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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-08-18
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, August 18, 2008
BAN KI-MOON DISCUSSES GEORGIA WITH AMBASSADORS AS AIRLIFT OF GOODS CONTINUES
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with a group of his senior advisers in his office on Saturday morning to discuss the UN approach to the situation in Georgia.
Over the weekend, he also held a number of separate conversations with the President of the Security Council, Ambassadors of the five Permanent Members of the Security Council, as well as the Permanent Representative of Georgia to the UN on this issue. The last of those meetings took place this morning, when he met at UN Headquarters with the UK Ambassador to the United Nations.
Access remains an issue on the humanitarian front in Georgia. The airlifting of goods is still required, and is the only way to get supplies to the western part of the country. On Sunday, a U.N. convoy of relief supplies managed to enter the town of Gori for the first time in the past two weeks. The World Food Programme and the U.N. Refugee agency
delivered high-energy biscuits, jerry cans, kitchen sets and blankets. As of Sunday, some 68,000 people across Georgia have received assistance from the United Nations.
Meanwhile, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations will later today announce a joint humanitarian appeal for some 158,000 people who have been affected and/or displaced. The appeal will cover a six-month period, through February 2009, and be revised after one month. It will include provision of assistance for persons returning from North Ossetia to South Ossetia. A press release from OCHA is expected later this afternoon.
Asked about senior UN officials visiting Georgia, the Spokesman noted that the High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, was scheduled to visit Georgia and Russia, starting on Tuesday.
Asked about the start of the mandate of the incoming Special Representative for Georgia, Johan Verbeke, Haq said that Verbeke is not expected to begin his assignment in Georgia until 1 October. The current Special Representative, Jan Arnault, remains in the job for the time being. In the interim, while preparing for his assignment to Georgia, Verbeke will be based in the Department for Political Affairs, helping the Department in a senior capacity on various issues, among them preparations for the upcoming General Assembly.
Asked why Arnault had not issued a statement on Georgia recently, the Spokesman noted that the current situation involved areas outside the UN Observer Missions area of operations in Abkhazia, and the Secretary-General had accordingly issued several statements.
QAZI: SUDAN PEACE AGREEMENT REMAINS ON TRACK
Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for
Sudan, briefed the
Security Council in an open meeting this morning on the latest developments in that country, saying that the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, though behind schedule, remains on track. Nevertheless, he warned, the foundation for a durable peace remains fragile.
He said that, while the working relationship between North and South Sudan is relatively cordial, the lack of mutual trust and confidence remains a significant obstacle to the goals of making unity attractive and a peaceful implementation of the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement. He said the prospects for the Agreement are uncertain but not necessarily bleak.
Qazi also noted the action taken by the
International Criminal Court, saying that he has conveyed to the Sudanese Government that the Court is an independent institution and that the UN Mission in Sudan will continue to implement its mandate. The Security Council followed its meeting with consultations, also on Sudan.
It began its day with a briefing by the chair of the committee reviewing the implementation of Resolution 1540, concerning the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
U.N. ENVOY BEGINS FIVE-DAY VISIT TO MYANMAR
The Secretary-Generals Special Advisor, Ibrahim Gambari, arrived in Myanmar today. He first met with the Foreign Minister, U Nyan Win, and then held meetings with representatives from the diplomatic corps, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Tripartite Core Group. He was also briefed by the
UN Country Team.
Asked whether the Special Adviser would meet with Aung San Suu Kyi and the senior leadership in Myanmar, the Spokesman said that, in accordance with his mandate, Gambari expects to meet with all relevant parties to the national reconciliation process, including all those whom he has met on previous occasions.
Gambari, he noted, has met with Aung San Suu Kyi on each of his visits, as well as with Myanmars senior leaders on several occasions, and he looks forward to continuing his dialogue with all concerned.
Haq added, in response to further questions, that this visit is the continuation of the Secretary-Generals good offices process led by Gambari over the past two-and-a-half years and follows the recent visit to Myanmar by the Secretary-General himself. The Secretary-General has made very clear upon returning from Myanmar that he expects his good offices to be deepened and broadened through the continued engagement of his Special Adviser.
GAPS IN LAW AND ORDER PERSIST IN SOME PARTS OF LIBERIA
The Secretary-Generals latest
report on Liberia says that, as proposed by the drawdown plan in his previous report, the Government of Liberia and the United Nations have carried out a joint security assessment across the country.
They assessed the level of security threats and evaluated the authorities ability to respond to threats and confirmed that in most of Liberia security threats were insignificant or non-existent. But in a few counties, they found it has deteriorated, a fact attributed to gaps in the maintenance of law and order. Other factors were the competition over natural resources, including widespread illegal exploitation of those resources, as well as the potential for regional instability and food insecurity.
