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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-10-29
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, October 29, 2009
BAN KI-MOON URGES MEMBER STATES TO CONSIDER PROPOSALS TO STRENGTHEN STAFF SECURITY
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will brief the
Security Council on
Afghanistan in closed consultations at 3:30 this afternoon.
He then intends to speak to reporters at the Security Council stakeout.
Speaking to the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly this morning, the Secretary-General expressed once more his shock and indignation at the heinous attack in Kabul on UN personnel and his sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in yesterdays attack.
He also asserted his pride and admiration at the bravery shown by the officials in the face of the attack.
The Secretary-General said that a strengthened and unified security management system should be of paramount importance to all of us. The proposals, he said, will enable us to strengthen security for our staff, their dependents and UN premises. He urged Member States to consider these proposals favourably, saying, After all, our people are your people.
Meanwhile, UN agencies in Afghanistan met today to review security for their staff in the wake of yesterday's attack. A number of recommendations for immediate actions have gone forward, and further discussion of longer-term measures will continue in the coming days.
Steps are ongoing to care for the survivors of the attack, and arrangements are being made for those who died.
The Security Council was briefed on the attack yesterday by Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet.
The Security Council members, in a
press statement issued afterward, condemned the attack in the strongest terms and reiterated their steadfast support for the UN role in Afghanistan.
Asked whether the elections would be postponed, the Spokeswoman said that was not planned and added that the United Nations is determined to continue with its support to the elections. She noted that the Secretary-General had made clear at his Wednesday press conference that the United Nations is committed to doing all that it can in support of the Afghan people.
In response to a question, she said that the afternoon meeting of the Security Council would be a joint effort by the Secretary-General and the Council to determine the challenges that the United Nations faces in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Asked, in connection with the Secretary-Generals meeting with the Fifth Committee, about the Secretary-Generals authority to ask his senior managers for cuts in costs, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General has managerial responsibilities to diminish expenses, and has the authority to act in that regard.
DO NOT ABANDON POST-CONFLICT COUNTRIES DURING TOUGH TIMES
The Secretary-General today
addressed the Special Forum on the Food and Economic Crises in Post-Conflict Countries.
He said that, unfortunately, aid to post-conflict countries far too often tapers off prematurely -- and just when countries are better placed to use it more effectively.
The Secretary-General added that sustainable peace is the most important goal for aid.
He also said it makes no sense to abandon post-conflict countries in times of budget constraints.
This afternoon, the Secretary-General will observe World Food Day at an event in the Economic and Social Council Chamber. He is expected to stress that vulnerable people especially women and children must get the food they need for nutritional security and well-being.
DAVID NABARRO IS APPOINTED U.N. ENVOY ON FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION
The Secretary-General has appointed Dr. David Nabarro as his Special Representative on Food Security and Nutrition.
As Special Representative, Dr. Nabarros role will be to assist the Secretary-General as he encourages and supports country-led actions for food security and nutrition through comprehensive approaches, coordinated strategies, a strong role for multilateral agencies and increased international assistance.
Dr. Nabarro has been working on the food issue since January of this year.
SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS SANCTIONS ON COTE DIVOIRE
Security Council began its work this morning by hearing a briefing in a closed meeting from the President of the
International Court of Justice, Hisashi Owada.
The Security Council then adopted a resolution extending sanctions on Cote dIvoire by one year.
The Council will also hold a formal meeting to consider the draft report of the Councils annual report to the General Assembly.
The Security Council yesterday adopted a Presidential Statement welcoming the support by a Summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for the Secretary-Generals decision to establish an international commission of inquiry that would investigate the killings that occurred in Guinea on 28 September. The Council takes note that the authorities of Guinea have officially committed to support the work of the international commission of inquiry in secure conditions. The Security Council strongly condemned the violence in Guinea, which reportedly caused more than 150 deaths and hundreds of wounded and included numerous rapes and sexual crimes against women.
ASSASSINATION ATTEMPTS ON SOMALIA PRESIDENT CONDEMNED
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has strongly condemned yesterdays assassination attempt on the life of President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed of Somalia.
The president was apparently targeted as he returned to Mogadishu from a trip. A similar attempt was made last week Thursday at Mogadishu airport as President Sharif boarded a plane for Uganda to attend an African Summit.
