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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-01-14

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 MICHELE MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON

FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

BAN KI-MOON BEGINS GAZA PEACE MISSION WITH HIGH-LEVEL MEETINGS IN CAIRO AND AMMAN

The Secretary-General is currently in Amman, Jordan, where he met with King Abdullah and Queen Rania.

Earlier today, he met in Cairo with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Their discussions focused mainly on Gaza, on which the Secretary-General expressed his appreciation for Egypts efforts to get the parties to reach a ceasefire. They also talked about Somalia and Darfur.

Speaking to reporters after a later meeting with Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Secretary-General said that he and the President shared their feelings of frustration and pain over the ongoing violence in Gaza.

They also discussed in depth how to attain an immediate ceasefire and to further secure humanitarian relief. He added in his comments to reporters that he is asking that all those who have influence with any party to the conflict use all means to end the violence and to find a durable solution.

The Secretary-General also met with Egyptian First Lady Suzanne Mubarak, who briefed him on the efforts by the Egyptian Government and the Red Crescent Society on humanitarian efforts. They discussed the possibility of sending a needs assessment mission to Gaza once the fighting stops there.

The Secretary-General was asked about the reported use of white phosphorous in Gaza, and he said that the United Nations has no confirmation of its use. He added that he appeals to all the parties very strongly to stop any kind of use of such weapons, because of the terrible effect it would have, especially on such an intensely populated area as Gaza.

Asked whether the Secretary-General would try to solicit funds during his travels for rebuilding in Gaza, the Spokeswoman said that reconstruction was one of the topics being dealt with during his visits, and a plan for reconstruction is being worked on. However, she stressed, reconstruction cannot be carried out until there is a ceasefire in place.

U.N. AGENCY CONCERNED BY PLIGHT OF PREGNANT WOMEN, NEWBORNS IN GAZA

The Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) reports that the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza and the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza are partially open today, but the Karni grain conveyor belt and the Nahal Oz fuel pipelines remain closed. And the Erez crossing is closed today to all Palestinians except for very urgent medical cases.

Meanwhile, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that, as part of UN efforts to meet the rapidly growing humanitarian needs of civilians caught in the fighting in Gaza, John Holmes, Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, today allocated some

seven million dollars in funding from the Central Emergency Response Fund to this crisis.

For her part, the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, says that

pregnant women and their newborn babies are some of the unseen victims of the current crisis in Gaza with some 170 women giving birth in Gaza each day. UNFPA says it is alarmed by reports of premature labor and delivery resulting from shock and trauma from continuous bombing.

It is also concerned by the exposure of premature and newborn infants to hypothermia due to the lack of electricity, warm clothing and blankets among the displaced.

The agency notes that, because of ongoing military operations, most pregnant women are unable to leave their homes or shelters to access maternity care facilities or delivery services. Even those who can make it to a hospital may not be able to receive proper care, as many delivery wards have been turned into surgical facilities to treat the wounded.

To help respond to the crisis, UNFPA has delivered medicine and surgical instruments to Gazas hospitals, as well as hygiene products, blankets and first aid supplies to families.

Meanwhile, UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman issued a

statement today, saying that, each day in Gaza, more children are being hurt, their small bodies wounded, their young lives shattered. This is tragic and unacceptable, she said. Her agency adds that 840,000 children are suffering from extreme stress and experiencing trauma-inducing conditions.

U.N MISSION PROBES FIRING OF ROCKETS AT ISRAEL FROM LEBANON

According to preliminary information received by the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), some rockets were fired at Israel from Lebanese territory this morning. There were no reports of damage or injuries, and there were no immediate claims of responsibility.

Israeli Defence Forces returned fire, with two rounds of artillery. The UN has no report of damage or injury from the shells.

UNIFIL, in cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces, is currently investigating on the ground close to the northern boundary of UNIFILs Area of Operations in the Eastern Sector, to locate the launching site of the rocket fire. UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Claudio Graziano urges maximum restraint, and he is working with both parties to maintain the cessation of hostilities.

