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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-07-13

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

HIGHLIGHTS OF

U.N.

SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON'S

PRESS ENCOUNTER

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, July 13, 2009

(The noon briefing will resume tomorrow.)

BAN KI-MOON BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON MYANMAR

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefed the Security Council this morning on the situation in Myanmar, and then told reporters at a press encounter:

"I have just finished briefing the Security Council, at their request, on my recent visit to Myanmar, including on the wide range of issues I discussed with the Myanmar leadership and other stakeholders.

From the outset, I stated that it would be a difficult mission. However, the visit provided a unique opportunity to engage directly and frankly with Senior General

Than Shwe and the Myanmar leadership on the broad range of challenges facing the country. I made specific proposals on various outstanding concerns which, if left unaddressed, could undermine any confidence in Myanmars political process. These include firstly, the release of all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; secondly, the resumption of a substantive dialogue between the Government and the Opposition; and thirdly, the creation of conditions conducive to credible, inclusive and legitimate elections. The visit also enabled me to engage directly with registered political parties and ethnic ceasefire groups, and hear their concerns.

In this regard, I would like to take note of the statement just made by the Permanent Representative of Myanmar saying that, I quote, at the request of the Secretary-General in Myanmar, the Myanmar Government is processing to grant amnesty to prisoners on humanitarian grounds and with a view to enabling them to participate in the 2010 general elections. This is encouraging but I have to continue to follow up how they will implement all the issues raised during my visit to Myanmar.

As you know I also visited the Delta region, where I witnessed our joint recovery and reconstruction efforts. Regrettably, I could not meet with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. It was not only a deep disappointment but also a missed opportunity for Myanmar. I was however able to meet separately with the leaders of her party, the NLD (National League for Democracy).

Now that I have conveyed in the clearest terms what is expected of Myanmars leaders, it is up to them to respond positively in their countrys own interest. The world is now watching closely whether they will choose to act in the best interest of their country or not.

I would also like to take this opportunity to let you know that I will be traveling to Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, later today, so that I can meet with the leaders gathered for the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement there on Wednesday. I will deliver an address to the Summit, and I will encourage the Non-Aligned Movement to build on its leadership role among nations to address today's challenges. Those challenges include disarmament, the economic crisis, climate change,and the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.

Question: Mr. Secretary-General, you said that [Senior General] Than Shwe has committed to make the elections free and fair. But the constitution that was passed right after the cyclone says that a quarter of the seats have to go to people with military backgrounds, and that Aung San Suu Kyi couldnt run because she married a foreigner. Under those conditions, how can you believe that the elections are going to be free, fair or credible?

Secretary-General: I urged Senior General Than Shwe that this election should be fair and free, but also legitimate, inclusive and credible. To be credible and legitimate, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners should be released. I emphasized that, without participation of Aung San Suu Kyi, without her being able to campaign freely, and without her NLD party [being able] to establish party offices all throughout the provinces, this election may not be regarded as credible and legitimate.

Q: Should she be a candidate?

SG: That is what I am going to continue to follow up. You have heard the Permanent Representative of Myanmar saying that his Government is now taking some procedures to allow some amnesty. But Im not quite sure who will be included in this amnesty. But I have made it quite clear that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in particular should be released and free to participate in the election.

Q: It is the third anniversary of the July 2006 war in Lebanon - what would you like to say about the situation there? Are you optimistic about the future, or what do you think about the situation in Lebanon?

SG: All the developments in the situation which have taken place in Lebanon have been encouraging, and the whole international community, including myself as United Nations Secretary-General, should support and encourage such ongoing development of political maturity. The national government should be formed as soon as possible with all the parties participating there. This is what I have been discussing with the Lebanese leaders. And I am optimistic about the future of Lebanon.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, do you have any comment about the Sudanese Government judgement on a woman journalist by the name of Lubna Ahmed al-Hossein, lashing her 40 times because she wore trousers in public?

SG: Im not aware of this fact, but, if you give me some time, Ill come back to you. [The United Nations Mission in Sudan, where al-Hossein works, later reported that it was pursuing this matter with the Sudanese authorities.]

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, two days ago, since we were talking about anniversaries and massacres, it was the 14th anniversary of Srebenica. I havent seen or heard anything this body did say or mention in regard to that, though one would say that UNPROFOR [UN Protection Force] was the most responsible for what happened, since it was declared a safe haven of the refugees. What is you comment on that?

SG: We have seen, in the past, very unfortunate and tragic massacres of people - genocide - in several places. We should not repeat that any more. That is what we are doing very hard and that is [something to which] I have been committed, so that this world should never experience a repetition of that kind of very tragic massacre of civilian population.

Thank you very much.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS IN THE U.N. SYSTEM

TOP U.N. ENVOY FOR IRAQ CONCERNED BY TARGETING OF CHRISTIANS: Ad Melkert, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, expressed his concern at the continued targeting of the Christian minority in Iraq, following the orchestrated bombings that hit several churches in Baghdad and Mosul on Sunday. The bombings killed at least four people and wounded dozens more, including children. This campaign is aimed at terrorizing vulnerable groups and preventing the peaceful coexistence of different religious groups in what is one of the world's cradles of religious and ethnic diversity, Melkert said. He called on all parties, including the Government of Iraq, to redouble their efforts to protect minorities in the country, and thereby preserve Iraqs cultural, ethnic and religious diversity.

