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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-09-04
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.comARCHIVES
THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS ASHRAF QAZI AS SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR SUDAN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced his intention to appoint Ashraf Jehangir Qazi of Pakistan as his Special Representative for
Sudan. He succeeds Jan Pronk of The Netherlands, who left the post last year.
Qazi has been serving as the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for
Iraq since 2004. From 2002, he was Pakistans Ambassador to the United States in Washington D.C., and, prior to that, he held a number of other high-level appointments in his national diplomatic service.
The Secretary-General is in Juba, southern Sudan, today, where he gave a joint press encounter with the President of Southern Sudan Salva Kiir, in which he announced Qazis appointment. The press encounter followed a meeting between the Secretary-General and Salva Kiir.
Asked where Qazi would be based, the Spokeswoman said it would be Khartoum.
BAN KI-MOON: SUDAN WILL ALLOW U.N. TO ALLOW FOR TRAVEL OF FORMER MEMBER OF DARFUR REBELS
Before leaving Khartoum for Juba this morning, at a press encounter at the airport, the Secretary-General announced that
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir had allowed the United Nations to arrange for the travel of Suleiman Jamous, a respected former member of the SLM movement, to Nairobi for medical treatment.
The Secretary-General later delivered a speech at Juba University on the important of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between Northern and Southern Sudan. While in Juba, he has also been meeting with key officials and showing his support for UN staff who work and live in difficult conditions there.
The Secretary-General arrived in Khartoum from Turin on Monday afternoon, and after a meeting with his team and the Acting Special Representative, Tayé Zerihoun, he gave a keynote address to the UN Association of Sudan.
In his speech, the Secretary-General again flagged the importance of moving ahead with the Darfur political process. Everyone agrees there can be no military solution, he said. We need a ceasefire now. The violence must stop. He added that a culture of impunity and a legacy of past crimes that go unaddressed can only erode the peace.
On Monday evening, the Secretary-General attended a one-on-one dinner hosted by President Bashir at the Presidential guesthouse.
SECRETARY-GENERAL DEEPLY CONCERNED BY ARMED CONFLICT IN NORTH KIVU
The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the ongoing armed clashes in North Kivu in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He calls on the Government of the DRC and all local stakeholders to persevere in their efforts to bring about a peaceful solution. The Secretary-General is also very concerned by the impact of the fighting on local populations and calls on all parties to ensure the protection of the vulnerable. He urges all stakeholders in the region to focus on resolving the underlying causes of the crisis through dialogue.
The Secretary-General welcomes the positive outcome of the meeting in Kinshasa held yesterday between the Foreign Ministers of the DRC and Rwanda. He hopes both Governments will follow up rapidly on the understandings reached and that they will cooperate closely in addressing cross-border issues.
REFUGEE AGENCY: THOUSANDS ON THE MOVE IN D.R. CONGO
The UN Refugee Agency reports that thousands of Congolese civilians are on the move in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC) North Kivu province, amid reports of renewed fighting and rising tensions between government forces, renegade troops and rebel groups. Over the weekend and yesterday, UNHCR staff has found large groups of newly displaced people making their way on foot from Rubaya and other villages.
With the continuing displacement, UNHCR on Monday discussed the possibility of a new displacement site near Mugunga, which currently has as many as 18,000 people. The Refugee Agency fears that the pursuit of a military solution to the problems in North Kivu would further worsen the province's humanitarian crisis through the potential displacement of hundreds of thousands of additional Congolese civilians.
Also, in Kinshasa today, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes, met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, with whom he discussed the current situation in Kivus, the protection of civilians, and sexual violence. He will travel to North Kivu later this week.
SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBERS DISCUSS WORK FOR SEPTEMBER
The President of the Security Council for the month of September, Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert of France, is holding bilateral consultations with other Council members today on the Councils work over the coming month.
The Security Council expects to hold consultations tomorrow on its programme of work for September. Then, tomorrow at 12:30, Ambassador Ripert intends to brief reporters about the Councils agenda during this month.
U.N. AGENCIES PREPARED FOR DAMAGE FROM HURRICANE FELIX
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today is deploying a Disaster Assessment and Coordination team (UNDAC) to Honduras, to support the UN Country Team and the local Government in coordinating international assistance and urgent needs assessment ahead of the expected devastation from Hurricane Felix. The six-member team has departed for the region.
The World Food Programme has also announced plans to deploy emergency teams and has sufficient regional food stocks to feed some 600,000 people for one month as Hurricane Felix prepares to make landfall.
WFP is also preparing to make food stocks available from its development operations in the region and is making stand-by arrangements for air and overland transport as well as moving emergency staff into place. A key operational center will be in nearby El Salvador, where WFP has its sub-regional logistics base, as well as in Panama where its regional office is located.
Meanwhile, UNICEF said warnings and evacuations had been announced in all the countries to be affected by Hurricane Felix and the UN system was mobilized and had already pre-positioned water, shelter, water treatment stations and first aid kits. In Honduras, UNICEF had in place 1,500 hygiene kits, water purification systems and educational materials for 100 schools.
U.N. COORDINATOR IN LEBANON PRAISES VICTORY AT NAHR EL-BARED
Geir Pedersen, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, responded to the Lebanese Armys seizure of full control of the Nahr el-Bared camp with a statement, saying that the fight against the Fatah el-Islam group was a fight of both Lebanese and Palestinians against terrorism and is a victory for all of Lebanon.
