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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-12-21

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MICHELE MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

[There are no noon briefings planned until January 2, 2008.

Developments within the UN system will be posted on this website throughout that period.

Friday, December 21, 2007

BAN KI-MOON STRONGLY CONDEMNS SUICIDE ATTACK IN PAKISTAN

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is appalled by todays suicide bombing at a mosque at the residence of the former Interior Minister of Pakistan, which has claimed the lives of over 50 civilians and injured many others.

The Secretary-General strongly condemns this act of terrorism carried out at a house of worship.

He expresses his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Pakistan.

The Secretary-General urges all political forces in Pakistan to unite against the scourge of terrorism and to act together to create a peaceful environment ahead of the Parliamentary elections scheduled for 8 January 2008.

NETHERLANDS AND UNITED NATIONS SIGN ACCORD FOR

SPECIAL TRIBUNAL FOR LEBANON TO BE BASED IN THE HAGUE

The United Nations and the Kingdom of the Netherlands have signed a Headquarters Agreement that will enable the seat of the

Special Tribunal for Lebanon to be based in the Netherlands.

Larry D. Johnson, Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, signed on behalf of the United Nations and Permanent Representative Frank Majoor signed on behalf of the Netherlands.

This step is the outcome of three months of negotiations that began when Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende informed the Secretary-General that the Government of the Netherlands was favorably disposed to hosting the Special Tribunal.

The Agreement will now be submitted to the Parliament of the Netherlands for ratification. In the meantime, the United Nations and the Netherlands authorities will continue taking steps to establish the Tribunal in The Hague.

In a further development, the Secretary-General has received the report of the Selection Panel constituted pursuant to article 2 of the Annex to Security Council resolution 1757 (2007) to make recommendations regarding the selection of judges of the Special Tribunal. The Panel was composed of Judge Mohamed Amin El Mahdi, formerly of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; Judge Erik Møse, of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; and Mr. Nicolas Michel, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, the Legal Counsel.

The Secretary-General has accepted the Selection Panels recommendations and will announce the names of those selected at an appropriate time in the future. The judges will assume their functions on a date to be determined by the Secretary-General as set forth in the Annex to resolution 1757 (2007).

In addition, pursuant to article 6 of the Annex and a subsequent agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Lebanon, the Management Committee of the Special Tribunal will soon be established. It will be composed of the major donors to the Special Tribunal and will have as its main responsibility providing advice and policy direction on all non-judicial aspects of the operations of the Special Tribunal, including questions of efficiency.

The Spokeswoman, in response to a question, said that the appointment of the Tribunal judges by the Secretary-General has not yet been announced officially , as each of the judges chosen by the Selection panel has to formally accept to serve in the Tribunal.

NEXT FEW MONTHS ARE CRITICAL FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS

The Security Council started its work this morning by adopting two resolutions on Africa.

With the first resolution, the Council extended the mandate of the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) until 30 September 2008.

By the second, the Council extended the mandate of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) until 31 December 2008. It also asked that MONUC attach the highest priority to addressing the crisis in the Kivus, especially through the protection of civilians.

The Security Council then heard a briefing from Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe on the Middle East. Pascoe said the next few months are critical for the renewed peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Solid progress will be essential in the bilateral negotiations. But that is unlikely without serious improvements on the ground, he added.

He also said that donors must follow through on their commendable Paris commitments, and the parties must act to fulfil their responsibilities, so that a new climate of confidence, security and physical mobility is established.

On Lebanon, Pascoe said that, as the current situation is dangerous and unsustainable, it is of fundamental importance for the Lebanese State that all Lebanese leaders seek a solution that enables presidential elections to take place immediately. We have his full remarks upstairs.

The Council then moved into consultations on the Middle East and other matters.

Following those consultations, the Security Council President said Council members welcomed pledges recently made in Paris to the Palestinian Authority. Council members, the statement said, call on states and international organizations to maximize resources available to the Palestinian Authority, and to contribute to the Palestinian institution-building programme in preparation for statehood.

BAN KI-MOON CONGRATULATES PRESIDENT-ELECT OF REPUBLIC OF KOREA

The Secretary-General spoke last night to the President-elect of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Lee Myung-bak. In an earlier statement, he warmly congratulated Mr. Lee on his election as the next President of the Republic of Korea.

He notes that the Republic of Korea is a highly valued and steadfast partner of the United Nations in the work for international peace and security, development and human rights.

With this new leadership, the Secretary-General hopes for an even more active engagement by the Republic of Korea in advancing the agenda of the United Nations -- from combating the effects of global climate change and contributing to peacekeeping, to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and promoting human rights.

The Secretary-General also looks to the Republic of Korea to play an instrumental role in further consolidating peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, including through denuclearization, and in Northeast Asia as a whole.

SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS FOR SUPPORT FOR SOMALIA MISSION

AS MORE PEOPLE FLEE FIGHTING IN MOGADISHU

The Security Council on Wednesday afternoon adopted a Presidential Statement, in which it reaffirmed its support for the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and urged the international community to provide funds, personnel, equipment and services for its full deployment.

The Council also reiterated its request that the Secretary-General develop the existing contingency plans for a UN peacekeeping operation to succeed AMISOM. The Presidential Statement also welcomed the appointment of Nur Hassan Hussein as Prime Minister of Somalia.

Meanwhile, some 10,000 more people are reported to have fled Mogadishu due to continuing fighting that claimed at least a half lives and injured some 50 people this week alone.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates some 256,000 people have fled the Somali capital since October. Most of these internally displaced are being sheltered in camps on the Mogadishu-Afgooye road.

BURUNDI: U.N. SEEKS BETTER HUMANITARIAN ACCESS FOLLOWING HARASSMENT FROM REBELS

After harassment and threats of taxing humanitarian vehicles by some elements of the Front national de libération (FNL) were reported, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that its representatives met with the FNL, police and Army officials to seek better humanitarian access to the province around the capital Bujumbura.

It is yet unclear whether the meetings would lead to an improved work environment for OCHA in that country.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme was able to deliver some 1000 tons of food supplies to some 175,000 people.

CHILDREN CONTINUE TO SUFFER IN IRAQ

UNICEF today painted a bleak picture of the situation of children in

Iraq.

Only 40 percent of children across Iraq have access to clean drinking water; thousands of families have been obliged to leave their homes because of violence or threats; and hundreds of children have lost their lives in the violence.

UNICEF says conditions continue to deteriorate, with many mothers preventing their children from attending school for fear they would be attacked.

Despite that situation, UNICEF and its partners continue to work in Iraq.

W.H.O. HIGHLIGHTS PROGRESS IN FIGHTING DISEASES IN AFRICA

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the continued looming threat of an influenza pandemic, outbreaks of Ebola, Marburg and other infectious diseases, and high rates of women who die in pregnancy and childbirth in developing countries, are among the notable health topics that mark 2007.

Progress was made to halt resurging yellow fever in Africa and efforts to wipe out the last bastions of polio and to stop tuberculosis advanced.

Landmarks, such as major success in the fight to cut measles deaths in Africa, also captured news headlines, according to WHO.

OVER 60,000 REMAIN DISPLACED BY STORM IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

says that more than 60,000 people remain displaced in the Dominican Republic following Tropical Storm Olga.

UNICEF is distributing food packages and hygiene items to the survivors. The UN Population Fund is also providing hygiene items, as well as cleaning equipment and medical supplies.

The World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization are providing supplementary staff to the relief effort and are helping with health and sanitation management in shelters.

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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