TOP ENVOY FOR SOMALIA HOPES STABILITY CAN RETURN TO MOGADISHU: The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has expressed the hope that security gains made by the Somali Government forces over the weekend will allow some stability to return to Mogadishu and encourage displaced residents to return home. "Attacks continued against Government institutions and innocent civilians with massive abuses of human rights and killings, Ould-Abdallah said. He added that the Government forces, despite initial restraint, had no alternative but to defend the citys population over the weekend. Ould-Abdallah expressed the wish that events over the weekend would allow thousands of city residents displaced by attacks by anti-government forces to go back to their homes.

TOP ENVOY IN CÔTE DIVOIRE DISCUSSES TASKS AHEAD WITH PRESIDENT: Choi Young-Jin, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Côte dIvoire, met yesterday with the President, Laurent Gbagbo, as part of his regular exchanges with the Ivorian parties. After the meeting, Choi noted the end of the identification and registration process, on June 30, and the strong political will to go forward with the lection process. He said it was now time to focus on the technical tasks ahead, in order to respect the date of November 29, set for the presidential elections. The Special Representative also said he would soon meet with the Independent Electoral Commission to discuss the UN Missions (ONUCI) assistance in that regard.

TOP PEACEKEEPING OFFICIAL VISITS DARFUR: Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Alain Le Roy, accompanied by African Union Peace and Security Commissioner, Ramtane Lamamra, today began a two-day visit to Darfur. They paid a courtesy call on the Wali (Governor) of North Darfur, Othman Kibir, and he briefed them on the overall situation in Darfur, including the humanitarian situation, returnees and ongoing elections process. The Wali reiterated his Governments commitment to facilitating the work of UNAMID and of international and national non-governmental organizations. The delegation met with Umdas (traditional leaders), youth leaders and women representatives from Abu Shouk and Al Salaam internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps. Mr. Le Roy informed that the purpose of meeting was to listen to their concerns and determine ways that UNAMID could mitigate their problems. The residents complained of the lack of basic social and healthcare services. Mr.Le Roy reaffirmed UNAMIDs commitment to ensuring security for civilians in Darfur and working together with humanitarian agencies to assist the local community. He also indicated that the United Nations, together with the African Union would continue to work with Member States in an effort to speed up the deployment of UNAMID.

NEXT MEETING ON MISSION DEPLOYMENT IN DARFUR TO TAKE PLACE ON MARGINS OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY DEBATE: The African Union/UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has held its sixth

tripartite meeting with representatives from the Government of Sudan. They discussed issues related to the Missions deployment, some 70% of which has now been completed, and recruitment of personnel, especially national staff, as well as the way forward for the Mission. The discussions also touched on the Missions air operations and Sudanese approval of visas for Mission staff and the proposed activation of a UN broadcast radio frequency and related licensing issues. Procurement and the concerning procurement, and recruitment of national staff members, who currently represent two-thirds of UNAMID civilian personnel, were also discussed. The parties plan to hold their seventh meeting in New York on the margins of the General Assembly Debate in September.

WORLD COURT UPHOLDS NICARAGUA'S RIGHT TO REGULATE TRAFFIC ON RIVER ON COSTA RICA BORDER: The International Court of justice has

upheld Nicaragua's right to regulate traffic on the San Juan River on its border with Costa Rica. The ruling ends four years of litigation between the two countries. It also sets the rules for navigation on a river that has been the subject of dispute for nearly two centuries. Under an 1858 treaty, the river belongs entirely to Nicaragua up to the Costa Rican bank, but Costa Rican ships have freedom of navigation. The Court upheld most of Costa Rica's objections to recent Nicaraguan rules, including a requirement to obtain visas and impose fees, but it affirmed Nicaragua's right to limit Costa Rican traffic and require Costa Rican vessels to fly the Nicaraguan flag.

AIDS FUNDING FROM DEVELOPED COUNTRIES INCREASED LAST YEAR: Overall commitments in AIDS funding from the developed world totalled $8.7 billion in 2008, up from $6.6 billion the previous year,

according a report issued by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the Kaiser Family Foundation. The report looks at funding for global AIDS efforts in 2008 from the Group of Eight nations, the European Commission and other donor governments. Between 2002 and 2008, commitments and disbursements from developed nations each increased by more than five-fold. According to UNAIDS however, the report reflects budgets largely set in place before the acceleration of the current global economic crisis, which may create new challenges to future funding.

BAN KI-MOON TO HIGHLIGHT IMPORTANCE OF COORDINATED AND PREDICTABLE PEACEBUILDING ACTIVITIES: This afternoon, the Secretary-General will present his latest

report on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict to the Organizational Committee of the

Peacebuilding Commission. In his remarks, he is expected to stress the importance of building on successful reforms already underway such as humanitarian reform, Delivering as One, and integrated peace operations rather than creating new mechanisms. To meet the urgent needs facing countries emerging from conflict, the Secretary-General will highlight the need for peacebuilding to be anchored at the country level and to receive inputs from all parts of the UN system in a coordinated manner. He will also note that the report calls for the creation of a senior-level mechanism that will ensure that the right leadership and support teams are in place as early as possible. The Secretary-General will underline the need to have a common strategic vision with realistic priorities, against which national and international actors can allocate scarce resources. The Secretary-Generals report will formally be presented to the Security Council next week.

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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