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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-09-29

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From: The United Nations Home Page at <> - email:







Tuesday, September 29, 2009

SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON: Good morning. It is a great pleasure to see you.

I wanted to share some perspectives on the 64th session of the General Assembly and the many events of the past week.

It is still early days, of course, but this has been one of the most engaged GA sessions in years.

There is a broad recognition of the United Nations pivotal role in rising to the exceptional challenges of the coming year.

Let me be specific.

First, climate change.

We convened the largest-ever summit on the climate crisis -- 101 heads of state and government, from 163 countries.

We laid a solid foundation toward Copenhagen.

All leaders said they wanted a deal and are prepared to work for it. This gives the negotiations vital political impetus.

Leaders confirmed the need to limit global average temperature rise to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius. Most vulnerable countries like the small island developing states pushed for an even more stringent 1.5 degree limit.

On the mitigation front, the Japanese Prime Minister announced a bold and ambitious goal of 25 per cent reduction by 2020, against the level of 1990, and the intent to create a Japanese carbon market that would be linked into a global carbon market.

Also on the mitigation front, as you know very well, the Chinese President announced China would be prepared to take additional actions to reduce energy intensity in the context of an international agreement.

On adaptation, the European Union announced their support for a fast track funding facility for adaptation and their readiness to provide 5-7 billion Euros to get it started.

At long last, leaders focused on climate change financing and got more concrete, with many expressing support for the proposal for $100 billion annually over the next decade for concrete adaptation and mitigation actions. And I raised this issue again during my participation in the G20 summit. There was very intensive discussion of financing issues.

Given the important progress achieved by leaders involvement at the Summit, I am committed to continuing to engage them, individually and collectively, in coordination with the Prime Minister of Denmark.

We need to maintain the new momentum and solidify progress in the run up to Copenhagen.

Thats the focus of my upcoming mission to Denmark, Sweden and Geneva, as it will be for every one of my missions from now through December.

Second, disarmament.

Issues of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation are now front and center.

Not long ago, few challenged the idea that nuclear weapons were here to stay. That is why, nearly a year ago, I proposed a 5-point action plan for putting disarmament back on the global agenda, including a special summit of the Security Council.

Resolution 1887, unanimously adopted by the Security Council during its Thursday summit meeting last week, is an important step. We continue the march for a world without nuclear weapons.

Going forward, we are focused on the NPT Review Conference next May as well as achieving early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Third, recovery and the financial crisis.

As I said in my General Assembly speech, markets may be bouncing back, but incomes, jobs and people are not.

That is why we have put forward a Global Jobs Pact.

We are also creating a new Global Impact Vulnerability Alert System, giving us real-time data and analysis on the socio-economic picture around the world, so that governments can reach those who most need it.

In Pittsburgh, the G-20 leaders again promised to help the poorest countries. They pledged more balanced and sustainable growth in the future. Now we must hold them to their word.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me cite a few other notable events at this General Assembly.

On Saturday of last week, Secretary of State of the United States Clinton and I hosted an important meeting on food security, designed to build on the July G8 summit in LAquila where leaders announced a $20 billion food security fund.

For much of the past year, we have focused on immediate needssaving people from starving. Today we are moving more firmly toward a longer term Phase 2working a revolution in the way we do agricultural development.

We are focusing particularly on small farmers, most of them women. Our approach is about more than feeding the hungry. Its about empowering the poor.

The food crisis may have fallen off the front pages. But it has not gone away, and I urge you to pay attention.

Regarding the flu pandemic: the UN System has completed an assessment to help countries prioritize their needs.

In recent days, nine countries agreed to make 10% of their pandemic vaccine supply available to countries in special need. This represents approximately 50 million vaccines.

Two vaccine manufacturers have agreed to donate 150 million vaccines. Others have agreed to provide reduced pricing.

A number of donor-countries have pledged financial and technical support, while others are exploring how they can help.

