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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-06-25

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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

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, June 25, 2009

BAN KI-MOON HEADS TO ITALY FOR MIDDLE EAST QUARTET MEETING

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be leaving New York later this afternoon. He expects to arrive in Trieste, Italy, tomorrow morning, where he will attend a meeting of the Middle East Quartet. Following the Quartet meeting, he will read out a communiqué at a press conference, as per usual practice.

Also in Trieste on Friday, the Secretary-General will meet with members of the League of Arab States follow-up committee on the Arab Peace Initiative. He will also attend a meeting of the G-8 Foreign Ministers on Afghanistan. That gathering will look at the situation in Afghanistan from a regional perspective. It will touch on themes such as cooperation in border management and countering illicit drug trafficking.

The Secretary-General will return to New York this weekend.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO BE BRIEFED BY SPECIAL ADVISER ON MYANMAR

Asked whether the Secretary-General would travel to Myanmar following a visit to that country by his Special Adviser, Ibrahim Gambari, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General would be briefed by Gambari in New York, before the Secretary-General leaves for Japan next week.

The Secretary-General has not yet announced when he would go to Myanmar.

U.N. FACT-FINDING MISSION TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARINGS IN GAZA AND GENEVA

The UN fact-finding mission on the recent Gaza conflict, mandated by the Human Rights Council and led by Justice Richard Goldstone, will hold public

hearings this Sunday and Monday in Gaza City.

The hearings are a part of the missions information-gathering work. Victims from all sides in the conflict, as well as witnesses and experts, will be able to speak directly to the international community.

The interviews will take place at the Gaza Headquarters of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Further hearings will be held on July 6th and 7th in Geneva.

Asked how Israelis would be able to testify to the Goldstone commission, the Spokeswoman said it was expected that some would be able to give testimonies in Geneva on 6-7 July.

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON LIBERIA

The

Security Council held consultations today on Liberia, including the work of the sanctions committee for that country.

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy briefed Council members on his recent visit to West Africa, including stops in Liberia and Côte dIvoire.

IRAQ: U.N. ENVOY CONDEMNS BOMBING IN SADR CITY

Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, expressed the United Nations outrage and condemnation of the horrifying bombing yesterday in Sadr City, part of a recent string of bombings and shootings throughout Iraq.

We have long been aware that certain groups whose aim is to kill innocent civilians would try to take advantage of an impending change in security arrangements in Iraq, de Mistura said. He appealed to all the countrys communities not to fall into the killers' trap and to avoid responding to this provocation with sectarian hatred and violence.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED ABOUT VIOLENCE AGAINST CIVILIANS IN IRAN

Asked about criticism from the Iranian Government concerning the Secretary-Generals recent

statement on Iran, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General had no specific reaction to the comments from Iran. He stands by the statement he issued on Monday.

She noted, in response to the claim that the Secretary-Generals statement had constituted interference in Iranian affairs, that the Secretary-General had not referred to the Iranian elections but, rather, to the post-election violence. He had made clear his concerns about violence against civilians, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, as he has done with other countries.

As for the elections, Montas said, the Secretary-General believes that is a matter for the people of Iran to determine.

She added, in response to a further question, that the Secretary-General had spoken by phone this week with Iranian activist and Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi.

U.N. PUSHING FOR ACCESS TO ALL DISPLACED PEOPLE IN NORTHWESTERN PAKISTAN

UN agencies in

Pakistan are pushing to get access to all the displaced people in the northwest who need assistance. Humanitarian agencies are working hard to assist all of those who are in need, but we have a long way to go, said the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Martin Mogwanja. He warned that the most vulnerable - including women, children, the disabled and elderly are often the hardest to reach of all, and we have to redouble our efforts where these groups are concerned.

Agencies are trying to improve access to goods, services and information for the disabled, the injured, the sick, women and the elderly without family support and minority groups.

The funding situation remains critical, with only 36 percent of the $533 million Humanitarian Response Plan funded.

SPECIAL TRIBUNAL FOR LEBANON SETS UP SECURE WEBPAGE FOR PUBLIC

The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon announced today that it has created and activated a secure

webpage that is now available for public use. The webpage is available in the three official languages of the Tribunal: Arabic, English and French.

This webpage was designed specifically for individuals who have valuable information for the investigation but have no secure and confidential means to contact the Investigation Division of the Office of the Prosecutor.

