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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-12-07

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

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, December 7, 2007

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES CYPRUS

The Security Council took up Cyprus this morning and held a meeting of troop-contributing countries to the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus. It also held consultations on Cyprus and other matters.

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Cyprus, Michael Moller, briefed Council members on the Secretary-Generals latest report on Cyprus.

The report says that, over the last six months, there has been no progress on implementing the agreement of 8 July 2006. In that context, all parties need to show greater flexibility and political courage.

The Secretary-General adds that it is regrettable that the ongoing debate on lifting the Turkish Cypriots isolation has become a debate on recognition. Recognition, or assisting secession, would be contrary to Security Council resolutions, he says. He also says that, given the lack of a comprehensive settlement, the UN Missions mandate should be extended by a further 6 months.

This afternoon, the Security Council will hold consultations on Sudan sanctions and other matters.

BAN KI-MOON HAS RECEIVED KOSOVO REPORT FROM CONTACT GROUP

The Spokeswoman confirmed to correspondents that the Secretary-General has received the Contact Groups latest report on that topic. It is now expected that the report will be transmitted to the Security Council on Sunday evening.

Asked whether the Secretary-General would meet with the troika dealing with Kosovo, the Spokeswoman said that he would not meet them personally; instead, he had received their report.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals reaction to the report, the Spokeswoman noted that he would transmit the report onward to the Security Council.

WORLD ENERGY NEEDS COULD COST $20 TRILLION BY 2030

At the climate change talks in Bali, negotiating groups today continued their work on draft decisions for adoption next week.

Trade ministers are meeting on the margins of the conference over the weekend, followed by a meeting of Finance Ministers at the beginning of next week.

The Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Yvo de Boer, today said that investments of around twenty trillion dollars would be needed by 2030 to meet the worlds hunger for energy. More than half that demand will come from developing countries, which would need incentives under any new climate change deal to manage this investment supertanker, he said.

Asked about the participation by indigenous groups at the Bali summit, the Spokeswoman said that non-governmental organizations were attending the conference, and noted the participation of indigenous groups in UN affairs, including at UN Headquarters.

WESTERN SAHARA PARTIES MEET IN NEW YORK

The next meeting of the parties for negotiations on Western Sahara is expected to take place on from the 7th to the 9th of January in Manhasset. The letters of invitation of the Secretary-General to the parties and neighbouring countries have been sent.

The meeting will be facilitated by the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara, Mr. Peter van Walsum.

This will be the third round of talks following the meetings this past June and August.

THOUSANDS OF IRAQI REFUGEES IN SYRIA RUNNING OUT OF RESOURCES

Although it says that the number of Iraqis returning back home is difficult to determine precisely, the UN Refugee Agency says that, between August and end November, it had received reports from the Iraqi border authorities that 97,000 Iraqis had entered Syria from Iraq, while at the same a total of 128,000 left Syria to Iraq through the main border crossing point.

Currently, the UN Refugee Agency is not promoting returns to Iraq. Many areas are still considered unsafe and conditions are not conducive for return in safety and dignity. There is a general lack of access to material, legal and physical safety and proper services. But UNHCR will, to the extent possible, continue to assess the situation and advise and support the Iraqi Government where feasible.

Meanwhile in Syria, where some 1.4 million Iraqi refugees still reside, UNHCR and the World Food Programme have broadened the criteria for food assistance after it became clear that tens of thousands of Iraqis are running out of resources and will need food support in the coming months.

Asked about UN staff presence in Iraq, the Spokeswoman said that any increase in staffing will depend on the assessment of security conditions in the country.

HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIAL DENOUNCES IRAN KILLING

OF YOUNG ALLEGED HOMOSEXUAL

High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour today

expressed grave concern over the execution of a young man in Iran, who had allegedly raped three boys seven years ago, when he was just 13-years-old.

According to reports, the execution was carried out despite the withdrawal of accusations by the alleged victims and the issuance of a stay of execution order by the Head of the Judiciary.

Arbour noted that Iran is a party to both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which legally obligate States parties not to impose the death penalty on those who are under the age of 18 when their alleged crimes are committed.

Arbour also expressed concerned about reported abuses by Angolan security forces against Congolese migrants, especially women.

PANEL REPORTS PROGRESS UNDP/NORTH KOREA PROBE

The External Independent Investigative Review Panel, which is looking into a number of issues concerning the UNDPs operations in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea and related matters, is making substantial progress (according to a statement issued by the Panel).

The Panel has collected information and data, has studied a large number of relevant documents provided by different sources, interviewed many individuals from within and outside the UNDP, and set in train a thorough investigation of all the issues covered by its Terms of Reference. This will include examination of documents from the UNDP-DPRK, which are on their way to New York and will be kept in a secure environment. The Panel has engaged the services of independent experts to assist it in this and other areas of its work.

