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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-07-23

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N.

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, July 23, 2007

BAN KI-MOON INVITES THE NETHERLANDS TO HOST

LEBANON SPECIAL TRIBUNAL

Today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations sent a letter to the Prime Minister of the Netherlands in which he invites the Government of the Netherlands to consider hosting the Special Tribunal for Lebanon [on the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri].

In his letter the Secretary-General stresses the fact that the Netherlands already hosts several courts and tribunals, such as the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and that the experience gained could be of great value for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

The Secretary-General hopes that the Government of the Netherlands will give serious consideration to the request. He intends to be in close contact with the Government to discuss any issues related to the request.

Asked whether the Dutch Government had accepted hosting the tribunal, the Spokeswoman said that the letter from the Secretary-General to the Netherlands had only been transmitted today, and a reply had not yet come. She reiterated that the Secretary-General would continue to be in close contact with the Dutch Government to discuss any issues related to the request.

SECRETARY-GENERAL IS SADDENED BY DEATH OF FORMER AFGHAN KING

The Secretary-General was deeply saddened by the death of Mohammad Zahir Shah, the former king of Afghanistan. He sends his most sincere condolences to the family of Mohammad Zahir Shah and to the Afghan Government and its people.

Mohammad Zahir Shah will be remembered for the long period of peace and development that occurred during his reign. He was responsible for adopting a Constitution in 1964 that was a model of tolerance, as well as a synthesis of the best of Islamic and modern political thought.

The international community remains grateful for the dignity and grace with which he accepted to surrender monarchical claims in 2004 in favour of a republican government based on a new Constitution, accepting instead the title of father of the nation.

Mohammad Zahir Shah spent one-third of his life in exile, while several coups, an invasion, and a civil war engulfed his country. He returned in 2002 to lend his prestige and efforts to supporting the establishment of a democratic government and national reconciliation. All those working towards these goals will mourn his death.

U.N. MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN IS CONCERNED BY INCREASE IN ABDUCTIONS

The Spokesperson for the UN Mission in Afghanistan was asked at the weekly press briefing about the increase in abductions in the country, and said it is a matter of serious concern, with the Mission appealing repeatedly in recent months for the protection of civilians.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals conversation with the President of Afghanistan on the abductions, the Spokeswoman confirmed that the Secretary-General had spoken with President Hamid Karzai early on Saturday. The Secretary-General would continue to be informed about developments by his Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tom Koenigs, she added.

The Spokesperson declined to provide any further details, noting the sensitivity of securing the release of all abductees.

SECURITY COUNCIL EXPRESSES DEEP CONCERN

AT DETERIORATING SECURITY SITUATION IN EASTERN DR OF CONGO

The Security Council this morning received a briefing from Ambassador Jorge Voto-Bernales of Peru, the chair of the Councils sanctions committee on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the last report issued by the group of experts dealing with those sanctions. A draft resolution was circulated to extend the DRC sanctions by a year.

Afterwards, the Security Council adopted a Presidential Statement on the DRC, which expressed deep concern at the deteriorating security situation in the Kivus.

The Council also adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the Monitoring Group dealing with sanctions on Somalia for a further six months.

Also in its closed consultations this morning, the Security Council heard from Ambassador Jean Marc de la Sablière of France, who presented the annual report of the Councils working group on children and armed conflict.

NEW POPULATION DISPLACEMENTS REPORTED IN DARFUR

The UN Mission in Sudan reports new population displacements in West Darfur, where it says an estimated 12,000 households were on the move. The newly displaced people said that they were fleeing prevailing insecurity in their areas and in anticipation of a rumored attack by Government forces.

Also over the weekend, a NGO vehicle was carjacked in South Darfur, and harassments of internally displaced persons were reported during an UN assessment to an IDP camp near Nyala.

MORE FLEE SOMALI CAPITAL THAN RETURN TO IT

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that more people have fled the Somali capital since June than have returned to it, with over 10,000 residents fleeing war-scarred Mogadishu last week alone.

Meanwhile, UN agencies estimate the number of internally displaced persons at 400,000 for this year, and many among them were displaced several times as a result of ongoing conflict.

Restrictions on daily activities in Mogadishu have also placed some among the most vulnerable people at greater risk as their livelihoods have been made even more precarious with the closing of the Bakara market, a wholesale market in Mogadishu, with the price sugar today already more than twice what it was last week.

Meanwhile, security in Mogadishu deteriorated with the start of the National Reconciliation Conference (NRC) on 15 July, which was adjourned on the same day because of mortar attacks. The NRC resumed last Thursday, but seven mortar attacks were reported at day's end.

