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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-07-17
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES U.S. PROPOSAL ON MIDDLE EAST
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomes the statement made by U.S. President George Bush on the Middle East peace process.
He is encouraged by the Presidents renewed commitment to a two-state solution, entailing the creation of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state living side-by-side with a secure Israel.
The Secretary-General also welcomes the Presidents proposal for an international meeting this autumn.
He looks forward to discussing these ideas with his partners in the Quartet in Lisbon on 19 July.
BAN KI-MOON MEETS WITH PRESIDENT BUSH IN WASHINGTON
The Secretary-General is in Washington, D.C., today, to meet with President Bush. As the Secretary-General mentioned at his press conference yesterday, he expects to discuss a range of issues, including Darfur, Iraq, the Middle East and climate change.
This morning, the Secretary-General had his first meeting with World Bank President Robert Zoellick, with whom he discussed the importance of pursuing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and of paying special attention to Africa. They also talked about Darfur and climate change.
He also met tête-à-tête with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. They discussed the work of the Middle East Quartet; both of them will meet again two days from now in Lisbon for the next meeting of the Quartets principal members.
And the Secretary-General had meetings with members of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senates Foreign Relations Committee.
In his meeting with the House Committee this morning, the Secretary-General discussed UN reform, stressing his efforts to increase transparency and accountability. He also expressed his determination to increase the UN role in Iraq, but also noted the need to provide middle-ring protection for UN staff in Iraq. They also discussed the Middle East, Lebanon, Darfur and Kosovo.
SECURITY COUNCIL WELCOMES SECURITY AND DEVELOPMENT
INITIATIVES IN AFGHANISTAN
The Security Council this morning heard a briefing on Afghanistan from Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi. Mr. Annabi discussed recent developments on the ground, as well as the Conference on Justice and the Rule of Law in Afghanistan that took place earlier this month in Rome, which the Secretary-General attended.
Council members then adopted a Presidential Statement in which they welcomed recent international initiatives aimed at enhancing security, stability and development in Afghanistan. The Council reiterated its support for the continuing endeavors by the Afghan Government to further improve the security situation and to continue to address the threat posed by the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other extremist groups.
On the ground, the United Nations and Afghanistans provincial government staff in Bamyan province
joined forces today and donated $10,000 to buy land for a new maternity home, which will be annexed to Bamyans main Hospital. This new facility will provide essential healthcare for expectant mothers in Bamyan, reducing the risk of both maternal and child mortality. The home is part of a wider project being implemented by UNICEF, which will see maternity homes being built in five of Afghanistans northern provinces.
NEXT MEETING ON DARFUR PEACE PROCESS IS SCHEDULED FOR AUGUST
The Secretary-Generals Special
Envoy for Darfur Jan Eliasson arrived in Khartoum last night with his African Union counterpart Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim from Tripoli, Libya, where they had co-chaired the two-day International Meeting on Darfur.
The meeting concluded with the adoption of a communiqué which reconfirmed the AU-UN leadership of the political process in partnership with regional actors. The Tripoli meeting also marked the conclusion of the first phase of the joint AU-UN Roadmap for the Darfur political process and launched the second phase.
The Meeting endorsed in this regard the proposal of the AU and UN Envoys to convene a meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, from 3 to 5 August, with leading personalities of the non signatory movements to facilitate the preparations for negotiations. The Meeting concluded that invitations for the new round of negotiations should be issued by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, before the end of August 2007.
While in Sudan, Eliasson will meet with Senior Government officials in Khartoum; representatives of Internally Displaced Persons and civil society groups; UN Agencies and NGOs; and the local authorities in Darfur.
INTERNATIONAL COMPACT WITH IRAQ WILL MEET
ON FRIDAY TO REVIEW MID-YEAR PROGRESS
On Friday, starting at 10 a.m. at UN headquarters, there will me a meeting of the International Compact with Iraq, which will give the Government of
Iraq an opportunity to present the Mid-Year Progress Report on the implementation of the Compact. That report is now scheduled to be released Wednesday. Member States are invited to participate at the level of Permanent Representative or above.
Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro will deliver the opening statement, and Ibrahim Gambari, the Secretary-Generals Special Advisor on the International Compact with Iraq and Other Political Issues, will also speak.
IRAQ: U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE STRESSES IMPORTANCE
OF ADVANCING POLITICAL TRACK
Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-Generals
Special Representative for Iraq, today met Shiite politician Amar Al-Hakim to convey his respects following the anniversary of the assassination of Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer Al-Hakim. In the meeting, Qazi stressed that progress on the political track was an essential component for building security, reconstruction and reconciliation between communities.
condemned in the strongest terms the car bombings in Kirkuk earlier that day. He described the bombing, which killed and wounded more than two hundred civilians, as a deplorable crime aimed at exacerbating tensions further in the city and the governorate.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals response to US statements about its willingness to meet with Iran about security in Iraq, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General has welcomed and encouraged all regional participation in efforts to bring peace and stability to Iraq.
2007 HUMANITARIAN APPEAL MEETS
ONLY 40 PERCENT OF FUNDING AT MID-POINT
Six months after the launch of the Humanitarian Appeal 2007, only a little more than 40 percent of the funding requirements have been met.
