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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-07-20

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 MICHELE

MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N.

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, July 20, 2007

MEETING ON IRAQ COMPACT TAKES PLACE AT HEADQUARTERS

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro this morning opened a meeting at Headquarters to review the progress by the Iraqi government regarding its commitments under the International Compact with

Iraq.

She said that the report on Iraqs progress demonstrates the commitment of the Government of Iraq to the agenda of the Compact and provides a good record of achievements over the past 12 months.

The security situation remains the most significant determining factor in the implementation of the Compact, she said, adding that, given the context of relentless violence in Iraq, the progress achieved thus far is remarkable.

Special Representative for Iraq Ashraf Qazi noted that the Government had initiated the great majority of its actions that are obligated under the Compact, although it will take time for them to have their full impact and for this to be visible.

Asked about an editorial by U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad on an expanded UN role in Iraq, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General himself has said, most recently in Washington, that the United Nations wants to do what it can to help Iraq.

What he has said at the same time, she added, is that any broader role would have to be in accordance with the wishes of the Iraqi government and people, and also very carefully weighed against the security implications for UN staff.

Montas said that the Security Council will be looking at the renewal of the UN Assistance Missions (UNAMI) mandate next month, and these kinds of issues are expected to be thoroughly discussed at that time.

She added that the United Nations is already playing an important role in Iraq, as is evident notably in todays meeting on the International Compact for Iraq.

Asked about a replacement for Qazi, the Spokeswoman said she had nothing to announce, adding that his current mandate expires on 7 August.

BAN KI-MOON URGES EFFORTS TO RESOLVE CRISIS IN EASTERN DRC

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned at the deteriorating security situation in the South and North Kivu provinces in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

He is particularly troubled by the dire humanitarian consequences, which include the internal displacement of some 700,000 persons in the region.

The Secretary-General calls on all key actors to undertake political measures to resolve the crisis, including through the implementation of a comprehensive strategy aimed at ensuring the extension of State authority and the promotion of reconciliation, recovery and development in North and South Kivu.

The Secretary-General urges the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and all concerned to pursue an inclusive dialogue in the Kivus.

The Secretary-General calls on regional and international partners to support efforts to ease tensions in the area.

He encourages the Governments of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda to fully cooperate in addressing the root causes of instability in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and in the broader region.

ALLEGATIONS AGAINST U.N. PEACEKEEPERS IN CÔTE DIVOIRE

ARE UNDER INVESTIGATION

An internal investigation by the United Nations Mission in Côte dIvoire (UNOCI) has revealed serious allegations of wide-spread sexual exploitation and abuse by a UN military contingent serving in Bouaké, Côte dIvoire.

A full investigation by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) is underway, but due to the serious nature of the allegations, the United Nations has taken the decision to suspend all activities of the contingent and has cantoned the unit within its base.

The United Nations re-iterates its Zero Tolerance policy towards sexual exploitation and abuse and stresses its determination to work with our troop and police contributing countries to ensure that all UN personnel are held accountable to the highest standards of behavior.

SECURITY COUNCIL HOLDS CONSULTATIONS ON KOSOVO

The Security Council met this morning to discuss the revised draft resolution concerning Kosovo.

Asked how the Secretary-General responded to comments by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on how to proceed on Kosovo, the Spokeswoman declined to comment specifically, noting that the process was currently in the hands of the Security Council and it was up to Council members to resolve the issue.

She said that the Secretary-General has already submitted his views on Kosovo to the Council, and his Special Envoy, Martti Ahtisaari, has briefed the Council. The Secretary-General, Montas emphasized, has expressed his concerns about how the issue of Kosovo is proceeding.

SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETS WITH QUARTET PRINCIPALS

The Secretary-General, yesterday evening in Lisbon, met with the other principal members of the Quartet for the Middle East and with newly-appointed Quartet representative Tony Blair, and, in a press conference afterward, he read out a joint statement on their behalf.

In that statement, the Quartet welcomed President Bushs July 16 statement renewing U.S. commitment to a negotiated two-state solution, and supported his call for an international meeting in the fall. The Quartet looks forward to consultations as the meeting is prepared.

The Quartet agreed that such a meeting should provide diplomatic support for the parties in their bilateral discussions and negotiations in order to move forward on a successful path to a Palestinian state.

