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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-07-06
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, July 6, 2009
SECRETARY-GENERAL EXPRESSES DEEP DISAPPOINTMENT WITH MYANMAR LEADER AND WARNS OF COSTLY ISOLATION
Over the weekend, the Secretary-General paid a two-day visit to
Myanmar. He met twice with Senior General Than Shwe and had discussions with other Government officials, including Prime Minister Thein Sein. He also met with leaders of Myanmar's registered political parties and with the former armed groups that have chosen to observe a cease-fire.
Before leaving the country, he
spoke to diplomatic missions, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations in Yangon, saying that neither peace nor development can thrive without democracy and respect for human rights. Myanmar is no exception.
He asked, How much longer can Myanmar afford to wait for national reconciliation, democratic transition and full respect for human rights? The cost of delay, he warned, will be counted in wasted lives, lost opportunities and prolonged isolation from the international community.
Speaking to the press in Bangkok after he left Myanmar, the Secretary-General said that he was deeply disappointed that Senior General Than Shwe had refused his request to see Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Allowing a visit, he said, would have been an important symbol of the Government's willingness to embark on the kind of meaningful engagement that will be essential if the elections in 2010 are to be seen as credible.
He said, I believe the Government of Myanmar failed to take a unique opportunity to show its commitment to a new era of political openness. Nonetheless, the Secretary-General added, his visit enabled him to convey the concerns of the international community very frankly and directly to the Government, and he outlined his proposals for progress while he was there. Among those proposals are the release without delay of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners, so that they can be allowed to participate freely in the political process.
Asked whether the Secretary-General met with other officials of Aung San Suu Kyis party, the Spokeswoman said that he met with senior officials of her party, the National League for Democracy.
BAN KI-MOON HAILS REAL PROGRESS BY AID-FOR-TRADE IN GENEVA EVENT
In Geneva, the Secretary-General today spoke at the World Trade Organizations Global Review of Aid for Trade. He said that the aid-for-trade initiative has made real progress in the three years since its launch. The April G-20 Summit pledge of $250 billion for trade financing could lead to a significant increase in the $25 billion that aid-for-trade received in 2007, he said.
The Secretary-General also spoke to the High-Level Segment of the Economic and Social Council, (ECOSOC), and launched a progress report on the
Millennium Development Goals. The report warns that major advances in the fight against poverty and hunger have begun to slow or even reverse as a result of the global economic and food crises.
Higher food prices last year have reversed the nearly two-decade trend in reducing hunger, while the target for eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005 has already been missed.
Later today, the Secretary-General will chair a meeting of potential donors to enhance the global response to the H1N1 flu. The gathering this afternoon will focus on meeting the needs of developing countries in the face of H1N1. We must make certain they get what they need, the Secretary-General will stress.
The Secretary-General also met this afternoon with Japans State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Shintaro Ito. They discussed Myanmar, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea and public health issues.
SECRETARY-GENERAL COMMENTS ON DEVELOPMENTS REGARDING HONDURAS, CHINA
The Secretary-General was asked about the situation in Honduras at a
press conference earlier today, and said he was very saddened by the loss of life in the course of the demonstrations there.
He said that people should be allowed to express their free will, without being intimidated or threatened by physical force. And he reiterated that any unconstitutional change of power is not acceptable.
He was also asked about the recent violence in Chinas Xinjiang Province, and he recalled that, for all countries, all differences of opinion must be resolved peacefully through dialogue. Governments concerned also must exercise extreme care and take necessary measures to protect the lives and safety of the civilian population, he said.
Asked about the number of casualties in the violence in China, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations has no independent confirmation of the casualties.
U.N. GAZA FACT-FINDING MISSION HOLDS FURTHER PUBLIC HEARINGS
In Geneva today, the UN fact-finding mission on the recent Gaza conflict, mandated by the
Human Rights Council and led by Justice Richard Goldstone, started its second round of public hearings.
The purpose of todays interviews was to hear from victims, witnesses and experts, from southern Israel and the West Bank. Testimonies were given both in person and by videoconference.
Among those who came in person to address the panel were the Mayor of the Israeli town of Ashkelon and the father of missing soldier Gilad Shalit.
On Tuesday, Justice Goldstone and his team plan to hold a press conference in Geneva.
TIMOR-LESTE: U.N. AND NATIONAL POLICE ARREST HUMAN TRAFFICKING SUSPECTS
In Timor-Leste, the United Nations Police and the Timorese National Police jointly carried out an anti-human trafficking operation, arresting 10 members of an alleged human trafficking ring in a raid on a bar in the capital, Dili.
The United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) says the ten suspects were arrested on charges of being part of a ring that brought women into the country as sex workers. The suspects are currently in prison, awaiting pre-trial hearing.
Police found 22 women between the ages of 17 and 29, working in the bar. One of them is a minor. They are currently being processed as victims of human trafficking, and are being cared for by the International Organization for Migration and non-governmental organizations.
The UN Police Commissioner, Luis Carrilho, said the successful operation was the result of information received by the police and joint efforts between UN and Timorese police, and reflects support from the community.
GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS DISRUPTS EFFORTS TO PREVENT AND TREAT HIV/AIDS
According to a new
report from UNAIDS and the World Bank, the global economic crisis is expected to disrupt HIV prevention and treatment programmes in more than 20 countries throughout the world this year.
Reacting to the findings, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé said that any interruption or slowing down in funding would be a disaster for the 4 million people on treatment and the millions more currently being reached by HIV prevention programmes.
The report adds that eight countries are already facing shortages of antiretroviral drugs or other disruptions to AIDS treatment.
SUDAN: BAN KI-MOONS POSITION ON INDICTMENT OF SUDANESE PRESIDENT REMAINS UNCHANGED
Asked about the Secretary-Generals reaction to the position taken by the African Union regarding the International Criminal Court, (ICC), warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General has not expressed a reaction. His position on the warrant has not changed, she added.
Asked about two aid workers who have been abducted in Darfur, the Spokeswoman said that they were members of a non-governmental organization which is working hard to obtain their release. The UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is also working closely with the Missions of Ireland and Uganda to obtain the quick release of the two staff, without payment.
SECURITY COUNCIL CONSULTATIONS ON KOREA: The
Security Council has scheduled consultations at 4:00 this afternoon, to discuss non-proliferation and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK).
NEW GUIDELINE FOR FOOD SAFETY PUBLISHED: A food standards commission established by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) today
issued more than 30 new international standards and guidelines to improve food safety worldwide. For example, the new guidelines address the prevention and reduction of a potentially harmful chemical that is produced during the cooking process of carbohydrate-rich foods like French fries, potato crisps, biscuits and breads.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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