Coordinator John Holmes presented the mid-year review of the consolidated appeal for response to the worlds most severe crises at the substantive session of ECOSOC, meeting in Geneva.
He noted that the one-point-nine billion dollars raised so far in 2007 marks an improvement over previous years. But funding continues to be delayed and poorly coordinated -- and there remains a two-point five billion dollar shortfall.
Holmes noted that appeals for programmes in Liberia, Côte dIvoire, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Congo have received less than a third of the needed funding.
He added that that recovery-type humanitarian actions in regions emerging from conflict receive less money than any other sector 13 percent compared to 62 per cent for the food sector.
U.N. COMMITTED TO ALL-INCLUSIVE RECONCILIATION
EFFORTS IN SOMALIA
Asked whether the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Somalia, Francois Lonseny Fall, had been discouraging European and other officials from attending Somalias National Reconciliation Congress, the Spokeswoman said that it was unimaginable that he would do so, given the Secretary-Generals stated encouragement for that Congress.
She noted that, in a statement issued last Friday, the Secretary-General had wished the people of Somalia a successful beginning to the National Reconciliation Congress.
He had stressed that the Congress is the beginning of the process of rebuilding consensus in Somali society and expressed the commitment of the United Nations to continue supporting all-inclusive efforts at national reconciliation and greater international assistance to help bring peace and stability to Somalia, she added.
SOMALIA: URGENT CONTRIBUTIONS REQUIRED
TO MEET GROWING NEED FOR FOOD ASSISTANCE
The World Food Programme (WFP) is calling for urgent contributions to avoid breaks in its supply line of food assistance. It says 19.5 million dollars are required by the end of 2007 to feed one million people in the country.
The WFP says the growing need for food assistance is due to expected crop failures in the coming months. According to revised estimates, a 50% increase will be needed from October to May 2008, compared to what was planned for all of 2007.
TWO PROCUREMENT OFFICERS CHARGED FOLLOWING INVESTIGATIONS
Yesterday, two procurement officers were charged following the investigations conducted by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and following testimony in the trial of former UN procurement officer Sanjaya Bahel.
The two individuals have been suspended and placed on special leave with pay. The UN disciplinary process is ongoing.
Until this process is over, no further comments can be made.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TRUST THAT LEGAL PROCEEDING
AGAINST SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR IN BANGLADESH |
WILL RESPECTS HUMAN RIGHTS
Ms. Sigma Huda, a national of Bangladesh, was appointed as Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons on 19 April 2004 by the then Commission on Human Rights for a period of three years. Special Rapporteurs enjoy the privileges and immunities necessary for the independent exercise of their functions as experts on mission under the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations. The responsibility to determine whether privileges and immunities apply in a given situation is vested in the Secretary-General.
Ms. Huda is now facing a criminal trial in Bangladesh for charges of corruption.
Under the Convention, States wishing to initiate legal proceedings against Special Rapporteurs, are expected to bring the matter promptly to the attention of the Secretary-General. Regrettably, the Government of Bangladesh did not do so in this case. The United Nations sought information from the Government of Bangladesh with a view to ascertaining the nature of the charges brought against Ms. Huda and their relationship to her functions as Special Rapporteur.
On the basis of the information provided by the Government, the Secretary-General has determined that the charges against Ms. Huda appear not to be related to, or otherwise fall within, her functions as Special Rapporteur. This information allows him to conclude that no immunity under the Convention is applicable in the present case. The Government of Bangladesh has been notified accordingly.
While the Organization is firmly committed to assisting States in fighting corruption, the Secretary-General trusts that, consistent with Bangladesh's international human rights obligations, legal proceedings against Ms. Huda will respect the full range of her human rights, including her right to a fair trial, and rights relating to conditions of detention during the trial.
JAPAN WILL ACCEDE TO ROME STATUTE OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
Japan is scheduled to deposit an instrument of accession to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) this afternoon at 4:30.
By this act, Japan will become the 105th State to be bound by the Rome Statute.
The Japanese accession will enter into force on 1 October 2007.
SENIOR ADVISORS LIST PROVIDED: Asked for a list of people from foreign ministries who have access to the Secretary-Generals Executive Office, the Spokeswoman noted that, last Friday, her office had provided a list of the senior advisers in the Executive Office, who are the officials with the greatest access to the Secretary-General. She noted that other senior officials from the Secretariat and UN agencies also play important advisory roles. She also said other officials have access as needed .
UNITED NATIONS INTENDS TO MAXIMIZE ITS ACTIONS FOR AFRICA: Asked about the Group of 77s concerns concerning the status of the Special Adviser on Africa, the Spokeswoman referred to the Secretary-Generals comments in his Monday press conference on how intends to maximize what the United Nations can do for Africa. She said that the African Group will meet on Wednesday on this issue, and the Deputy Secretary-General and other senior officials are in close consultations with Member States on it.
SECRETARY-GENERALS COMMENTS ON KOSOVO STAND: Asked about the Security Councils consideration of a draft resolution on Kosovo, the Spokeswoman referred to the Secretary-Generals extensive comments on Kosovo during his Monday press conference.
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