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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-12-17
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.com
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, December 17, 2007
BAN KI-MOON URGES DONORS TO SUPPORT PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is in Paris, and he addressed the donors meeting in support of the Palestinian Authority, telling the donors that they must move quickly now, because the peace process can succeed only if we overcome the gap between our diplomatic efforts and the situation on the ground.
He noted the heavy toll of the conflict over the past seven years, and added that he has made no secret of his concern for the 1.4 million people of Gaza who today are living under the most abhorrent conditions. With few exceptions, he said, all manner of legitimate trade with Gaza has come to a standstill, with devastating effects on the economy and on family livelihoods.
The Secretary-General added that the international community must do its utmost to support the Palestinian Authority as it strives to tackle the immense challenges ahead.
In the afternoon, as the conference closed, the Secretary-General pledged that the United Nations will do its part over the next 36 months to assist the Palestinian Authority to implement its programme, adding that Robert Serry, his new Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, will lead the UNs efforts in this respect.
The Secretary-General also held a bilateral meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy earlier today, and was scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
He met with the other principal members of the Quartet, which brings together the United Nations, the United States, Russia and the European Union. The Quartet issued a statement after its meeting.
He ended the day by participating in a dinner with the other Quartet members and with representatives of the League of Arab States.
Asked about the reported fighting between Hamas and Fatah, the Spokeswoman said that the Paris meeting was intended to contribute to bringing an end to the bloodshed on the ground.
MOMENT OF SILENCE OBSERVED FOR VICTIMS OF ALGIERS BOMBINGS
In Paris, the donors meeting in support of the Palestinian Authority began with a moment of silence for all those who perished in the
terrorist bombings last Tuesday in Algeria. The Secretary-General said afterward that the Algiers attack will never deter the UNs vital work around the world.
Throughout the UN system today including in Algiers and at UN Headquarters, including the Security Council a moment of silence was observed in honour of those who died in Algiers.
BAN KI-MOON CONVENES MEETING ON LEBANON
Asked about the reaction to the latest delay in Lebanons presidential election, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General once more calls on Lebanon's political leaders to exert every possible effort to resolve differences and arrive at a solution for an immediate presidential election, without conditionality, in accordance with constitutional rule.
[Following the briefing, the Spokesperson released a statement issued in Paris after the Secretary-General convened a meeting on Lebanon with the representatives of Egypt, France, Italy, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom of Great Britain, the United States, the Presidency of the European Union, the European Commission and the High Representative/ Secretary General of the European Council:
"We share deep concern at the prolonged political crisis in Lebanon," the statement said. "We reiterate our call for unconditional Lebanese presidential elections, without any further delay. In this regard, we urge that parliament be allowed to convene immediately to fulfill its constitutional duties. We insist that outside powers act in compliance with the decisions of the Security Council, binding under international law upon all member states, and fully respecting Lebanons constitution and democratic institutions."]
ALL THREE BENCHMARKS ARE MET AT BALI CLIMATE CONFERENCE
The U.N. climate change conference in Bali wrapped up over the weekend, after negotiations continued an extra day. The Secretary-General returned from Timor-Leste to help jump-start the stalled negotiations.
The Secretary-Generals original plan was to make a one-hour stopover in Bali, but was extended to several hours as he and the President of the conference, Indonesian Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar, made a plea to the negotiators, who ultimately hammered out a final agreement later in the day.
In a statement issued over the weekend, the Secretary-General strongly welcomed the adoption of the Bali Road Map as a pivotal first step in reaching a new agreement on climate change. He noted that all three objectives laid out as benchmarks for the conferences success had been achieved: launching negotiations on a global climate change agreement; agreeing to an agenda for the negotiations; and agreeing to complete them by 2009.
Four major UN-convened meetings to implement the Bali roadmap are expected to take place next year. The first will be held in March or April.
U.N. ENVOY URGES SECURITY COUNCIL ACTION TO STABILIZE SOMALIA
Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Somalia, told the Security Council in an open meeting this morning that the time has come to draw up a roadmap for the way ahead in that country.
He said the options before the Council are to continue the status quo, which he warned may only postpone the day of reckoning; to withdraw from Somalia, which could create an even more serious power vacuum; or to devise new political and security initiatives. On the last option, he said, the United Nations must launch diplomatic action to mobilize a consensus to stabilize Somalia.
This afternoon, the Security Council has scheduled another formal meeting to receive briefings on the work done over the past year by the Councils subsidiary bodies.
Then the Council will hold consultations on the Multinational Force for Iraq.
U.N. ENVOY MEETS WITH U.S. LEADERS ON MYANMAR AND IRAQ
The Secretary-Generals Special Adviser, Ibrahim Gambari, is in Washington, D.C., today for consultations relating both to his work on
Myanmar and on the International Compact for
Gambari met this morning with U.S. First Lady Laura Bush and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley to discuss U.N. efforts in the context of the Secretary-Generals good offices mandate for Myanmar.
