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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-04-05

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

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY

SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, April 5, 2010

BAN KI-MOON STRESSES CLIMATE CHANGE, HUMAN RIGHTS IN VISIT TO CENTRAL ASIA

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, today on the latest leg of his week-long visit to Central Asia. He has been holding talks with President Emomali Rahmon and other Tajik officials on topics including Afghanistan, human rights, climate change and the question of tensions over water resources in Central Asia.

The Secretary-General flew to Dushanbe from the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, where he held talks with President Islam Karimov and delivered a lecture at the University for World Economy and Diplomacy. He told students they were the face and voice of a new generation, and were called upon to be its conscience, too.

In his meeting with President Karimov, he discussed water resources, including the Aral Sea, Afghanistan, climate change, education and human rights. The Secretary-General also signed a declaration on cooperation between the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which Uzbekistan heads this year.

On Sunday, the Secretary-General took a three-hour helicopter tour over the Aral Sea. He said he was shocked by what he saw, and described it as one of the world's worst environmental disasters. The Secretary-General said, It was unbelievable to stand on the shore of a vanished sea - to look out at a cemetery of ships, marooned in the sand.

Also, on Saturday, the Secretary-General met President Kurmanbek Bakiev of Kyrgyzstan, and other Government leaders, and addressed parliament. He underscored the need to protect all human rights, including press freedom and free speech.

And on Friday, he met with President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan, and later said that he had urged Turkmenistan to fulfill all obligations under international human rights law and the many treaties to which it is a signatory.

JAPAN ASSUMES SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL

The Security Council this morning adopted its

programme of work for April.

The new Council President, Ambassador Yukio Takasu of Japan, briefed correspondents on that programme following the Spokespersons noon briefing.

IRAQ: BOMBINGS TARGETING CIVILIANS AND FOREIGN DIPLOMATS ARE CONDEMNED

Ad Melkert, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, strongly condemned the series of bombing that struck Baghdad yesterday, which killed dozens of innocent civilians and injured many more. He called the bombings a senseless crime that targeted civilians and diplomats in Baghdad.

Among those killed was an Iraqi United Nations staff member, who was working for the World Health Organization, along with her 20-year-old son.

Melkert urged all communities to work towards further strengthening national reconciliation as the best approach to serve the interests of the overwhelming majority of Iraqis. He expressed the United Nations sorrow and sincere condolences to the bereaved families, and its wishes for full and speedy recovery for the wounded.

DR CONGO: IMPROVED SECURITY PROVIDES BASIS FOR U.N. MISSION DRAWDOWN

The Secretary-Generals latest report on the Democratic Republic of the Congo is out as a document today.

In it, he says that the most of the country is conflict free today; its relations with its neighbors have been normalized and reconstruction efforts are gathering pace. Improvement in the security situation in 8 of the countrys 11 provinces provides a sound basis for devising a responsible exit strategy for the UN peacekeeping mission.

The Secretary-General also says that he fully respects the governments vision regarding the full exercise of its sovereignty and the need to empower national institutions and strengthen their capacities. The government has identified the development of these capacities as a priority area for assistance from the UN Mission and its bilateral partners. And the Secretary-General notes that the initiative will require concerted and harmonized efforts by all international partners.

Having considered the findings and proposals of a recent UN technical assessment mission to the DRC, and the views of the government, the Secretary-General says he is convinced that it should be possible to conduct a drawdown process in a manner that both advances the realization of the aspirations and vision of the Government and avoids the risk of reversals that could trigger renewed instability. He also recommends that the Security Council extend the deployment of the UN Mission for a further 12 months.

U.N. TROOPS HELP CONGOLESE GOVERNMENT RETAKE AIRPORT AT MBANDAKA

Asked about fighting in the northern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Spokesperson said that on Sunday, the town of Mbandaka, which is the capital city of the province of Equateur, was attacked by a couple of dozen of people who arrived by boat.

She said that they attacked first the governors mansion, after which they attacked the National Assembly and then moved to the airport.

The UN Mission in the country (MONUC) was trying to send reinforcements to the airport to support its personnel on the ground. One armoured personnel carrier (APC) was attacked, and in that APC, one peacekeeper from Ghana was shot and killed. He was killed after he had been deliberately targeted by an insurgent while he was standing at the top of an APC.

Two UN contractors also died, she added one working at the airport, and the other one shot by the assailants when they were being chased out of the airport.

Okabe said that the United Nations has helped the Congolese Armed Forces recapture the airport. UN police, along with the national police, are now patrolling the streets in Mbandaka, trying to bring some sense of security to the population, and also working to bring peace in that province.

Asked about the UNs ability to conduct joint operations with the Congolese Army, the Spokesperson referred to the resolutions of the Security Council that define MONUCs mandate.

MINE AWARENESS CONTRIBUTES TO ACHIEVING DEVELOPMENT GOALS

This years global commemoration of

International Mine Awareness Day focuses on the needs of survivors and celebrates the vigorous movement towards the vision of a world free from these devices.

The tremendous impact of mine action activities in over 60 countries contributes to peace operations and development initiatives. As the Secretary-General

notes this year, such actions make an invaluable contribution to our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Today at the Headquarters, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Alain Le Roy, will preside over a commemoration ceremony and opening of a United Nations sponsored photo and art exhibition at 6:00 p.m. Impact! is an exposition by Cambodian artists, some of whom are landmine survivors, and photographs by renowned photographers Kike Arnal from Venezuela and Arne Hodalic from Slovenia.

UNSAFE WATER THREATENS HEALTH, EDUCATION FOR SCHOOLCHILDREN IN 60 COUNTRIES

In 60 countries in the developing world, more than half of primary schools have no adequate water facilities. Nearly two thirds of primary schools lack adequate sanitation, according to a new report by UNICEF and its partners, which released today in Dubai.

Unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and lack of hygiene not only affect the health, safety, and quality of life of children. They also claim the lives of an estimated 1.5 million children under the age of five who die each year from diarrhea.

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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