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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-07-12

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 MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N.

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, July 12, 2007

BAN KI-MOON WILL MEET WITH PRESIDENT BUSH NEXT WEEK

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to travel to Washington, D.C. next week for a meeting with President George W. Bush at the White House on July 17.

He looks forward to discussing a wide range of issues with the President, including ending the tragedy in Darfur, pressing geopolitical issues, UN-US relations, UN reform, and climate change.

The Secretary-General will also meet with members of the Senate Foreign Relations committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

He will also attend a private dinner the previous night with political leaders and experts on climate change.

Asked whether the Secretary-General was working on anything new to improve the situation in Darfur and what support he was seeking, the Spokeswoman said he was working on four fronts: assembling a UN-African Union hybrid force for Darfur; tying to achieve a political solution, including through the work of Special

Envoy Jan Eliasson; providing humanitarian assistance; and trying to start reconstruction work on the ground.

On the hybrid force, which is to be authorized by the Security Council, she said that funding and support from troop contributors was needed. Meanwhile, she flagged the importance of continued international support for the African Union mission in Darfur (AMIS). At the same time, Okabe stressed that a peacekeeping process alone is not the answer, and Eliasson and his African Union counterpart Salim Ahmed Salim are working energetically working to bring the parties in Darfur together for peace negotiations as outlined in the political road map. Donor support would also be needed for the Darfur humanitarian aid effort, the largest current relief operation on the planet.

BAN KI-MOON CONCLUDES HIS TWO-WEEK TRIP TO EUROPE

The Secretary-General this morning left London, ending his two-week trip to Europe, which also included his surprise visit to Afghanistan.

He met yesterday with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown, saying afterwards that he and the Prime Minister had held very good discussions on the entire spectrum of the UNs work, from Darfur to climate change, and from the Middle East to the Millennium Development Goals.

He told reporters, I am delighted that we have now taken our partnership to a whole new level, and he added that he feels reassured that he is able to depend on a partner as profoundly committed and knowledgeable as Prime Minister Brown.

BRAMMERTZ REPORT IS TRANSMITTED TO SECURITY COUNCIL

The Secretary-General this morning transmitted to the Security Council the latest report by Serge Brammertz concerning the work of the International Independent Investigation Commission that is looking into attacks that have taken place in Lebanon.

In his letter to the President of the Security Council, the Secretary-General notes that the present report provides information on the Commissions priority work in the investigation of the 2005 assassination of Rafik Hariri and into 17 other cases, including the killing this June of former Member of Parliament Walid Eido.

The Security Council expects to discuss the report with Mr. Brammertz next Thursday.

There are no Security Council meetings or consultations scheduled for today.

U.N. MISSION IN TIMOR-LESTE IS COMMITTED

TO WORKING WITH NEW GOVERNMENT

The Court of Appeals of Timor-Leste has now formally proclaimed the results of the June 30 elections for the National Parliament.

As anticipated from the preliminary returns, five parties and two coalitions have won parliamentary seats in proportion to their share of the vote, but no single party will hold an absolute majority of the 65 seats.

The date for the commencement of the new parliament is yet to be fixed. Discussions related to the formation of a government are also being undertaken by political parties.

UNMIT is committed to working with the new government and the Parliament, particularly in the areas of democratic governance, the rule of law, security sector reform and social and economic development programmes.

WESTERN SAHARA: NEW ROUND OF NEGOTIATIONS WILL BE HELD IN AUGUST

On Western Sahara, the Security Council issued a press statement yesterday afternoon, following a briefing by the Secretary-Generals Personal Envoy, Peter Van Walsum.

In the statement, read out by Council President, Ambassador Wang Guangya of China, Members expressed the hope that the parties will use the next round of negotiations scheduled for August 10th and 11th in Manhasset to engage in good faith in substantial negotiations on the way forward, in accordance with Resolution 1754.

Asked whether the Secretary-General is hopeful that the partners to the Western Sahara talks would reach agreement, the Spokeswoman noted that van Walsum had made remarks to the press on Western Sahara following the Security Council consultations.

Asked about a media report that had attributed comments to the Secretary-General concerning Morocco, the Spokeswoman said that the report had been erroneous and had been retracted.

SOMALIA: UNITED NATIONS HOPES FOR SUCCESS

OF NATIONAL RECONCILIATION CONGRESS

Asked about the scheduled convening of a National Reconciliation Congress in Somalia, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations is supporting the holding of that Congress and hoping it succeeds.