Later this afternoon, Gambari is scheduled to meet with the U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Nicholas Burns.
Also later today, he is scheduled to meet with U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt in connection with the International Compact for Iraq.
Gambari is scheduled to brief the General Assembly tomorrow on Myanmar.
BAN KI-MOON IS CONCERNED ABOUT MILITARY ACTIVITY
ON TURKEY/IRAQ BORDER
Asked about recent military activity at the Turkey/Iraq border, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General is concerned that Turkey launched air strikes into northern Iraq on Sunday, and that there have been reports of possible civilian casualties. Thus far, there is no independent confirmation of developments on the ground.
At the same time, Okabe said, the Secretary-General is concerned at the continued intrusion of PKK elements carrying out terrorist attacks in Turkey from Northern Iraq. The Secretary-General appeals to the Governments of Iraq and Turkey to work together to prevent these kinds of attacks from continuing, she said.
U.N. REFUGEE CHIEF URGES END TO FIGHTING IN EASTERN DR CONGO
High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres wrapped up a three-day visit to North Kivu, in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, yesterday by calling for an end to the fighting there and pledging to improve conditions in the camps where tens of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) have sought refuge.
During his stay, Guterres visited camps west of the provincial capital of Goma, as well as in Rutshuru, 70 kilometres to the north. While promising to improve camp conditions, Guterres said the real solution to the massive displacement lies in lasting peace.
In total, there are 800,000 displaced persons in North Kivu, a result of both the recent conflict between government troops and rebels led by army general Laurent Nkunda and previous conflicts.
At a press conference, Guterres said it was unacceptable that armed men were entering IDP camps and harassing people. He called on all sides to respect the civilian character of these sites.
U.N. ENVOY IN SUDAN HIGHLIGHTS PROGRESS
ON COMPREHENSIVE PEACE AGREEMENT
Special Representative Ashraf Qazi, in his first press conference since he assumed his functions in Sudan,
highlighted the progress made by the parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in overcoming the political impasse that erupted in October.
The African Union-United Nations Joint Special Representative for Darfur, Rodolphe Adada, met in Al Fasher with the Wali of North Darfur State to discuss security issues related the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) in the wake of an attack by four armed men on the African Union missions Military Chief of Staff near the AMIS camp in Al Fasher.
The attackers hijacked the vehicle and injured the driver in the incident, which occurred on Friday. The Chief of Staff survived the attack.
Senior officials of UNAMID and North Darfur authorities are scheduled to meet today to finalize a security plan to ensure protection of UNAMID and AMIS personnel and facilities in Al Fasher.
Asked whether contributing countries had responded to the request for helicopters to the UNAMID hybrid force, the Spokeswoman said that had not yet happened.
Asked for an update on the situation in Darfur, Okabe noted the attack on the AMIS vehicle. She added that AMIS is monitoring the fighting on the ground, while the United Nations tries to assist political talks among the parties and pushes for the deployment of a peacekeeping operation.
UNITED NATIONS CALLS FOR FUNDING FOR REFUGEES IN ETHIOPIA
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says more than $3 million is urgently needed to prevent cutbacks in food distributions to refugee populations in Ethiopia by March. A poor rainy season and desert locusts are threatening food security in that country.
The World Food Programme currently provides monthly food rations to some 80,000 refugees, half of them from Sudan.
Meanwhile, the UN Refugee agency has resumed the repatriation of Sudanese refugees from western Ethiopia, after a six-month hiatus due to the rainy season and poor road conditions. A convoy of buses and trucks carrying more than 600 Sudanese refugees left Bonga Camp on Saturday. Its expected to complete the more than 800 kilometre trip to Sudans Blue Nile State in three days.
PEACEBUILDING FUND COMMITS $15 MILLION TO LIBERIA: The U.N. Mission in Liberia and that countrys Government today announced that the U.N. Peacebuilding Fund has committed to providing $15 million in support of peace building efforts in Liberia over the next two years. A Joint Steering Committee will be constituted to oversee project selection and the allocation of funds. It will begin meeting with prospective partners next month.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION HELPS PAKISTAN RESPOND TO BIRD FLU OUTBREAK: The World Health Organization (WHO) is providing technical support to Pakistans Ministry of Health, following the finding of eight suspected human cases of bird flu in the countrys northwest.
Among other things, WHO is helping with investigations and is reviewing the surveillance, prevention and control measures that have been implemented. Multiple poultry outbreaks of the bird flu virus have been occurring in Pakistan since 2006, according to WHO.
GLOBAL COMPACT LAUNCHES OVERVIEW OF ACTIVITIES AT COUNTRY LEVEL: The UN Global Compact -- a framework for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with
ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights,
the environment and
anti-corruption -- is launching its first-ever Local Network Report. Over the past two years, the number of Local Networks has doubled, with Networks emerging or existing in close to 90 countries. Recent launches have occurred in the Republic of Korea, Côte dIvoire, Viet Nam, the Dominican Republic, Turkey and the United States, among other countries.
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