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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-11-05
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
BAN KI-MOON CONGRATULATES U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA
spoke to reporters this morning and extended his warmest congratulations to Senator Barack Obama as the next President of the United States. Calling the occasion an historic opportunity, the Secretary-General said that he looks forward to working with the new administration to fulfill our common goals and enormously important objectives. He said, With a glad heart, I welcome this new era of partnership for change.
The Secretary-General said that he is heading to Kenya today to attend the UN-backed summit of the African Union concerning the situation in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo. During that visit, he said, he will sit down with President Joseph Kabila of the DRC and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and encourage them to find a path to peace.
From Kenya, he said, he will join the Quartet meetings on the
Middle East, to be held in the region this weekend.
The Secretary-General, asked about his views on President-elect Obama, recalled that the two of them had met and spoken on a range of mutual concerns while on the same plane flight in February 2007. At the time, he said, they had discussed the North Korean and Iranian nuclear programmes and UN reform.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals reference today to a new multilateralism, the Spokeswoman said that he has been underscoring in recent weeks the many issues that know no borders, including the global financial crisis and climate change. More and more issues, Montas said, are global issues that need to be addressed by new forms of multilateralism.
She noted that the idea of greater international partnership would be discussed at the Group of 20 meeting next week in Washington, as it was during the recent General Assembly meeting on the financial crisis. New creative forms of multilateralism will be also discussed at the financing for development meeting later this year in Doha.
Asked whether the Secretary-General would meet with General Laurent Nkunda in Kenya, the Spokeswoman said that it was her understanding that leaders of UN Member States, and not members of other groups, would attend the Kenya meeting.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS ABDUCTION OF AID WORKERS IN SOMALIA
The Secretary-General most strongly
condemns the abduction of four aid workers and two pilots from an airstrip near the town of Dusamareb in Somalia today.
The Secretary-General demands their immediate release. He is deeply concerned about the worsening trend of killings and abductions of aid workers in Somalia. He calls upon all parties to respect the neutral and impartial status of humanitarian staff, and to allow them to do their work bringing vital life-saving assistance to millions of Somalis, nearly half of the population, who are counting on this support for their survival.
U.N. MISSION DEPLORES RESUMPTION OF FIGHTING IN D.R. CONGO
The UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) has condemned the resumption of heavy artillery fighting in the North Kivu town of Rutshuru. The fighting reportedly broke out yesterday between the PARECO armed movement backed by local ethnic militias and anti-government forces led by Laurent Nkunda.
The Mission says this latest violation of the ceasefire poses a grave threat to the safety of civilians and could worsen an already dire humanitarian situation. It calls on all warring parties to immediately withdraw from Rutshuru so as to allow UN peacekeepers to continue the vital mission of protecting civilians.
The World Food Programme (WFP), meanwhile, says that it has begun
handing out food to some 135,000 displaced people in six camps around Goma. The agency says the handouts include high-energy biscuits for children at risk of malnutrition. The donated food is expected to last about 10 days and will help to ease the squeeze on food supplies in Goma since fighting temporarily cut off many key delivery routes.
WFP is also stocking up on rations by drawing on a 1000-ton reserve from its office in the South Kivu town of Bukavu. It is expediting deliveries from Uganda and Tanzania, while another 1,200 tons of food will be brought in from its operation in Rwanda. New supporting staff is also being flown from within the DRC and from abroad.
Asked about comments from Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy about MONUCs ability to open fire on rebels, the Spokeswoman said that is within the Missions rules of engagement, which allow for the use of force for the furtherance of its mandate, including if civilians are endangered or if the peacekeepers are fired on.
[MONUCs mandate authorizes it to use all means deemed necessary, within the limits of its capacities and in the areas of deployment of its armed units, to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence; and to contribute to the improvement of the security conditions.]
SECURITY SITUATION REMAINS CALM IN SOUTHERN SUDAN
Security Council this morning heard a briefing in an open meeting, followed by consultations, on the status of the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement for
In a briefing, the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet, introduced the Secretary-Generals recent
report on Sudan.
Mulet noted that no major ceasefire violations have occurred and that the overall security situation remains relatively calm in southern Sudan and the transition areas, including Abyei. He added that the status of the peace agreement remains a mixed picture of slow but continuing progress.
