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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-11-10

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY FARHAN HAQ

ASSOCIATE

SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

SECRETARY-GENERAL IN WASHINGTON FOR CLIMATE CHANGE MEETINGS

The Secretary-General is in Washington, D.C., where this morning he met with White House officials dealing with

climate change.

In the afternoon, he will meet with Congressional leaders to talk about the status of international climate change negotiations.

LEBANON: BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES FORMATION OF NATIONAL UNITY GOVERNMENT

In a

statement issued on Monday afternoon, the Secretary-General welcomed the formation of a national unity government in Lebanon. He expresses his satisfaction that, five months after the parliamentary elections of 7 June, Lebanese political leaders have been able to reach agreement on the formation of a cabinet. The Secretary-General hopes that Lebanese political leaders will continue to work together in a spirit of unity, dialogue and cooperation.

The Secretary-General calls on the new Government of Lebanon to recommit to the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1701. He also urges the new Government to quickly take up the challenges that remain to consolidating both the sovereignty of Lebanon and the institutional capacity of the Lebanese state, as called for in the Taif Agreement and Security Council resolutions.

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON IMPLEMENTATION OF ISRAEL-LEBANON RESOLUTION

The

Security Council discussed the formation of the new government in Lebanon in consultations about the implementation of resolution 1701.

Michael Williams, the

UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, briefed Council members. He presented the Secretary-Generals latest

report on resolution 1701, in which the Secretary-General expresses his serious concern at the recent incidents that have taken place in the area of operations of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The Secretary-General condemns all violations of resolution 1701 and calls for increased vigilance.

Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet also briefed the Security Council on UNIFILs work.

U.N. ENVOY CONVEYS STRONG SUPPORT FOR PALESTINIAN PRESIDENTS LEADERSHIP

The UNs

Special Coordinator for the

Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today in Ramallah.

During the meeting, Serry conveyed the Secretary-Generals strong support for President Abbass leadership. He also called that leadership a precious asset which is now in jeopardy. He added that President Abbass announcement last week was a loud and clear wake-up call.

Serry reiterated the Secretary-Generals call for a freeze on all settlement activity. He said, Either we go forward decisively to a two-State solution in accordance with Security Council resolutions, or we risk sliding backwards.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals view of Abbass announcement, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General, like Serry, saw it as a wake-up call. The Secretary-General, Haq added, respects President Abbas and look forwards to continuing to working with the President.

YEMEN: REFUGEE AGENCY CONCERNED BY ESCALATION OF CONFLICT

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is extremely

concerned about the recent escalation of the conflict in northern Yemen and its impact on the civilian population. The Agency has again appealed for the protection of civilians and secure and unhindered access for humanitarian workers to deliver much needed assistance.

Displaced families from the embattled Sa'ada governorate continue to arrive at Al Mazrak camp, where the past two days have seen a significant increase in the number of arrivals. On average, 130 to 140 families arrived at the camp on both Saturday and Sunday and another 80 families arrived on Monday.

Meanwhile, the UNHCR office in Riyadh was informed yesterday by the Saudi authorities that the situation at the Alp border is stable, allowing UNHCR to continue its cross-border activities. The Refugee Agency is hopeful that it will receive security clearances from the Saudi authorities for the next aid convoy in the coming days.

The Agency now estimates that some 175,000 people have been affected by the conflict in Yemen since 2004, including those displaced by the latest fighting.

DISPLACED CONGOLESE RECEIVE U.N. RELIEF SUPPLIES

New details are

emerging on the early November inter-ethnic clashes in the Equateur province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), working jointly with Congolese authorities, now puts at 21,800 the number of people who fled into a neighboring country. The overwhelming majority of them are women and children.

They are now living in precarious conditions along the Oubangi River, which is part of the Republic of Congos border with border the DRC. Meanwhile, they have received UNHCR blankets, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, kitchen sets and jerry cans.

In interviews with UNHCR staff, these refugees described a scene of rampaging rival tribesmen going door to door, pillaging, raping and killing. The refugees also confirmed earlier reports that the violence was the result of a dispute over farming and fishing rights.

MORE FUNDS NEEDED FOR HUMANITARIAN OPERATIONS IN SOMALIA

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that some 16,000 people have been displaced by flooding in the southern regions of Somalia. River embankments were damaged, latrines collapsed and shallow wells were contaminated, with forecasters predicting more flooding in the coming weeks.

A UN contingency plan was devised to assist some 450,000 residents of southern Somalia, should more flooding occur.

Meanwhile, Somalias mounting humanitarian needs have not translated into more funding from international donors. OCHA says that funding for Somalia has dropped by some 40 percent this year. This leaves UN humanitarian agencies with some $507 million, out of the requested $850 million.

U.N. HELPS HURRICANE SURVIVORS IN EL SALVADOR

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has released a cash grant of $50,000 to help provide emergency relief to thousands of people hit by Hurricane Ida in El Salvador.

Meanwhile, a UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team and members of OCHAs Regional Office in Panama have started arriving in El Salvador to support damage assessments and help coordinate the relief effort there.

For its part, the World Health Organization has provided 100,000 water purification tablets. And the World Food Programme is preparing to hand out enough high-energy biscuits for 10,000 people over a period of four days.

POOREST COUNTRIES STILL SUFFERING FROM HIGH FOOD PRICES

The poorest countries are still

suffering from high food prices, and 31 nations are affected by critical food insecurity and require emergency assistance.

Thats according to the latest Crop Prospects and Food Situation report, released today by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), ahead of the World Summit on Food Security. That summit will be held in Rome next week.

FAO says the situation is particularly serious in Eastern Africa, where drought and conflict have put an estimated 20 million people in need of food aid.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR MAXIMUM RESTRAINT BY KOREAN PARTIES: Asked about media reports concerning a firing incident between Korean ships, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General is closely watching the situation on the Korean Peninsula. He calls for maximum restraint by both parties. This incident highlights the need to resolve all outstanding issues through dialogue and in a peaceful manner.

NEW AGREEMENT LEADS TO FLU VACCINE DONATION: The World Health Organization (WHO)

announced today that it has signed an agreement with the healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline. Under that agreement, the company will donate 50 million doses of pandemic H1N1 vaccine to WHO. WHO will now work to see that these vaccines are distributed to those who need them in developing countries.

NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH SPAIN TO BOOST DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS: Today in Madrid, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark and Spains Secretary of State for International Cooperation signed a multi-year Strategic Partnership Agreement for close to 400 million euros. This new commitment from Spain will go towards UNDP projects aimed at reducing poverty and tackling climate change. It will also go towards achieving the

Millennium Development Goals and fostering democratic governance, conflict prevention and recovery, and peacebuilding, as well as supporting UN reform.

U.N. STAFF UNION INVOLVED IN DEALING WITH FORMER STAFF MEMBER: Asked about a former national staff member of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), the Spokesperson said that the United Nations has seen the email in which he threatened to stop the Secretary-Generals vehicle. Haq added that the Department of Field Support (DFS) is deeply concerned and has been in touch with the Staff Union in New York, which is actively involved in looking at ways to address this situation.

HOST COUNTRY LAW ENFORCEMENT LOOKING AT SUSPICIOUS PACKAGES: In response to questions, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations has been informed by the relevant authorities about the suspicious packages received at certain UN Missions and the steps taken to deal with them. As far as we are aware, he added, all appropriate security measures are being taken by host country law enforcement authorities.

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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