The joint statement also said that the Quartet expressed its deep concern over the humanitarian conditions in Gaza and agreed on the importance of continued emergency and humanitarian assistance.

The Secretary-General is on his way back to New York.

Asked whether the Secretary-General supports the idea of holding parliamentary elections among the Palestinians, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General has been calling for political solutions among the Palestinians, and has said there should be discussions so that there can be one Palestinian state rather than two entities.

She added that the Secretary-General has supported elections as a means of improving governance.

Montas declined to comment on media reports speculating that Israel might invade Gaza.

TOP HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICER URGES SUDANESE GOVERNMENT

TO PROTECT CIVILIANS WHERE IT FAILED TO PREVENT ABUSES

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) says it had received reports from human rights officers in the Sudan of a marked deterioration in the situation in a village called Bir Dagig in West Darfur.

A number of human rights abuses were said to have been committed in the village, mostly by armed men in military uniform, since 1 July, including abuses, particularly against women and girls. The Government had initially deployed extra police to the village, only to withdraw them completely in April 2007.

The High Commissioners Office said there was concern that this was symptomatic of the inability or unwillingness of the Sudanese Government to protect civilians. In two visits to the village since 1 July, UN human rights officers had documented forced abductions, beatings and acts of gender-based violence. Just Wednesday, UN personnel had been on the ground in Bir Dagig but had had to withdraw due to insecurity in the village.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour urged the Government of Sudan to act immediately on pledges it had made to re-establish a permanent police presence in Bir Dagig and to provide effective protection to the civilians.

She also urged the Government to fulfil its responsibility and its stated commitment to investigate complaints of livestock theft and human rights abuses and to bring to justice in fair trials perpetrators of human rights abuses in Bir Dagig.

On the peacekeeping front, in following up on a meeting the Secretary-General had last Friday with African Union Commission Chairperson Alpha Oumar Konaré, the UN and AU will be holding consultations in Addis Ababa later this month (30 July-2 August) to finalize joint deployment plans, accountability structures and personnel generation for the hybrid operation.

The Secretary-General, meanwhile, has officially welcomed the constructive outcome of the broadly attended meeting in Tripoli aimed at paving the way for comprehensive political negotiations. The Secretary-General said he was determined to move forward expeditiously with the implementation of the road map for the political process in Darfur and strongly called on all parties to engage in good faith in forthcoming political negotiations in order to achieve lasting peace and bring this terrible tragedy to an end.

SITUATION ON ETHIOPIA-ERITREA BORDER REMAINS TENSE

In the Secretary-Generals latest report on Ethiopia and Eritrea, he says that the military situation in the Temporary Security Zone between the two countries remains tense and potentially unstable, with Eritrea maintaining some 400 troops in the Zone and expanding restrictions on the movement of UN peacekeepers within it.

Ethiopia, for its part, has deployed troops along the border, and conducted military training exercises in an area including the surroundings of the disputed village of Badme.

The Secretary-General also notes, with regret, that no progress has been made in the implementation of the decision of the Boundary Commission.

In conclusion, he appeals to both countries to live up to the various agreements signed between them to end the armed conflict and to implement the decision of the Boundary Commission.

He urges Eritrea to withdraw its troops from the Temporary Security Zone and lift restrictions on UN peacekeepers.

The Secretary-General also recommends an extension of the mandate of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) for an additional 6 months, until January 2008.

MORE SOMALIS ARE FLEEING CAPITAL

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that this week, for the first time since June, more people left Mogadishu than returned back to the city. Over 10,000 people fled the city due to ongoing insecurity and sporadic violence.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also says the restrictions on daily activities for most of the Mogadishu population had severe impact on the livelihoods of the vulnerable population.

OCHA also says that, with the start of the National Reconciliation Conference, the security situation deteriorated.

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL REVIEWS REPORTS

ON HAITI AND GUINEA-BISSAU

The Economic and Social Council this morning heard the reports of its Ad Hoc Advisory Groups on Haiti and Guinea-Bissau.

