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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-07-31

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

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

BAN KI-MOON DEPLORES KILLING OF HOSTAGES IN AFGHANISTAN

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deplores the killing of two of the hostages from the Republic of Korea held by the Taliban. He offers his sincere condolences to the family of the victims and to the Korean people.

He remains deeply concerned for the safety and welfare of the 21 Korean hostages, the German national and the four Afghans, who are still being detained. The Secretary-General notes that these hostages include many young women who came to the country to help the people of Afghanistan and they should not be made part of the conflict in that country.

The Secretary-General fully supports the Afghan authorities in their continuing efforts to ensure the safe return of all those being held against their will.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO VOTE ON RESOLUTIONS

ON HYBRID FORCE FOR DARFUR, AND ON DR CONGO

At 3:00 this afternoon, the Security Council has scheduled a formal meeting to vote on extending the sanctions on the flow of arms within and into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Immediately after that, the Security Council has scheduled another formal meeting, to vote on a draft resolution concerning the mandate for establishing an African Union-UN hybrid operation in

Darfur. A draft resolution on that hybrid operation was circulated by its co-sponsors last night.

The Secretary-General has been invited by the Security Council President to attend that meeting, and he is scheduled to speak then.

Today is the last day of the Chinese Presidency of the Security Council. Tomorrow, the Republic of Congo will assume the Presidency of the Council for the month of August.

Asked whether the Secretary-General was happy with changes in the draft resolution on Darfur, the Spokeswoman said that he cannot comment on a draft text and would express his views when he speaks at the Council meeting.

U.N. AGENCIES TO LAUNCH POLIO VACCINATION CAMPAIGN IN WEST DARFUR

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) notes that, following reports of two confirmed cases of polio across the border in Chad, UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners are set to launch an emergency vaccination campaign in West Darfur in the coming days.

OCHA also notes that so far this year, 87 humanitarian vehicles have been hijacked, including two on Sunday. One of them was later recovered, and no one was injured in the latest attack.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR DECISIVE ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

This morning, the Secretary-General addressed the General Assemblys informal debate on climate change as a global challenge.

He said that the time had come for decisive action on a global scale. He called for a comprehensive agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that tackles climate change on all fronts. He urged all countries to reach an agreement by 2009 that would be in force when the current Kyoto Protocol commitment period expires in 2012.

The Secretary-General noted that this weeks debate helps lay the groundwork for the 24 September high-level session he is convening on climate change, and in turn for the upcoming UNFCCC negotiations in December.

He added that he is determined to minimize the UN Systems own carbon footprint, and make it a climate-neutral organization.

Asked whether the Secretary-General had pushed U.S. President George W. Bush on commitments to combat climate change, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General sees climate change as an important issue needing the participation of all countries.

BAN KI-MOON SAYS MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS STILL ATTAINABLE

The Secretary-General this morning met with UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and attended the Prime Ministers launch of a new initiative on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

He noted the Prime Ministers proposal for a summit-level meeting on the Goals at the United Nations next year, saying that, to make such an event a success, the UN membership will need to be fully engaged in the preparations and follow-up.

He said that we are seriously off track on some of the Goals, with some regions further behind than others. Some say we will not make it, the Secretary-General said. But I say we still can.

The Secretary-General added that he was very much encouraged by Prime Minister Browns strong commitment and support for the Goals and for peace and security initiatives around the world, including Darfur.

Asked whether the Secretary-General and Prime Minister Brown had held a bilateral meeting and whether they had discussed Iraq, the Spokeswoman confirmed that they had, and that they also discussed the Millennium Development Goals, Darfur, the Middle East, efforts to combat climate change, Afghanistan and UN reform.

U.N. CYPRUS MISSION WELCOMES SIGNING OF DE-MINING CONTRACT

The UN Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) is welcoming the signing of a 4 million Euro contract between the European Commission and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in order to complete the de-mining of the UN-patrolled buffer zone in Cyprus.