With respect to peace and security:

The group of Friends of Myanmar unanimously re-affirmed its support for the UNs ongoing efforts, in particular an active and direct engagement with the government.

I met yesterday with Prime Minister Thein Sein. I expect Myanmar to fully respond to the proposals I left with the senior leadership during my last visit to the country.

The onus is on the Government to create the necessary conditions for credible and inclusive elections. There should be dialogue with all of the stakeholders in Myanmar.

And, of course, all political prisoners must be released, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

I intend to continue to work through my good offices for simultaneous progress on political, humanitarian and development challenges.

I also met with the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka yesterday. The government has re-affirmed its commitment to allow displaced persons to return to their homes by January next year.

We need no further evidence for the need to move forward. Just this past weekend, a confrontation took place between IDPs and Sri Lankan security forces in the Menik Farms camps. Two children were shot and wounded.

There is clearly a great deal of pressure on people on the ground.

In coordination with Member States, I will continue to closely follow up on the implementation of the governments commitmentsboth personally and through my senior officials.

This includes outstanding issues related to the freedom of movement and the return of IDPs, human rights accountability and political reconciliation.

I also had a chance to meet with the leaders on Cyprus, and encourage them to seize the opportunity before them and to make full use of my Good Offices. There is a reasonable expectation within the international community that the leaders can soon arrive at a mutually acceptable settlement.

I am deeply concerned about developments in Honduras. A state of emergency has increased tensions. I note that the Congress of Honduras has rejected the suspension of civil liberties and urge that Constitutional guarantees including freedom of association, expression and movement be fully respected.

Threats on the embassy of Brazil in Honduras are unacceptable. International law is clear: sovereign immunity cannot be violated. Threats to the embassy staff and premises are intolerable. The Security Council has condemned such acts of intimidation. I do as well, in the strongest terms.

I once again appeal for the safety of President Zelaya. I urge all political actors to seriously commit to dialogue and regional mediation efforts. I reaffirm the readiness of the United Nations to assist in every way.

I also met with the Vice Minister of the DPRK [Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea] and underscored my concern about the humanitarian and human rights situation.

In addition, of course, I addressed nuclear and other outstanding issues.

Important discussions also took place on the Middle East, Somalia and Pakistan.

Finally, on Iran: In my meeting with President Ahmadinejad, I said clearly and directly that the burden of proof is on Iran to demonstrate that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.

I urged him to open the countrys new structure to prompt and full inspection, and to engage constructively in negotiations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The 64th General Assembly shows a UN rising to the challenges of todays world.

We are confronting the big issues of the day climate change, disarmament, the financial crisis and Millennium Development Goals, key issues of peace and security.

No nation can solve these alone.

It takes nations united, which of course was the main theme of my General Assembly address this year: Now is Our Time.

Thank you very much. I will be happy to answer your questions.

Q: Secretary-General, welcome again this month. This is the second time, and we like to have you here as much as we can. The question is this: You met with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, this is not the first time that you meet him. This time talking directly to him or looking at his face, did you realize that he has to understand that he has to come clean on Thursday?

SG: We discussed all the pending issues pertaining to Iran, including recently disclosed nuclear structures, nuclear facilities. We discussed all other pending issues including humanitarian issues, human rights issues. I urged him that Iran as a historically rich and proud country should take a constructive role in the international community by making very transparent, direct involvement and engagement in negotiation to prove all the pending issues. I made it quite clear that, when they argue that their nuclear facilities are genuinely for peaceful purposes, the burden of proof is on their side. They should fully cooperate with the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency], provide access in a transparent way. That is their responsibility. Of course, I realize that there is still a gap of positions and understandings. I told him that, even with several rounds of meetings in person like this, we still have a gap of understandings, but I urged him to bridge this gap by sincerely engaging themselves in negotiation for nuclear issues and promoting, protecting human rights. I will continue to do that. In fact, after this meeting, I am going to meet the Foreign Minister of Iran again to follow up our discussions with President Ahmadinejad, at 11:00 today.

