked whether another Israeli-Lebanon war is possible, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General is doing all that he can to make sure that the cessation of hostilities holds and can be built into a lasting peace.
PERU ASSUMES SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY
The Security Council will begin its work in November, under the Security Council Presidency of Peru, with consultations on Cote dIvoire today at 4:00, with a view to a formal meeting after that.
That is a continuation of the consultations that took place yesterday afternoon, when Council members discussed a draft resolution sponsored by France on Cote dIvoire.
Todays meeting will be the first under the Council Presidency of Ambassador Jorge Voto-Bernales of Peru. The Council is then scheduled to hold consultations tomorrow morning on its programme of work for November, and Ambassador Voto-Bernales is scheduled to talk to the press about its work for the month at 1:00 on Thursday.
ANNAN CALLS FOR PROSECUTION OF CHILD ABUSERS IN COTE DIVOIRE
Secretary-General Kofi Annans latest report on children and armed conflict in Cote dIvoire, covering the period from January 2005 to September 2006, is out on the racks today.
In it, the Secretary-General specifies grave violations perpetrated against children in Côte dIvoire particularly the killing and maiming of children, rape or other instances of grave sexual violence, and the abduction of and trafficking in children.
The report recommends targeted action and measures against parties and individuals that systematically commit these violations as well as rigorous and timely investigation and prosecution by relevant authorities of such incidents in order to address the prevailing culture of impunity.
U.N. ENDS PROBE OF ROCKET ATTACK IN GEORGIAS KODORI VALLEY
The UN Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) has wrapped up its investigation into reports of a rocket attack in the northwestern Upper Kodori Valley, where fighting between the Georgian Government and Abkhaz separatists 14 years ago forced nearly 300,000 refugees to flee their homes.
The UN Mission found that, while the rockets country of origin could not be determined, they could not have been launched from the Restricted Weapons Zone in Abkhazia, as had been previously reported.
U.N. BEGINS HUMANITARIAN AIR SERVICE IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
The UN today launched a new humanitarian air service in the Central African Republic to help agencies reach up to one million people affected by violence in the countrys north.
The inaugural flight left the capital city of Bangui for one of the worst-hit areas of the country, Kaga Bandoro, where fighting has displaced thousands of people in the past three weeks.
The air service, managed by the World Food Programme, consists of a ten-seater Caravan propeller aircraft and offers daily flights to destinations across the country, depending on needs.
It has been made possible thanks to a grant of $150,000 from the Central Emergency Response Fund.
SELECTION PROCESS FOR FOOD AGENCY CHIEF STILL ONGOING
Asked whether staff rules apply to the selection of the next head of the World Food Programme (WFP), the Spokesman said that the process is ongoing, and that the United Nations is looking for the best qualified candidate and will follow all applicable rules. He expects an announcement in the next few weeks.
Asked why Secretary-General Kofi Annan was making such an appointment so late in his term, the Spokesman noted that the process to fill the post, with current WFP Executive Director James Morris leaving at the end of this year, had begun before the Secretary-Generals successor had been designated. Secretary-General-designate Ban Ki-moon is being consulted, he said.
Asked why there was no public shortlist of candidates for the position, the Spokesman reiterated that shortlists are made public for senior-level appointments that are to be approved by the General Assembly. This, he said, is an exceptional case, in which the Secretary-General makes an appointment jointly with the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), who then submits it to the FAOs board for approval. The Spokesman emphasized that the selection process for WFP is a competitive one.
U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF TO HEAD TO MYANMAR LATER THIS MONTH
Asked about Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambaris recent trip to Asia, the Spokesman said that he traveled to the Republic of Korea, Japan and China on official business, as part of the regular work that he does as the head of the Department for Political Affairs.
The Spokesman denied a journalists claim that information about Gambaris trip had not been made public. Regular updates had been given to the press, the Spokesman said.
The Spokesman later added that Gambari did not see Ban Ki-moon in Korea. Moreover, he knew before traveling to the region that he would not be seeing him, as Ban would not be in the country at the same time. He requested meetings with the foreign ministers of all three countries, as is entirely a matter of course for the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs.
He did nothing but official business, including discussions on the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Myanmar and African issues ahead of the major China-Africa summit.
Asked whether Gambari would also travel to Myanmar, the Spokesman said he is to go to Myanmar later this month but is currently in New York.
ISRAEL MUST DO WHAT IT CAN TO AVOID CIVILIAN CASUALTIES: Asked about the violence in Gaza, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General reiterates his calls for Israel to halt its military operations and for the Palestinians to stop rocket attacks against Israel. He recognizes Israels right to security but has urged Israel to do what it can to avoid civilian casualties.
KOFI ANNAN FOUNDATION NOT SET UP YET: Asked whether a Kofi Annan Foundation has been set up, the Spokesman said that has not happened so far, and discussions are still under way. He said it is possible that such a foundation will not be announced until after the end of Secretary-General Annans term.
CONGOLESE AUTHORITIES RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ARMY: Asked about US sanctions placed against seven people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), including Congolese Army officers, the Spokesman said that it is up to the DRC authorities to make sure that Congolese Army members abide by international standards for their conduct.
GREAT MAJORITY OF WORLD LANGUAGES NOT AVAILABLE ONLINE: Today in Athens, Greece, the Internet Governance Forum held an interactive discussion on the theme of diversity, addressing the issues of multilingualism and promoting and developing local content on the Internet. It was noted that some 90 per cent of the 6,000 languages in use worldwide are not used on the Internet, and that many people were cut off from the Net simply because content was not available in their mother tongues.
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