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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-01-25

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 MARTIN

NESIRKY

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, January 25, 2010

BAN KI-MOON CONDEMNS BOMB ATTACKS IN IRAQI CAPITAL

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

strongly condemns the bomb attacks in Baghdad today that have killed dozens of people and injured scores more.

No cause can justify these attacks on civilian targets.

He extends his heartfelt condolences to the Government of Iraq and to the victims of these criminal acts, as well as to their families.

The Secretary-General appeals to the people of Iraq to remain committed to a path of reconciliation despite such attacks, including through the ongoing election preparations. The United Nations remains committed to supporting them in that process.

HAITI: FOOD, WATER, SHELTER AND MEDICAL SUPPLIES REMAIN TOP PRIORITIES

The Montreal Donors Conference on Haiti is taking place today.

Edmond Mulet, the acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti is at the conference along with the Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, John Holmes, and the Administrator of the UN Development Fund (UNDP), Helen Clark.

Holmes told delegates that food, water, medical supplies and shelter remain priorities for those affected by the earthquake.

He added that relief organizations will be able to continue responding quickly if they continue to receive cash donations instead of in-kind donations, unless in-kind donations are of items that may be in short supply globally.

Holmes also stressed that shelter remains an issue of particular concern because of the massive need for tents. The number of people living in temporary shelter sites in Port-au-Prince could be as high as 800,000, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The UNs Emergency Relief Coordinator also said that humanitarian relief and reconstruction in Haiti will have to run parallel for a long time to come, rather than one following the other.

Meanwhile, Helen Clark was expected to stress the importance, in Montreal, to see a commitment to fund all aspects of the flash appeal, including those intended for the early recovery needs of Haiti.

She will also say that the recovery and reconstruction plan will need to encompass the rebuilding of government capacity, public infrastructure, and residential housing in a way which integrates disaster risk management.

In Haiti, OCHA says that more than 235,000 people have left Port-au-Prince using the free transportation provided by the Government. The largest influx, some 62,000 people, is in Artibonite department.

The World Food Programme (WFP) says it has delivered 2.6 million rations, the equivalent of nearly 8 million meals, to nearly 400,000 people. WFP aims to reach 100,000 people each day as the operation scales up. This is one of the most complex operations WFP has ever launched. Haitis entire supply chain infrastructure has been devastated and WFPs operation has been launched from scratch.

In Geneva, on Wednesday, the Human Rights Council will hold a special session on the human rights approach to support the recovery process in Haiti.

BAN KI-MOON SUPPORTS CANCELLATION OF HAITIS DEBT

Asked whether the Secretary-General supports calls for a cancellation of Haitis debt, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General supports all efforts for debt relief, including in Haiti.

This matter, he added, would be discussed in Montreal.

Asked about the death toll for UN personnel in Haiti, Nesirky said that at present, 82 UN personnel were confirmed dead, while an additional 53 remain unaccounted for. Efforts to locate missing personnel are continuing, he added.

TOP SOCCER STARS PLAY IN LISBON TO HELP HAITI

In just a few hours, at the Benfica stadium in Lisbon, more than 40 international football stars from across the world will be competing in the

seventh annual Match Against Poverty organized by the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

More than 50 thousand-tickets have been sold. The proceeds from this years game will go towards Cash for Work programme in Haiti, called for in the UNs Flash Appeal. Thanks to MINUSTAH, arrangements have been made for people in Haiti to follow the game on the radio and television.

The players, brought together through the efforts of UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane, include two rising Haitian players from the Portuguese Football Clubs, Jean Sony and Joseph Peterson.

U.N. ENVOY TO SOMALIA CONDEMNS HOSPITAL EXPLOSION IN MOGADISHU ON DAY OF HIS VISIT

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has condemned the reported explosion at a hospital in

Mogadishu, thats believed to have caused at least on casualty.

Ould-Abdallah had travelled earlier in the day to Mogadishu along with Mr. Ramtane Lamamra, the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security and Mr. Boubacar Diara, the recently appointed Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson (SRCC) to hold wide range discussions with the senior members of the Government, including President Sheikh Sharif.

During the meeting, the parties discussed the current priorities and ongoing activities in the area of infrastructure.

The delegation also visited the Headquarters of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) where they were briefed on the activities of the troops on the ground.

