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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-08-24

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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

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

During August, the Spokesperson's noon briefings will take place on Monday's, Wednesday's and Friday's.

Developments within the UN system will be posted on the website daily during this time.

Monday, August 24, 2009

BAN KI-MOON PLANS TRAVEL TO AUSTRIA, NORWAY AND ARCTIC CIRCLE, SWITZERLAND

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to travel this Thursday to Austria. From Austria, he plans to go to Norway and Switzerland.

In Austria, the Secretary-General will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Vienna International Centre and meet with Vienna-based UN organizations and staff. He will deliver the keynote address at the Opening of the Political Symposium of the European Forum Alpbach. He will also meet with the Federal President and Foreign Minister of Austria and with the Prime Minister of Liechtenstein.

The Secretary-General will then go to Oslo, Norway for an official visit where he is scheduled to meet on 31 August with the Norwegian Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister.

From Oslo, the Secretary-General will travel to Svalbard, in the Arctic Ocean, to see firsthand the impact of climate change in the Arctic. Over the course of his two-day trip, he will visit polar research stations and the Global Seed Vault, get the latest updates on issues relating to the thinning ice and make his way to the Polar Ice Rim.

The Secretary-General's last stop will be Geneva, Switzerland, where he will participate on 3 September in the opening of the High-level segment of the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) Third World Climate Conference.

Asked whether the Secretary-General would discuss with Norwegian officials an internal memo in the Norwegian Government that was critical of him, the Spokeswoman said that the memo was an internal matter, and she noted that the Norwegian Foreign Minister had come out with his own statement in response. She said that the Secretary-General would have no comment.

JEAN-MAURICE RIPERT OF FRANCE IS NAMED SPECIAL ENVOY FOR ASSISTANCE TO PAKISTAN

The Secretary-General has appointed Jean-Maurice Ripert of France as Special Envoy for Assistance to Pakistan.

The Special Envoy will report to the Secretary-General through the UN Development Group Chair. The position has been established by the Secretary-General to assist the Government of Pakistan and the international community in responding to the present humanitarian, recovery and reconstruction needs relating to the country's displacement crisis.

The Special Envoy will promote, together with the Government of Pakistan and relevant international partners, in particular the Friends of Democratic Pakistan, a strategic, coherent and comprehensive approach to supporting the humanitarian, recovery and reconstruction needs of crisis-affected areas. As a senior UN official in the country, the Special Envoy will work closely with the Resident Coordinator and the Humanitarian Coordinator to implement a comprehensive UN approach to returns, recovery and reconstruction.

Mr. Ripert has had a long and distinguished diplomatic career with his government on UN-related issues and brings to this challenging assignment a wealth of experience in the international fora and a solid track record in consensus building.

Mr. Ripert currently serves as the Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations in New York.

Asked why Ripert had been chosen, the Spokeswoman noted Ambassador Riperts experience in conflict resolution. His expertise in reconstruction issues would be particularly helpful under the current circumstances, she added.

She noted, in response to a further question, that his work was not related to the work of the independent Commission looking into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

Montas added that the appointment would be at the level of Under-Secretary-General.

AFGHANISTAN: TOP U.N. ENVOY CALLS FOR VOTERS PATIENCE IN ELECTION AFTERMATH

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Afghanistan, Kai Eide, today urged all the candidates in last weeks elections, their supporters, and voters to be patient, so that the Electoral Complaints Commission can carry out its work and make decisions on the complaints that have been received.

You must respect this process, he said while visiting the Commissions headquarters in Kabul. Respect also means demonstrating patience.

He said that the Electoral Complaints Commission has his full confidence. Responding to a question about the volume of complaints, Eide said that he was concerned about every irregularity but emphasized that the Commission would do all it can to address and correct them.

Asked about UN comments on the electoral process, the Spokeswoman said that, as with all elections, the United Nations would await final electoral results before making further comments.

COTE DIVOIRE: WORK GOING WELL IN DATA-PROCESSING AHEAD OF ELECTIONS

In Côte dIvoire, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative, Choi Young-Jin, today visited the main centre for voter identification in Abidjan. He said the work was going in processing data from the identification and voter registration operation.

This visit by the Head of the

United Nations Operation in Côte dIvoire comes after his mission to the interior of the country last week, which we had flagged for you. As you recall, Choi then visited identification coordination centres in Bouaké, Séguéla, Daloa, Issia and San Pedro.

DAY OF REMEMBRANCE OF SLAVE TRADE IS CHANCE TO RECONCILE DUTY OF REMEMBRANCE AND OF HISTORY

Today is the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

Marking the occasion, Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said in a message that the day provided the international community with a unique opportunity to reconcile the duty of remembrance and the duty of history.

He stressed the importance of respecting the diversity of memories, cultures and perceptions in the study of slavery and the slave trade, while searching for shared references. He added that this could be achieved through quality education and also through policies for safeguarding the cultural heritage that portray the diversity and complexity of this history.

TOUR DE TIMOR BICYCLING RACE KICKS OFF IN TIMOR-LESTE

In Dili today, the inaugural

Tour de Timor bicycling race began and 24 of the cyclists participating come from the UN Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT). The Mission is also providing logistical support to race organizers and helping national police maintain security along the course.

Over the next five days, about 330 entrants from nine countries will contest the 455-kilometre course before returning to Dili on Friday.

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, says that the fact that the country is staging the race, following the violent unrest of 2006, speaks volumes for the progress made over the past three years. He said that Tour de Timor will be a showcase for the friendliness and energy of the Timorese people, and the beauty of the nation.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SPOKESWOMAN CONFIRMS DEATH OF RWANDA TRIBUNAL PROSECUTOR: Asked about the death of a cousin of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Tanzania, the Spokeswoman said that he had been employed as a prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and had been found dead at his home. Initial investigation results indicated that he had been murdered, but the United Nations was awaiting results from Sri Lankan and Tanzanian authorities who are investigating.

BAN KI-MOON AWAITS REPORT ON HIRING PROCESS FROM UNDP: Asked about a UN Development Programme (UNDP) review into the involvement of Alan Doss in a hiring process, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General has not received a report from UNDP on this matter, but is expecting one.

HAITIANS HAD BEEN FREE TO DEMONSTRATE: Asked about protests concerning legislation on raising wages in Haiti, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations did not intervene to prevent demonstrations; rather, people had been free to demonstrate. She added that it was up to Haitis Parliament to decide on the fate of that legislation, which the President had refused to sign into law.

LIBYAN LEADER WILL NOT PITCH TENT ON NORTH LAWN: Asked whether Libyan leader Muammar Al-Qadhafi would pitch his tent on the North Lawn of UN Headquarters during the next General Assembly, the Spokeswoman said that was not going to happen

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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