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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-09-28

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 FARHAN HAQ

ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BANK KI-MOON

Friday, September 28, 2007

U.N. SPECIAL

ENVOY EXPECTED TO ARRIVE IN MYANMAR ON SATURDAY

The Government of Myanmar has agreed to a visit by the

Secretary-Generals Special Adviser, Ibrahim Gambari, beginning Saturday.

In a

statement issued

Thursday afternoon, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the authorities in

Myanmar to engage in a constructive dialogue with his Special Adviser and to

commit to a path of peaceful and inclusive national reconciliation.

Gambari is currently in Singapore, where he held meetings

today at the Foreign Ministry.

Asked for an update on the mission to Myanmar by Ibrahim Gambari, the

Spokesman said that Gambari is expected to travel to Myanmar on Saturday

afternoon (local time), which would be very early on Saturday morning in New

York.

Asked whom Gambari will meet, Haq said that he will be meeting all the

important players, adding that Gambari's schedule of appointments was being

finalized now.

The Spokesman, in response to question, said that the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)

has not reported any increase in the number of Myanmar refugees in Thailand.

While this was the case in the past when there was fighting between armed

groups, the agency does not anticipate a similar development this time. Even

so, the agency continues to monitor the situation, Haq added.

Asked to comment on news reports that the Myanmar Government has restricted

Internet traffic in and out of the country in a bid to curtail the flow of

humanitarian and other information, Haq said that the United Nations would

wait to hear from Gambari before commenting on this matter. He added, however,

that the United Nations encourages all governments to facilitate the free flow

of information, including humanitarian information.

Asked if there is a United Nations presence in the country, Haq said that

there is a UN country team led by Charles Petrie, the Resident Coordinator and

Humanitarian Coordinator. The team based in Myanmar includes staff from

UNAIDS, FAO, UNOCD, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNDP, UNICEF, WFP, WHO and ILO.

Asked if the United Nations had anticipated the eruption of mass protest in

the country, Haq said that it is hard to anticipate the level of any situation

before it occurs. Even so, Haq said, Special Envoy Gambari had traveled to

Myanmar in the past, has been monitoring the situation and recently briefed

the Security Council on conditions on the ground.

Asked how Gambari became the focal point on Myanmar, the Spokesman said that

until the end of last year, Gambari was the head of the Department of

Political Affairs, with overall responsibility for the Organization's

political work. He served in that capacity for more than a year and a half,

and has political experience on a range of issues.

SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES MYANMAR AUTHORITIES TO EXERCISE RESTRAINT

The Secretary-General

spoke to the

foreign ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement this morning, detailing the

current state of UN efforts to deal with, among other things, Darfur, the

Middle East, Iraq, Myanmar, the Millennium Development Goals and global

poverty.

On Myanmar, he noted that recent developments are causing

grave concern, and he urged the authorities there to exercise restraint,

engage without delay in dialogue, release detained leaders, and initiate a

national reconciliation process.

He said that he counts on the Non-Aligned Movements

support as he is to propose to the General Assembly that the

Department for Political Affairs be

strengthened significantly.

HUMAN RIGHTS

COUNCIL TO HOLD SPECIAL SESSION ON MYANMAR

In Geneva today, the President of the Human Rights

Council received a request, signed by 17 Member States of the Human Rights

Council, for a Special Session to be held on Myanmar. The President said the

Special

Session will be held this Tuesday. Open-ended consultations on the conduct

and organization of the Special Session will be held this Monday.

In related news, the Human Rights Council today adopted a

number of resolutions as it wrapped up the first part of its sixth session.

Among other actions, the Council extended the mandates of

the Working Group on arbitrary detention, the Special Rapporteur on human

rights of indigenous people and the Independent Expert on human rights in

Burundi. The Council also created the post of Special Rapporteur on

contemporary forms of slavery and set up the Forum on Minority Issues.

SECURITY

COUNCIL EXTENDS PANEL OF SUDAN SANCTIONS EXPERTS FOR ONE YEAR

This morning, the Security Council approved a

resolution

extending by one year, until 29 September 2008, the mandate of the panel of

experts dealing with sanctions imposed on Sudan.

