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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-01-07
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, January 7, 2010
BAN KI-MOON ENCOURAGES CYPRIOT LEADERS TO REMAIN COMMITTED, SHOW FLEXIBILITY AND LEADERSHIP
The Secretary-General discussed the upcoming two intensive rounds of substantive negotiations that the
Cypriot leaders will have this month, in separate phone calls with the Cypriot leaders today.
He encouraged both leaders to remain committed and to show flexibility and leadership. He is convinced that win-win solutions in many different areas are available and he is confident that together both leaders have the political courage and vision required to make progress.
The Secretary-General assured both leaders of the United Nations and his personal support.
DISCUSSIONS AT ADVANCED STAGE BETWEEN UNITED NATIONS AND ISRAEL ON PAYMENTS REGARDING GAZA CLAIMS
In response to a question that Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak had discussed payment to the United Nations for damages in Gaza with the Secretary-General, the Spokesperson said that, in July 2009, the United Nations submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel a claim for reimbursement for the losses that the United Nations had sustained in a number of incidents that occurred during the Gaza conflict (from 27 December 2008 to 19 January 2009).
Since that time, Nesirky said, discussions have taken place between the United Nations and Israel. Those discussions have taken place in a very positive atmosphere and are now at a very advanced stage.
Agreement has been reached in principle on the terms of an arrangement under which Israel would make a payment to the United Nations, he said.
The United Nations is now waiting for a green light from the Government of Israel. Nesirky said that the United Nations anticipates receiving that green light imminently. When that green light is given, an agreement will be formalized between the United Nations and Israel and a payment will be made.
Since the agreement is not yet finalized, he added, it would not be appropriate to discuss its details. These will be disclosed when the agreement has been concluded and the payment made.
He added that there are certain inaccuracies in current press reports on this matter.
Asked further about a recent phone call between the Secretary-General and Defense Minister Barak, the Spokesperson said that the arrangements had been one of the topics they discussed.
SECRETARY-GENERAL INFORMED SRI LANKAN GOVERNMENT THAT HE MAY APPOINT COMMISSION OF EXPERTS
Asked about allegations of human rights violations that have been made against the Sri Lankan Government, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations is in regular contact with the Sri Lankan Government regarding the implementation of the joint statement issued in May at the conclusion of the Secretary-Generals visit to Sri Lanka.
In that statement, he had underlined the importance of a comprehensive accountability process for addressing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and where the Government of Sri Lanka undertook to take measures to address grievances of the victims of the conflict.
The Secretary-General has informed the Government of Sri Lanka that he is considering the appointment of a Commission of Experts to advise him further and to assist the Government in taking measures to address possible violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Nesirky said that the establishment of such a commission is currently receiving detailed consideration by the Secretariat.
Asked about comments made by the Special Rapporteur dealing with Sri Lanka, Philip Alston, the Spokesperson said that the Technical Note presented by the Special Rapporteur highlights the need for a credible, independent and impartial investigation of the allegations of violations of human rights and international law by all sides in the conflict in Sri Lanka. The United Nations, and particularly the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, stands ready to assist the Government in this respect, he added.
Nesirky emphasized that the Secretary-General would note that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has repeatedly called for a full, broad, and impartial investigation into allegations of violations of human rights and international law by all sides that occurred during the civil war in Sri Lanka.
A full and impartial investigation into allegations of human rights violations is critical, he said, if we are to confront impunity and bring perpetrators of such violations to justice. The United Nations stands ready to assist the Government in this respect.
BAN KI-MOON TO HOST RETREAT BETWEEN U.N. AND REGIONAL BODIES TO ENHANCE PEACE AND SECURITY AROUND THE WORLD
The Secretary-General will host a two-day retreat starting next Monday, 11 January, outside New York City, which will include the heads of 14 regional and other organizations. The Secretary-General intends to host high-level discussions on how the United Nations and these organizations can enhance their cooperation on peace and security issues.
Security Council also intends to hold a thematic debate on UN cooperation with regional organizations, which is to take place at UN headquarters next Wednesday, 13 January. The Secretary-General will address the Council debate, as will some of the participants at the Retreat.
Asked about arrangements for press coverage, the Spokesperson said that his office would work to make the participants at the retreat available to the media once they are in UN Headquarters to attend the Security Council debate.
TOP U.N. OFFICIAL TESTIFIES AT I.C.C. TRIAL OF D.R. CONGO MILITIA LEADER
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy,
testified today before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the case of the indicted militia leader from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo.
Lubanga, the founder and leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots in the Ituri region, is being tried before the ICC for the conscription and enlistment of children under the age of 15 and the use of children for active participation in hostilities.
As requested by the judges, Coomaraswamy provided observations on the definition of "conscripting or enlisting" children, bearing in mind a child's potential vulnerability. She also provided information on the role of girls in armed forces, with a further explanation of how children could be used to participate actively in the hostilities". She was then questioned by representatives of the Prosecution, the victims and the Defence counsels.
She said the Lubanga trial represented a crucial precedent in the fight against impunity and will have a decisive deterrent effect against perpetrators of such crimes.
FLOODS AFFECT THOUSANDS IN KENYA
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
reports that heavy rainfall in Kenya over the past ten days has caused massive flooding in Northern, Central and Western Kenya, with an estimated 23,411 people affected. Roads, bridges and other infrastructure (including school buildings and business premises) have been damaged.
Thousands more people are feared to be at risk if the heavy rains persist.
Reports indicate that thousands of livestock have been washed away by floodwater and crops have also been damaged.
General food distribution is required for those affected. UNICEF is dispatching an inter-agency health kit, enough to assist 30,000 affected people for one month. Additionally, UNICEF is providing chemicals and assistance for water purification and sanitation purposes.
NEPAL: YOUNG FORMER FIGHTERS DISCHARGED FROM MAOIST CANTONMENT
In Nepal, the first group of young Nepali men and women disqualified from the Maoist army as children or late recruits were formally discharged today. This marks the first step in the return to civilian life for thousands who have been living in cantonments since 2006.
At the discharge ceremony in the main Maoist army cantonment in Sindhuli, central Nepal, the U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Robert Piper, stressed that this is an important milestone in the ongoing peace process and will speed up other steps laid out in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
These young people are among 4,008 individuals - including some 500 below 18 years old - due to be released over the next 40 days. The discharge, scheduled to be completed in 7 cantonments across the country by mid-February, is part of an Action Plan signed in December 2009 by the Government of Nepal, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal - Maoist (UCPN-M) and the United Nations.
Meanwhile, The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) welcomed the formation of the High Level Political Mechanism (HLPM), a forum dedicated to multiparty dialogue on peace process-related issues. UNMIN is hopeful that this forum will bring fresh momentum to the peace process, and remains ready to assist the parties in achieving their objective.
U.N. NOT NOTIFIED OF REPORTED PLANNED KOSOVO VISIT BY SERBIAN PRESIDENT: Asked about reported plans by Serbian President Boris Tadic to visit Kosovo, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations has not received any notification of the Presidents travel plans.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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