Ould-Abdallah said attacks like to the one reported in Mogadishu on Monday evening will not stop dignitaries visiting Somalia and neither will they stop progress by the Transitional Federal Government, TFG.

AFGHANISTAN: U.N. ENVOY RESPECTS ELECTIONS DELAY AND STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF LONDON CONFERENCE

In its briefing today, the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) highlighted the importance of the conference on Afghanistan that will take place this Thursday in London, which the Secretary-General will attend.

The UN Mission expressed its hope that the London Conference will secure the political commitment needed from Afghanistans international partners to build peace, ensure security and boost development.

We also have a statement from the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Afghanistan, Kai Eide, who said that he respects the Independent Election Commissions decision to postpone Afghanistans Parliamentary elections until 18 September 2010. Eide said that the postponement gives the electoral institutions additional time to carry out the necessary preparations for the elections, which would have been extremely difficult to do by the original date.

Asked when a successor to Eide will be named, the Spokesperson said that an announcement is expected very soon.

Asked about proposals to talk to moderate Taliban elements, Nesirky said that Eide had been discussing that topic, and he is expected to bring specific ideas to the London conference.

BAN KI-MOON RECEIVES GROUP OF GAZA SCHOOL GIRLS AND TEACHERS AT U.N. HEADQUARTERS

The Secretary-General met at 11:30 this morning with a group of 15 eighth-grade Palestinian girls and three teachers, who were the top students and teachers in an education programme on human rights, conflict resolution and tolerance, taught in Gaza by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

The prize they received for their academic excellence was a week-long trip to the United States, including a visit to New York to meet the Secretary-General.

The children had never been outside Gaza before in their lives. An identical group of boys will follow the same itinerary this week, ending up in New York next Monday.

If any journalists are interested in talking to the girls' group or any individuals, UNRWA could arrange that this afternoon in their offices in DC-1 between 4:00 and 5:00.

UNITED NATIONS WILL STUDY ISRAELS RESPONSE TO GOLDSTONE REPORT ON GAZA

Asked about reports that Israel is preparing a rebuttal of the Goldstone report on the Gaza conflict, the Spokesperson noted that the United Nations had requested Israels comments on the Goldstone report and will look at their response when it is received.

The Secretary-General believes that whenever there are allegations of serious human rights violations any place in the world, investigations should follow, Nesirky said.

Asked about proposals to open Israeli crossing points into Gaza, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General has repeatedly called for the crossings to be opened.

Asked when Israeli will pay compensation for a 1996 attack in Qana, he said that Israels payment last week to the United Nations only concerned claims made following the work of the Board of Investigation headed by Ian Martin.

That Board looked into the damage to UN property and persons during the fighting in Gaza a year ago.

U.N. FORCES IN LEBANON ASSISTS IN RESCUE MISSION FOR SURVIVORS OF CRASHED ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES

At the request of the Lebanese authorities, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is participating in joint search and rescue operations for any possible survivors from the Rported crash of an Ethiopian Airlines ways plane in the Mediterranean

Two ships from the UNIFIL Maritime Task Force, as well as two UNIFIL helicopters, have been at the crash site through today.

The search and rescue operations are still ongoing in difficult weather conditions.

NEW ENVOY BEGINS WORK IN DARFUR, SUDAN

The UN-African Union Joint Special Representative for Darfur, Ibrahim Gambari, arrived today in El Fasher, in North Darfur, to gain a first-hand perspective of the situation on the ground. He moved to his new offices at the UN-African Union Mission in Darfurs (UNAMID) headquarters in El Fasher, and spoke to senior staff members there.

Gambari said that he would do his very best to achieve the Missions objectives, and he said that many lives had been sacrificed in Darfur, including those of UNAMID personnel.

He warned, Those lives must not be in vain.

Gambari will then head to the African Unions headquarters in Addis Ababa to meet with AU Commission leadership and attend the organizations annual summit.

Asked about reports that elections could be boycotted in Sudans South Kordofan State, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has made clear the importance of this years elections and next years referendum.

