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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-12-14

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

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, December 14, 2007

BAN KI-MOON VOICES PROFOUND SADNESS AS

UN DEATH TOLL IN ALGERIA REACHES 17

The efforts on the ground to clear away the rubble following the bomb blast at the UN offices in Algeria on Tuesday have, as the UN feared, helped it find and identify more bodies. Consequently, the UN can now confirm that 17 UN staff were killed in the Algiers attack.

The following statement comes directly from the Secretary-General:

I have learned with profound sadness that the death toll in the bombing in Algiers is even higher than we feared. Seventeen UN colleagues are now confirmed dead. A devastatingly high number of innocent Algerians have also perished, a well as nationals from other countries. Words cannot begin to do justice to the grief I feel.

I send my prayers to the loved ones of those who perished, to those who are wounded, and to those who are grappling with trauma after this terrible event. I send my thoughts to all their colleagues who work every day, in difficult and dangerous circumstances, for peace and security, development and human rights around the world. And I stand with the people of Algeria and the wider region in the face of the scourge of terrorism.

Those who target innocent civilians in this way commit an unspeakable crime. Terrorism is never justifiable, on any grounds, as all 192 UN Member States agreed last year when they came together to adopt the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. It hurts all nations -- large and small, rich and poor. It takes its toll on human beings of every age and income, culture and religion.

I will spare no effort in ensuring that the United Nations provides adequate security for its staff, wherever they serve. I will look at all possible ways, with all parts of the system, and with Member States, to ensure that this is done.

This was an attack not only against the United Nations, not only against Algerians, but against humankind itself. Our colleagues there were working with no other mission than to support the people of Algeria in building a better future.

The Secretary-General concludes his statement by asking for all UN staff to observe a minute of silence in memory of those who died in Algiers next Monday, 17 December, at 10 a.m. New York time.

Asked about the toll of those dead and injured, the Spokeswoman said an updated list of names of the dead would be provided once the next of kin have been notified. She said that there was no definitive count of the injured.

BAN KI-MOON PLANS TO RETURN TO BALI CLIMATE CHANGE TALKS

The Secretary-General was asked by the press today about the state of the climate change talks, and he told reporters that he will return to Bali tomorrow to check the status of negotiations and, if necessary, he will again meet with the delegations present there.

He urged the leaders present at Bali to agree on a timetable with clear targets, and added, This is an issue where industrialized countries should take the lead, considering their historical responsibilities, particularly those with the largest emissions.

Asked about the meetings the Secretary-General would conduct when he returns to Bali, the Spokeswoman said that he would take stock once he is back in Bali and would talk to more delegations as needed. He is determined, she said, to have a successful outcome and would talk to whomever he needs to in order to achieve that.

SECRETARY-GENERAL IS ENCOURAGED BY ADVANCES IN TIMOR-LESTE

The Secretary-General today visited Timor-Leste, where he first met with President José Ramos Horta before having a working luncheon with Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão and members of the Cabinet.

Speaking to reporters after the luncheon, the Secretary-General said that he and the Prime Minister held substantive discussions on the security and justice sector, socio-economic development, and the humanitarian situation of the internally displaced persons. He said that he believed that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet are doing an excellent job in tackling many difficult issues.

The Secretary-General later addressed the Timorese Parliament, telling them that he felt both moved and proud to visit a country, where, since 1999, the United Nations has undertaken one the most formidable responsibilities it has ever been given. He told the Parliament that the road to Timor-Lestes nationhood was long and had required difficult decisions and severe sacrifices, and added, The road to building enduring, stable and democratic institutions, underpinned by the rule of law, will be long too.

He later met with civil society representatives and visited a police station and a camp for internally displaced people.

Speaking to reporters at the end of the day, he said that he had seen the encouraging advances that have been made in the country, and especially commended the Timorese for the peaceful conduct of this years elections.

BAN KI-MOON TO HEAD TO PARIS FOR PALESTINIAN DONORS CONFERENCE

The Secretary-General will arrive in Paris on Sunday evening.

On Monday, he will take part in the Donors Conference for the Palestinian Territories. The conference, hosted by the French Government, will be co-chaired by France, Norway, the European Commission and Tony Blair, in his capacity as Quartet Envoy.

While in Paris, the Secretary-General will also attend a meeting of the principal members of the Quartet which brings together the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and the Russian Federation as well as a dinner with representatives of the Quartet and the League of Arab States.

He is also expected to have a bilateral meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The Secretary-General is expected back in New York on Tuesday afternoon.

