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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-11-02
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, November 2, 2009
BAN KI-MOON VISITS KABUL AND SAYS U.N. WILL NOT BE DETERRED
The Secretary-General made a previously unannounced visit to Kabul today, following the attack on a Kabul guesthouse last week in which five UN staff members were killed and others were injured. He met with UN staff, Special Representative Kai Eide, heads of UN agencies and security officials.
Speaking to reporters, he asserted his appreciation for the work of UN staff in Afghanistan. He added, My main goal this time was to insist that everything be done to ensure the security of all staff, Afghan and internationals. We have suffered a grievous attack but our work will continue. The Secretary-General said, despite speculation whether the United Nations would pull out of Afghanistan or Pakistan, that we will not be deterred.
He also met today with Dr Abdullah Abdullah and President Hamid Karzai to assure them and the Afghan people of the continuing support of the United Nations towards the development of the country and the humanitarian assistance that the UN provides to millions of Afghans everyday. And he noted that President Karzai assured him once more that security for the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) will be strengthened.
He also issued a
statement from Kabul responding to todays decision by Afghanistans Independent Election Commission to forego a run-off vote and to declare Hamid Karzai as the winner of the 2009 presidential elections. He said that Afghanistan now faces significant challenges and the new President must move swiftly to form a Government that is able to command the support of both the Afghan people and the international community.
Prior to arriving in Afghanistan, the Secretary-General had met with in Dubai with some of the staff members who were injured in last weeks attack in Kabul. The Secretary-General had a warm and frank discussion with more than a dozen staff who have suffered from trauma after the attack. Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security Gregory Starr accompanied the Secretary-General to Dubai and is staying on in the region to examine safety and security issues in a more concrete way.
Asked whether the Secretary-General would also travel to Pakistan, the Spokeswoman said that he was unable to do that at this time, since he had to travel to London to meet his previous commitments.
Montas said that the Secretary-General had intended to send a senior official to Afghanistan to express solidarity with staff in the wake of last weeks attack, and he decided to be the one to go. After the attack a month ago on the World Food Programme (WFP) office in Pakistan, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran had similarly traveled to Pakistan.
Asked about the cancellation of the second round of elections in Afghanistan, the Spokeswoman said that was a decision for the Afghan electoral bodies to make. The United Nations made it clear that it would accept whatever decision was arrived at by Afghanistans electoral authorities.
Montas noted that the Secretary-General made clear today that he believes that a credible government needs to be put in place in Afghanistan. The eyes of the world are on Afghanistan, she said.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO HIGHLIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE ON U.K. TRIP
The Secretary-General is expected to arrive in London early Tuesday morning for a breakfast meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He will address a Summit of Religious and Secular Leaders on Climate Change.
Tonight, Janos Pasztor, Director of the Secretary-General's climate change support team, will deliver a message on his behalf to a dinner on the eve of that summit.
PAKISTAN: U.N. PLACES SECURITY RESTRICTIONS IN NORTHWEST
Following a decision by the Secretary-General, the presence of international staff in northwestern Pakistan has been reduced to those staff who are vital for emergency, humanitarian relief or security operations, among other essential operations. All other international UN Staff who were involved in the running of program activities will be relocated out of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Security measures will be enhanced for staff that will continue their work in those areas.
The United Nations is committed to providing development and humanitarian assistance to the people of Pakistan. It will continue to work in the areas where help is required.
SENIOR U.N. OFFICIAL ARRIVES IN BAGHDAD FOR PRELIMINARY CONSULTATIONS ON IRAQI SECURITY AND SOVEREIGNTY
Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco has arrived in Baghdad and started preliminary consultations related to Iraq's security and sovereignty. He met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the ministers for defense and national security. Upon completion of his mission, Fernandez-Taranco will report to the Secretary-General.
The Secretary-General sent Fernandez-Taranco to Iraq for preliminary consultations in response to a request from the Government of Iraq.
GAZA: TRUCKLOADS OF GOODS ENTER FROM ISRAEL
The Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) reports that nearly eighty truckloads of goods entered Gaza from Israel on Sunday, through the Kerem Shalom crossing. The majority of those truckloads contained fruit, cooking oil, dairy products, flour, frozen meat, tea and coffee.
More than 100,000 kilograms of cooking gas also made it into Gaza through Kerem Shalom. But the Karni conveyor belt and the Nahal Oz fuel pipelines remained closed.
Asked whether humanitarian goods can reach Gaza by sea, the Spokeswoman said they could not under present conditions.
She added, in reply to a question on statements by the US Government on Israeli settlements, that the views of the Secretary-General regarding settlement activity have not changed.