Q: My question actually is a follow-up to Giampaolos. The Iranian Mission put out a statement early this morning, saying that the President expressed grave concern that you, the Secretary-General, instead of waiting for the IAEA as the competent body to reflect on the issue of the newly-discovered, or the newly-announced, facility, the new enrichment facility, has chosen to repeat, and I quote, the same allegations that a few Western powers are making. I wonder if you could respond to that, and could you also tell us whether you expressed any direct concerns to him about the implications of this new facility in terms of sanctions, possible military action?

SG: To that argument, I responded by saying that this new uranium enrichment facility is contrary to the Security Council resolution. They have [to make] all the processes transparent, in a most transparent way, and that they should receive the full inspections and they should give full access to IAEA. This is what I told him. I know that according to their letter they have informed the IAEA on 21 September about the existence of this. But then what has happened before 21 September, while this facility was being constructed? Therefore, theres clearly a question of transparency. He told me that he would be ready, their country would be ready, to accept these inspections by the IAEA. I sincerely hope that all these questions pertaining to this new facility and other facilities, all these pending issues concerning the nuclear development programmes of Iran, should be resolved through dialogue in a transparent and objective manner, with the International Atomic [Energy] Agency involved.

Q: Did you raise the issue of additional sanctions and the possibilities that Iran might face?

Q: I told him that this is contrary to the Security Council resolution. Iran must fully comply with the relevant Security Council resolutions. This is what I told him, and I was acting on my own behalf as Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Q: Thank you. Let me change the subject. My question is about North Korea. On Sunday, you met the Vice Foreign Minister of North Korea; but on the contrary yesterday he criticized the sanctions against North Korea. Could you get any positive sign to resume six-party talks or other kinds of bilateral talks with North Korea about nuclear issues?

SG: I think Vice Foreign Minister Pak Kil Yon repeated the basic positions of the DPRK Government, regarding the sanctions by the Security Council as well as the six-party talks. I repeatedly urged him and his Government that all the pending issues should be resolved through dialogue, including within the framework of the six-party talks, and also using bilateral talks with key parties participating in the six-party talks.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, last time you were here, I asked you whether Peter Galbraith will be going back to Afghanistan. Your office had said that he was going to be here today to brief with Kai Eide on Afghanistan. He appears to be on his farm in Vermont today. Can I ask you, is he still going to be your Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, or are you going to replace him as Deputy Special Representative to Afghanistan?

SG: He is still as Deputy Special Representative of UNAMA [the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan], and as I told you, I have full confidence and trust in my Special Representative, Mr. Kai Eide, and also he is one of the integral staff of UNAMA.

Q: Sorry, sir my question was framed in the future tense. I asked: will he remain your Special Representative? Will he be going back to Afghanistan, Peter Galbraith?

SG: I think I dont need to answer for that question for anything which may happen in the future. We will have to assess the situation.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, Id like to follow up on that Iranian announcement about your meeting. They also said that President Ahmadinejad had asked you for your help with the treatment of Iranian prisoners in the United States. Did he bring up anybody specifically on that matter? And the overall tone of the message makes it seem like it might have been a tense meeting, and I know youre meeting the Foreign Minister today. So could you characterize the sort of tone or the mood of your talks with the Iranians, please?

SG: I hope you understand that it would be a little sensitive to disclose what I have discussed in a private meeting. As you know, I had some open, public meetings, and I had some minutes of engaging in private talks with him, discussing some other sensitive issues, like humanitarian issues and human rights issues. Maybe, I hope, one day well be able to disclose it, but for the time being Im not in a position to comment on that question.

Q: Was there any particular prisoner the Iranian President asked for your help with?

SG: I answered your question already.