HUNDREDS OF CONGOLESE CHILDREN ARE RECRUITED BY ARMED GROUPS

Hundreds of underage boys and girls are being forcibly recruited by rival armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC).

The children are being sent to the front lines of an escalating conflict in the North Kivu province.

The Mission has identified the Congres National pour la Defense du Peuple (CNDP) of dissident General Laurent Nkunda and the Front Democratique de Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR) as the two main groups responsible for the forced recruitment of children into armed conflict.

These and other groups canvass schools, camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other venues to draft children they consider fit for combat into their ranks. This has led to the closure of several schools and to a noticeable absence of young children among communities in North Kivu. Families attempting to resist the enlistment of their young are harassed and variously retaliated against.

The situation is such that a large number of the 8,500 former child soldiers rescued by the UN and humanitarian organizations since 2004, have been forcibly re-recruited and are now on the front lines fighting, or being used as sex slaves.

Meanwhile, High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, arrived yesterday in Kinshasa for a 5-day visit that is taking him today to North Kivu. Guterres will assess UNHCR operations in the region and meet with local officials and IDPs.

And on Sunday, in Goma, DRC, the Joint Monitoring Group, created to monitor and report on the implementation of the November 9th Nairobi Communiqué by the DRC and Rwanda, will be holding its first meeting. Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Haile Menkerios and the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for the DRC, William Lacy Swing, will be representing the UN there.

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS

IN CYPRUS AND GOLAN HEIGHTS

The Security Council this morning unanimously approved the extensions by six months of the mandates of two UN peacekeeping missions. The UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) was extended until 15 June 2008, and the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) was extended until the end of June 2008.

Council members then went into consultations to hear a briefing by the Ambassador of Qatar, who chairs the Councils Sanctions Committee on Liberia, on the sanctions regime for that country.

Then, at 3:00 p.m., the Security Council held an open meeting, followed by consultations, on Sierra Leone. Council members heard from the Executive Representative for the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL), Victor da Silva Angelo.

WESTERN SAHARA: U.N. MISSION CONTINUES TASKS

IN ADVANCE OF UPCOMING TALKS

Asked whether the Secretary-General had received a letter from the Moroccan Government that reportedly claimed that there was a ceasefire violation by the Frente Polisario, the Spokeswoman confirmed that the Secretary-General had received the letter, which was being studied by the UN Secretariat and by the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO)

She said that MINURSO was continuing with its mandated activities.

And the United Nations was preparing to welcome the parties involved in the Western Sahara issue who are meeting at the Greentree estates in Manhasset on 7-9 January.

Asked about the lack of information concerning the Greentree talks, Okabe said that the talks are intended to bridge differences, and the parties may not want to conduct their diplomacy in public.'

Asked about MINURSOs reaction to any ceasefire violation, the Spokeswoman said that, if any ceasefire violation occurred, it would be reported to the Security Council.

HAITI: U.N. ENVOY LOOKS INTO IMPROVING BORDER SECURITY

Hedi Annabi, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti, is visiting neighboring Dominican Republic today. With his Dominican interlocutors, Annabi will discuss how to improve Haitis border security and how UN peacekeepers might help in doing so.

Annabis visit comes in response to the recent expansion of the mandate of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), which allows the Mission to help Haiti secure its borders against drug trafficking and other criminal activities.

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADOPTS RESOLUTIONS ON MYANMAR AND SUDAN

The Human Rights Council today

wrapped up its sixth session in Geneva. It adopted 13 resolutions and decisions on a wide range of topics.

Concerning Myanmar, the Human Rights Council adopted by consensus a resolution requesting the Special Rapporteur for Myanmar to conduct a follow-up mission to that country before the Councils 7th session, which is scheduled for March of next year. The goal of that mission would be to assess in greater detail the human rights violations that have occurred and are occurring as a result of the continued violent repression of recent peaceful demonstrations in Myanmar.

With regard to Sudan, the Council unanimously adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for Sudan for one year.

By another resolution, the Human Rights Council urged the Government of Sudan to continue and intensify its efforts to implement the recommendations of the Councils Group of Experts dealing with human rights in Darfur. It also invited relevant UN bodies to continue providing support and technical assistance to Sudan for the implementation of those recommendations.

UNITED NATIONS TO HAND OUT A.T.M. CARDS TO NEEDY IRAQI REFUGEES

This Sunday, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will start issuing ATM cards to 7,000 of the most needy and vulnerable Iraqi refugee families living in Syria.

Each family will receive between $100 and $200 per month in financial assistance. The families have been interviewed by community services staff and identified as being in urgent need of financial assistance. They include women at risk, families with working children and refugees with chronic illnesses.

