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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-11-15
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
ANNAN: THOSE WHO DENY EXISTENCE OF CLIMATE CHANGE ARE OUT OF STEP, OUT OF ARGUMENTS AND OUT OF TIME
Secretary-General Kofi Annan today addressed the Climate Change Conference in Nairobi and spoke about the need for leadership and urgent action to deal with the problems posed by climate change, which he called an all-encompassing threat. He said that, although some skeptics continue to deny that global warming is taking place, they should be seen as out of step, out of arguments and out of time.
In his speech, the Secretary-General announced the Nairobi Framework to help developing countries, especially in Africa, participate in the Kyoto Protocols Clean Development Mechanism. That mechanism permits industrialized countries that have emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol to invest in sustainable development projects in developing countries that reduce greenhouse gas emission.
The Secretary-General warned, The question is not whether climate change is happening or not, but whether, in the face of this emergency, we ourselves can change fast enough.
He then held a press conference, in which he was asked about UN assistance for Darfur. He said that the United Nations is looking at the possibility of putting UN observers or some sort of international presence on the border, but added that it has not given up the idea of strengthening the force in Darfur.
Asked about Somalia, the Secretary-General appealed to the Somalis to set aside their differences and continue the peace talks that had begun in Khartoum. He also urged the Transitional National Government and the Union of Islamic Courts to avoid further confrontation and military action. And he added that neighbouring countries should not complicate the situation further by sending in troops or guns.
The Secretary-General is now in Addis Ababa, where he is scheduled Thursday to deliver a speech on development and to co-host, with the African Union, a high-level meeting on Darfur.
SECURITY COUNCIL RECEIVES SOMALIA MONITORING REPORT
Asked about a recent report on violations of the arms embargo in Somalia, the Spokesman said that the report was drafted by the Monitoring Group that deals with sanctions on Somalia, which reports to the Security Councils Sanctions Committee.
That report, he said, was given to all the Committees 15 members and is scheduled to be discussed by the Committee on Friday. It is not out as a document yet, and it would be up to the Sanctions Committees members to comment on its contents.
Asked about the reliability of the Monitoring Group, he said that it was comprised of experts chosen by the Secretary-General to report to the Sanctions Committee, and it was fully impartial.
Asked about the dramatic reports of foreign interference in Somalia, the Spokesman noted that the Secretary-General, speaking to reporters in Nairobi, had urged countries not to provide guns or troops to support one side or another inside Somalia.
Asked about the reports allegations of involvement by some Somalis in the summer fighting in Lebanon, the Spokesman said that he was not aware of any such presence. He noted that the UN Interim Force in Lebanon has continued its work on the ground on its mandate, including by helping the Lebanese Army in recent weeks to seize unauthorised weapons.
SECRETARY-GENERAL RECEIVES NOTE VERBALE ON LEBANON
Asked about a letter sent by Lebanese President Emile Lahoud to the Secretary-General, the Spokesman said that it was not a letter, but a note verbale, which the United Nations received today. He said that the note transmitted a 29-page document, which is in Arabic and is currently being translated.
Dujarric said that the document, rather than being a letter, was regarded as the observations by President Lahoud on a tribunal of an international character for Lebanon.
Asked about the status of talks on that tribunal, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General expects to send a report to the Security Council on that subject within the next 24 hours, and after that it would be up to the Council to discuss it.
Asked about a letter by Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, the Spokesman said that the letter was not yet out as a document, but may be included in the Secretary-Generals report to the Security Council.
Asked about Syrian criticism of the Secretary-Generals Personal Envoy for the Implementation of
Resolution 1559, Terje Roed-Larsen, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General absolutely stands by his Special Envoy and by the recent report on that resolution, which was the Secretary-Generals report.
VILLAGERS STILL SUFFERING FROM ATTACKS IN DARFUR
The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) reports that militia activities continue to be reported in South Darfur, with villages being burnt and their inhabitants being attacked by Arab nomads.
In West Darfur, the Mission notes that international NGO staffers had to be evacuated from two camps for internally displaced persons, due to insecurity there.
Meanwhile, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland is in Sudan, where he met today with senior Government representatives in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. Tomorrow, he is scheduled to travel to El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, to meet with local leaders and representatives of NGOs. On Friday, he is scheduled to head to El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, before returning to Khartoum on Saturday.
Upon his return to New York, Egeland intends to brief the Security Council on his mission to Uganda and Sudan, his final as Emergency Relief Coordinator.
MIDDLE EAST QUARTET MEETS IN CAIRO
Alvaro de Soto, the UN Special Coordinator for the
Middle East Peace Process, today attended a working-level meeting of the Middle East Quartet in Cairo.
The Quartet envoys discussed the talks that are underway on the formation of a unity government among the Palestinians and the recent security situation.