He said there is an urgent need to focus on the issues that will enable the parties to reach the 2011 referendum and ensure stability after 2011.
International assistance will remain vital in numerous areas, including disarming, demobilizing and reintegrating parties and assisting in confidence building, mediation, human rights and capacity building, Mulet said.
MORE FUNDS NEEDED TO HELP FLOOD SURVIVORS IN CENTRAL AMERICA
On the response to flooding in Honduras and Guatemala, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that some parts of Honduras are still reachable only by air. With more rain in the forecast, there is an increasing the risk of further floods and landslides.
Last weeks Flash Appeal for $17 million is only eight per cent funded, but a grant of $1.5 million has been released from the Central Emergency Response Fund. Meanwhile, a Response Fund application is being prepared for flood relief in Guatemala, which formally requested UN assistance on Monday.
HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF CONCERNED BY SITUATION IN HURRICANE-HIT HAITI
The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, just
concluded a three-day visit to Haiti this Wednesday.
Speaking to the media at the airport, she expressed her deep concern and sadness about the socio-economic situation of the majority of the Haitian population, particularly after the four hurricanes that struck the country in recent weeks. She cited the lack of access to food and drinkable water, as well as the conditions in Haitis prisons, as violations of the human rights of Haitians.
What is needed, she said, is a true partnership between the Government, the population and the international community.
Pillay met with President René Préval and Prime Minister Michele Pierre Louis, as well as human rights organizations and members of Haitian civil society. She also visited Cité Soleil, a poor and formerly violent neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince.
She noted the progress made on security issues, as well as the reforms of the police and the judicial system. Pillay stressed the importance of the continued engagement of the Haitian Government to pursue these reforms, and the need of coordinated support from the UN agencies working in Haiti.
SENIOR UNITED NATIONS OFFICIAL HEADS TO CHAD
The Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Susanna Malcorra, has begun a week-long official visit to Chad, during which she will be evaluating the deployment of the UN Mission to the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT).
Malcorra will be meeting with Chadian and international officials and the UN Country Team and she will visit both the Mission and EUFOR representatives in the northeastern towns of Abeche, Farchana and Goze-Beida.
PEACEBUILDING FUND DELEGATION VISITS CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
A delegation of the
Peacebuilding Fund is on a weeklong visit to the Central African Republic (CAR). Led by the Permanent Representative of Belgium, who chairs the country-specific configuration on the CAR, the delegation is meeting with the Government and other key stakeholders.
They are discussing the countrys peacebuilding priorities and challenges, as well as the nature and scope of international support it needs.
NEW FUND LAUNCHED TO FINANCE YOUTH-LED DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
unveiled a $2 million fund to finance youth-led development projects around the world.
Talking about the fund, Anna Tibaijuka, the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, said that youth are the future of our cities but often are rendered voiceless due to unemployment, lack of education and other issues.
She added that through this fund, we are at the forefront of a growing movement to place youth at the center of sustainable development strategies.
BAN KI-MOON CONCERNED BY VIOLENCE IN GAZA, ISRAEL: Asked about recent Israeli air strikes in
Gaza, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General is concerned about the outbreak of violence in Gaza and southern Israel. He urges full respect for the calm brokered by Egypt that has been in place for several months and which was just broken
U.N. PENSION FUND UNSCATHED BY FINANCIAL CRISIS: Asked whether the UN Pension Fund needs to change its investment policies under the current economic climate, the Spokeswoman said that the Pension Fund has not suffered from the recent financial crisis.
WESTERN SAHARA ENVOY CONSULTATIONS ONGOING: In response to a question, the Spokeswoman said that consultations on a new Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara are still going on.
CYPRUS TALKS WILL BEAR FRUIT: The Spokeswoman, in response to a question for a reporter who claimed there was no hope for the Cyprus peace process, said that the Secretary-General does not share that view, but rather believes that the Cyprus talks will continue and will bear fruit. The Secretary-General, she said, has met with the parties to that peace process and is confident of a positive response.
UP TO GOVERNMENTS TO DECIDE ON TROOP TRAINING: Asked about UN assistance in training Timorese troops, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations has a mandate to undertake such training, adding that it is up to Governments to decide whether they need UN assistance in training armed forces.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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