The Council then began a meeting to hear a briefing from

the chairman-in-office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in

Europe (OSCE), Miguel Angel Moratinos.

On Thursday afternoon, the Council President, Ambassador

Jean-Maurice Ripert of France, issued a statement to the press, saying that

Council members called for the holding of a free and fair presidential

election in Lebanon, in conformity with the Lebanese constitutional norms and

schedules and without any foreign interference.

U.N. FULLY RESPECTS AFRICAN CHARACTER OF

DARFUR DEPLOYMENT

Asked for a reaction on Egypt's reported contention that the United Nations

had not accepted troop offers from African nations for the hybrid operation in

Sudan, the Spokesman said that the United Nations is committed to fully

respect the fundamentally African character of the deployment.

At

the same time, he explained, there are some specialized services that the

Organization needs to ensure that the force is as strong as possible and for

which it may look to countries outside of Africa. The composition of the

force, he added, was being finalized.

SOMALIA: U.N.

REFUGEE AGENCY BEGINS DISTRIBUTING AID TO THOUSANDS WHO FLED MOGADISHU

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

says that

yesterday it began distributing much needed relief supplies to some 24,000

people who have fled the recent intensification of violence in Mogadishu.

Plastic sheeting, blankets and jerry cans are being given out over a three-day

period.

UNHCR reports that so many displaced people have joined

the existing settlements along the road leading west from Mogadishu, that the

road is sometimes completely impassable.

U.N. AGENCIES

ASSIST THOUSANDS AFFECTED BY UGANDA FLOODING

The World Food Programme (WFP)

and its partners have distributed more than a thousand metric tons of food to

nearly 82,000 people affected by floods in Uganda. WFP is planning to

distribute food to an additional 25,000 people.

Meanwhile, UNICEF

has distributed emergency health kits to treat 11,000 people for three months,

and is providing health care for 48,000 children for one month. UNICEF is

also providing measles and polio vaccines, as well as insecticide-treated nets

and water purification tablets. It also has cholera supplies standing by for

up to 10,000 cases.

SECRETARY-GENERALS AFGHANISTAN REPORT REVIEWS NUMEROUS IMPORTANT ISSUES OF

CONCERN TO THE U.N.

Asked to explain perceived discrepancies between the Secretary-General's

periodic reports and a recent one by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan

(UNAMA), in particular as they pertain

to suicide bombings in that country, the Spokesman later said that the report

by UNAMA was not an official document of the United Nations. It contained a

great deal of information that does not necessarily reflect the views of the

Secretary-General.

The Secretary-General's

report,

issued on 21 September, reflects the view of the Secretary-General on the

situation in Afghanistan right now. The report, incidentally, goes over a

number of important issues in Afghanistan that are of concern to us, of which

suicide attacks are a part, but not the full story.

TRIBUNAL SENTENCES TWO FORMER ARMY OFFICERS FOR ROLE IN VUKOVAR EXECUTIONS

In a ruling delivered on Thursday,

the International Criminal

Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia sentenced two former senior officers of

the Yugoslav People's Army to lengthy prison terms and acquitted another of

all charges against him.

Mile Mrki&#263; and Veselin

ljivan&#269;anin received 20 years and 5 years, respectively, for their role in

the November 1991 Ov&#269;ara executions, which followed the fall of the Croatian

town of Vukovar.

Mrki&#263; was found guilty of aiding

and abetting the murder, torture and cruel treatment of 194 non-Serb

prisoners, while ljivan&#269;anin was convicted of aiding and abetting the torture

of the prisoners.

The third accused, Muroslav Radic,

was cleared of all charges although the Tribunal has determined his role in

helping to remove non-Serbs from a Vukovar Hospital and transport them to a

building in Ov&#269;ara where they were beaten, tortured and eventually murdered.

