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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-07-15
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
BAN KI-MOON CALLS ON NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT TO KEEP UP FIGHT FOR PEACE AND WORLD FREE OF WEAPONS
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today
addressed the high-level segment of the 15th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt.
He told the leaders that conditions have drastically changed since the Movement was founded, but the world again faces complex crises threatening development and security. We need to look to the Non-Aligned Movements founding principles to address todays challenges, he asserted.
The Secretary-General said that the Non-Aligned Movements commitment to peace naturally led it to place high value on a world free of weapons of mass destruction, and he urged the Movement to keep up that fight.
All countries are feeling the effects of the financial crisis, he added, but some developing countries are suffering most, including millions of people living in the NAM States, particularly those emerging from conflict. He stressed the need for truly free and fair trade to stimulate recovery and spur growth.
And the Secretary-General stressed the need to examine peacekeeping and peacebuilding holistically, which the United Nations is now doing as it presents its New Horizons peacekeeping review as well as a peacebuilding
Yesterday, after arriving in Egypt, the Secretary-General met with Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi. They discussed major challenges in Africa, including Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia-Eritrea, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Today, he met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. They discussed the way forward in the Middle East, climate change, Sudan, and Somalia.
In his meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, the Secretary-General raised the issue of improvements in the conditions in the internally displaced persons camps, and also brought up the arrests of UN staff.
The meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani included discussions of the Bhutto Commission, which is visiting Pakistan this week, and upcoming meetings of the Group of Friends of Democratic Pakistan.
Asked if the Secretary-General had raised the Kashmir issue during his meeting with the Pakistani Prime Minister, the Spokesperson said that topic had not come up.
Asked if the Secretary-General had also met bilaterally with Indias Prime Minister, she said that he had not.
BAN KI-MOON SAYS WOMEN MUST BE VIEWED AS AGENTS OF CHANGE
Also in Sharm el-Sheik today, the Secretary-General
spoke to the First Ladies Summit on women in crisis management.
He said, We need to view women as agents of change. This is what we are doing at the United Nations. We advocate for women, but more than that, we involve women. He noted that under his tenure as Secretary-General, more women have been appointed to senior positions than ever before, nearly tripling their number in top managerial roles.
Accompanying the Secretary-General in Sharm-el-Sheik, his wife, Mrs. Ban Soon-taek today participated in the First Ladies Summit convened by Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak, the First Lady of Egypt. In her remarks, Mrs. Ban stressed that when women have social equality and assurance to be able to make their own decisions, they can help solve the worlds many problems. She added that women hold the key to tackling the financial crisis and the problem of hunger, but the question is how to turn that key and unlock the solution. She urged all the First Ladies of the NAM states to take their influence and combine strengths to help the worlds women, so as to benefit their children as well as change the entire world for the better.
SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS ON L.R.A. TO SEIZE OPPORTUNITIES OF PEACE AGREEMENT
The Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for the Lords Resistance Army-affected areas, Joaquim Chissano, briefed the
Security Council in consultations this morning. It was his last briefing to the Council as he steps down from the position to which he was appointed in December 2006.
Chissano shared his observations about the state of the Juba peace process and the impact of the military operations by Uganda and countries of the region against the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), which followed the failure of LRA leader Joseph Kony to sign the Final Peace Agreement.
Chissano said the operations had uprooted and disrupted the LRA, and represented a new determination by regional countries to collectively deal with the dangers posed by the LRA. But he also noted that the operations had triggered vicious LRA reprisals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Southern Sudan.
Chissano said the LRA leader had given the impression that he has little interest in the peace process. But Chissano also stressed that opportunities for peaceful re-engagement with the LRA should be pursued alongside military action. Konys direct engagement would be the measure of the credibility of any discussions, Chissano said.
Chissano also said the peace agreements should be implemented no matter the prevailing circumstances. He noted that within Northern Uganda people are already experiencing the dividends of peace and that those dividends should be consolidated.
Following consultations, the Security Council President, Ugandas Ambassador, told reporters that Council members commended Chissanos work; called on the LRA to seize the opportunities to sign the Final Peace Agreement; and appreciated Chissanos readiness to be available when the time comes for signing the Final Peace Agreement.
The Council then went into the formal chamber to adopt Presidential Statement on Afghanistan. According to that Statement, the Council welcomed the Afghan-led preparation for upcoming elections. It also stressed the importance of the elections being free, fair, transparent, credible, secure and inclusive.
Asked if Chissanos office in Kampala would be closing down, the Spokesperson said that it would be. She added, however, that there might be a role for him in the future.
CHIEF MILITARY OFFICER AND SENIOR POLICE ADVISOR LEAVE AREA OF FORMER GEORGIA MISSION
The UNs Chief Military Officer and Senior Police Adviser have now left what was formerly the area of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia
Their departure is part of the Mission's liquidation phase, which includes the withdrawal of its military and police personnel. This follows the Security Council's lack of agreement to renew the Mission's mandate - which led to the Mission effectively ceasing its functions in mid-June.
