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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-11-17
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Friday, November 17, 2006
SUDAN AGREES TO HYBRID UNITED NATIONS-AFRICAN UNION FORCE IN DARFUR
The Secretary-General has arrived in Geneva from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where around midnight yesterday he announced the conclusions of a meeting on Darfur, which had brought together the five permanent members of the Security Council and a number of African countries, including Sudan.
The group considered three areas: the requirement to re-energize the peace process, the establishment of a strengthened ceasefire and the way forward for peacekeeping in Darfur. On peacekeeping, the final communiqué states that a UN-AU hybrid operation is also agreed in principle, pending clarification of the size of the force.
The Sudanese delegation requested that they be given time to consult on the appointment of the Secretary-Generals Special Representative and Force Commander. The AU Peace and Security Council will meet on 24 November for further consultations.
At a press conference, the Secretary-General described the meeting as very constructive and that he thought we had come a long way. All the participants came with the right spirit, the right mood and a determination to find a solution, he said.
Tomorrow, the Secretary-General travels to St. Gallen, Switzerland where he will deliver a speech on biotechnology and human security and will accept the Max Schmidheiny Foundation Freedom Prize.
Asked how serious a step forward was reached by the agreement reached in Addis Ababa, the Spokesman called it a constructive step forward while noting that more diplomacy needs to be done. He pointed out the importance of the agreement in principle on a hybrid UN-AU force.
Asked whether the Sudanese Foreign Minister had agreed on the key points reached in Addis, the Spokesman said that the final communique was agreed to with all parties present, including Sudan.
Asked whether Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was trying to delay international action on Darfur, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General has been in touch with President Bashir. As for whether the agreement was reliable, the Spokesman noted that the five permanent members of the Security Council were present, and all parties grasped the need to move forward decisively. The Spokesman added that China had been represented by its Permanent Representative at the United Nations, Ambassador Wang Guangya.
When a journalist speculated that the Government of Sudan had agreed to this only because the Secretary-General was leaving office, the Spokesman said he could not speak to the motives of that government but he stressed that Kofi Annan is committed to seeing progress on Darfur and that he intends to work intensely until his mandate ends.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF FORCED TO CUT SHORT DARFUR TRIP
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland returned to Khartoum today, two days earlier than scheduled, after he was denied permission to travel beyond Darfurs state capitals by the Government of Sudan, for unspecified security reasons.
Egeland had originally planned to visit six locations in Darfur to meet with actors on the ground and review the humanitarian situation in those critical areas. But when the Sudanese Government said no to four of those locations, Egeland cut short his trip with regret, saying that he refused to go and just sit in the offices.
He noted that his humanitarian colleagues in the field, who do lifesaving work, face such types of restrictions on their movement and operations every day.
Asked when Egelands access restrictions came up, the Spokesman later clarified that Egeland had been told in Khartoum on Wednesday by high-level Sudanese officials that his itinerary might have to be changed. Egeland proceeded on to Darfur, hoping he would be able to gain access to his desired destinations. This clearly did not happen, however.
Dujarric did not speculate on why Egeland was denied access as it was a decision taken by the Sudanese authorities, but he noted that the incident underscored the issue of inadequate humanitarian access.
U.N. TEAM TO LOOK INTO SETTING UP MULTIDIMENSIONAL U.N. PRESENCE HEAD IN CHAD & CENTRAL AFRICAN REP.
A team of UN experts will be traveling to Chad and the Central African Republic over the weekend as part of a technical assessment mission to both countries. Its goal is to gather information and explore options for the possible establishment of a multidimensional UN presence in those two countries, as directed by the Security Council resolution 1706.
The team will be made up of political, military, police, humanitarian and other civilian experts. They will meet with key actors in several locations in Chad and the Central African Republic over a two-week period before reporting back to the Secretary-General. The Secretary-General will then present the teams findings to the Security Council.
REFUGEE AGENCY MOVES DARFUR REFUGEES DEEPER INTO CHAD
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports continuing displacement along the volatile Chad-Sudan border, with recent refugee arrivals from Darfur as well as thousands of Chadians being forced to flee ongoing violence. This morning, UNHCR staff in eastern Chad began moving the first of some 1,500 newly-arrived Darfur refugees away from the Sudanese border to a UNHCR camp near the Chadian town of Guereda.
Meanwhile, in Kenya, UNHCR will begin airlifting emergency supplies this Sunday for thousands of refugees made homeless by massive flooding in Kenyas Dadaab region.
LEBANON: U.N. MISSION REPORTS ISRAELI AIR VIOLATIONS
The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) observed and reported 14 Israeli air violations this morning. Eleven of these occurred in the area of operations of the French battalion with UNIFIL in the central sector. In one instance, two Israeli F-15 jets flew over the area at low altitude and high speed.