The mission commends the ongoing financial support provided by the European Commission to continue the important work of rendering the buffer zone free of all mines, and ultimately, returning the land to civilian use.

Last year, Nicosia was declared mine-free and so far, 2,810 mines have been removed from Cyprus.

U.N.-LED INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY GROUP DELEGATION

ATTENDS SOMALIA MEETING

As was reported in the media over the weekend, the United Nations led a delegation of the International Advisory Group to Somalia on Saturday to attend and to receive an update on the ongoing National Reconciliation Congress.

The delegation to Mogadishu was led by the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Per Lindgarde, and also included representatives from Norway, Sweden, Italy, Yemen and Egypt.

The delegation expressed its intention for members of the international community to have henceforth a frequent presence at the Congress.

In addition to their conversations with delegates and organizers of the Congress, the group also met with representatives of the Transitional Federal Government and with the Hawiye Council.

NIGER: UNICEF SCALING UP EFFORTS TO COMBAT MALNUTRITION

UNICEF is stepping up its efforts in Niger to take care of an estimated 275,000 children who will be at risk of malnutrition during the months of the lean season, from July to October.

Among other measures, UNICEF will scale up therapeutic care to reach children in need not yet covered by the existing feeding centers. It will also provide, in cooperation with the World Food Programme (WFP), a two month free distribution of supplementary food for children under three years old.

SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES GUATEMALA TO ESTABLISH INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION TO COMBAT ORGANIZED CRIME AND IMPUNITY

In an editorial in todays edition, the New York Times referred to a proposal before the Guatemalan legislature to establish an International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), in which a UN commissioner and experts would work alongside Guatemalan prosecutors to combat organized crime and impunity. That proposal is up for a critical vote tomorrow in Guatemala.

We would like to reiterate, therefore, the position expressed by the Secretary-General in a statement earlier this month about the Commission. He hopes and urges Guatemala to seize this opportunity to use international assistance to strengthen its justice system in a way that is completely respectful of Guatemalan sovereignty.

We would also like to stress the commitment of the United Nations to do everything it can, provided that the Commission is approved, to make this Commission a success in helping the Guatemalan people and authorities in their difficult fight against crime and impunity.

FORMER KHMER ROUGE OFFICIAL HANDED OVER TO TRIBUNAL

A spokesman for the Extraordinary Chambers in Cambodia (ECCC) said that Kaing Khek Iev, a former Khmer Rouge official also known as Duch, was driven in a car escorted by Cambodian government security forces and arrived at the tribunal headquarters early this morning.

He has been formally handed over to the court, and is to have an initial interview with the judges soon.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

NETHERLANDS RESPONSE ON LEBANON TRIBUNAL EXPECTED IN NEXT REPORT BY SECRETARY-GENERAL: Asked whether the United Nations has received a response from the Netherlands about hosting the Special Tribunal on the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariril, the Spokeswoman said that a response could be contained in the Secretary-Generals next report on the matter, due towards the end of August.

NEXT ROUND OF WESTERN SAHARA TALKS TO TAKE PLACE IN MID-AUGUST: Asked about the next round of talks in Manhasset on Western Sahara, the Spokeswoman said that the parties have confirmed their participation in the 10-11 August talks. The Secretary-General will be represented by his trusted Personal Envoy, Peter van Walsum.

UN REFUGEE AGENCY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ASSISTING REFUGEES FROM CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Asked who is responsible for assisting refugees from the Central African Republic who are fleeing to Cameroon, the Spokeswoman said that is the responsibility of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

NO MIDDLE EAST TRIP BY SECRETARY-GENERAL PLANNED AT THIS TIME: Asked whether the Secretary-General would visit the Middle East, the Spokeswoman said that no upcoming trip there was planned. He will travel, starting Wednesday, to Haiti and Barbados.

BAN KI-MOON MEETS WITH UNDP ADMINISTRATOR: In response to a question, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General and UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Kemal Dervis had spoken on Monday on a range of issues, including the examination into UNDP operations in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.

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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