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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-08-20

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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

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS ALGERIAN TERRORIST ATTACKS

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a statement issued Tuesday evening,

condemned the terrorist attacks east of Algiers which reportedly killed at least 43 people, including civilians, most of whom were between 18 and 20.

The Secretary-General extended his condolences to the people of Algeria and in particular, to the families of the victims. He urged once again that the international community support the efforts of the Government of Algeria to combat terrorism.

The Secretary-General firmly believes that violence will not deter the people of Algeria from the path of peace and national reconciliation.

Since this statement was issued, two car bombs have reportedly killed 11 people in the city of Bouira. The Secretary General is very concerned by these new deaths and once more condemns the use of violence.

U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe briefed the Security Council in an open meeting on the latest developments in the

Middle East, including Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmerts announcement of his resignation, the continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and indirect talks with Syria, and the rise of internal Palestinian violence as Hamas took action to consolidate its hold over the Gaza Strip.

In recent weeks, he noted, Palestinian internal violence had contributed to an overall total of 43 Palestinians killed and 366 injured.

Pascoe also detailed the continuing humanitarian concerns in Gaza. He said that, further to the Secretary-Generals discussions with Prime Minister Olmert in Paris last month concerning stalled UN projects in Gaza, the Israeli authorities are positively considering the import of additional quantities of construction materials for UN priority projects focusing on housing, school construction and water sanitation. We welcome movement in this regard and hope for the early resumption of all suspended UN projects in Gaza, he said.

Pascoe informed the Council that the Middle East Quartet will meet in New York in the margins of the General Assembly in September, followed by an iftar hosted by the Secretary-General with Arab partners, as well as a meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee.

The Security Council meeting was followed by consultations, also on the Middle East.

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON GEORGIA, CONDEMNS ALGERIA ATTACK AND MAURITANIA COUP

The Security Council yesterday afternoon held an open

meeting, following consultations, to receive briefings on the situation on the ground in Georgia.

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe noted the agreement on the six principles sponsored by the European Union Presidency to end the military hostilities, saying that the full implementation of the six principles would allow for the provision of humanitarian assistance to those affected, defuse the situation and offer hope to finding a political solution to the problem. He added that the United Nations stands ready to facilitate international discussions in this regard and to take part in concrete arrangements for a settlement.

Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet provided an update of the situation in and around the Georgia-Abkhaz conflict zone, including several crossings of the ceasefire line over the past week by the Abkhaz side.

Also yesterday afternoon, the Security Council adopted several Presidential Statements. In one Presidential Statement, the Council

condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist suicide attack that had taken place in Algeria earlier that day. In another, the Council

condemned the Mauritanian militarys overthrow of the democratically elected Government and demanded the restoration of the legitimate, constitutional, democratic institutions immediately.

U.N. AGENCIES MAKE FIRST DISTRIBUTIONS IN WESTERN GEORGIA

The U.N. Refugee agency (UNHCR) and World Food Programme today began distributing aid to thousands of people in western Georgia for the first time in the past two weeks.

The World Food Programme (WFP) delivered food to villages in the Kaspi district and Senaki town in West Georgia. Food delivery to the Akhalgori district -- adjacent to South Ossetia was cancelled due to unexpected population movements out of the area.

Tomorrow, UNHCR will provide non-food items such as jerry cans, kitchen sets and blankets for some 3,000 people in the area.

So far, UNHCR has provided assistance to some 30,000 people across Georgia, while WFP has provided more than 115,000 internally displaced persons with wheat flour, vegetable oil, sugar, salt, high-energy biscuits and baked bread.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

notes improved access in recent days. Humanitarian convoys are passing through existing roadblocks, and there is limited east-west access, enabling assistance to get to previously unreachable locations, including the overland route to the port in Poti, according to OCHA.

Meanwhile, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has held talks with several senior Government officials since his arrival in Tbilisi yesterday. Mr. Guterres also visited two collective centres for newly displaced people.

U.N. ENVOY MEETS WITH A RANGE OF MYANMAR LEADERS

On his third day in

Myanmar, the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser, Ibrahim Gambari, met with the ministers of Planning and Health with whom he discussed ways to address socio-economic conditions. He also held 10 separate meetings with political parties and civil society groups, including members of the Central Executive Committee of the National League for Democracy, student representatives and elected individuals from the 1990 elections. The discussions focused on the need for inclusive national dialogue, a credible political process, and ways to address socio-economic challenges.

Yesterday, Gambari visited areas in the Delta region affected by Cyclone Nargis. He also held a meeting with a team representing the ruling State Peace and Development Council, where they exchanged views on a broad range of issues, including the release of political prisoners, the credibility of the political process and ways to address socio-economic conditions.

As to the press reports that the Secretary-General plans to visit Myanmar again in December, the Spokeswoman said the Secretary-General has made very clear upon returning from Myanmar and following his discussions with the leadership there that he expects his good offices to be deepened and broadened through the continued engagement of his Special Adviser. He has also indicated his intent to return to Myanmar when conditions are right to continue his dialogue with the Myanmar leadership. At this point it is too early to confirm the Secretary-General's calendar.

Asked whether Gambari would meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, the Spokeswoman said that Mr. Gambari has met with her 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.

DR CONGO: U.N. PEACEKEEPERS DEPLOY TO PROTECT CIVILIANS FROM ARMED GROUPS

UN peacekeepers and Congolese soldiers have jointly deployed in the Ituri and Orientale provinces to protect civilians against the Lords Resistance Army and other armed groups.

The Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) adds that elements from the Ugandan rebel group recently attacked and pillaged villages in the region. Another prominent threat to civilians in the area is the Ituri Patriotic Front, who regularly attack and pillage civilian properties.

The Mission reports other violent incidents throughout eastern DRC. And you can read all about that in the transcript of the Missions weekly press conference, copies of which are upstairs.

NEW ANTI-CORRUPTION EFFORT LAUNCHED IN AFGHANISTAN

Kai Eide, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Afghanistan, today launched a new anti-corruption report from the

UN Development Programme and called on Afghanistans people to stand up against corruption.

He said that corruption must be tackled from the bottom up by having the people, Afghan civil society and the media play a crucial role in supporting the Governments anti-corruption efforts.

BALI MEETING TO ADDRESS THREATS TO MARINE TURTLES

More than two dozen signatories of a regional Memorandum of Understanding on marine turtle conservation in the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia are meeting in Bali, Indonesia, from today through Saturday.

According to the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP), the meeting will examine progress made in various countries, as well as increasing manmade threats to sea turtles. These include the impact of fishing. Gill nets, shrimp trawls, and the use of dynamite and poison in fishing all pose a danger to sea turtles. Excessive harvesting of turtle eggs and consumption of turtle meat are another concern, as is coastal development throughout the Indian Ocean region, which is threatening nesting beaches, as well as foraging and resting areas.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055


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