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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-11-19

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

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

DARFUR: INCREASED MILITARY ACTIVITY PROMPTS BAN KI-MOON TO APPEAL FOR END TO HOSTILITIES

During the past few days, the United Nations has received troubling reports of aerial bombings near Kutum in Northern Darfur, as well as reports of fighting in the area of Tine, Western Darfur and along the border with Chad.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

takes these reports very seriously and calls on all parties to refrain from hostilities, to respect the spirit of the ceasefire recently declared by the Government of Sudan and to cooperate with African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) in investigating these reports.

Meanwhile, UNAMID reports that the Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur, Djibril Bassole, is in Darfur as part of his efforts to re-energize the peace process. He held consultations with various parties in Darfur, including the leadership of the United Resistance Front (URF). He also met with the Assistant to the President and leader of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA/M) Minni Minawi.

BAN KI-MOON CONDEMNS ALL ACTS OF PIRACY AND ARMED ROBBERY AT SEA

The Secretary-General expresses his concern at new acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia in recent days and reiterates his condemnation of all acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea wherever they occur.

He strongly supports efforts by member states to address this scourge and is working closely with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, the IMO [International Maritime Organization], NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization], the EU [European Union], and other member states to ensure a coordinated international effort to fight piracy.

He welcomes the EU's decision to authorize the deployment of a maritime force off the coast of Somalia, and the efforts of individual member states to send vessels, which will strengthen security in the area.

He also looks forward to the Secretary-General of IMO's briefing to the Security Council.

Asked about the likelihood of a UN peacekeeping force to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia, the Spokeswoman responded that such a decision would be up to the Security Council .

SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES SOMALIS JOIN THE DJIBOUTI AGREEMENT

The Secretary-General, in his latest

report to the Security Council on Somalia, says that the Djibouti agreement remains open to all Somalis, and he urges all of them to joint that process, implement it faithfully and commit unconditionally to peace.

He says that the deterioration of the security situation, particularly in the south-central regions, poses an immense challenge not just to reconciliation efforts but also to the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The Secretary-General says that the African Union Mission in Somalia deserves international support and encouragement. He adds that it will be imperative to tie that Mission, the ongoing anti-piracy operation and an envisaged multinational force in a coordinated effort to address both the consequences and the sources of lawlessness in Somalia. As current conditions are not conducive to a UN peacekeeping operation, he appeals to Member States to pledge troops, funds and equipment for a multinational force.

On the humanitarian side, the World Food Programme (WFP) says that, in October, it dispatched a total of 21,198 metric tons of food aid commodities for distribution in Somalia to nearly 1.7 million people.

Nearly 80% of the food distributed was through emergency food distribution to vulnerable residents and displaced populations in South-Central Somalia.

WFP is now targeting over 700,000 food insecure urban residents with relief food distributions, in response to high food prices in urban areas. The agency began the expansion of targeted nutrition intervention to internally displaced persons settlements, targeting malnourished children under the age of five, as well as pregnant and lactating women.

SECURITY COUNCIL HOLDS OPEN DEBATE ON REGULATION AND REDUCTION OF ARMAMENT

The

Security Council this morning is holding an open debate, chaired by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, on the strengthening of collective security through the general regulation and reduction of armaments.

Sergio Duarte, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, read a statement on behalf of the Secretary-General, welcoming the recognition by the Security Council that progress in disarmament and the regulation of armaments can make important contributions to strengthening collective security, for the benefit of all.

He said that no serious discussion on the limitation or elimination of armaments can avoid the topic of improving transparency. If states behave in a predictable and transparent way, this can build confidence and thereby promote collective security.

GAZA: BAN KI-MOON EXPRESSES DEEP CONCERN OVER DETERIORATING HUMANITARIAN SITUATION

Yesterday from Geneva, the Secretary-General telephoned Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to express his deep concern over the consequences of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza. He strongly urged the Prime Minister to facilitate the freer movement of urgently needed humanitarian supplies and of concerned UN personnel into Gaza.

The Israeli Prime Minister denounced the continuing rocket fire into Israel from Gaza, but agreed to look seriously into the urgent matter raised by the Secretary-General.

On the ground today, no fuel, humanitarian supplies or commercial commodities were allowed into Gaza, according to the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO).

Meanwhile, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) says that, starting tomorrow, it will have to suspend cash assistance to some 98,000 of the poorest people in Gaza. This is due to the unavailability of shekel bank notes in Gaza banks.

In related news, the Commissioner General of UNRWA, Karen AbuZayd, has warned that UNRWA is facing what the agency is calling a grave and imminent financial crisis." She was addressing UNRWA's annual meeting, which brings together donors, host governments, NGO partners and other stakeholders.

BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES MILITARY PULLBACK ANNOUNCEMENT IN THE EASTERN D.R. CONGO

The Secretary-General

welcomes the announcement on 18 November of a military pullback by the National Congress in Defense of the People (CNDP) and the opening of humanitarian corridors to allow unhindered access to people in need in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. In this context, the Secretary-General appreciates the efforts exerted by his Special Envoy, Olusegun Obasanjo.

He calls on the parties to observe the cessation of hostilities and to guarantee safe passage of humanitarian assistance as they continue with the efforts to find a political solution to the crisis.

In its weekly press conference, the U.N. Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) reports that elements of the CNDP, after having proclaimed a unilateral retreat, have since last night begun a notable redeployment in the Kanyabayonga-Nyanzale and the Kabasha-Rutshuru areas. MONUC has deployed several patrols to verify the situation on the ground.

The Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for the eastern DRC, Olusegun Obasanjo, accompanied by co-facilitator, former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa and Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Conference, Ambassador Mulamula, met in Kampala, Uganda, yesterday with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

INTERNATIONAL DISCUSSIONS ON GEORGIA HELD TODAY

International discussions on Georgia were held today at the UN office in Geneva. Johan Verbeke, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative and Head of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia, spoke to reporters after the meeting, together with representatives from the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Verbeke said that an important qualitative leap had been made today, as the meeting had moved from a sterile procedural debate to a substantive one. All delegations had engaged in dialogue, in a spirit of mutual respect. Among other things, Verbeke said stakeholders should try to make sure that the few crossing points in existence should remain open and be managed internationally if possible. That was very important for the people living in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, so that they could continue to commute and communicate with family members.

SECURITY COUNCIL MISSION TO TRAVEL TO AFGHANISTAN

Out on the racks today is

a letter from the President of the

Security Council providing details of the composition and the terms of reference of a Security Council mission traveling to

Afghanistan from 21 to 28 November.

The mission will be headed by Ambassador Giulio Terzi di SantAgata of Italy. Among other things, it will review the progress made by the Afghan Government, in accordance with the Afghanistan compact, and the implementation of the enhanced coordinating role assigned to the UN Mission in the country.

HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF REGRETS ISRAELS CONFIRMATION NOT TO PARTICIPATE

IN THE DURBAN REVIEW CONFERENCE

In response to a question, the Spokeswoman said that the Office of the

High Commissioner for Human Rights regrets Israel's confirmation that they do not intend to participate in the Durban Review Conference.

Given the critical importance of the issues under discussion at the Conference, Okabe said, broad participation is essential. These issues of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance are issues which affect all countries and millions of individuals around the world on a daily basis.

She added that the Outcome Document of the original Durban conference was agreed to by consensus and is an extremely valuable document with important and innovative recommendations for tackling racism in all its manifestations.

U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF LAUNCHES $7 BILLION APPEAL FOR 2009

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes just launched the

Humanitarian Appeal 2009 in Geneva. The appeal represents the efforts of 360 aid organizations, including UN agencies, to meet the worlds major humanitarian challenges in a coordinated and prioritized way.

It seeks $7 billion to aid 30 million people in 31 countries next year.

It is the largest such appeal ever, representing a 40 per cent increase from 2008. The list of countries is similar to last years, with the addition of Kenya and a regional appeal for refugees from Iraq, which included seven countries. The biggest requirement was for Sudan, at just over two billion dollars.

In launching the appeal, Holmes noted that $7 billion is equivalent to only a few cents per $100 of national income in rich countries.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

ENVIRONMENT AGENCY PLANS TO SET UP OZONE AND POLLUTION MONITOR STATION IN QATAR: The U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP)

reports that a state-of-the-art ozone and pollution monitoring station is being set up in Qatar. It will be the first such station in West Asia, and will plug a serious gap in global atmospheric monitoring. The two nearest similar ozone monitoring stations are 800 kilometres away in Iran and more than three thousand kilometers away in Nairobi. Readings from the monitoring station will help determine whether the ozone layer is actually recovering from decades of chemical attack.

GLOBAL NETWORK OF FORMER CHILD SOLDIERS TO BE LAUNCHED ON UNIVERSAL CHILDRENS DAY: Tomorrow is Universal Children's Day. To mark the occasion, a new global network of children formerly affected by war is set to be launched. That will take place at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow, here in Room 226. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy and Ambassador Giulio Terzi di SantAgata (the Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations) will be joined by Saad Houry of UNICEF, as well as Ismael Beah, Grace Akallo, Kon Kelei , former child soldiers and youth advocates. And at six tomorrow evening, in the Visitors Lobby, there will be a reception for the opening of a photo exhibit on Child Soldiers - Children of War: Broken Childhood.

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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