Asked for a comment on Croatia's stated displeasure at the Tribunal's ruling,

the Spokesman said that the Tribunal, in its ruling, was following procedures

and sentencing standards by which it normally operates. If there is a need to

file an appeal, he added, there are specific procedures to follow. We would

not second-guess the decision of our colleagues at the Tribunal, Haq said.

Asked for additional comment on the fact that the Tribunal's prosecutor had

expressed dissatisfaction with the verdict, Haq noted that sentencing

decisions are ultimately made by the Tribunal's judges.

Asked if the Secretary-General had received an official letter from the

Croatian Government protesting the verdict, the Spokesman later confirmed that

the letter was received. He added that, in response to Croatia's request, the

letter would be circulated as a document of the General Assembly and would be

submitted to the Security Council in the coming days.

DR CONGO: IMPROVEMENTS IN SECURITY ALLOWS AID TO

GET THROUGH

The World Food Programme (WFP)

says that it

is taking advantage of an improvement in security conditions the Democratic

Republic of the Congo (DRC) to provide aid to displaced persons who had

previously been impossible to reach.

Despite improving security

conditions, however, the UN refugee agency notes that recent fighting in North

Kivu has led to more displacement and is highlighting reports of people

fleeing into neighboring South Kivu province.

Meanwhile, the World Health

Organization (WHO) says its

team on the ground is working to try to understand how many recent

disease-related deaths have been caused by Ebola.

SUBSTANCE

REMOVED FROM U.N. AGENCY PREMISES WAS NOT HARMFUL

The US authorities have

concluded the analysis of substances removed from the United Nations

Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC)

premises and determined that these did not contain any harmful materials. The

United Nations would like to thank the host country authorities for resolving

this issue.

Asked for the status of the work of the Secretary-General's blue-ribbon panel

tasked with determining the nature of the substance found at UNMOVIC's office,

the Spokesman said that the members of the panel appointed to look into the

handling of materials by UNMOVIC have been reviewing documents. They have

interviewed many people, both current and former staff, including some that

were on the 1996 inspection that recovered the material.

They are on target to complete their work and report on it before the end of

October.

THE WEEK AHEAD

AT THE UNITED NATIONS

29 September

05 October

[This document

is for planning purposes only and is subject to change]

Monday, October 1

The General Debate of the 62nd session of the

General Assembly continues through 3 October.

Today is the first day of Ghanas presidency of the

Security Council.

Today is International Day of Older Persons. This years

theme is "Addressing the Challenges and Opportunities of Ageing". In London and

Geneva, the World Health Organization is launching its first Global Age-friendly

Cities Guide.

Today is International Habitat Day. The UNs Global

Report on Human Settlements 2007: Enhancing Urban Safety and Security is

scheduled to be launched today in The Hague, London, and Monterrey, Mexico. At

UN Headquarters, UN-Habitat is organizing a special event on the theme A safe city is a just city from 9.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium.

From today through Friday, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Executive Committee is meeting in Geneva. High Commissioner António Guterres and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes are scheduled to address the meeting today.

From today through 3 October, the Second International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism takes place in Davos, Switzerland.

Tuesday, October 2

From 9:30 to 10:00 a.m. in the General Assembly Hall, there will be an informal meeting of the GA plenary to observe the first International Day of Non-Violence. The GA President, the Secretary-General, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa and Ms. Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance, India, are scheduled to make statements.

Following the noon briefing, there will be a press conference by Ambassador Leslie Kojo Christian of Ghana, in his capacity as the President of the Security Council for the month of October, on the Councils programme of work for the month.

In Geneva, the Human Rights Council is scheduled to hold a Special Session on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

Wednesday, October 3

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Conference Room 6, the Peacebuilding Commission will hold an informal, open meeting of its Burundi configuration.

Thursday, October 4

Today and tomorrow, the General Assembly is holding a High-level Dialogue on Interreligious and Intercultural Understanding and Cooperation for Peace.

Beginning at 10 a.m., the resumed substantive session of the Economic and Social Council will take action on issues deferred from the July substantive session.

Friday, October 5

Today is World Teachers Day.

A briefing on the triennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development will take place today at 3 p.m. in Conference Room 4.

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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