COTE D'IVOIRE: UNITED NATIONS IS DETERMINED TO TAKE

NECESSARY ACTION TO HOLD PERSONNEL ACCOUNTABLE

The UN Operation in Côte dIvoire reported this week-end that the Moroccan contingent serving in that mission was suspended and cantoned following allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by soldiers based in Bouaké.

The Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) is finalizing its investigation report on these allegations.

Meanwhile, Representatives from the Department of Field Support and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations have met with officials of that country last week and again today to discuss the situation.

Both Departments stress their determination to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that all UN personnel are held accountable to the highest standards of behavior.

Asked how widespread were the abuses, the Spokeswoman said that was still being examined.

SECRETARY-GENERAL HOPES FOR RESUMPTION

OF CONTACTS IN ABKHAZIA, GEORGIA

The report by the Secretary-General on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia is out today.

In it, the Secretary-General hopes that the outcome of the meeting of the Group of Friends for Georgia, chaired by the United Nations on June 27 and 28, in Bonn, will lead to tangible improvements on the ground.

The Secretary-General also stresses that both sides need to resume contacts and implement the agreed confidence-building measures.

TRIBUNAL FOR EX-YUGOSLAVIA TO HOLD JOINT TRIAL

FOR TWO CLOSELY RELATED CASES

Late on Friday, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) decided to revoke the referral of the Sredoje Lukic case to Bosnia and Herzegovina, thus clearing the way for it to be tried jointly in The Hague with the case of Milan Lukic.

The Tribunals referral bench found that a joint trial is in the interest of justice, as the two cases are factually very closely related. The bench also found that separate trials would have risked increasing the trauma for witnesses, who would have had to testify twice.

Milan and Sredoje Lukic are charged with multiple crimes, including the murder of several dozen Bosnian Muslim women, children and elderly men in and around the town of Viegrad.

According to the indictment, Milan Lukic was the leader of the "White Eagles" or "Avengers", a group of Bosnian Serb paramilitaries in Viegrad, while Sredoje Lukic, Milan Lukic's cousin, was a member of the unit.

APPLICATION FOR U.N. MEMBERSHIP COULD

NOT BE RECEIVED ON BASIS OF ONE-CHINA POLICY

An application for UN Membership by Taiwan was conveyed by the Permanent Representatives of two Member States. In keeping with resolution 2758 of the General Assembly, it could not be received and was thus returned by the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs.

Resolution 2758, which was adopted in 1971, is the basis of the one-China policy of the United Nations.

Asked how the policy regarding China could be changed, the Spokeswoman said it was up to the membership of the United Nations to decide on whether any new members could be admitted. She noted that the relevant General Assembly resolution remained in effect.

U.N. SPECIAL ADVISER ON MYANMAR HOLDS CONSULTATIONS IN MOSCOW

The Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, arrived today in Moscow where he is scheduled to hold consultations with senior Government officials.

From there he will travel to Paris, Brussels and London for further meetings with Government and European Union counterparts. He will also meet with other UN officials in Geneva before returning to New York over the weekend.

All of Mr. Gambari's consultations are taking place within the context of the Secretary-General's good offices mandate for Myanmar.

U.N. ANTI-DISCRIMINATION BODY MARKS 25TH ANNIVERSARY

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is observing its 25th anniversary here at Headquarters.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, addressed the meeting this morning and said that by promoting the Committee and womens human rights generally, the entire human rights agenda was pushed forward.

Arbour also noted that the Committee was the first UN body to make a recommendation on female circumcision and the first treaty body to adopt a general recommendation on HIV/AIDs.

The Committee is a 23-person expert body establish to monitor State party compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

ONGOING DISCUSSION ON U.N. ROLE IN IRAQ: Asked about the Secretary-Generals consultations within the United Nations about the future UN role in Iraq, the Spokeswoman said those talks continue, adding that the Secretary-General has made clear his intention to do whatever he can to help the people of Iraq, depending on the circumstances on the ground.

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES ELECTION OF WOMEN AS LEADERS: Asked about the Secretary-Generals reaction to the election of a woman as Indias next President, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General welcomed the election of women as leaders, and noted that, in accordance with general practice, a congratulatory letter is sent upon a new leaders inauguration.

BAN KI-MOON ENCOURAGES EARLIEST POSSIBLE SOLUTION FOR KOSOVO: Asked about future UN action on Kosovo, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General is encouraging the earliest possible solution. Meanwhile, she said, the UN Mission in Kosovo and Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari continue with their mandated work.

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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