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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-02-11

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

ARCHIVES

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BRIEFING

BY MICHELE

MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON

FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

BAN KI-MOON: ZIMBABWE UNITY GOVERNMENT WILL NEED TO TACKLE ECONOMIC, HUMANITARIAN CRISES

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a statement issued after the noon briefing, welcomed the swearing-in of Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai as the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe today. This is an important step in the implementation of the 15 September Global Peace Agreement between the Zimbabwean parties.

The new Government of national unity will need to immediately address the economic and humanitarian crises in the country, including the current cholera epidemic. The period ahead will also be critical for consolidating human rights and democratic freedoms. The United Nations reiterates its offer of support to the new Government in its recovery efforts to ease the suffering of the Zimbabwean people.

Asked about the UN reaction to the swearing-in of the new Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General had dispatched Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Haile Menkerios to attend the inauguration.

BAN KI-MOON STRONGLY CONDEMNS ATTACKS AGAINST GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS IN KABUL

The Secretary-General

condemns in the strongest possible terms todays acts of terrorism against Government buildings in Kabul, which took the lives of at least 20 people and injured many more.

The Secretary-General is appalled by these coordinated attacks, targeting the people and institutions that are committed to building a better future for Afghanistan.

This horrendous crime was committed against innocent civilians with total disrespect for human life and dignity. The United Nations stands shoulder to shoulder with the Afghan people and Government in condemning today's attacks.

The Secretary-General expresses his condolences to the families of those killed and his wishes for a full recovery to those who have been wounded.

Kai Eide, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Afghanistan, said that this morning's terrorist attacks in Kabul targeted people and institutions committed to building a better future for the country. Eide said that the civil servants that were killed and wounded were serving the people of Afghanistan, while other civilians have also lost their lives. He said his thoughts are with their families.

SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE IN IRAQ STRONGLY CONDEMNS TARGETING OF PILGRIMS

Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Iraq, strongly condemned the targeting of pilgrims during the journey from Baghdad to Karbala.

He described the bombings as clearly designed to provoke sectarian tensions, even though the people of Iraq had clearly indicated through their votes on 31 January that they wish to put that sad phase of Iraqi history well behind them. He called on all Iraqis not to rise to the provocations of extremists.

BAN KI-MOON FLAGS NEED TO SUPPORT WORK OF CHIEF MEDIATOR IN DARFUR

The escalation in the level of violence in Darfur signals an investment in conflict rather than a serious commitment to peaceful negotiations. That is what the Secretary-General says in his latest

report to the Security Council on the African Union-United Nations operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

He deplores the violence and its consequences for the civilian population, and he reiterates his condemnation of the rebel Justice and Equality Movements attack on Muhajeria and the Government of the Sudans use of aerial bombing.

Regarding UNAMID deployment, he notes the provision of necessary equipment, in particular military helicopter assets, remains critical to increasing the mobility and operational impact of the mission. The Secretary-General reiterates his appeal to Member States who are in a position to provide these mission-critical capabilities to do so without further delay.

He also calls on Member States with influence over the parties to engage actively in support of the AU-UN Joint Chief Mediators efforts to work with the parties towards a negotiated political solution.

The Joint Mediator, Djibril Yipènè Bassolé, yesterday welcomed the Sudanese government and the JEM to Qatar for preliminary talks being held under his auspices. This is the first time the two parties have met since the Abuja talks in 2007. It is a preliminary step toward a cessation of hostilities and establishing the framework for a future peace agreement.

The UNAMID mission, meanwhile, reports carjackings this week involving vehicles belonging to UNAMID as well as to the International Organization for Migration.

SEARCH CONTINUES FOR MISSING RWANDAN HUTU FIGHTERS IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

The search continues for some 150 Rwandan ethnic Hutu fighters and their dependents who have gone missing from a disarmament site in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The UN Mission (MONUC) says that one of its disarmament teams remains in the region to encourage the former fighters and their dependents to join the repatriation drive. Despite this incident, the Mission says that close to 800 former Rwandan fighters and dependents have now left North Kivu for Rwanda.