On Haiti, delegates said there were emergencies in Haiti - administration, drinking water, unemployment, the lack of infrastructure, among others - and remedying these would bring Haiti into the situation of other countries in the region where it could benefit from the tourism potential. The gains that Haiti had made within the past years were modest, but heartening and it was crucial that impetus towards greater achievement was not slowed. Haitis partners would, in the future, have to make additional efforts to remedy the situation - there was an urgent need for intervention by the international community.

On Guinea-Bissau, delegates said that the Government continued to face many daunting socio-economic problems, which were summarized in the report. The challenges experienced by Guinea-Bissau in consolidating the gains made in its post-conflict transition required the full engagement of both the regional and international communities. The report noted that the challenges faced by Guinea Bissau should be addressed on an urgent basis to avoid violent conflict.

NEPAL: UNITED NATIONS AND MAOISTS AGREE ON NEXT STEPS

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Nepal, Ian Martin, met today with the Maoist Chairman, Prachanda, and they reached agreement to prepare to resume the second stage of registration and verification of Maoist army personnel as soon as possible.

Military representatives will now meet to exchange views on lessons learned from the verification at the first cantonment site in Ilam, and to consider the basis for a possible review of disputed cases.

Also, the Secretary-General has submitted the first report of the UN Electoral Expert Monitoring Team (EEMT), which operates independently from the UN Mission in Nepal.

The team is of the view that the security situation remains the most serious threat to the electoral process. It recommends that political leaders be encouraged to come to an agreement on security long before the elections, including the signing of appropriate codes of conduct to be widely distributed among party activists.

U.N. REPRESENTATIVE WELCOMES RECOMMENDATIONS

ON CHILDREN AFFECTED BY CONFLICT IN SOMALIA AND UGANDA

The Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radikha Coomaraswamy, welcomes the recommendations adopted yesterday by the Security Council Working Group on the situation of children affected by conflict in Somalia and Uganda.

Concerning Uganda, the Special Representative says the recommendations send a strong message to the Lords Resistance Army for the unconditional release of the children used in their ranks. On Somalia, the Working Group urged all parties to stop recruiting children and to take measures to demobilize those who have been recruited.

DELIVERY OF HARRY POTTER BOOKS A FEAT FOR WORLD POSTAL SERVICES

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) is also joining Potter-Mania as millions of copies of the seventh and final Harry Potter novel will go on sale July 21.

The UPU the primary forum of cooperation between Postssays that never before in the history of the postal service, will postmen and women the world over have delivered so many identical books on the same day.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

[This document is for planning purposes only and is subject to change.]

Saturday, July 21

Beginning today, the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories will visit Egypt. The Committee will also visit Jordan (from 26 July to 1 August) and Syria (from 1 to 4 August).

Monday, July 23

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations on the UN Mission in Georgia, Democratic Republic of the Congo sanctions review, and children and armed conflict.

At Headquarters, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women marks its 25th anniversary during the opening of its 39th session, which continues through 10 August. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour and Rachel Mayanja, Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, are among those expected to speak.

All this week, the General Segment of the Economic and Social Council continues in Geneva.

Tuesday, July 24

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold a private meeting with Troop Contributing Countries to the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, followed by consultations on those two countries.

At 11 a.m. in Conference Room 2, the plenary on United Nations system-wide coherence holds informal consultations, which will include a briefing by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour.

The guest at the noon briefing will be John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, who will brief on humanitarian crises in southern Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere.

At 3 p.m. in Conference Room 2, the General Assembly will hold a plenary meeting to elect the 21 Vice-Presidents of its sixty-second session and to appoint members of the Joint Inspection Unit.

Wednesday, July 25

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to receive a briefing on the Middle East, and hold consultations on that subject.

From 10 a.m. to noon in Conference Room 6, there will be an informal, open meeting of the Sierra Leone configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, focusing on the preparations for the Sierra Leone Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

Thursday, July 26

Today and tomorrow, the Secretary-General will be in San Francisco for the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the UN. He is also scheduled to meet with the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to discuss climate change issues.

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations on the UN Mission in Nepal, as well as adopt a resolution on Somalia Sanctions.

At 12.30 p.m. in Room 226, there will be a press conference by Ambassador Irakli Alasania of Georgia on the situation in Georgia.

Friday, 27 July

In Geneva, the Economic and Social Council concludes its 2007 substantive session.

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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