She said that the United Nations would watch it very closely, because whats critical in Somalia right now is a political process in the direction of national reconciliation.

Okabe said that the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia recently took part in an international delegation to Somalia to look at progress in organizing the Congress, including in providing security for the event. The UN Political Office for Somalia and Country Team have been engaging directly with the organizers to provide substantial technical and financial support, including a $200,000 contribution from a UN trust fund.

Francois Lonseny Fall, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative, has been in touch with parties in Somalia and around the region to try to ensure the broadest possible participation, the Spokeswoman said.

She noted that the Secretary-General had met recently with Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi in New York and was encouraged by his assurances that the Congress is going forward.

REFUGEE AGENCY DOUBLES BUDGET FOR IRAQIS UPROOTED BY VIOLENCE

The UN refugee agency says it is doubling its 2007 budget for uprooted Iraqis, as severe violence continues to drive thousands more people from their homes every day.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) notes that more than four million people or one in seven Iraqis have been uprooted. Half of them are now in Syria and Jordan.

UNHCRs revised appeal for $123 million will go to help Iraqis in neighboring states, as well as those displaced within Iraq. The money will provide emergency shelter, schools, food and other assistance.

U.N. SPECIAL ADVISER STRESSES NEED TO RECOGNIZE

POSITIVE STEPS MADE BY MYANMAR

The Secretary-Generals Special Adviser, Ibrahim Gambari, has continued his consultations in major Asian capitals on Myanmar, and is wrapping up today his meetings with Indian officials in New Delhi.

Gambari told reporters that he had had a candid discussion with the Indian Foreign Secretary and found agreement on the need to recognize positive steps made by Myanmar, while at the same time encouraging it to make further progress towards democratization and human rights. He reiterated that he intends to visit Myanmar soon, although dates have not yet been determined.

Gambari will be meeting with senior Japanese foreign ministry officials on Friday in Tokyo before returning to New York.

Asked whether Gambari would use India as a go-between in dealing with Myanmar, the Spokeswoman said that Gambari would continue engage with parties in the region, as well as other interested parties, in achieving common objectives on Myanmar. She noted that, prior to his travels to India and Japan, he had visited China.

WFP JOINS FLOOD RELIEF EFFORTS IN SUDAN

The World Food Programme (WFP) is launching an emergency relief effort to deliver food and supplies to thousands of people driven from their homes by floods that began last week.

As a first step, the agency plans to distribute food to 20,000 people in five locations near the city of Kassala, near the Eritrean border. WFP is joining forces with other UN agencies who are also assisting flood victims.

Also in Sudan, the first 103 IDP returnees arrived yesterday in Yambio, in the Western Equatoria State. More returnees are expected in Yambio tomorrow and another 400 are due to arrive in Tambura that same day.

DELIVERY OF FOOD ASSISTANCE RESUMES IN WESTERN AFGHANISTAN

The World Food Programme (WFP) says it has resumed its deliveries of food assistance along the southern ring road in Afghanistan. Shipments had been suspended in late May due to insecurity.

WFP says this is a major breakthrough for its operations, particularly in the western region, where it was unable to distribute promised food to tens of thousands of people for weeks.

WFP hopes to go back to normal operations as quickly as possible, shipping 1,500 to 2,000 tons of food assistance each week.

SIERRA LEONE: PEACEBUILDING FUND APPROVES FOUR NEW PROJECTS

The Peacebuilding Fund Steering Committee for Sierra Leone yesterday approved four new projects aimed at supporting the ongoing electoral process and improving the judiciary, water, sanitation and health facilities at army barracks and detention facilities. The four new projects together will cost a little over 16 million dollars.

Meanwhile, in Freetown, the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General, Victor Angelo, has hosted representatives of political parties contesting the August polls to a second inter-party dialogue. Together they discussed confidence-building measures and other preparations for the elections.

FLOOD VICTIMS IN PAKISTAN RECEIVE SHELTER MATERIALS

In the wake of the recent cyclone and flooding in Pakistan, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that more than 14,000 combined tent and 'shelter kits' have been distributed by United Nations agencies and NGOs.

More than 20 flood assessments have been conducted, and a strategy on shelter and on the allocation of Flash Appeal funds is currently being prepared.

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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