A.U. PANEL CONCLUDES THIRD MISSION TO DARFUR

The African Union Panel on Darfur has concluded its third mission to Darfur,

says the UN/AU Mission there (UNAMID).

The Mission says that the Panel chaired by former South African President Thabo Mbeki conducted 10 days of public hearings on the conflict in order to determine ways to speed up the peace process and create conditions for justice and reconciliation.

The Mission says the Panel met with representatives of political parties, civil society, rebel movements, ethnic communities and groups of internally displaced persons in both Khartoum and half a dozen towns across Darfur.

Meanwhile, the UN/African Union chief mediator for Darfur Djibril Bassole was in El Fasher for

consultations with Henry Anyidoho, the Deputy Joint Special Representative of the UN/AU Mission in Darfur, other senior officials. Bassole briefed the Mission leadership on the Darfur peace process and the outcome of the Doha talks between the Government of Sudan and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). Bassole also met with local officials, both native Darfuri and Arab, to hear their views and consider options going forward.

According to the Mission, the security situation is calm today across Darfur.

ANOTHER 26,000 PEOPLE ARE DISPLACED IN LAST DAYS IN SOMALIA

Another 26,000 people have been displaced from the Somali capital Mogadishu in the past five days, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The latest wave of displacement was caused by mounting insecurity amid fierce fighting between government forces and Islamist insurgents. UNHCR says that there are now 160,000 civilians displaced by the fighting since early May.

UNHCR also says that the worsening security situation is making it more difficult for aid agencies to reach and help those in need of urgent assistance.

ZIMBABWE: FOOD INSECURITY PERSIST DESPITE IMPROVED PRODUCTION

High food insecurity persists in Zimbabwe despite an improved agricultural production and a more liberal import policy this year. Thats according to a

report issued today by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

According to the report, this years improved harvest comes after two consecutive years of poor production and many rural households are still struggling to survive. The report estimates that about 2.8 million people will face food shortages in the coming months and will require some 228,000 tonnes of food assistance.

U.N. AGENCIES CALL FOR TRANSITION TO GREEN ECONOMY

Twenty UN agencies are

calling for a worldwide transition to a low carbon, resource efficient green economy that could deliver economic, social and environmental opportunities.

The agencies issued a statement at the General Assemblys Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and it Impact on Development. It notes that the current financial and economic crisis requires a collective response from the global community which would lay a solid foundation for shared growth and sustainable development.

Presenting the statement, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said it reflected the determination of the agencies to be agents of change towards a sustainable 21st century. He added that the statement was also a strong signal from the international system, backing the Secretary General in his repeated calls to seal the deal in Copenhagen.

UNESCOS WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE REMOVES BAKU FROM DANGER LIST

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee

reports that it has removed the Walled City of Baku in Azerbaijan from its List of World Heritage in Danger. The site had sustained damages during an earthquake in 2000 and

UNESCO has welcomed the Azerbaijani authorities success in preserving it.

Meanwhile, UNESCO decided today to remove Germanys Dresden Elbe Valley from the World Heritage List due to the building of a four-lane bridge in the middle of the landscape, which means that the property has failed to keep its outstanding universal value as inscribed.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS WILL AGGRAVATE HUNGER FOR MOST VULNERABLE: The UN Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN), a forum for nutrition-related issues, warns that the global financial crisis will aggravate hunger and malnutrition among the most vulnerable. In the margins of the G8 Summit being held this week, they are encouraging governments to invest in programmes that increase the productivity of smallholders, strengthen the livelihoods of the poorest households, and supply local markets with affordable and safe foods for a healthy diet.

CLAIMS OF HARD DRIVE REMOVAL FROM COMPUTER OF FORMER HEAD OF PROCUREMENT TASK FORCE ARE UNDER INVESTIGATION: Asked about a claim that the hard drive from a computer used by Robert Appleton, the former head of the Procurement Task Force was removed, the Spokeswoman acknowledged that an outside group was investigating the claim with no results available yet. She added, in response to a further question, that Appleton was one of the candidates for the post of Head of the investigation unit at the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).

HEAD OF UNCTAD TO BE CONFIRMED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Asked about the Secretary-Generals choice of a head of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General chooses the head of that body, who then must be confirmed by the General Assembly.

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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