Meanwhile, in the South Kivu province, some 330 Rwandan refugees, including 63 former fighters, were sent back home on Monday. Another 55 former fighters, including 12 from the ranks of the FDLR, made the trip yesterday. This brings to more than 500 the total of former Rwandan Hutu fighters and dependents who have been sent back home since the start of this month.

The Mission also says that an additional group of 98 children have been extracted from the ranks of various eastern Congolese armed groups. Thats more than 350 children who have been turned in by armed groups to the UN Mission in the past two weeks alone.

UNITED NATIONS FACILITATES HUMANITARIAN MISSION TO CHAD-CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC BORDER

The UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), together with UN agencies, facilitated a second humanitarian mission to the Chadian village of Daha, on Chads border with the Central African Republic.

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 100 people continue to arrive in Chad from the Central African Republic on a daily basis, with many more expected to arrive in Daha in the near future. UNHCR is currently working to verify the presence of up to 7,000 refugees in the area.

Trucks carrying humanitarian aid were escorted by a UN-trained Chadian police force charged with protecting refugees, internally displaced persons and humanitarians. A helicopter from the UN Mission was also able to ferry some 300 kilograms of medicine to the area.

ENVOY FOR GREECE/FYROM MEETS BOTH PARTIES

The Secretary-Generals Personal Envoy for the talks between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Matthew Nimetz, is meeting with both parties this afternoon, here in New York.

Athens will be represented by Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis. And Skopje will be represented by Ambassador Zoran Jolevski.

The purpose of todays meeting is to continue discussions on the name issue.

SOME 20 MILLION PEOPLE IN HORN OF AFRICA NEED EMERGENCY FOOD ASSISTANCE

A two-day high level meeting on the Horn of Africa Crisis wrapped up today in Nairobi. According to the latest U.N. estimates, nearly 20 million people in the region continue to need emergency assistance. Parts of Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, and Djibouti are the hardest-hit.

Despite near normal rainfall between October and December, the food situation in these areas is not expected to improve soon. The reasons for that include high and volatile food prices, conflict and insecurity, and market disruptions. An estimated nearly two billion dollars is required to meet the affected populations needs mainly food for 2009.

ACTRESS MIRA SORVINO TO BE APPOINTED AS GOODWILL AMBASSADOR TO COMBAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Tomorrow, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) will be appointing Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino as a Goodwill Ambassador to Combat Human Trafficking.

Ms. Sorvinos induction will be held during a high-level panel discussion on human trafficking and the launch of UNODCs Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.

In connection with that launch, my guest tomorrow will be Antonio Maria Costa, UNODCs Executive Director.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSS MANDATE EXTENSION OF UNITED NATIONS OBSERVER MISSION IN GEORGIA: The

Security Council held consultations yesterday afternoon, in which members discussed a draft resolution concerning the extension of the mandate of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG). The Missions current mandate expires on 15 February.

UNICEF OPENS CONFERENCE ON TELECOMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY TO ADDRESS POVERTY AND DISEASE: UNICEF today opened a three-day conference on using cell phone and online technologies to address poverty and disease in the poorest areas of the world. In her opening remarks, UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman challenged those gathered to find creative new solutions to age-old problems. She cited as an example a health-monitoring initiative in Malawi, led by UNICEF and Columbia University, which allows rural health workers to use mobile phone technology to relay data on childrens health and nutrition and receive instant, expert advice on essential health interventions.

OLYMPIC GAMES AND FIFA WORLD CUP GOING GREEN: The 2014 Sochi Olympics, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and three Norwegian sport events have joined in the UN Environment Programmes (UNEP) initiative to combat climate change. Among their green efforts, these organizers will invest in conserving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. UNEPs Climate Neutral Network (CN Net) was launched a year ago and has close to 100 participants worldwide, including several countries, cities, major international companies, UN agencies and leading NGOs.

NO REQUEST RECEIVED TO LOOK INTO U.S. DRONE ATTACKS IN PAKISTAN: Asked whether the United Nations has received a request from the Government of Pakistan to look into US drone attacks inside Pakistan, the Spokeswoman said such a request has not been formally received.

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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