Afterwards, de Soto said it had been a good meeting, and reiterated the stance expressed in the Quartet statement of 20 September, welcoming the efforts by the Palestinians to form a Government of National Unity, in the hope that the platform of such a Government would reflect Quartet principles and allow for early engagement. He also hoped that such a government could make a contribution to reducing the sort of Palestinian rocket attacks which today tragically claimed one Israeli life in the town of Sderot.
While in Cairo, de Soto also intends to meet with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and with Amre Moussa, the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States.
D.R. CONGO: CANDIDATES, SUPPORTERS MUST AVOID PROVOCATION OVER ELECTION RESULTS
Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno today attended a working lunch in Brussels to discuss future engagement in supporting the newly-elected democratic institutions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The other participants at the meeting were Javier Solana, the European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy; Louis Michel, the European Union Development Commissioner; and Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank.
The discussions focused on ways in which the international community can best support the Government in meeting key challenges such as ensuring good governance and implementing an effective Security Sector Reform programme.
In a statement issued afterwards, the participants reiterated that the IEC is the only body authorized to release election results. They also called on both candidates and their supporters to avoid provocation which might cast doubt on the election results.
SEVERE FLOODS COULD AFFECT UP TO A MILLION SOMALIS
Regarding Somalia, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that unusually severe floods have hit the southern part of the country, creating a humanitarian crisis that could affect up to one million people.
With main roads rendered impassable, flights from Kenya have become, in many cases, the only means of transporting relief supplies.
Noting that the Kenyan Government recently decided to suspend all flights into Somalia, Eric Laroche, the Humanitarian Coordinator in Somalia, says he is optimistic that Kenya will lift the ban for humanitarian flights.
For its part, UNICEF is trying to move basic supplies from Mogadishu to hard-hit areas by road, and has readied stocks in Nairobi for delivery to Somalia once flights resume.
BILL CLINTON CHAIRS FINAL TSUNAMI CONSORTIUM MEETING
The UN Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, will chair his final Global Consortium for Tsunami Recovery meeting, this afternoon at 3:30 in the UNICEF House.
The meeting will review progress to date, identify key development objectives for the coming months and years, and garner renewed commitments to longer-term recovery and reconstruction priorities, including those relating to disaster risk reduction. President Clinton will also identify key lessons from the tsunami recovery experience.
Also at the meeting, UNICEF head Ann Veneman will deliver a message on behalf of the Secretary-General, recognizing the approaching end of Presidents Clinton tenure as Special Envoy and thanking him for his hard work.
Asked whether Clinton would be replaced, the Spokesman said that the office would cease to exist and its functions would be distributed to UN development agencies.
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL DECIDES TO SEND MISSION TO GAZA TOWN
The Human Rights Council today held a special session in Geneva to consider action on human rights violations emanating from Israeli military incursions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Beit Hanoun.
The Council adopted a resolution, condemning Israel for killing Palestinian civilians in Beit Hanoun. It also decided to send a high-level fact-finding mission to that town.
The resolution was adopted by 32 votes in favour to 8 against, with 6 abstentions and one absence.
U.N. WILL COOPERATE WITH ANY PROCUREMENT INVESTIGATIONS: Asked whether an investigation into the company EJ Electric had led to the questioning of a UN staff member, the Spokesman said he could not provide details of any investigation. He noted that there are a number of investigations underway by the UNs Procurement Task Force, adding that the United Nations would cooperate with national authorities on any investigations, as it has always done.
U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF TO BRIEF PRESS ON MYANMAR: Asked about a letter by political prisoners on Myanmar, the Spokesman noted that Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari intended to brief the press next week on his recently-concluded trip to Myanmar.
CONSULTATIONS ON POST-U.N. EMPLOYMENT STILL ONGOING: Asked about a policy being developed regarding the post-UN employment of senior UN officials, the Spokesman said that the consultation process on those rules was still going on, and the rules were in the process of being finalised. They will apply to staff once they are in force.
U.N. AGENCY FIGHTS AGAINST COUNTERFEIT MEDICINES: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), up to 50% of medicines sold through rogue websites are fake. Today, WHO is
launching a comprehensive package of measures to help national authorities safeguard their populations from the dangers of counterfeit medicines. This program will issue a warning against buying medicines from websites as well as cautioning governments that existing laws against medical counterfeiters are inadequate.
NEW INITATIVE TO HELP DEVELOPING COUNTRIES COPE WITH CLIMATE CHANGE: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) today
announced in Nairobi a new global initiative to help developing countries cope with that phenomenon. The aim is to provide assistance to reduce the vulnerability of poor countries and communities to climate change, and to respond rapidly to requests by Governments trying to factor climate change impacts into infrastructure projects.
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
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