U.N. MISSION IN CÔTE DIVOIRE INVITES ALL ACTORS TO MAINTAIN CALM ENVIRONMENT AHEAD OF ELECTIONS

The United Nations Operation in Côte dIvoire (UNOCI) is welcoming the calm environment that continues to prevail despite the proximity of elections in the country. However, it says it remains attentive to the increasing tension in the political discourse and invites all Ivorian actors to maintain the calm with a view to preserving the peace dynamic and consolidating the achievements of the electoral process.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Côte dIvoire, Choi Young-Jin, will initiate consultations with the actors of the Ouagadougou Political Agreement. In the coming days, he will also meet with representatives of youth organizations to discuss their contribution to the strengthening of the current peace dynamic and share with them his vision on the resolution of the Ivorian crisis.

HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY CAN HELP EARLY INTERVENTION IN RISING PATTERN OF PREJUDICE

Ahead of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, which will be marked Wednesday, the

High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, says that Day serves as a stark reminder of what can happen when prejudice, hatred, racism are allowed to fester, or are deliberately used as a political tool.

In a statement, Pillay said that a continued focus on the Holocaust helps us to remain alert to the dangers presented by contemporary outbreaks of anti-Semitism and various forms of vilification and discrimination targeting other specific racial, ethnic or social groups.

Remembering the Holocaust, and how it came about, can and should help us to intervene much earlier in the escalating pattern of prejudice that can lead eventually to genocide. It is also an essential response to those who claim that the Holocaust never happened, she added.

BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES ANNOUNCEMENT OF VISIT BY QUEEN ELIZABETH TO UNITED NATIONS

The Secretary-General

warmly welcomes the Royal Households announcement of the upcoming visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to the United Nations Headquarters in New York, where she will address the General Assembly on 6 July 2010.

He looks forward to receiving her personally on this historic occasion.

CYPRIOT LEADERS HOLD VERY FRIENDLY MEETING WITH U.N. ENVOY

The Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, Demetris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat, met earlier today at residence of the chief of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus.

Speaking to the press afterwards, the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, described the meeting as very friendly with a very significant exchange of ideas, particularly on governance and power-sharing issues.

He added that the pair will meet again in a plenary session tomorrow, where they will discuss these ideas more broadly.

OVERSIGHT BODY HAS COMPLETED PROBE INTO REPORTED PROCUREMENT CORRUPTION CASE

Asked about a corruption case involving a person arrested in the United States, Richard Bistrong, the Spokesperson said that the Office for Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) has completed an investigation into a matter where many of the facts at issue are with respect to Bistrong; a report from OIOS is forthcoming.

While the criminal information refers to a U.N. Agent, the United Nations considers this person to be an individual already investigated by the UN, who has been separated from service and convicted by the U.S. authorities. The United Nations will, however, confirm with U.S. authorities to ensure that there are no other UN personnel implicated.

Nesirky added that the events reported in the press refer to actions which occurred in 2001 to 2006. Since 2006 procurement processes have been tightened to ensure the bid-rigging and bribery described in the criminal information are no longer possible. The UN Procurement Division believes that the allegations refer to persons who are no longer employed by the United Nations.

The Procurement Division, he said, is aware of the issues referred to in the criminal information filed on 22 January 2010 against Bistrong. In consultation with the Office of Internal Oversight Services and Office of Legal Affairs, the Procurement Division is reviewing the matter to identify what actions are warranted.

Following a review, existing or prospective procurement vendors will be referred to the Senior Vendor Review Committee for appropriate action, Nesirky added.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

BAN KI-MOON REMAINS CONCERNED ABOUT ELECTION VIOLENCE IN SRI LANKA: Asked about violence in Sri Lanka prior to the Tuesday elections, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has made clear his

concerns about the violence, and the importance he has placed on the holding of free, fair and credible elections.

U.N.S POLITICAL CHIEF TO ATTEND YEMEN CONFERENCE IN LONDON: Asked about the UNs views on the conflict in Yemen, the Spokesperson said that Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe will represent the Secretary-General at the conference this week in London about Yemen.

ANTI-COUNTERFEITING MEETING TO BE HELD AT U.N. HEADQUARTERS: A roundtable, organized by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), will take place at UNHQ tomorrow to discuss a global programme on anti-counterfeiting. For more information, a press release is available at the media documents counter.

  • ** The Guest at the Noon briefing was, Tony Banbury, Principal Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), who briefed via video conference.

    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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