AUSTRIA ASSUMES PRESIDENCY OF SECURITY COUNCIL
Austria has assumed the rotating Presidency of the
Security Council for this month, and Austrian Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting is holding bilateral talks with other Council members today about its work during November.
On Tuesday, the Security Council is expected to hold consultations on its programme of work for the coming month. Ambassador Mayr-Harting will brief reporters on that subject at 12:30 pm Tuesday.
SPAIN HOSTS LAST FIVE DAYS OF CLIMATE CHANGE NEGOTIATIONS BEFORE COPENHAGEN
The last five-day negotiating session before the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December
started today in Barcelona, Spain.
Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said that he was convinced that it was possible to further narrow down options and come up with working texts for a comprehensive, fair and effective international climate change deal, during this session.
The Barcelona talks need to make clear progress and put in place a solid foundation for success at Copenhagen, he added.
Parties are expected in Barcelona to make progress on adaptation, technology cooperation, action to reduce emissions from deforestation in developing countries and enhanced capacity building.
Noting that workable middle ground options had emerged on these items, de Boer said these could now be taken forward. But he also said that the targets of industrialized countries presently on the table were not ambitious enough, and that more clarity was needed on the issue of financing.
OUTGOING HEAD OF U.N.S NUCLEAR WATCHDOG GIVES LAST ADDRESS TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY
This morning, Mohamed ElBaradei delivered his last speech to the General Assembly as Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
He said that, from the time he started as Director General in 1998, the Agency has moved from being a relatively unknown technical organization to becoming a major player at the centre of issues critical to international peace and security.
The Agency, he said, has gained universal respect for its independence and objectivity in nuclear verification, safety and security.
Regarding Iran, ElBaradei urged Tehran to be as forthcoming as possible in responding soon to his recent proposal, based on the initiative of the U.S., Russia and France. He added that trust and confidence-building are an incremental process, which requires focusing on the big picture and a willingness to take risks for peace.
U.N. MISSION IN D.R. CONGO SUSPENDS SUPPORT TO GOVERNMENT MILITARY UNITS IMPLICATED IN KILLINGS IN THE EAST
In response to questions about recent killings in the eastern Congo, the Spokeswoman said that Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy has called for a joint investigation by the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and the Congolese army into the killing of 62 civilians between May and September 2009 near Goma, in the east of the country.
While in the North Kivu province on Sunday, Le Roy said that these civilians many of them women and children were clearly the target of attacks by certain elements of the Congolese Armed Forces, Montas noted.
He added that until the results of the joint investigation were known, MONUC would immediately suspend its logistical support to the units believed to be implicated in these killings. It will be up to the Congolese Armed Forces to take necessary measures once the investigation is closed.
The Spokeswoman confirmed that MONUC has immediately suspended all support to the 213 brigade of the Congolese Armed Forces, due to compelling evidence that elements in this brigade were responsible for the targeted killing of these 62 civilians, including a significant number of women and children, in the region of Lukweti, North Kivu, between May and September 2009. MONUC and the Armed Forces have agreed on the immediate launch of a joint investigation to determine further facts, she added.
SUDAN-DARFUR: A.U.-U.N. MISSION HELPS DEFUSE ETHNIC TENSIONS
The African UnionUnited Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has participated in a reconciliation ceremony in Shangil Tobaya, in North Darfur, aimed at ending a spate of ethnic clashes that have claimed the lives of some two dozen people in the area.
Ethnic tensions had increased, with fears of potential reprisal attacks, after it emerged that a member of the Tengur tribe was killed by Zaghawas during their fight with the Birgid tribe.
On Sunday, a senior member of the SLA/Minawi-faction from El Fasher and a mediation committee of local leaders, or Umdahs, visited the village where the killing occurred, to urge the affected tribes to exercise restraint. A peace agreement was signed by the two tribes, with the objective of preventing further ethnic clashes in the area.
U.N. EMBARKS ON LARGEST DISTRIBUTION OF VOTER REGISTRATION MATERIALS IN SUDAN
The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) have embarked on the largest ever delivery of voter registration material in Sudan, in preparation for the nationwide voter registration exercise that started Sunday.
At the request of Sudans National Elections Commission (NEC), the two UN entities will be delivering registration kits, forms, pieces of tarpaulin, and training books for registration staff. Also being delivered are 26 generators, office furniture and communications equipment.
UNDP is taking care of transportation of materials to Sudans 25 state capitals. UNMIS air assets are being used for the delivery of materials to 43 inaccessible and remote locations in Southern Sudan and Southern Kordofan state.
In Darfur, UNAMID will deliver voter registration materials to ten isolated areas in Northern and Western Darfur
SIERRA LEONE: EIGHT SPECIAL COURT CONVICTS ARRIVE IN RWANDA TO SERVE TERMS
Eight persons convicted by the
Special Court for Sierra Leone for serious crimes committed during the countrys civil war have been transferred from the Courts detention facility in Freetown to Rwanda, where they will begin serving their sentences.
