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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-10-15

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MICHELE

MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

BAN KI-MOON URGES CAMBODIA & THAILAND TO EXERCISE RESTRAINT IN WAKE OF BORDER SHOOTOUT

The Secretary-General is

deeply concerned about the exchange of gunfire today along the Cambodian-Thailand border and the reported casualties.

He calls on both parties to exercise utmost restraint and urges them to expedite bilateral talks so that their differences can be resolved peacefully.

BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES ESTABLISHMENT OF LEBANON/ SYRIA DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS

The Secretary-General

welcomes the historic steps taken by Lebanon and Syria to establish full diplomatic relations. This joint effort between two nations reinforces the sovereignty, stability and political independence of the Lebanese State in accordance with the Taif Accord and relevant Security Council resolutions.

The Secretary-General hopes that this landmark event will encourage Syria and Lebanon to engage in further constructive dialogue that will bring mutual benefits to both countries and help ensure stability and progress in their bilateral relations.

The Secretary-General stands ready to support Lebanon and Syria towards these goals.

Asked about UN assistance regarding the demarcation of borders between Syria and Lebanon, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General had discussed the matter with officials of the two countries on the margins of the General Debate.

U.N. ENVOY MEETS WITH LEBANESE LEADERS

Michael Williams, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, had his first meetings upon arriving in Beirut with senior Lebanese officials today, including President Michel Suleiman and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.

Williams said that he and President Suleiman had a very good meeting in which they discussed the process of national dialogue and reconciliation in Lebanon, regional efforts and the establishment of diplomatic relations between Syria and Lebanon.

He said he was pleased to hear about the announcement yesterday of the decree by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad about Lebanese-Syrian relations, which he called a very important and significant development which had been called for by UN resolutions for some time.

INTERNATIONAL TALKS ON GEORGIA WILL RESUME NEXT MONTH

The first session of the international discussions on Georgia wrapped up in Geneva today with a decision to hold the next meeting on 18 November.

In a press conference after the session, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Georgia, Johan Verbeke, said one should not dramatize the procedural incident that happened today. In that regard, he noted that all participants had been present, had expressed their views, and had acted in a responsible way.

Verbeke said it had been decided to create some breathing space to address the few outstanding procedural points. The current suspension of work was only temporary, he added.

Meanwhile, last night in Geneva, the Secretary-General had a working dinner with the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. In the press conference that followed, after French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner read out a joint statement, and the Secretary-General answered reporters questions.

The Secretary-General said he was encouraged by the general consensus among the parties to resolve this issue through dialogue. But he cautioned against being too impatient or in a hurry to have a so-called quick fix resolution.

Asked whether the Russian delegation had walked out of the Geneva talks, the Spokeswoman said that was not the case.

Asked about arrangements for participation at the meetings, she said that those were decided at the technical meetings; the United Nations did not determine them.

Asked about a news blackout in Geneva, Montas said that there was one in place temporarily, but she noted that a press conference had taken place there today.

BAN KI-MOON TAKES NOTE OF SUDANS REPORTED DETENTION OF SUSPECT IN DARFUR CRIMES

In response to questions about reports indicating that the Government of Sudan has detained Ali Khushayb for crimes committed in Darfur, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General has taken note of this reported development. If confirmed, this is a welcome step towards the vital need to end impunity and bring to justice those responsible for crimes in Darfur.

On the ground in Darfur, a team of UN-AU Police Advisers, together with the Bangladeshi Formed Police Unit, have embarked on confidence-building and security assessment patrols 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at the Kalma camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs), in accordance with UNAMIDs Police mandate. The primary focus of these patrols is to create an interactive and friendly environment conducive to peaceful co-existence among IDPs as well as to demonstrate the commitment of UNAMID to achieving lasting peace in the region.

MILITARY DISENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE LAUNCHED IN D.R. CONGO

The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) says that a

committee was launched yesterday to facilitate the implementation of the military disengagement agreement in South Kivu. In addition to the UN, European Union and government representatives, several regional armed groups were present at the launching of the Provincial Committee for the Coordination of Disengagement Operations in South Kivu.

The Committee is made up of about 20 members representing political groups, the military and police, as well as the international facilitation team including the UN and the armed groups. Its mission will be to plan and direct disengagement operations.

The creation of the South Kivu committee follows a similar development in North Kivu a few days ago.

LAST U.N. PEACEKEEPERS TO LEAVE ETHIOPIA THIS WEEK

The UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) is now very close to completing its withdrawal from the region. Sixty of the remaining peacekeepers returned to their country of origin this past weekend, and another 15 are expected to leave by weeks end. A farewell ceremony for the departing peacekeepers was held in northern Ethiopia near the UN base at Adigrat.

