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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-11-06

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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 MICHELE

MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, November 6, 2008

DR CONGO: BAN KI-MOON DEMANDS CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES

The Secretary-General is

deeply concerned by the ongoing violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and, in particular, by the fighting which began two days ago between a mixed group of Coalition of Patriots in the Congolese Resistance (PARECO)/Mayi-Mayi militia and the National Congress in Defense of the People (CNDP) in the Rutshuru area. He is also worried by the reported attack by the CNDP this morning on positions of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) in the Nyanzale area.

The Secretary-General calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of forces to positions held prior to the resumption of fighting on 28 August. He urges the armed groups involved in the ongoing fighting to support the current efforts to find a political solution to the crisis in the eastern DRC and to avoid activities that result in the further displacement and suffering of the civilian population.

The Secretary-General continues to work closely with the leaders of the sub-region to assist in finding a comprehensive and lasting solution to this crisis and is currently in Nairobi, where he will attend a regional summit on the subject.

CONGO REBELS SEIZE MORE TERRITORY

Fighting erupted again in North Kivu between the Congolese army and rebels loyal to Laurent Nkunda, the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) said a few hours ago. Fighting was underway in Miyanzali, which the Mission now says is entirely in rebel hands with pockets of resistance by government troops on its outskirts. UN peacekeepers maintain a mobile operational base in the area where displaced civilians were gathering for protection.

The Mission, meanwhile, has confirmed that Nkundas fighters have captured the villages of Nyanzale and Kikuku and are actively seeking to seize new territory in violation of the ceasefire they declared last week.

Our humanitarian colleagues report that the identification of the internally displaced is now underway at camps and other sites in North Kivu.

The World Health Organization (WHO) now has some 10 tons of vital medicine, enough to keep 60,000 people in basic health for a period of one month. Another 30 tons of medical goods were donated by Norway and are expected in Goma in the coming days.

BAN KI-MOON TO MEET RWANDA, D.R. CONGO LEADERS IN NAIROBI

The Secretary-General is traveling to Kenya, where he is to attend the African Union regional summit tomorrow on the situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

As he

told reporters yesterday, he will meet with President Joseph Kabila of the DRC and with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda at that summit, and will encourage them to find a path to peace. He will also meet with other regional leaders and senior African Union officials, and will be accompanied by his newly-appointed Special Envoy dealing with the situation in the eastern Congo, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Asked what the Secretary-General hopes to achieve from his meetings with Presidents Kabila and Kagame, the Spokeswoman said that he would first of all ask them to have direct communication. While in Nairobi, she added, he would also talk to the leaders gathered there about what they could do to rein in armed groups.

Asked whether the Secretary-General would meet with Laurent Nkunda, Montas said that Nkunda had not been invited to Nairobi. The meeting there, she said, was a high-level summit for leaders of the Great Lakes region.

ENVOYS MISSION SEEKS TO DEFUSE CHAD/SUDAN TENSIONS

The United Nations-African Union Principal Deputy Joint Special Representative in Darfur, Henry Anyidoho, met today with the African Union fact-finding team, which is visiting the region to defuse escalating tensions between Chad and Sudan. The team, led by former Burundian President Pierre Buyoya, arrived in El Fasher, North Darfur, today, and was briefed on the situation in Darfur; the team will then travel on to El Geneina and then Khartoum.

The United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), meanwhile, reports the security situation in its area of responsibility as relatively calm. However, the Mission adds, banditry and rape are still prevalent, and UNAMID forces are working closely with Sudanese police and rebel factions to combat the situation.

ELECTION FOR NEW WORLD COURT JUDGES IS UNDERWAY

The

Security Council and

General Assembly today are holding parallel meetings to elect five judges who will serve nine-year terms on the

International Court of Justice.

Candidates need to obtain an absolute majority of votes in both the General Assembly and the Security Council to be elected.

SIERRA LEONE COURT UNVEILS AFRICAN-LANGUAGE GLOSSARY

The Registrar of the

Special Court for Sierra Leone, Herman von Hebel, today launched in Freetown a glossary of legal terminology in the local languages of Krio, Limba, Mende, and Themne.

The glossary, which was compiled by the Special Courts Language Unit, draws on the experience of the Courts interpreters. It makes available to Sierra Leones national judiciary legal terminology in the countrys main languages for the first time ever.