At present, no facility in Sierra Leone meets the required international standards for holding these convicts.
The prisoners were transferred over the weekend, accompanied by officials from the Special Courts Security and Detention sections.
They included three former leaders of Sierra Leones Revolutionary United Front (RUF), whose sentences were recently upheld on appeal: Former RUF Interim Leader Issa Hassan Sesay, Senior RUF Commander Morris Kallon, and former RUF Security Chief Augustine Gbao.
The prisoners will be incarcerated at Rwandas Mpanga Prison, under an agreement signed between the Special Court and the Rwandan Government last March. The prisoners have been sentenced to sentences ranging from 15 to 52 years, with credit given for time served while in detention at the Special Court.
U.N. MISSION SUCCESSFULLY FOILS JAILBREAK IN LIBERIA
The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) reports that it has successfully foiled an attempted jail break in Monrovias Central Prison.
The attempted escape started on Sunday after one inmate reportedly managed to grab a set of keys from a corrections officer and locked the officer inside a cell. Fifty inmates then managed to escape from the cell into the main prison yard. But they were intercepted at the main prison gate by the UN Missions Jordanian Formed Police Unit (FPU), and some officers of the Liberian National Police (LNP).
Several warning shots were fired in the air to prevent the inmates from escaping. In the process, some of the inmates, ten Jordanian police and one corrections officer sustained minor injuries. None of the inmates escaped.
NEPAL: BAN KI-MOON URGES PARTIES TO ADDRESS ROOT CAUSES OF CONFLICT
In a report to the Security Council, the Secretary-General expresses serious concerns that core commitments in Nepals peace process have yet to be implemented. He stresses that persistent mistrust among the parties, daily politics and internal party issues are currently compromising their capacities for flexible negotiation.
The Secretary-General urges the parties to devote greater energy, through the Constituent Assembly process and other fora, to addressing issues that have been identified as long-term underlying causes of the conflict, including the restructuring of the State.
UNICEF AND W.H.O. LAUNCH PLAN TO SAVE FIVE MILLION CHILDREN FROM PNEUMONIA
More than five million children could be saved over six years if a comprehensive plan to tackle pneumonia is adopted worldwide, according to UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO).
That comprehensive plan is being jointly
launched by the two agencies at the Global Pneumonia Summit, being held today here in New York. According to UNICEF and WHO, pneumonia kills more than 4,000 children every day.
PRIVATE SECTOR CHIEFS MEET ON USING STOCK EXCHANGES TO PROMOTE A MORE STABLE WORLD ECONOMY
More than 60 top executives of institutional investors and stock exchanges around the world are meeting at UN Headquarters today. They are here to explore ways in which stock exchanges can promote sustainable business practices and long-term approaches to investment.
video message to the gathering, the Secretary-General said that managing and integrating environmental, social and governance issues are critical in creating a world economy that is more stable, inclusive and sustainable. In that regard, stock exchanges and other financial bodies and institutions have a key role to play, he added.
The meeting is co-hosted by the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment, the Global Compact and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
MORE FOOD STORAGE FACILITIES NEEDED TO REDUCE POST-HARVEST LOSSES
Improved technology and training can help drastically
reduce post-harvest losses, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The FAO says that a significant amount as high as 50 percent of what is produced-- is lost after harvest in developing countries, thereby aggravating hunger. It calls for greater efforts to reduce food losses in the entire food chain -- at the very least, by increasing investments in cold and dry storage infrastructure and in first-stage processing equipment.
FIVE MORE COUNTRIES JOIN EFFORTS TO STOP DEFORESTATION: Five new countries have
joined the UN-REDD Programme, which supports countries to develop capacity to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Argentina, Cambodia, Ecuador, Nepal and Sri Lanka are the first to officially request to participate in the UN-REDD Programme, in addition to the initial nine member countries, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
UNDP HEAD TO VISIT CHILE: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, Helen Clark, will begin an official visit to Chile on Tuesday. There she will meet with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and other senior Government officials to discuss her development priorities, climate change, and the Millennium Development Goals. She will also meet individually with each of the UN Resident Representatives and Resident Coordinators in Latin America, who are in Santiago for their annual meeting.
TWO SECURITY OFFICERS AT UNHQ SUSPENDED OVER PUBLICITY STUNT: In response to a question concerning an unauthorised publicity stunt at UN Headquarters two weeks ago, the Spokeswoman said that two security officers had been suspended temporarily pending an investigation by the Department of Safety and Security (DSS) into that matter.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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