Q: A follow-up: Did the President of Iran give you any indication that he is willing to engage in this idea of freezing sanctions simultaneously with freezing the enrichment of uranium? Because you speak about the burden of proof and that was the language used with Iraq before the military attacks. But my question has to do with you appointing a high-level envoy to investigate what the Iraqis have called terror across the border into their territory. Who will you appoint, and have you taken up this issue with the Foreign Minister of Syria, Mr. Walid Moallem, when you met with him?

SG: On that issue, as you know, I have received a letter from Prime Minister Maliki, and I have conveyed that letter to the Security Council for their consideration. I have also expressed my concern over the mounting tension between Iraq and some neighbouring countries, and we will do whatever we can to reduce the tension, first of all. But at this time, I do not have any answer at this time. Im still reviewing the situation and considering what action I should take, including the appointment of an envoy.

Q: Did you discuss that with the Foreign Minister of Syria?

SG: I have discussed this matter with President Talabani of Iraq and Foreign Minister al-Moallem of Syria. But it would not be proper for me to disclose all the contents of our discussions.

Q: Dont you think that by declaring right now that the new installation is contrary to Security Council resolutions, that you are taking a position? My question is: why dont you wait until the inspectors go? Because the Iranians are saying we already informed, ourselves; so youre already judging that theyve violated Security Council resolutions, like the Western countries do. Dont you think you should have a different position from the United States and others?

SG: This is a question of when you should inform your intention or the existence of such facilities, or a plan to be transparent and credible -- when you have such intent to build these facilities. They should have informed, notified the IAEA a long time before. Not just before everything would be completed. Thats what I am raising. So there is clearly a question of transparency. That is why the world leaders have expressed their deep concern, and that is why I have also expressed my concern.

Q: But not all world leaders, sir.

SG: Of course.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, even though allegations of fraud in the Afghan elections are being investigated and votes recounted, the United States and its NATO allies meeting here at the UN have said that they believe President Karzai has won and decided to support his anti-insurgency plan. Now, sir, since the United Nations is also involved in the electoral process in Afghanistan, what is the status of this election? And sir, do you believe that President Karzai has actually won this election?

SG: The official position of the United Nations is that, first of all, we have to wait for the official outcome of the counting by the Independent Election Commission and the Electoral Complaints Commission. We have to wait. Before that, Im not in a position to say who would be the winner of this election. We have full confidence and trust in the Independent Election Commission, as well as the Electoral Complaints Commission. So I understand that the final results may be available on or around 7 October. So until then, we have to wait.

Q: Im sorry, unless I missed it, what was your response to Libyan leader Muammar Al-Qadhafis remarks and his ripping of the UN Charter? And why didnt you come out publicly and denounce his attack on the institution that you are the leader of , coming into your house and doing this? Your Spokeswoman had a quote, I saw, but unless I missed something from you, what is your opinion of what happened?

SG: I understand that my Spokesperson, Michele Montas, has already answered and made some comments on that.

The Charter of the United Nations is the very foundation of our Organization, the United Nations, and it is a symbol of the legitimacy of the United Nations. Any behaviour to denigrate this Charter is unacceptable.

Q: I have a follow up surrounding Iran - if you are to have a meeting again later today, what do you expect to come out of that meeting if you already said the niceties about bridging the gap? What do you hope to [achieve], and when is the meeting?

SG: This is going to be part of my ongoing efforts to, first of all bridge this gap and urge Iranian authorities to fully cooperate with the international community to resolve all pending issues. There are so many issues: nuclear, humanitarian and human rights issues.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, yesterday, your Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs discussed a positive feeling in the meeting between you and the Vice Foreign Minister of the DPRK. I just want to get a better sense of what was positive about that meeting, and do you see the UN playing a role in the disarmament talks any time soon? Thank you.

SG: We discussed how we can further strengthen the cooperation between the United Nations and the DPRK. We discussed the idea of opening the communication channel. I think the DPRK showed a positive attitude towards my proposal, but that will have to be discussed later. As you may know, earlier this year we had discussed with the DPRK Government to dispatch some senior officials from the United Nations to discuss this cooperative relationship with the DPRK and the United Nations. They also appreciated the United Nations assistance in humanitarian areas, by OCHA [Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs] and UNICEF [UN Childrens Fund] and UNDP [UN Development Programme], and I assured him that the United Nations will continue to provide such humanitarian assistance to address all the difficulties, particularly the food security issues and other areas.