UNITED NATIONS IN FRAGILE FINANCIAL STATE

Out as a document today is the Secretary-Generals latest report to the General Assembly on improving the financial situation of the United Nations.

In it, he says that the financial position of the UN remains fragile. The Secretary-General notes that the only way to ensure a more stable financial base for the work of the UN is for Member States to meet their financial obligations to the Organization in a fuller and more timely fashion. Otherwise, cash shortfalls are possible.

As of October 24th, assessments issued were lower compared to the end of 2007 in all categories except international tribunals. Unpaid assessments, however, were higher in all categories except for the Capital Master Plan. Under current projections, borrowing from reserve accounts may be required in November and December, he says.

FOOD AID REACHES PAKISTAN EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS

In the aftermath of the recent earthquake in Pakistan, the World Food Programme (WFP)

says it is distributing fortified ready-to-eat biscuits in the hardest-hit areas.

It has also started distributing enough wheat flour, pulses, vegetable oil and salt for up to 20,000 survivors in the worst-hit areas.

In light of dropping temperatures, UN agencies are calling for the provision of winter-ready tents, blankets and warm clothing.

UKRAINE GETS EMERGENCY I.M.F. LOAN

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has

approved a two-year, US$16.4 billion Stand-By Arrangement for Ukraine. Approved under the Funds fast-track Emergency Mechanism, it grants exceptional access to IMF resources. The funds will help the country restore financial and economic stability and strengthen confidence.

Ukraines economic outlook has deteriorated substantially in the wake of falling prices for steel, the countrys major expert, while the international financial crisis has put Ukraines banks under considerable pressure.

RECORD CEREAL HARVEST IS PROJECTED

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in its bi-annual Food Outlook,

reports that world cereal production is expected to set a record this year. High prices led to more crops being planted, and weather conditions were generally good.

Nevertheless, FAO warns that this news, along with the recent drop in food prices, should not create a false sense of security. The agency says that price volatility, combined with the current credit squeeze, could result in fewer crops planted next year, which in turn could lead to surging prices the year after that.

PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT CAN HELP PREVENT CONFLICTS

Today is the International Day of Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. In a

message to mark the occasion, the Secretary-General says that the natural environment, which is protected by the Geneva Conventions, is often harmed during war and armed conflict. Water wells are polluted, forests cut down, soils poisoned, and animals killed.

He adds that protecting the environment can help countries create employment opportunities and promote development, thereby avoiding a relapse into armed conflict.

TRANSPARENT REGULATIONS ESSENTIAL FOR INVESTOR CONFIDENCE

The head of The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Supachai Panitchpakdi, has

said that transparent financial and accounting rules are necessary to restore investor confidence around the world, as the economic crisis intensifies and spreads.

He added that amendments to relevant accounting and reporting standards may be necessary, but representatives of developing countries should help devise these amendments.

W.H.O. WELCOMES SMOKING BAN AT U.N HEADQUARTERS

The World Health Organization (WHO) has welcomed the General Assemblys decision this week to ban smoking and tobacco sales at UN Headquarters.

WHO notes that tobacco is the worlds leading preventable cause of death, killing more than five million people per year from lung cancer, heart disease and other diseases. The agency adds that there is no safe level of second-hand smoke.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan today said, "By banning smoking and the sale of tobacco products on UN premises, the Member States set a tremendous example.

Asked what steps would be taken to enforce the ban, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretariat already has a bulletin in place asking staff members not to smoke in the Headquarters building. Representatives of Member States, however, are not bound by the same rules as staff.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

UNITED NATIONS CARRIES OUT RANGE OF ACTVITIES IN SOMALIA: In response to questions, the Spokeswoman recalled that UNICEF had condemned the stoning death of a teenage Somali girl, in Kismayo. UNICEF had stressed the vulnerability of girls and women in Somalia, for whom violence and discrimination are intensified by the effects of chronic conflict and displacement. She added, in response to further questions on Somalia, that the United Nations has a range of activities in Somalia, but the Security Council has yet to decide on a peacekeeping role in that country.

MYANMAR ENVOY STILL CONSIDERING POSSIBLE VISIT: Asked about an invitation by the authorities in Myanmar for the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser, Ibrahim Gambari, to visit that country later this month, the Spokeswoman said that Gambari had received that invitation but had not yet made a decision on whether to go at this time.

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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