In view of the significant work still ahead of the Panel, it has concluded that it will not be able to complete its task before the end of this year, as envisaged when its Terms of Reference were drawn up. However, the Panel will complete the work and submit its Report not later than the end of March 2008.

FORMER RWANDAN OFFICIAL SENTENCED TO LIFE FOR GENOCIDE

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda today sentenced François Karera, a former Prefect (or chief administrator) of Kigali-Rural province, to life in prison on three counts of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Karera was accused of actively taking part in a mass killing of ethnic Tutsis in April 1994 in the province for which he was highest-ranking official. The Tribunal said that Kareras failure to protect his Tutsis constituents was the main determinant in his sentence.

Karera was arrested in Kenya in October 2001and his trial began in January 2006. The Tribunal did not specify where he would serve his sentence.

CENTER FOR PREVENTIVE DIPLOMACY TO OPEN IN TURKMENISTAN

The UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) will be inaugurated in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on Monday.

The Centre is an initiative by the United Nations and the five Central Asian countries to help the regions governments manage an array of common challenges and threats, including terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime, and environmental degradation.

The inauguration will take place at the outset of a two-day international conference on International Cooperation in Preventive Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution, where the United Nations will be represented by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe. Pascoe will deliver an inaugural message on behalf of the Secretary-General.

ARMY, REBELS STILL ENLIST CHILDREN IN MYANMAR AND BURUNDI

Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, yesterday presented the reports of the Secretary-General on the situation of Children and Armed Conflict in Burundi and Myanmar to the Security Council Working Group dealing with that matter.

She said that the issue of recruitment and use of children continues to be a problem in Myanmar both with regard to the Government and various non-state actors. She also raised concerns about the issue of access for UN monitors in Myanmar.

Regarding Burundi, Coomaraswamy condemned the new reported cases of recruitment and use of children by the Forces Nationales de Libération (FNL). The Special Representative deplored the alarming increase of cases of rape and sexual violence in that country.

EMERGING ASIAN ECONOMIES SPUR HIKE IN SEABORNE SHIPMENTS

The growing world economy, led by Asian countries, has

spurred a hike in international deliveries by cargo ships, according the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

More than 7 billion tons of merchandise was seaborne in 2006, a 4.3 percent increase over 2005, while total demand for shipping services increased by 5.5 percent in 2006. UNCTAD says that oil and petroleum products counted for more than a third of the shiploads.

REFUGEE AGENCY SHOCKED BY KILLING OF DRIVER IN CHAD

The UN Refugee Agency has expressed shock and sadness at the shooting death of one its national staff members in southeastern Chad.

Mahmat Mahamadou, a driver for UNHCR Field Office, was returning from a routine assignment when he was attacked on the road between Bedaya and Koumra. Details of the incident remain unclear and the Chadian authorities are expected to investigate.

Asked about the investigation of the French group Arche de Zoe in Chad, the Spokeswoman noted that the investigation was being performed by the Chadian authorities. UN agencies, she added, were working to assist the children who were affected.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SIERRA LEONE OPERATION TO BE REPLACED BY LEANER OFFICE NEXT YEAR: Available today is the Secretary-Generals latest report on Sierra Leone. In it, he takes note of recent developments in the country, including the presidential and parliamentary elections. The Secretary-General also proposes to replace the current UN operation with a leaner integrated office when its mandate expires in September 2008.

U.N APPEALS FOR CHECKPOINT ACCESS TO HEALTH SERVICES IN MOGADISHU: UNICEF is appealing to all parties to the current Mogadishu conflict to grant those in need of medical care safe access through checkpoints set up around the city. UNICEF cites reliable reports that children, adolescents, pregnant women and mothers some of them injured by shells or stray bullets are being turned back, particularly at night, while attempting to reach health posts.

BAN KI-MOONS STAND ON ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS IS UNCHANGED: Asked about the Secretary-Generals comments regarding Israeli construction activity in the occupied Palestinian territory, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General has repeatedly expressed his position on settlements and raised the issue with regional leaders and the other members of the Quartet dealing with the Middle East.

WEBSITE IS LAUNCHED TO RECORD WORLD CHILDRENS STORIES: UNICEF, in partnership with One Laptop per Child and Google, today launched a web initiative aimed at sharing and preserving stories from around the world. The website (at ourstories-dot-org) will allow children to record, in their native languages, the stories of elders, family members and friends using laptops, mobile phones and other recording devices. The stories will be shared globally on the site, where they can be found using a Google map.

  • The guest at the noon briefing was Youssef Mahmoud, head of the UN Integrated Office in Burundi, who provided an update on the political situation in Burundi.

    THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

    Saturday, December 8

    Today and tomorrow in Lisbon, Portugal, the Deputy Secretary-General leads the UN delegation to the African Union-European Union Summit. On the margins of the summit, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Côte d'Ivoire, Choi Young-Jin, is expected to participate in a mini-summit on Côte d'Ivoire.