Q: Was disarmament cooperation discussed at all in this meeting?

SG: We discussed in general about the need to address the nuclear issue of DPRK, in fully complying with Security Council resolutions and the importance of returning to the six-party talks, resolving this issue through dialogue within the six-party talks. And I also advised, urged him to improve their bilateral relationships with countries in the region, particularly with Japan.

Q: Japan had raised to you the issue of the abductees, but then in the readout of your meeting with the DPRK, it didnt seem that the issue came up. Could you explain if that is the case? And I also just wanted to ask, on this thing of children shot in Sri Lanka, did you get a commitment from the Government not to shoot unarmed civilians who leave the camp?

SG: This abductee issue of Japan has been a long pending issue. I have made my points clear on many occasions, that this should also be resolved within a bilateral context. We said yesterday that the relationship with Japan, which is one of the important participants of the six-party talks, as well as one of the important regional countries, it would be desirable to engage in bilateral talks to improve their bilateral relations.

Now, on Sri Lanka, yesterday we had an extensive discussion with the Prime Minister. And the Foreign Minister and Defence Secretary were also present in the meeting. They were the key people in managing this situation. I made three points clearly again, which I did during my visit, and which was repeated and urged again during Mr. [B. Lynn] Pascoes visit earlier this month. First, that all IDPs should be resettled, as they had promised, by the end of January. There should be extra measures taken, particularly during this monsoon season, because their suffering will be much, much more serious during this wet season. They should immediately begin to reach out to minority ethnic groups, including Tamils. Then, I emphasized the importance of instituting immediately this judiciary accountability process for violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Those were three points, and they committed that they will do as we have agreed. But we have to have a close watch and monitor this process.

Thank you very much for all your active participation and for covering all the very many important events. Thank you very much.



Kai Eide, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Afghanistan, told the

Security Council in an open meeting that this is decision-time in Afghanistan and for Afghanistan. He emphasized that doing more of the same simply is not an option any more.

Eide said that there has been fraud and irregularities committed by election officials, candidates and their supporters as well as government officials.

With the assistance of experts brought in from abroad, he added, an audit procedure has been agreed to determine the level of fraud and the final results. The ballot boxes will now be brought to Kabul and the final audit can take place. This process is at every stage in accordance with international standards, the Special Representative stressed.

When the final results have been certified important decisions must be taken by the future Afghan president, he added, including appointing a government which can inspire the people and its confidence.

Eide noted that there have been a number of calls for a new international conference on Afghanistan, adding that he supports such calls. However, if security persists, he believes that the first such conference should take place in Kabul.


This morning in Geneva, the Human Rights Council

discussed the

report of the UN Fact-Finding

Mission on the Gaza Conflict. It heard a

presentation by the head of the Mission, Richard Goldstone, as well as statements by Israel and Palestine. It then held an interactive dialogue.

Now is the time for action, Justice Goldstone told the Human Rights Council, A culture of impunity in the region has existed for too long. The lack of accountability for war crimes and possible crimes against humanity has reached a crisis point; the ongoing lack of justice is undermining any hope for a successful peace process and reinforcing an environment that fosters violence. Time and again, experience has taught us that overlooking justice only leads to increased conflict and violence.

Following its three-month investigation, the four-person Mission concluded that serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel in the context of its military operations in Gaza from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity.

The Mission also found that Palestinian armed groups had committed war crimes, as well as possibly crimes against humanity.

As neither the Government of Israel nor the responsible Palestinian authorities had to date carried out any credible investigations into alleged violations, Justice Goldstone urged the 47 Member States of the Human Rights Council to implement a number of measures, including referral of the Missions report to the UN Security Council.