The anti-aircraft unit of the French battalion took initial preparatory steps to respond to these actions, in accordance with UNIFIL rules of engagement and UN Security Council
Maj. Gen. Alain Pellegrini, the UNIFIL Force Commander, strongly protested to the Israeli authorities and asked them to cease these actions, which are unacceptable and in violation of resolution 1701. He also informed the UN Headquarters about these incidents.
Asked about Frances response to the overflights, the Spokesman said that thankfully, nothing happened and no one was hurt.
However, he underscored, the incident served as a reminder, at a tense moment in Lebanon, of why such overflights must cease. The overflights are dangerous because of the chance that events could spin out of control. In this case, the action taken on the ground was simply a precaution.
Asked whether the UN bases are marked with UN flags, the Spokesman said that all UN outposts fly the UN flag and are clearly marked. He added that all the relevant parties are also informed about the location of UN installations.
Asked whether the overflights have continued because Israel seeks UN action on other issues, the Spokesman declined to speculate as to the motives, but noted that UNIFIL has worked diligently with the Israeli and Lebanese forces to secure the implementation of resolution 1701 and the withdrawal of Israel from Lebanon. Dujarric said that the Israeli withdrawal was complete, except for the northern part of the village of Ghajar.
Asked about the use of cluster bombs in Lebanon, the Spokesman noted that the United Nations has made its concerns known about that matter.
Asked about the next report to the Security Council on resolution 1701, the Spokesman said it was due by the end of the month.
Asked about the Israeli prisoners in Lebanon, the Spokesman said that the UN facilitator remains at work.
Asked about the tribunal for Lebanon, the Spokesman said that the matter is in the hands of the Security Council. Once they have given the green light for a tribunal, he added, the matter would go back to the Lebanese authorities for them to reach an agreement, in accordance with their constitutional procedures.
Asked whether the Secretary-General is informed about events in Lebanon, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-Generals Special Representative, Geir Pedersen, is doing an excellent job and reports regularly.
SECURITY COUNCIL WELCOMES PROVISIONAL CONGOLESE ELECTION RESULTS
The Security Council this morning held closed consultations on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Dimitry Titov, Director of the Africa Division of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, briefed the Council on the situation in that country following the runoff round of presidential elections. Preliminary results were announced earlier this week, with final results set to be announced on 26 November.
The Council President, Ambassador Jorge Voto-Bernales of Peru, read out a statement to the press on the DRC following the end of consultations. According to that statement, the Security Council welcomed the announcement by the Independent Electoral Commissionof the official provisional results of the second round of the presidential election in the DRC.
U.N. ENVOY TO DISCUSS PEACE EFFORTS WITH SOMALI PRESIDENT
A mission led by the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Somalia, François Lonseny Fall, will travel to Baidoa on Monday to discuss the situation in the country and the way to preserve peace, security and unity with President Abdullahi Yusuf.
Ambassador Fall will be accompanied by representatives of the Somalia Advisory Contact Group that was established earlier this year to support the peace process.
Asked about comments by Israels Ambassador to the United Nations about whether 700 Somalis had fought recently in Lebanon, the Spokesman said that information was based on a report by three independent experts who form the Monitoring Group on Somalia, which reports to the Security Council Sanctions Committee for Somalia. That Sanctions Committee will discuss the report this afternoon.
The Spokesman said that only the Monitoring Group members could speak about the methodology of the report, which is theirs, and is not prepared by or for the UN Secretariat or Secretary-General. He noted that the Security Council has a number of sanctions committees, and the Somalia report was prepared at the request of the committee dealing with that country.
HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF STARTS FIRST TRIP TO ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES THIS WEEKEND
Louise Arbour will pay her first visit as High Commissioner for Human Rights to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory from this Sunday, the 19th of November, to next Friday, the 24th.
The mission will give Arbour an opportunity to examine developments on the ground first-hand and discuss the situation with people affected by the violence, as well as authorities, UN partners, and representatives of civil society and non-governmental organizations.
NEW INVESTMENT FUND LAUNCHED FOR U.N. GLOBAL COMPACT
Today, the Guilé European Engagement Fund for signatories of the UN Global Compact was launched in Zurich, Switzerland.
It is the first investment fund dedicated to the Global Compact and its mission of advancing ten universal principles for responsible business in the areas of human rights, labour standards, environment and anti-corruption.
The Fund is based on the notion of helping companies within its portfolio all of which are Global Compact participants to achieve real impact on their corporate responsibility strategies, while at the same time adding shareholder value.
Operational support for the Fund will be provided by the Guilé Foundation, a non-profit organization addressing globalization challenges, and its team of corporate responsibility experts.
INTERNAL WATCHDOG FINALIZING AUDIT ON DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC & SOCIAL AFFAIRS
Asked about an audit of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the Spokesman said that the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) is performing an audit which is in the process of being finalized.
In accordance with standard procedure, he said, that report would then be made available to Member States on their request.
Asked about follow-up, Dujarric said that, as a lesson following the Volcker committee reports, there is now a committee in place to ensure that audits are followed up. He said that was part of a new culture of following up on audits at the United Nations.