A joint UNIFIL-Lebanese patrol, during a search operation in the general area of El Hebbariye, later today discovered three live rockets prepared for launch. The rockets were deactivated on the spot. UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces are continuing intensive patrolling and search throughout the area.

Asked about a reported build-up of Israeli troops on its side of the border with Lebanon, the Spokeswoman noted that such activity would be outside of UNIFILs area of responsibility. Asked about Israeli air violations of Lebanon, she noted that UNIFIL reports regularly on such violations.

SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS RESOLUTIONS ON DJIBOUTI/ERITREA BORDER DISPUTE, MISSION TO CHAD AND CENTRAL AFRICAN REP.

The

Security Council this morning adopted two resolutions. The first one

urges Djibouti and Eritrea to resolve their border dispute peacefully and, among other steps, demands that Eritrea withdraw its forces and all equipment to the positions of the status quo ante. In the second resolution, the Council

extended the multidimensional presence in Chad for a period of 12 months, and extended until 15 March 2010 the mandate of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT).

After that, the Security Council began an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, on which 50 speakers are inscribed. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes stressed the need for strict compliance with international humanitarian law. In that regard, he drew attention to the fighting in Gaza, emphasizing that allegations of violations there must be fully investigated, and those responsible held to account. He also discussed conflicts in Afghanistan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

D.R. CONGO: FORMER CHILD SOLDIERS REUNITED WITH THEIR FAMILIES

Alan Doss, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); his deputy Ross Mountain, the Resident Humanitarian Coordinator; and General Babacar Gaye, the Force Commander of the

UN Mission in the DRC, have completed a two-day visit to the province of North Kivu.

On Tuesday, the Special Representative and the Force Commander met

20 former child soldiers who were about to be returned to their families with the support of the UN Mission. After meeting the children, Alan Doss renewed his appeal to the North Kivu armed groups to release all the children in their ranks.

The recruitment and the use of children by armed forces and groups is a war crime, and a crime against humanity, he said.

PEACEKEEPERS IN DARFUR HELP RESCUE ABDUCTED WOMEN

The African Union/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) on Tuesday helped rescue 6 women who had been kidnapped outside a camp for internally displaced persons.

The women were abducted outside the Hassa Hissa camp while collecting firewood. UNAMID was alerted and dispatched a team of protection force personnel to the scene. When the abductors saw the UNAMID team approach, they released the women.

BAN KI-MOON CONGRATULATES IRAQ ON ACCESSION TO CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION

On 13 January 2009, the Republic of Iraq deposited its instrument of accession to the

Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (CWC).

The Secretary-General in his capacity as Depositary of the Convention

congratulates the Republic of Iraq on its decision as it demonstrates its commitment to disarmament and non-proliferation. The Convention will enter into force for the Republic of Iraq 30 days after the deposit of its instrument of accession bringing the total number of States Parties to 186.

The Chemical Weapons Convention is the first multilateral treaty to banwith international verificationan entire category of weapons of mass destruction. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is the implementing body for the Convention.

The Secretary-General firmly believes that reaching universality of the Chemical Weapons Convention will significantly promote international peace and security and urges the remaining States not party to take the necessary measures to accede to the Convention as early as possible.

BLACK ARTS FESTIVAL LAUNCH TO BE HELD AT U.N. HEADQUARTERS

The US Launch of the World Festival of Black Arts is taking place in the Economic and Social Council Chamber from 3 to 5 this afternoon.

The President of Senegal, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, singers Akon and Angélique Kidjo, and jazz pianist and composer Randy Weston will be among the participants. Under-Secretary-General Ibrahim Gambari and other African senior UN officials will also be attending the event.

  • *The guest at noon was John Ging, Director of Operations in Gaza for UNRWA, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, briefed on the situation on the ground, via video conference link from Gaza.

    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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