Also briefing the Human Rights Council today in Geneva was High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. She was there to present her first periodic report as requested by the Human Rights Council in its resolution S-9/1, entitled The Grave Violations of Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly Due to the Recent Israeli Military Attacks against the Occupied Gaza Strip.


Earlier this morning, the

Security Council adopted a Presidential Statement reiterating its full support for the Ouagadougou political process and for the electoral timeline leading to elections in Cote dIvoire on 29 November 2009.

The Council reiterated that the Ivorian political actors are bound to respect the electoral timeline. The Council stressed that it has extended the mandate and maintained the troop level of the UN Operation in Cote dIvoire (UNOCI).


The latest

report of the Secretary-General on Women and Peace and Security is out as a document. In it, the Secretary-General recommends that the Members not only condemn violations of the rights of women and girls during armed conflict but also take swift action in prosecuting those who commit gender-based violence.

He also says the Security Council should vigorously pursue a strategy to ensure an increase in womens participation in all peace processes, particularly in negotiation and mediation, as well as in post-conflict governance and reconstruction.

The Secretary-General adds that the Security Council should establish, as a matter of urgency, a monitoring mechanism for the implementation of resolution 1325 at the global, regional and national levels.

Finally, he suggest that the Security Council use the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of resolution 1325, next year, to organize a high-level ministerial event to direct the attention of the international community towards the full implementation of the resolution and to generate renewed and revitalized international momentum for concerted action.


The Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Walter Kaelin, said restoration of freedom of movement for more than 250,000 internally displaced persons held in closed camps in Northern Sri Lanka is becoming a matter of urgency.

Kaelin, who just returned from a 3-day return visit to Sri Lanka, welcomed the Governments stated intention that up to 80 per cent of the displaced will be allowed to return by the end of the year. He added however, that he remains very concerned about the slow pace of releases and stressed that it is imperative to immediately take all measures necessary to decongest the overcrowded camps with their difficult and risky living conditions.

During his recent visit the Representative followed up on the discussions of Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, with the Government of Sri Lanka in order to explore how the protection of the human rights of the displaced could be strengthened and the present delays in camp releases addressed.

Stressing that the IDPs should be allowed to leave these camps and return voluntarily and in freedom, safety and dignity to their homes, Kaelin also said if this is not possible in the near future, the displaced must be allowed to stay with host families or in open transit sites.

To address obstacles to the Governments stated goal of decongesting these camps and allow for the return to their homes of the large majority of displaced families who do not pose a security threat, the Representative made several concrete suggestions.

First, he called for an improvement of the screening procedures, second, he recommended to pursue in parallel different options of returning displaced persons to their homes, releasing IDPs to host families, and establishing open relief centres in transit areas for those with nowhere else to go. He also recalled the fate of those IDPs, including many Muslims, who have been displaced 20 or more years ago, and the need to include them into reconstruction programmes.

NEPALESE POLICE OFFICERS JOIN DARFUR MISSION: One hundred and five Nepalese police officers have joined the ranks of the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) in El Fasher. The deployment, which includes 4 female officers, brings to 2,663 the total number of police officers now serving with the Mission. That, in turn, represents some 70 per cent of the authorized police force. The Nepalese peacekeepers will be deployed across North, South and West Darfur.

MISSION IN SUDAN WELCOMES PRESIDENTIAL ORDER TO LIFT CENSORSHIP: The Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) has welcomed President Omar Al-Bashirs reported executive order to suspend censorship laws and regulation for Sudanese newspapers with immediate effect. The Mission believes that, if applied, the decision will advance the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the north and the south of the country. It will also mark an important step towards an environment conducive to planned multi-party elections in April 2010.


battles the most severe flooding in 40 years, climate change negotiators are meeting in Bangkok in hopes of advancing a climate change deal. The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is urging greater action to help cities adapt to the risks posed by climate change, in association with the Rockefeller Foundation and City Leaders from India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

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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