At that event, the Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Azouz Ennifar, thanked the peacekeepers for their service under the UN flag. The Secretary-Generals good offices, he said, remain available to Ethiopia and Eritrea in their search for a lasting solution to their border dispute.

WORLD COURT ISSUES ORDER IN GEORGIA vs. RUSSIA OVER ALLEGATIONS OF RACIAL BIAS

Regarding the case by Georgia against the Russian Federation, concerning the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Court has

issued an Order on a number of provisional measures.

Among other things, the Court has indicated that both Parties shall refrain from any act of racial discrimination and from sponsoring, defending or supporting such acts; that they shall facilitate humanitarian assistance; and that they shall refrain from any action which might prejudice the respective rights of the Parties or might aggravate or extend the dispute.

RURAL WOMEN PRODUCE MORE THAN HALF THE WORLDS FOOD

Today is the first-ever International Day of Rural Women. In a

message to mark the occasion, the Secretary-General says that rural women produce more than half of the worlds food and provide immeasurable support to local communities. But despite the life-saving role they play, they are seldom appreciated or compensated.

He also adds that its important to foster a world where the woman who farms is also a woman with educational opportunities, political access, and a voice at the negotiating table.

PROTECTIONISM COULD ENDANGER AGRICULTURAL SECTORS IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD

The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Jacques Diouf

said today that Governments should avoid reducing aid to developing countries agricultural sectors and not introduce protectionist trade measures in response to the unfolding global financial crisis.

In a statement to FAOs Committee on World Food Security, Diouf warned that such steps could increase the risk of another food crisis occurring next year. That could happen despite the record 2008 cereal harvest that is now expected.

Meanwhile, the European Professional Football Leagues and FAO today launched a campaign to raise funds and awareness about the critical problem of world hunger. Theres more information in press releases upstairs.

TODAY IS GLOBAL HANDWASHING DAY

Today marks the first ever

Global Handwashing Day. It is being celebrated in over 70 countries across five continents in an effort to get millions around the world to wash their hands with soap.

The inaugural Global Handwashing Day focuses on children and schools. After learning about improved hygiene behaviour in schools, children can act as agents of change by taking these messages home to their families and communities. According to UNICEF, handwashing with soap is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrheal disease and pneumonia, which together are responsible for some 3.5 million child deaths every year.

And today, right outside the UN cafeteria, UNICEF staff have set up a booth with water and soap. I encourage you to go down and give them a hand.

Meanwhile, the Day is being celebrated around the world.

For example, in India, the popular cricketer Sachin Tendulkar will promote Global Handwashing Day by washing his hands with soap. In the Philippines, over 100 schoolchildren will meet in Makati Park, in the heart of the Manila, to advocate for handwashing with soap as an important habit for their peers to adopt.

In Ghana, Global Handwashing Day will start with a launching event at a childrens park. Children will be in charge of the handwashing stations and parades in Accra and Tamele to sensitize the public to wash their hands. And in Pakistan, newscasters endorsing the need of washing hands before meal times have been aired on the 7 pm news bulletin of the local Samaa TV for several weeks.

A handwashing-with-soap exhibition in the capital of Tajikistan, Dushanbe, will display schoolchildrens drawings, essays and photos dedicated to handwashing with soap.

The President of Madagascar will join the countrys 3.5 million schoolchildren in handwashing with soap at noon. In South Africa, about 900,000 people will receive text messages reminding them to take out the soap. And the King of Cambodia will honour a high-level handwashing event, and schoolchildren in every classroom in the country will wash their hands with soap.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECURITY COUNCIL TO TAKE UP GUINEA-BISSAU AND SUDAN SANCTIONS: At 4:00 this afternoon, the Security Council intends to hold two formal meetings. The Council will consider adoption of a Presidential Statement on Guinea-Bissau, and it will also vote on a draft resolution concerning a one-year extension of the Panel of Experts dealing with sanctions on Sudan.

RICH COUNTRIES MUST KEEP COMMITMENTS MADE TO DEVELOPING WORLD: Asked about the Secretary-Generals concerns that commitments made to Africa may not be implemented, the Spokeswoman said that he had made his concerns clear in his recent statement, in which he urged countries to stand by the commitments that they had made to the developing world.

HUMANITARIAN NEEDS FOR DROUGHT-HIT ETHIOPIA REVISED UPWARD: The United Nations, in conjunction with the Government of Ethiopia, has

revised upward the financial requirements for humanitarian aid to Ethiopia. Some $266 million is now required over the next three months for urgent assistance to 6.4 million people in drought-stricken regions of Ethiopia.

  • **The guest at todays noon briefing was Joel Boutroue, the UNs Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti.

    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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