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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-09-12

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

BAN KI-MOON: NOW IS THE TIME TO REDOUBLE EFFORTS ON DARFUR

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this morning briefed the Security Council in closed consultations on his just concluded visit to

Sudan, Chad and Libya.

As he told the press upon return from his trip, he told Council members that even though good progress was made, now is the time to redouble our efforts, to move with even more speed to make good on commitments and the positive momentum we have generated so that we can finally, with the Sudanese people, see an end to the suffering and insecurity in Darfur.

The Secretary-General expressed his deep concern about reports of renewed aerial bombardments and military clashes in Darfur. He said, We must all renew our strong appeals to the parties to show restraint in the lead-up to political negotiations in October.

The Secretary-General also briefed on his trip to

Haiti which he took in August.

BAN KI-MOON TO CHAIR MEETING ON AFRICA

AND MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS

With sub-Saharan Africa lagging behind at the mid-point to the 2015 Millennium Development Goals deadline, the Secretary-General on Friday will chair the inaugural meeting of the UN Millennium Development Goals Africa Steering Group.

The meeting will focus on mobilizing the UN system and major development partners, including the Bretton Woods Institutions, to support African countries efforts to achieve the Goals.

BAN KI-MOON DEEPLY CONCERNED BY INDONESIA EARTHQUAKE

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the potential consequences of todays earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, including the possible tsunami in its aftermath.

A team from Banda Aceh, comprised of members of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and other United Nations staff, will travel to the area for an initial assessment in the next few hours. The Asia-Pacific United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination Team (UNDAC) is on alert to travel if necessary.

U.N. ENVOY ALARMED BY SHELLING IN NORTHERN IRAQ

Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Iraq, today

expressed concern over the intermittent shelling of certain areas in the Northern Region of Kurdistan. Qazi said that such incidents continue to cause damage and consternation among the civilian populations in these areas, disrupting their daily lives.

He recently discussed this issue with all the relevant parties, and urged them to use their good offices to ensure an immediate end to shelling.

The relevant United Nations agencies have been in touch with the governorate and local authorities in the areas concerned and have provided tents, blankets, cooking equipment and other emergency items to several hundred displaced families. In addition, UN agencies have delivered emergency supplies to hospitals treating the wounded and work is ongoing to ensure adequate water supplies to those affected.

LEBANON: U.N. MOVES AHEAD ON HARIRI TRIBUNAL

The Secretary-Generals latest report on the establishment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is out as a document, and it notes that UN Legal Counsel Nicolas Michel led a delegation to the Netherlands at the end of August to visit possible sites for the Tribunal in that country.

The Secretary-General also says he has begun the process of establishing a three-member selection panel, which next month will take up the task of providing recommendations on the judges for the Tribunal.

Meanwhile, the report says, 51 percent of the Tribunals expenses will be borne by voluntary contributions, while 49 percent will be paid by the Government of Lebanon. A letter will shortly be sent to Member States inviting them to contribute to a Secretariat trust fund for the Tribunal.

U.N. SEEKS CLARIFICATIONS ON ISRAEL/SYRIA INCIDENT

Asked whether the Secretary-General had contacted the Israeli Government following a complaint from the Syrian Government about a violation of Syrian airspace, the Spokesperson said he had not made any direct contact.

Montas confirmed that the Secretary-General had received, and also transmitted to the Security Council, a letter from Syria on the matter. She noted that the Syrian letter did not ask for any specific action to be taken.

Asked whether the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights had any comment, the Spokeswoman noted that the alleged incident took place outside UNDOFs area of operations, as defined by the Security Council.

She said that the United Nations could not confirm an action that it did not observe, although it continues to seek clarifications through diplomatic channels.

NUCLEAR WATCHDOG TAKES SIGNIFICANT STEP FORWARD WITH IRAN

A

report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to its Board of Governors on Iran is available today, and it notes that the Agency is able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran but remains unable to verify certain aspects concerning the scope and nature of Irans nuclear programme.

It calls the work plan agreed with Iran a significant step forward and adds that the Agency considers it essential that Iran adheres to the timeline that was developed and implements all the necessary safeguards and transparency measures.

IAEA DOCUMENTS ATTEMPTS TO ILLEGALLY TRADE NUCLEAR MATERIALS

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) yesterday released its latest aggregated statistics on illicit trafficking of nuclear materials.|

IAEA data shows that 14 such incidents occurred in 2006, including the illegal possession and movement of, or attempts to illegally trade these materials.

From January 1993 to December 2006, a total of 275 incidents involving unauthorized possession and related criminal activities with nuclear materials were confirmed to the Agencys Illicit Trafficking Database.

U.N. HEALTH WORKERS RUSH TO CONGOLESE PROVINCE

FOLLOWING EBOLA OUTBREAK

On the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the World Health Organization (WHO) is rushing staff, equipment and supplies to the eastern province of Kasai Occidental following a disease outbreak that includes cases of Ebola haemorrhagic fever.

WHO says it is aware of 372 cases and 166 deaths associated with the outbreak. Laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of the Ebola virus in several cases, but it is not clear how many were caused by Ebola.

Shigella dysentery type one has also been confirmed in the affected area, and WHO says there may be simultaneous outbreaks of both diseases. Additional samples have been taken for laboratory analysis.

DESERTIFICATION & CLIMATE CHANGE POSE UNRIVALLED

CHALLENGES TO HUMANITY

In a message to the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, which is meeting in Madrid, the Secretary-General today stressed that climate change and desertification pose unrivalled challenges to humanity and that both required an unprecedented response.

He said that for people living in dry areas, especially in Africa, changing weather patterns threaten to exacerbate desertification, drought and food insecurity, leading to increasing poverty, forced migration and vulnerability to conflicts.

He added that efforts to combat desertification by reclaiming degraded land, combating soil loss and restoring vegetation could help curb greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen countries capacity to adapt to climate change.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

MANY LEADERS TO ATTEND CLIMATE CHANGE MEETING: Asked about the effect of the resignation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the attendance at the high-level UN meeting on climate change this 24 September, the Spokesperson said the UN had been informed two days ago that the Prime Minister would be unable to attend. However, she added that there would be many other Heads of State and Government attending the meeting and that the Secretary-General continued to push his own advocacy on the climate change issue.

BAN KI-MOON CLOSELY FOLLOWING CONGOLESE SITUATION: Asked about the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General was following the situation in the Kivu provinces closely. She noted that the UN Force Commander in that country had just given a press briefing on the matter last week at UN Headquarters.

*** The guest at the noon briefing today was Guido Schmidt-Traub of the UN Development Programme, who briefed you on the upcoming Millennium Development Goals Africa Steering Group meeting, to be held at the UN headquarters on 14 September.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055

to the Spokesperson's Page


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