According to the drawdown plan, all civilian staff will also be leaving in the near future, with the goal being to completely close the Mission by November 2009.
Meanwhile, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative, Johan Verbeke, yesterday chaired the first meeting under UN auspices of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism. This mechanism came about as a result of the last round of talks in Geneva. The purpose is to bring together the Georgians, Abkhaz, and Russians, as well as representatives from the UN and European Union, on a periodic basis to discuss security matters.
Yesterdays meeting took place in the town of Gali. Among other things, it was agreed to set up a hotline to prevent future incidents. Participants also agreed to meet on a bi-weekly basis. The next meeting, also to be held in Gali under UN auspices, will take place on July 28th.
EXPLOSIONS IN SOUTHERN LEBANON BEING INVESTIGATED
The Force Commander of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) today met with the Lebanese Prime Minister and Lebanese Army Commander to update them about the deposit of ammunition that was discovered as a consequence of yesterdays series of explosions in the area of Khirbat Silim.
The Lebanese Armed Forces, in coordination with UNIFIL, have cordoned off the area and both are investigating the incident. Based on the information currently available, UNIFIL considers this incident a serious violation of Security Council Resolution 1701, notably the provision that there should be no presence of unauthorized assets or weapons in the area of operation between the Litani River and the Blue Line.
UNIFIL has informed UN Headquarters of the incident and is keeping the parties informed.
UNICEF KIT ENCOURAGES DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL INTERACTION OF YOUNG CHILDREN IN EMERGENCIES
In Geneva today, UNICEF
launched the Early Childhood Development Kit designed to help meet the needs of young children affected by emergencies.
The tool for young children displaced or affected by war and natural disasters is the first of its kind within the humanitarian community, said UNICEFs Executive Director, Ann Veneman.
The kit is a box containing 37 different items that can be used by some 50 children up to six years of age. The materials include dominos, colouring pencils, construction blocks, hand puppets, puzzle blocks, memory games. UNICEF says the kit encourages development and social interaction while giving children a sense of property.
The new kit will complement UNICEFs School-in-a-Box and Recreation kit which has become part of the agencys standard response in emergencies.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS GENDER EQUALITY IS INTEGRAL PART OF U.N. REFORM
The Deputy Secretary-General
told the Group on Equal Rights for Women in the United Nations (GERWUN) that achieving gender equality is an integral part of the reform of the United Nations, and will undoubtedly help build a staff that is mobile, multi-functional, flexible and accountable one which lives up to the highest ethical standards.
The United Nations must both be on the cutting edge of change and practice fully what we preach, she said in remarks delivered at UN headquarters yesterday.
A working mother herself, the Deputy Secretary-General acknowledged that combining a career with family life is difficult. Finding the right balance between professional advancement and motherhood, between work and life, is the toughest challenge we face, not least because we have to admit that we cannot achieve a perfect balance.
She noted that women tend to be under-represented in the more substantive fields such as political and peacekeeping, a fact often attributed to the stereotyping of women and their situations and capabilities.
She noted that the Secretary-General is insisting on progress, and the issue is gaining momentum where it was lacking before.
WESTERN SAHARA ENVOY WORKING WITH PARTIES TO HOLD INFORMAL MEETINGS: Asked about Western Sahara, specifically about whether there would be a meeting between Morocco and the Frente Polisario in Vienna, the Spokesperson said she could not confirm that. Asked if the Secretary-General was disappointed by recent developments related to the Western Sahara issue, Montas noted that mediation was currently underway.
The Spokesperson later added that upon his return from his trip to the region, the Secretary-Generals Personal Envoy for Western Sahara was working with the parties to determine a date that is practical for all in order to hold the first round of informal meetings with the objective of preparing the 5th round of negotiations.
U.N. NATIONAL STAFF DESERVE SAME PROTECTION AS INTERNATIONAL STAFF: Asked if the UNs national staff members were immune from detention in such places as Sri Lanka, the Spokesperson stressed that national staff deserve the same protection as international staff. Reports of detention, she added, were tackled on a case-by-case basis. Regarding one such case in Sudan, the UN Mission there was seized of the matter.
TWO-DAY HEARING ON WOMEN REFUGEES AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE: Tomorrow and Friday, the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will hold a two-day seminar, here at Headquarters, on sexual violence and discrimination against women refugees, especially in war-torn conflict areas. Refugee women from Bhutan, Zimbabwe and Liberia will testify as well as internally displaced women from Chechnya and Kenya.
JAPANESE PEACE BELL MOVED FOR HEADQUARTERS RENOVATION: Asked about the whereabouts of the Japanese Peace Bell at UN Headquarters, the Spokesperson noted that it had been moved to the UNs North Lawn as part of the ongoing renovation of UN Headquarters. The bell would still be rung on the International Day of Peace as per tradition, Montas noted.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
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