The 7,000 families will also receive food assistance from the World Food Programme and UNHCR.

U.N. EXPERTS TO HELP MINIMIZE DAMAGE FROM KOREAN OIL SPILL

A joint team of eight experts from the UN and the European Commission was dispatched today to the Republic of Korea, following the worst oil spill in that countrys history. The move follows a request for international assistance from the Republic of Korea.

The marine pollution and civil protection assessment experts -- who are in part drawn from the UN Environment Programme and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs -- plan to support the Korean authorities' efforts by advising on emergency management, removing the remaining oil and limiting its spread. They are also there to advise on long-term recovery for the areas ecosystem.

UNITED NATIONS HELPS STORM SURVIVORS IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

UN agencies are

working at full capacity in the Dominican Republic, helping the government respond to damage from Tropical Storm Olga.

Emergency technical and assessment teams were deployed today to the hardest-hit areas, and the UN remains ready to provide additional assistance as required.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme is launching an appeal for four million dollars to provide aid to 55,000 victims from Olga and from tropical storm Noel, which hit the islands earlier this season.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Saturday, December 15

The Secretary-General is in Bali, Indonesia.

Through Monday, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, continues his five-day visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with stops in Goma and Kinshasa.

Through 21 December, the Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Walter Kälin, visits Sri Lanka at the invitation of the Government (began 13 December).

Monday, December 17

The Secretary-General is in Paris to attend a donors conference on the Palestinian Territories, as well as a meeting of the Middle East Quartet.

This morning, the General Assembly is scheduled to take action on draft resolutions on the Culture of Peace, U.N. humanitarian and disaster relief assistance, assistance to survivors of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, the report of the Economic and Social Council, and sustainable development. From 12 to 1 p.m., there will be a High-level Special Event on the GAs adoption of the Non-legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests. In the afternoon, plenary is scheduled to take up the report of its Fourth Committee, followed by commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

This morning, the Security Council holds a debate on Somalia. In the afternoon, it is scheduled to receive a briefing on its subsidiary bodies.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, the annual general meeting of the International Conference of New or Restored Democracies takes place.

The guest at the noon briefing will be Michael Adlerstein, Executive Director of the Capital Master Plan, who will brief the press on the Secretary-Generals Accelerated Renovation Strategy, which was recently approved by the General Assembly.

From 1.15 to 2.45 p.m. in Conference Room A, there will be a forum on Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth.

From 1.15 to 2.45 p.m. in Conference Room D, there will be a panel discussion on The Migrant Workers Convention: A tool for rights-based development.

At 3 p.m. in Conference Room 2, the Chairman of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee, Amb. Ricardo Alberto Arias of Panama, will hold an informal briefing for interested Member States on the current work of the Committee and its Executive Directorate.

At 6:30 p.m., an exhibit entitled Antarctica: On Thin Ice, featuring an Ice Bridge created by Norwegian artist Vebjørn Sand on the outdoor Visitors Plaza, is scheduled to open with a reception in the Visitors Lobby .

Tuesday, December 18

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to receive a briefing on its 1737 Committee.

This morning, the General Assembly is scheduled to take up the reports of its Third Committee.

At 11 a.m. in Room S-226, Johan Scholvink, Director of the Division of Social Policy and Development at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, will hold a press conference to launch the latest World Youth Report, entitled Young Peoples Transition to Adulthood: Progress and Challenges.

All day in the Economic and Social Council Chamber, there will be a forum on Eyes on the South as a Knowledge Hub. At 2 p.m., there will be high-level panel discussion with UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman, World Bank Vice-President for Latin America Pamela Cox, and New York Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs.

Today is International Migrants Day.

Wednesday, December 19

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to adopt resolutions on the U.N. Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and on Liberia sanctions. Following that, it is scheduled to meet on Kosovo.

This morning, the General Assembly is scheduled to take up the reports of its Second Committee.

At 11 a.m. in Room S-226, Srgjan Kerim, President of the 62nd Session of the General Assembly, will hold an end-of-year press conference.

Today is the 4th U.N. Day for South-South Cooperation. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Conference Room 1, a special event on Innovative financing for South- South development cooperation takes place. At 3 p.m. in Room S-226, Mr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), will brief the press on the current OIC initiatives towards advancing South-South Cooperation.

Thursday, December 20

Today is International Human Solidarity Day.

Today is Eid al-Adha, an official U.N. Holiday. Headquarters and all duty stations will be closed.

Friday, December 21

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution on the U.N. Integrated Office in Sierra Leone, as well as receive a briefing and hold consultations on the Middle East.

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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