He said that, while continuing to address the humanitarian challenges of Palestinian families displaced by the fighting, the focus must also be on the speedy reconstruction of the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp and support for Lebanese communities that have also been affected by the conflict. Pedersen gave his full backing to Prime Minister Sinioras call for a donor meeting in Beirut on 10 September.
U.N. ENVOY IN IRAQ WELCOMES PROGRESS BY IRAQI LEADERS
Ashraf Qazi, in his capacity as the head of the UN Mission in Iraq, on Monday welcomed the agreement and statements made by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and several political leaders in the framework of the leadership meeting of 26 August.
He also welcomed the decision of Sayyed Muqtada al-Sadr to suspend Jaysh ul Mehdi activities.
Qazi hoped that these developments would help bring about an environment in which violence could be reduced and progress made in national dialogue and reconciliation.
SECRETARY-GENERAL NOTES IMPROVEMENTS IN TIMOR-LESTE
The Secretary-Generals report to the Security Council on the U.N. Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste is out on the racks today, with his recommendations to maintain the current mandate of the Mission as it stands, with the exception of the electoral support area.
The Secretary-General said the security situation in Timor-Leste improved overall during the reporting period but continues to be volatile and subject to sporadic violence, including the fighting on 6 August following the announcement of the new Government.
He added that despite the recent flare-up in tensions, the advances made by the country thus far are considerable, including strengthening dialogue and reconciliation, embracing electoral processes as the mechanism for political competition and the peoples increased respect for rule of law institutions.
U.N. ENVOY CONDEMNS BOMB ATTACKS IN NEPAL
Ian Martin, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Nepal, expressed his condemnation of the bomb attacks which killed and injured residents of Kathmandu on Monday.
He said that the Nepalese have shown a great capacity to resolve difficult issues through peaceful dialogue, and that he had no doubt that acts of terror will discredit whatever cause they are claimed to promote with the Nepalese people as well as the international community.
U.N. STANDS WITH ANTI-CRIME MARCHERS IN KOSOVO
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Kosovo, Joachim Rucker, said that the United Nations Mission in Kosovo stood firmly behind the thousands of demonstrators who participated in an anti-crime march in Pristina earlier today.
The march was a response to last weeks killing of Kosovo Police Service (KPS) officer Triumf Riza.
Rucker noted that the KPS had already arrested suspects in the case and he urged the local population to come forward with any information that may help the police fully solve the case.
TEAM TO BE FORMED TO INVESTIGATE UNMOVIC DISCOVERY
In response to questions about the discovery of potentially hazardous materials last week at the offices of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), the Spokeswoman said that the planning for the investigation team dealing with that matter is expected to be completed very soon.
Potential members of the investigation team are being contacted, she said. The investigation panel will likely be comprised of three experts, with additional support as needed.
The UNMOVIC office site has been secure, Montas said. In the meantime, the United Nations is still awaiting final testing results on the objects that were removed last week.
Asked whether the material was dangerous, the Spokeswoman said that, according to the information so far, there was no danger.
At the same time, she said, the Secretary-General needed answers on a number of questions, including how long the materials were there and how they were received. Consequently, a team of experts in various relevant fields were being contacted.
SENIOR U.N. OFFICIALS HELD RETREAT IN TURIN
Asked about the meeting last week of senior UN officials in Turin, Italy, the Spokeswoman said that this was the largest retreat of senior officials under the new Secretary-General. She noted that there had been a previous retreat at the Greentree Estates in New York, but that had taken place when many senior positions were not filled.
The Turin retreat, Montas said, comprised some 54 Under-Secretaries-General and Assistant Secretaries-General. They discussed a number of issues, including risk assessment, work with the private sector, peacekeeping and conflict resolution.
Asked whether the retreat included a discussion of the Ethics Office and the whistle-blower issue, the Spokeswoman said that had not been a specific part of the discussions.
She later added that Robert Benson, head of the Ethics Office, had made a presentation to the group about promoting system-wide ethical standards; however, the specific issue of the complainant in the DPRK case was not specifically discussed during the sessions in Turin.
Asked whether the Secretary-General had received a resolution passed by the UN staff union concerning the Ethics Office, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General had been informed of that resolution.
CYPRIOT LEADERS TO MEET IN NICOSIA: Tassos Papadopoulos and Mehmet Ali Talat, the leaders of the Cypriot communities, will meet at the official residence of the Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Cyprus, Michael Møller, in the UN Protected Area in Nicosia, at 4:00 p.m. local time on Wednesday. This meeting follows a previous meeting of the principle aides to the two leaders, held at the UNFICYP Headquarters on 21 August.
ENVOY FOR CHILDREN TO VISIT COTE DIVOIRE: Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, begins a visit to Cote dIvoire today upon the Governments invitation. She will pay particular attention to the follow-up of action plans that are aimed at releasing children from armed groups and reintegrating them into their communities. She will also address the issue of sexual violence against children in the aftermath of the conflict.
WHO APPEALS FOR COUNTRIES TO SUPPORT MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES: In Geneva, the
World Health Organization today is appealing to countries to increase their investment and support for mental health services. WHO's Mental Health Atlas database shows that a majority of countries in Africa and South-East Asia spend less than 1% of their health budget on mental health.
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