As to the drawdown of UN mission personnel, the Secretary-General recommends the start of the second part of a military pullout from October to September 2009. It should involve the repatriation of a further 1,460 military personnel. A similar drawdown is also envisaged for UN police and other staff.
In conclusion, the Secretary-General recommends a mandate extension of one year for the Mission.
U.N. MISSION BEGINS CONSTRUCTION OF COURTHOUSE IN MONROVIA
This past weekend, the Secretary-General Deputy Special Representative for Liberia, Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, broke ground for the construction of a new UN-funded magisterial courthouse in Monrovia. Mensa-Bonsu described magisterial courts, or courts of first instance, as the pivot of a nations judicial system. She also pledged the UNs support for Liberias efforts to establish an effective judicial system.
The new courthouse is the fourth such building under construction through the
Missions Quick Impact Projects programme. When completed, it will bring to 17 the number of courthouses built or rehabilitated by the UN in Liberia.
W.F.P. CONDEMNS KILLING OF EMPLOYEE IN SOMALIA
The Executive Director of the
World Food Programme expressed shock and sadness today at the killing of one of the agencys staff members in southern Somalia.
Details surrounding the death of Somali national Abdulkadir Diad Mohamed, who joined WFP in June as an administration and finance assistant, are still being gathered. However, all indications are that Mr. Mohammed was abducted by unidentified armed men and killed after trying to escape.
I am shocked by this senseless and barbaric attack on one of our staff, said WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues.
WFP does not believe his death to be related to the recent spate of targeted attacks on aid workers in Somalia, one of the most dangerous places in the world.
REGIONAL CENTRE FOR PEACE AND DISARMAMENT OPENS IN NEPAL
The new office of the UN
Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament was formally opened today in Kathmandu.
message to mark the occasion, which was delivered by his Chef de Cabinet Vijay Nambiar, the Secretary-General noted that the General Assembly established the Centre in 1987 to provide substantive support for peace and disarmament activities, as agreed among countries in the region. A forum for regional dialogue, the Centre has promoted transparency and confidence-building in disarmament matters ever since.
The Secretary-General also calls on all countries in the Asia and Pacific region to work closely with the Regional Centre. He added that he believes that the Centre will live up to the high expectations harboured for it.
UNICEF WORKS TO CONTAIN CHOLERA OUTBREAK IN GUINEA-BISSAU
helping the Government of Guinea-Bissau to fight a fast-moving cholera epidemic. The disease has broken out in the capital and several other parts of the country. As of last week, more than 2,000 people had contracted the disease, and 40 people had died.
UNICEF has mobilized $750,000 dollars since the epidemic began in mid-May. It has also provided experts who have specialized in emergency coordination, water and sanitation, and other areas.
BAN KI-MOON TO OBSERVE ANNIVERSARY OF ATTACK ON U.N BAGHDAD HEADQUARTERS
On Tuesday morning, the Secretary-General will be at UN Headquarters to speak at a ceremony marking the fifth anniversary of the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, in which 22 people had been killed.
The ceremony begins at 10:00 a.m. The Secretary-General and a staff representative will make brief statements, after which a wreath will be laid, and a minute of silence will be observed in honour of fallen staff. At about 10:30, the Daedalus Quartet will perform a piece of classical music that was composed specifically for the occasion by composer Steve Heitzeg.
UNITED NATIONS GIVEN ACCESS TO MOBILE LABORATORY FOR EMERGENCIES: An innovative mobile laboratory developed by the Netherlands to support international response to environmental emergencies was officially inaugurated in The Hague today. The vehicles will be lent to the UN for work in disaster areas,
according to the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP). The so-called Environmental Assessment Module can be rapidly deployed for disasters involving hazardous substances.
PRESIDENT MUSHARRAFS RESIGNATION IS A DOMESTIC MATTER: The Spokesperson declined to offer any comment regarding the resignation of President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, noting that the United Nations does not in general comment on domestic political issues.
SECRETARY-GENERALS GOOD OFFICES AVAILABLE ON KASHMIR IF REQUESTED: Asked whether the Secretary-General would offer his good offices regarding Kashmir, the Spokesman noted that the Secretary-General is always willing to provide good offices, as long as the parties to the conflict in question request it. That has not happened in this case.
BAN KI-MOON HAS RAISED ISRAELS RELEASE OF PALESTINIAN PRISONERS: Asked about the release of Palestinian prisoners by Israel, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has repeatedly raised that issue in the context of the overall peace process.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
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New York, NY 10017
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