Asked about Greeces funding for a DESA office there, the Spokesman noted that the Centre in question was to be used for countries in the Balkans. The United Nations, he added, relies on funding from states to implement its programmes.
The Spokesman declined to comment on any internal justice procedures in this matter, but noted the Secretary-Generals view that the internal justice system at the United Nations needs to be overhauled so that both managers and staff had full confidence in the system.
ELECTORAL SUPPORT VOLUNTEERS ARRIVE IN TIMOR-LESTE: Forty-five UN Volunteers have arrived in Timor-Leste to begin electoral support work, as the country rapidly moves towards its first post-independence national elections in 2007. Next year, more than 200 UN Volunteers will join this original group, to further bolster the electoral sector of the UN Mission in Timor-Leste.
COUNTER-TERRORISM COMMITTEE BEGINS PAKISTAN VISIT: The United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) began a week-long visit to Pakistan today with a team lead by the head of the Committees Executive Directorate, Assistant Secretary-General Javier Rupérez. The delegation also includes representatives from the World Bank, Interpol, the World Customs Organization and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
U.N. HONORS NOBEL LAUREATES: This afternoon Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown and other senior officials are paying tribute to this years winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. Yunus will deliver the keynote address, and the ceremony will be presided over by Sheikha Haya Rashed al-Khalifa, the President of the General Assembly.
UP TO SECURITY COUNCIL TO CONSIDER IRAQ FORCE: Asked about the extension of the multinational force for Iraq, the Spokesman said that Iraq has sent a letter on the matter and it is up to the Security Council to consider it.
U.N. CONTINUING WORK IN IRAQ: Asked about UN efforts in Iraq, the Spokesman said that the United Nations continues its work on the political level, on human rights, and, through the International Compact for Iraq, in bringing Iraqs neighbours to support its stabilization and to bolster its economic development. He added later that more than 300 UN staff are in Iraq.
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL SHOULD LOOK AT ITS OWN MEMBERS RECORDS: The Spokesman declined to comment on a General Assembly resolution on human rights as the third committee of the Assembly continues its work, but added that the Secretary-General has made clear that he expects that the Human Rights Council should focus on looking at the records of its own members as well.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
18-24 November 2006
Saturday, November 18
The Secretary-General will be in St. Gallen, Switzerland, to deliver a statement on biotechnology and human security and to accept the Max Schmidheiny Freedom Prize.
A team of UN experts will be traveling to Chad and the Central African Republic as part of a technical assessment mission to both countries. The goal is to get information and explore options for the possible establishment of a multidimensional UN presence in Chad and the Central African Republic, as directed by Security Council resolution 1706.
Sunday, November 19
High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour will visit Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory from 19 to 24 November.
Monday, November 20
Today is Africa Industrialization Day. It is also Universal Childrens Day.
The Secretary-General will be in Geneva to for the inauguration of the UNAIDS/World Health Organization building and the opening of the Sixth Review Conference of the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention.
The Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations this afternoon on the Secretary-Generals report on an international tribunal for Lebanon.
The guest at the noon briefing will be Ibrahima Fall, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region, who will brief on his recent mission to the Central African Republic.
The General Assembly is expected to adopt a resolution on strengthening the Economic and Social Council, after a year of negotiations.
The World Health Organization will hold a seminar entitled "Enhancing capacity-building in global public health" from 1:15-2:45 p.m. in Conference Room 8.
Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs José Antonio Ocampo will speak at the Annual Conference on Development and Change in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
The Department of Economic and Social Affairs will hold the Fifth Coordination Meeting on International Migration today and tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Conference Room 2.
Tuesday, November 21
Today is World Television Day.
The Secretary-General will give a press conference in Geneva to say goodbye to the Geneva press at 10 a.m., Geneva time.
The Deputy Secretary-General, Mark Malloch Brown, will be in Barbados for an African-Caribbean-Pacific-European Union Joint Parliamentary Assembly meeting.
The Security Council is scheduled to hold its periodic debate this morning on the Middle East. It is also scheduled to hold a formal meeting to adopt a resolution on Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Office of the General Assembly President and the UN Foundation are co-hosting a first-of-its-kind forum on NGO participation within the UN.
UNAIDS will launch the 2006 AIDS Epidemic Update in Geneva. The Director of UNAIDS New York office, Bunmi Makinwa, will be at the noon briefing to answer questions about the report.
Wednesday, November 22
The Security Council is scheduled to hold a briefing this morning on the recent Security Council mission to Afghanistan. It will also hold consultations this morning on the humanitarian situation in Africa, with Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland briefing.
The guest at the noon briefing will be Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director of the UN Development Fund for Women, who will announce this years grantees of the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women in advance of the International Day to End Violence Against Women (25 November).
Thursday, November 23
The UN will be closed for Thanksgiving.
Friday, November 24
The UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee today wraps up its week-long visit to Pakistan.
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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