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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-08-21

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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

Thursday, August 21, 2008

BAN KI-MOON CONDEMNS DOUBLE SUICIDE BOMBING IN PAKISTAN

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

condemns the double suicide bombing in the Pakistani town of Wah today which reportedly killed a large number of civilians and injured many more.

He reiterates his rejection of such indiscriminate and reprehensible acts of terrorism and extends his condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Pakistan.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET ON GEORGIA THIS AFTERNOON

The Security Council is scheduled to meet in closed consultations this afternoon at 3.30 p.m. today on the situation in Georgia.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) says it has made more

humanitarian deliveries today. WFP is providing wheat flour, vegetable oil, beans, salt, sugar, high-energy biscuits and baked bread to more than 120,000 beneficiaries.

WFP notes a substantial movement of populations between South and North Ossetia, making it difficult to establish the exact number of displaced persons. The Russian Ministry for Emergencies (EMERCOM), which has been coordinating Russia's aid efforts for the displaced from South Ossetia, including the provision of food aid, has said it would welcome a contribution of food assistance from WFP. The food will be distributed in coordination with the Ministry and local authorities to the displaced population in North Ossetia.

The UN High

Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres is expected to be in North Ossetia today. He is in the region to review UNHCRs humanitarian operations.

U.N. ENVOY CONDUCTS WIDE-RANGING MEETINGS IN ONGOING MYANMAR TRIP

Asked about Special Adviser Ibrahim Gambaris failure to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi so far during his visit to Myanmar, the Spokeswoman noted that, Mr. Gambari's visit is not over yet. Mr. Gambari is seeking to build on his previous missions by listening to everyone to hear their expectations and concerns, encourage them to find ways to move forward the objectives of national reconciliation, democracy and respect for human rights in the interest of all the people of Myanmar, and see how the United Nations can continue to help the Government and people of Myanmar to that end. The discussions he has had focused on the need for a credible and inclusive political process and dialogue.

Asked about his upcoming meetings, she reiterated 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. He 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.

DARFUR FORCE COMMANDER REPORTED INCREASED COOPERATION WITH SUDANESE GOVERNMENT

Asked about comments made to the press by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, which reportedly threatened to halt cooperation with UN peacekeeping missions if the International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant against him, the Spokeswoman said that the

ICC judges had not yet ruled on any arrest warrant.

In the meantime, she said,

UNAMID Force Commander Gen. Martin Luther Agwai

had made clear in comments to the press last week that UNAMIDs work on the ground continues. Agwai, Okabe said, had said that cooperation with the Sudanese authorities had increased since 9 July and that he hoped that cooperation would continue.

Asked whether the United Nations is putting contingency plans in place in the event of an arrest warrant being issued, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations updates its security measures around the world regularly, although it does not comment on its security procedures.

CONGOLESE POLICE OFFICERS RECEIVE TRAINING IN FIGHT AGAINST SEXUAL VIOLENCE

The Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) says it has completed the

training of 37 Congolese police officers from the North Kivu province. The training focused on improving the work of the role of inspectors and officers of the judicial police in investigating crimes of sexual violence. This, in turn, should lead to better police protection of victims and witnesses of such crimes.

Among other subjects, the participants were trained on procedures for assisting victims, and national and international legislation on sexual violence.

TIMOR-LESTE MAKES STRIDES IN IMPROVING HUMAN RIGHTS

A human rights report

launched today by the United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), notes that Timor-Leste has continued to consolidate progress in key human rights areas, including adherence to the rule of law, strengthening of the judicial system and addressing past human rights violations.

The second of its kind, the report, covering the period between September 2007 to June 2008, focuses on key human rights developments in relation to the security sector and access to justice, and provides a list of recommendations.

The report notes that the 11 February attacks against President José Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão constituted a significant security challenge but the national authorities response showing increasing institutional stability and adherence to the rule of law were positive developments.

UNMIT stresses that, having emerged from a critical period, Timor-Leste is now at a human rights crossroad and its people and state institutions can continue to build on progress achieved.

NEW ROUND OF CLIMATE CHANGE TALKS GETS UNDERWAY IN ACCRA

The latest round of U.N.

climate change talks got underway today in Accra, Ghana. More than 1,600 participants from more than 150 countries are attending the weeklong session.

This is the third major U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiating session this year. Representatives are seeking to strengthen long-term cooperative action on climate change, with a final agreement to be reached in Copenhagen in December 2009.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer today called for a speeding up of negotiations, and the presentation of concrete proposals, if Governments are to meet the 2009 deadline. He stressed the importance of the talks for African countries, adding that it is clear these countries need international support for climate-resilient development and green growth.

UNDP CHIEF REGRETS COLLAPSE OF DOHA TALKS, CALLS FOR SUCCESSFUL RESUMPTION

UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Kemal Dervis said, in a statement today, that a balanced, equitable, open and multilateral trading system is desirable, particularly given both the current and foreseeable difficulties in the world economy. He thus joins World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick and World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy in voicing support for resuming the stalled Doha round of talks.

An agreement at Doha, Dervis said, would have been beneficial to developing countries and the world economy. He added that remaining obstacles to a final agreement, especially regarding a special safeguard mechanism for agriculture, should be overcome.

WHO LAUNCHES NEW INFORMATION CAMPAIGN ON HEPATITIS B

The World Health Organization (WHO) has come out with

factsheets providing information about Hepatitis B, which it says is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV, but is preventable with a safe and effective vaccine.

Worldwide, WHO says, an estimated two billion people have been infected with the Hepatitis B virus, and more than 350 million have chronic that is to say, long-term liver infections.

MADRID PLANE CRASH: BAN KI-MOON TO SEND CONDOLENCE LETTER

The Secretary-General will be sending a letter of condolence to Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero following the plane crash in Madrid yesterday, which reportedly left more than 150 people dead.

He extends his sympathies to the families of those who died in the crash, and to Government and people of Spain.

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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