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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-07-26

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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

Thursday, July 26, 2007

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS TWO BOMB ATTACKS IN IRAQ

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was shocked and saddened to learn about the two bomb attacks that reportedly killed more than 50 innocent civilians who were celebrating an inspiring victory by the

Iraq national football team in the Asian Games. The Secretary-General condemns this particularly reprehensible act which came at a moment when all of Iraq had joined together to celebrate the success of their nation.

The Secretary-General hopes that the people of Iraq will be undeterred by this despicable act and will come together in the spirit of national unity symbolized by their national football team.

There was also a bomb attack in Baghdad earlier today, with some 20 people reported as dead, which the United Nations also condemns.

Asked about a replacement for Special Representative

Ashraf Qazi, the Spokeswoman noted that Qazis current mandate goes into August, adding that a replacement is being sought after that.

CONCERN OVER REPORTS OF FORCED RETURN OF IRAQIS FROM TURKEY

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is deeply concerned at reports that the Turkish authorities forcibly returned 135 Iraqis to their home country earlier this week. Some individuals among the group reportedly expressed their wish to apply for asylum in Turkey.

Given the current situation in Iraq, UNHCR is extremely concerned for the safety of these people. No information is currently available on their whereabouts.

UNHCR understands some of those deported had made an asylum claim. If this is confirmed, the deportations would be a clear violation of the principle of non-refoulement, under which no refugee or asylum seeker whose case has not yet been properly assessed, can be forcibly returned to a country where their life or liberty may be at risk.

U.N. NOT TO TESTIFY AT COMMISSION OF TRUTH AND FRIENDSHIP FOR INDONESIA AND TIMOR-LESTE

A statement detailing the UN position on the Commission of Truth and Friendship for Indonesia and Timor-Leste reiterated the policy that the United Nations cannot endorse or condone amnesties for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or gross violations of human rights, nor should it do anything that might foster them. It is the firm intention of the Secretary-General to uphold this position of principle.

Unless the terms of reference of the Commission of Truth and Friendship are revised to comply with international standards, officials of the United Nations will therefore not testify at its proceedings or take any other steps that would support the work of the Commission and thereby further the possible grant of amnesties in respect of such acts.

SECRETARY-GENERAL VISITS U.N. HISTORIC SITE DURING VISIT TO SAN FRANCISCO

The Secretary-General is on his way to San Francisco today and Friday for an official

visit to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of the founding in that city of the United Nations.

Later today, he will visit the site of the signing of the UN Charter and other local landmarks, accompanied by the citys Mayor.

In the afternoon, he will take questions from the public and the press on the work of the United Nations at a town hall meeting organized by the World Affairs Council, where hell also deliver an address.

On Friday, the Secretary-General is scheduled to meet with the Governor of the State of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. After a working meeting, they will together tour local companies that are using innovative approaches to combat climate change.

The official visit ends Friday afternoon.

Also today, the Secretary-General will visit the host mother who opened her home to him when he was a young foreign exchange student in the Bay Area in 1962.

BAN KI-MOON TO TRAVEL TO HAITI AND BARBADOS NEXT WEEK

The Secretary-General is scheduled to make official visits to Haiti and Barbados next week.

While in Haiti, he plans to meet with President René Préval and visit the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) headquarters in Port-au-Prince. He also is expected to travel to Cité Soleil, where he is scheduled to visit a water tower repaired by the UN mission and meet with the mayor.

Also on his agenda are meetings with the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, as well as leaders from civil society, political parties and the private sector, and the Commission of Justice reform.

In Barbados, which holds the current chair of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), the Secretary-General is expected to meet with the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, the Governor General, as well as with the UN country team.

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON GEORGIA AND NEPAL

The Security Council this morning began its work with a private meeting on Georgia, in which Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi briefed on the work of the UN Mission in that country, and on the Secretary-Generals latest report.

After the private meeting, Council members continued their discussions on Georgia in closed consultations.

Then, the Security Council held consultations on Nepal, with Ian Martin, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative there, briefing the Council on the Secretary-Generals recent report on that country.

NEPAL FACES FOOD SHORTAGES DUE TO NATURAL DISASTERS

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) say a series of natural disasters in 2006 and 2007 have severely hindered crop production throughout Nepal, heightening the risk of food shortage for the Nepalese people.

According to a joint report by the two UN bodies, prolonged drought combined with hailstorms and flooding in traditionally agriculturally productive areas have resulted in an estimated 225,000 metric-tonne food shortage for 2006 and 2007. The food shortage last year was only 23,000 tonnes.

An estimated 42 out of 75 districts in the country are reported to be food deficient.

WFP representative in Nepal, Richard Ragan, is urging donors to support the relief effort, adding that WFP will immediately address these concerns by targeting 1.2 million people through a new $49 million dollar Peace and Recovery Programme.

U.N. AGENCIES PROVIDE RELIEF TO FLOOD AFFECTED SOUTHERN SUDAN

In Southern Sudan, heavy rainfall in recent days has affected nearly 10,000 people in Unity and Upper Nile States, some of whom have sought shelter in public buildings.

UNICEF has so far helped distribute 1,500 kits of non-food items, along with 15-day rations from the World Food Programme (WFP). An additional 600 survival kits are on their way to the area by barge.

UNICEF has also provided drugs for distribution by mobile clinics, and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is also preparing a Flash Appeal, which it expects to launch next week.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL SUPPORTS ARAB PEACE INITIATIVE: Asked about the visit by the Egyptian and Jordanian foreign ministers to Israel, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General has expressed his support for the Arab Peace Initiative.

KOREAN HOSTAGES IN AFGHANISTAN IS SENSITIVE SUBJECT: The Spokeswoman declined to comment on the case of the Koreans abducted in Afghanistan, noting the sensitivity of that subject.

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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