Ould-Abdallah warns that extremists are again trying to terrorize the Somali people in order to wreak further havoc on the nation. He added that assassination attempts that kill innocent Somali bystanders, including women and children, are absolutely the wrong way to gain power. Committing suicide goes against all religious teachings, he added.
Ould-Abdallah stated that such attempts undermined efforts to bring a semblance of normalcy and stability to Somalia.
BAN KI-MOON IS DISAPPOINTED BY ZIMBABWE GOVERNMENTS DENIAL OF ACCESS TO U.N. EXPERT ON TORTURE
The Secretary-General is disappointed that the Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Mr. Manfred Nowak, was not given access to enter Zimbabwe, as had been previously agreed. He supports the High Commissioner's call on the Government of Zimbabwe to give full access to the human rights mechanisms of the United Nations.
More generally, the Secretary-General regrets the circumstances that led to the decision of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to temporarily disengage from the Cabinet and Council of Ministers in Zimbabwe. He believes that the Inclusive Government has brought an improvement in the lives of Zimbabweans and hopes that this latest challenge will be overcome as soon as possible.
In this context, he welcomes the mission of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministerial Troika, expected in Harare today. He urges all parties to respect the commitments they made in the Global Political Agreement of 15 September 2008 and ensure that the Agreement is implemented in its entirety.
I.A.E.A. HEAD HOLDS CONSULTATIONS WITH IRANIAN GOVERNMENT
International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) Director General Mohamed ElBaradei has received an initial response from the Iranian authorities to his proposal to use Iran's low-enriched uranium to manufacture fuel for the continued operation of the Tehran Research Reactor.
The Director General is engaged in consultations with the Government of Iran as well as all relevant parties, with the hope that agreement on his proposal can be reached soon.
SUDANESE GOVERNMENT URGED TO STEP EFFORTS TO FREE HOSTAGES
The Acting Head of the African Union United Nations Mission in Darfur, Henry Anyidoho, has held discussions in Khartoum with senior government officials over various issues, including ways to address banditry and criminality in Darfur.
During discussions with the Sudanese Minister of Interior, Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Al Saman Al Wasila, Anyidoho raised the issue of the UNAMID staff members who are still being held hostage in Darfur and the situation of the ICRC staff member recently kidnapped in the troubled region.
Anyidoho urged the Government of Sudan to step up efforts for the safe release of the hostages and also for measures to be taken to end kidnappings and abductions.
GUINEA BISSAU: BAN KI-MOON COMMENDS SUCCESSFUL ELECTIONS
report of Secretary-General on developments in Guinea-Bissau and on the work of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in the country has been released today.
In the quarterly report, the Secretary-General commends the people, the Government and the Electoral Commission plus the defence and security forces for the peaceful and well-organised elections in June and July, following the political assassinations of key political leaders earlier this year.
The Secretary-General has been encouraged by preparations being made by the National Assembly to hold a national conference to identify the root causes of conflict and political instability in Guinea-Bissau.
The Secretary-General further notes with satisfaction the decision by the newly-elected president, Malam Bacai Sanha, and the Government to hold investigations into the assassinations in order to combat impunity and also foster justice and national reconciliation.
LEBANON: U.N. FORCE PROBES FIRING OF ROCKET
The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) reports that the investigation into the firing of a rocket from Lebanon into Israel on 27 October is ongoing. There has so far been no claim of responsibility.
UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces are continuing intensive patrolling and search throughout the area from where the rocket was launched. During the joint search operation yesterday, four other rockets, three of them set to be fired, were found in the same area and deactivated.
UNIFIL says that the launch of rockets from Lebanon into Israel is a serious violation of UN Security Council resolution 1701. Such attacks are evidently aimed at provoking renewed hostilities to undermine the security and stability in south Lebanon. It is also a cause for concern that the Israeli Defense Force returned fire with artillery shells into Lebanese territory.
condemned the firing of the rocket in a statement we issued yesterday.
UNESCO: NEW MEMBERS ELECTED TO WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE
UNESCO, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
reports that States Parties to the 1972 World Heritage Convention have elected new members to the World Heritage Committee.
The 21-member Committee reviews requests by States Parties to inscribe new cultural and natural heritage properties on the World Heritage List. It also reviews the state of conservation of sites already inscribed.
The newly elected members are: Cambodia, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Iraq, Mali, Mexico, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. They join Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Brazil, China, Egypt, Jordan, Nigeria and Sweden.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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