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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-07-11

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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N.

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

BAN KI-MOON SAYS UNITED NATIONS MUST TAKE ON NEW ROLES

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is in London today, where he met with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Earlier, the Secretary-General spoke to the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, telling them that, as he grew up in a war-torn and destitute Korea, the United Nations had stood by his people in their darkest hour.

Now, he said, we are faced with a world that poses challenges that no country can resolve on its own, where the United Nations can and must grow and take on new roles. He pointed to the work that the UN system does from Darfur to the Middle East, from the defining challenge of climate change to the need to deal with the global scourge of terrorism.

To deal with all those challenges, the Secretary-General said, we need dialogue and patience, resources and reform.

In response to a question, the Spokeswoman confirmed that the Secretary-General had met in London today with the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization, Efthimios Mitropoulos, and they had discussed piracy off the coast of Somalia and what the international community can do to protect shipping.

Asked whether the Secretary-General had met with Mark Malloch Brown, UK Minister of State, Okabe said that they had an amicable meeting today, in which they discussed UN reform, the Middle East Quartet, Darfur and Afghanistan.

ATTACKS ON AID WORKERS THREATEN RELIEF OPERATIONS IN DARFUR

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is

warning that an increase in violent attacks against aid workers in

Darfur is putting relief operations there in jeopardy.

OCHA says attacks against relief workers have soared by 150 percent in the past year. In June, one out of every six convoys that left provincial capitals was hijacked or ambushed. More than 100 staff have been temporarily detained, often at gunpoint.

Such lawlessness has forced the temporary suspension of numerous relief activities, affecting more than one million people in need. Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes says operations will continue to be adapted so that the most vulnerable receive at least some relief, but he called on all parties to stop the attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Asked about the status of the AU-UN hybrid force for Darfur, the Spokeswoman recalled that the Secretary-General and the African Union had agreed on a concept of operations for the force, and the Secretary-General had put his energy into getting a force on the ground.

Now, she said, the Security Council was about to consider a draft resolution authorizing the hybrid force. Meanwhile, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) had already held one preliminary meeting with potential troop contributors, and would hold another one once the Council adopts a resolution on authorizing the force.

SECURITY COUNCIL TAKES UP WESTERN SAHARA AND CÔTE DIVOIRE

The Security Council this morning heard a briefing from Peter van Walsum, the Secretary-Generals Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, about the Secretary-Generals latest report on that topic.

Also, the Security Council discussed a draft resolution concerning the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in Côte dIvoire (ONUCI).

UNITED NATIONS HAS NOT REQUESTED HANDOVER OF SHABA FARMS

The Spokeswoman responded to a question and clarified press reports concerning the Shaba Farms, saying that the United Nations has not asked the government of Israel to hand over the Shaba Farms to the United Nations.

The UN cartographer continues his work to determine the geographical scope of the Farms. His mandate is not to determine the sovereignty over the Shaba Farms. That issue will be decided through discussions with the parties: Lebanon, Syria and Israel.

The Secretary-General remains engaged on the issue, Okabe added.

U.N. INSPECTORS TO TRAVEL TO DPRK WITHIN COMING DAYS

Following receipt of an invitation yesterday from the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will travel to the DPRK within the next few days.

The team will implement arrangements agreed between the IAEA and the DPRK and approved by the Agencys Board of Governors to undertake verification and monitoring of the shutdown and sealing of DPRK´s Yongbyon nuclear facilities.

FOOD SECURITY EMERGENCY DECLARED IN LESOTHO

Lesotho has declared a food security emergency, a crisis which was precipitated by the countrys most severe drought in 30 years. According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, a fifth of the population is in need of emergency food aid.

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes says the situation is critical for those already living on the edge and coping with the combined impact of successive crop failures, poverty and HIV/AIDS. He urged the international community to respond rapidly to assist the Government of Lesotho.

SEABED AUTHORITY SESSION OPENS IN JAMAICA

The Council of the International Seabed Authority began its 13th session on Monday at the agencys headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica, for key discussions expected to last until the 20th.

Yesterday afternoon, the Council heard a presentation by Canadian geological expert Mark Hamilton on global exploration models in the context of its debate on draft regulations for mining activities in international seabed areas.

Earlier in the day, the 36-member Council elected India and Poland to serve as vice-presidents representing the Asian and Eastern European groups, respectively. Members also heard briefings on preservation of the resources of the deep seabed as common human heritage and on the configuration of areas of exploitation, among other subjects.

The debates continue through July 20th.

ROLE OF MEN IN MATERNAL HEALTH IS STRESSED

ON WORLD POPULATION DAY

Today is World Population Day. The theme this year is Men as partners for maternal health.

In a message marking the day, the Secretary-General encouraged men to become agents for change and to support human rights and safe motherhood in every way possible. He noted that more than half a million women die each year during pregnancy and childbirth and stressed the decisive role men play in decisions about family planning, among others.

Echoing this message, the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, said that mens involvement and participation could make all the difference by discouraging early marriage, promoting girls education, fostering equitable relationships and supporting womens reproductive health and rights.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS STRESSED IMPORTANCE OF REOPENING CROSSINGS INTO GAZA: Asked about the closure of the crossing points into Gaza, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General has on a number of occasions raised the importance of having those crossings opened. UN agencies, she added, are working with the parties to transport aid into Gaza through the crossings.

PROSECUTOR ATTENDS SREBRENICA COMMEMORATION: Asked about the anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, the Spokeswoman recalled the past statements made by the United Nations concerning Srebrenica. She noted that the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Carla Del Ponte, represented the United Nations at the Srebrenica commemoration and spoke to reporters afterwards, although she made no official statement there.

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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