    Sunday, December 9

    The Secretary-General begins his trip to Asia. From today through 11 December, he is in Bangkok. From 11-14 December, he will be in Bali, Indonesia, to attend the high-level segment of the U.N. Climate Change Conference. From 14-15 December, he will be in Timor-Leste, followed by stops in Jakarta (15 December) and Tokyo (16 December).

    Today is International Anti-Corruption Day.

    Monday, December 10

    The Secretary-General expects to transmit the Troika report on Kosovo to the Security Council, which is scheduled to take up the matter on 19 December.

    This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold a debate on the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and for the Former Yugoslavia.

    This morning, the General Assembly plenary is scheduled to discuss Oceans and the Law of the Sea. In the afternoon, the plenary will take action on draft resolutions concerning The Question of Palestine, The Situation in the Middle East, Climate Change (within the report of the Second Committee) and the Capital Master Plan (within the report of the Fifth Committee).

    Today is Human Rights Day. In Bangkok, the Secretary-General will officially unveil the logo of next years 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Events at U.N. Headquarters include a panel discussion on Digital Dignity: New Media and Human Rights from 1:15 to 2:45 p.m. in Conference Room 1; an interactive dialogue on All of It, for All of Us: Toward an Inclusive Human Rights Agenda from 3 to 6 p.m. in Conference Room 1; and the opening of a cartoon exhibit called "Sketching Human Rights" at 5 p.m. in the Visitors' Lobby.

    At 1.15 p.m. in Room S-226, Carla Del Ponte will hold her last press conference as the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

    In Geneva, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, John Holmes, launches the Humanitarian Appeal 2008.

    Through 14 December in Geneva, the Human Rights Council holds the second part of its sixth session.

    In Bali, Indonesia, at 6 p.m. local time at the Conrad Resort Bali, the Global Compact Office, in cooperation with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the U.N. Environment Programme, holds a press conference to present an update on Caring for Climate: The Business Leadership Platform.

    The U.N. Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia will be inaugurated in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, at the outset of a two-day international conference on International Cooperation in Preventive Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution, where the U.N. will be represented by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe.

    Tuesday, December 11

    This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations on the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force and on missing persons and return of property in Iraq/Kuwait. In the afternoon, consultations are scheduled on the U.N. Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic.

    Today and tomorrow, the General Assembly is scheduled to hold commemorative high-level plenary meetings devoted to the follow-up to the outcome of the special session on children.

    The guests at the noon briefing are Srgjan Kerim, President of the 62nd Session of the General Assembly, and Ann Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF, who will discuss the World Fit for Children plus 5 Event and the recently released Progress for Children report.

    From 10 a.m. to 12 noon at UNICEF House, the 2007 Progress for Children Report will be launched. Main speakers at a Town Hall meeting on the report include Ann Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF; Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS; and Queen Rania of Jordan (via pre-recorded video message).

    Today is International Mountain Day.

    Wednesday, December 12

    This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution on the U.N. Integrated Office in Burundi and hold consultations on Guinea-Bissau. In the afternoon, consultations are scheduled on the 1701 report.

    From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Conference Room 1, the Sierra Leone configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission holds its first meeting.

    At 11 a.m. in Room S-226, William Murray of the International Monetary Fund will brief on the International Advisory and Monitoring Board for Iraq.

    Following the noon briefing, there will be a press conference by John Mourikis, Permanent Representative of Greece, and Hilde Johnson, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, on the impact of climate change on children.

    In Geneva, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies launch the World Disaster Report 2007.

    Thursday, December 13

    This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold a debate on its recent mission to Timor-Leste. In the afternoon, consultations are scheduled on Sudan and African Union/United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur.

    From 10 a.m. to 12 noon in the Economic and Social Council Chamber, the Deputy Secretary-General chairs the high-level Conference on the Central Emergency Response Fund.

    The guest at the noon briefing is John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, who will brief on Central Emergency Response Fund.

    All day today and tomorrow in Conference Room 8, the first meeting of the Inter-Agency Support Group on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities prepares a system-wide strategy to advance the implementation of the Convention.

    Friday, December 14

    This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to adopt resolutions on the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force and the U.N. Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus. In the afternoon, a briefing and consultations on Sierra Leone are scheduled.

    The guest at the noon briefing is Jorge Sampaio, High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, who will brief on the upcoming Alliance of Civilizations Annual Forum in January in Madrid and other matters.

    At 7 p.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, there will be a cultural exposition and concert to mark the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of Transatlantic Slave Trade. Performers include Cicely Tyson, The Mighty Sparrow, Sing Sing Rhythms African (Senegalese) Drummers and Dancer (Babacar), Tabou Combo Super Stars aux Antilles, Keith David Jazz combo, B4Barbee, Caribbean Youth Pan Orchestra, and Suriname Maroons.

    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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