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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-04-12
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, April 12, 2010
IN WASHINGTON, SECRETARY-GENERAL TO CALL ON LEADERS TO COME TOGETHER FOR NUCLEAR WEAPONS-FREE WORLD
The Secretary-General is on his way to Washington, where he will attend the nuclear security summit chaired by President Barack Obama. He told reporters at a
press encounter this morning that we can see new momentum toward our ultimate ambition: a world free of nuclear weapons.
Nuclear terrorism, he said, is one of the greatest threats we face today. Thats why he has urged the Conference on Disarmament to immediately start negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material. In Washington, he will call on all world leaders to come together, perhaps at the United Nations in September, to further advance this essential cause for humankind.
On Kyrgyzstan, the Secretary-General told reporters that his special envoy, Jan Kubis, arrived in Bishkek over the weekend and has been meeting with all parties to try to maintain and restore constitutional order while respecting the wishes of the Kyrgyz people. Kubis will brief the Secretary-General directly upon his return to New York on Thursday.
In response to a question, the Spokesperson confirmed that Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe had met with then-opposition leader Roza Otunbayeva while the Secretary-General was visiting Kyrgyzstan. The Secretary-General had asked Pascoe to meet with about half a dozen people, including Otunbayeva, while the Secretary-General was in other meetings.
Nesirky noted that the Secretary-General had said that he could sense the tense atmosphere while he was visiting Kyrgyzstan.
Asked who was the head of state in the country, the Spokesperson said that the focus of the United Nations was on ensuring calm and dialogue in Kyrgyzstan, which is why Kubis had returned to Bishkek. Kubis will work, along with the envoys of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), to ensure that the relevant parties are engaging in dialogue.
Kubis will brief the Secretary-General in New York later this week and will also brief journalists, Nesirky added.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL VISITS CAMPS IN HAITI, MEETS WITH DISPLACED
Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro arrived on Sunday in Port-au-Prince on a two-day visit to assess conditions in camps for Haitians displaced by the 12 January earthquake and survey the UN and Haitian Government efforts to protect camp residents from sexual violence and related problems. Her visit follows the Secretary-Generals own recent trip to Haiti.
Today she is meeting with the
UN Mission leadership and leaders of various humanitarian clusters working on delivering assistance and providing protection to displaced Haitians. She will also visit the town of Leogane, which was the epicenter of the earthquake.
On Sunday, the Deputy Secretary-General met with President René Préval, and they discussed challenges facing the country following the earthquake, including education reform, law enforcement and social and political stability. She then spent several hours at a camp in downtown Port-au-Prince, where she held informal talks with camp residents and formal meetings with womens groups, who complained of sexual abuse in the camps. She assured them of the Secretary-Generals firm resolve to work, along with the Haitian Government and its partners, toward improving their conditions.
She later met with both Haitian and UN female police officers and discussed strategies to combat sexual violence and child abuse in the camps. The officers told her, among other things, that their work is made more difficult by the fact that only a limited number of women and children in the camps report the abuses they suffer for fear of retaliation. The Deputy Secretary-General took note of this and promised to relay it to the Secretary-General for appropriate UN action.
WESTERN SAHARA: SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS MORE WORK NEEDED FOR NEW ROUND OF FORMAL NEGOTIATIONS
The Secretary-Generals latest
report on the situation concerning Western Sahara is out today. In it, he says that the two informal meetings held in August 2009 and February 2010 produced no movement on the core substantive issues and adds that more work is needed before a fifth round of formal negotiations can be held.
The Secretary-General also voices growing concern for the human dimension of the conflict, including the plight of the Western Saharan refugees. He urges the parties to confirm their agreement to the expansion of the family visit programme and to accelerate their consultations with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on its implementation. On the human rights front, he calls on each party to remain engaged in continuous and constructive dialogue with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Given the circumstances on the ground and the continuing efforts of his Personal Envoy, Christopher Ross, the Secretary-General recommends that the Security Council extends the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) for another year, until 30 April 2011.
U.N. WARNS OF FUNDING CRISIS FOR HUMANITARIAN NEEDS IN PAKISTAN
Martin Mogwanja, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for
Pakistan, today gave a press conference in Islamabad, at which he warned that the current humanitarian funding crisis for the Pakistan appeal is affecting the ability to respond to humanitarian needs.
Some non-governmental organizations are laying off staff, closing projects, and not implementing new ones, he noted. The World Food Programme (WFP) says that it has enough food for April and May, but not for June. Early recovery activities, such as school feeding, are in jeopardy.
The international communitys response is inadequate, said Mogwanja. So far, the Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan, which requires more than $500 million for projects in 2010, is only 20 percent funded.
CLIMATE CHANGE NEGOTIATORS AGREE TO INTENSIFY SCHEDULE FOR 2010
Climate change negotiators have
agreed to intensify their negotiating schedule in order to achieve a strong outcome in Mexico at the end of this year. Negotiators were meeting in Bonn this weekend in the first round of UN climate change talks since the Copenhagen Conference.
Governments decided to hold two additional sessions to the ones already scheduled for 2010. These will take place between June and the start of the Climate Change Conference in Mexico, on 29 November, but not specific dates are set yet.
The UNs top climate change official, Yvo de Boer, said he had seen a strong desire to make progress at this meeting in Bonn. He added that the Cancun Conference must finalize a functioning architecture for implementation that launches global climate action, especially in developing nations.
SECRETARY-GENERAL ENCOURAGES SUDANESE PEOPLE TO EXERCISE RIGHT TO VOTE
On Saturday, the Secretary-General welcomed the upcoming elections in Sudan, which mark an important milestone in the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). He called on all the Sudanese people to exercise their right to vote.
For the international community, the holding of peaceful and credible elections is of paramount importance. The elections should contribute to the opening of political space in Sudan, ahead of the January 2011 referenda stipulated in the CPA.
The Secretary-General encouraged the Government, the National Elections Commission (NEC) and political parties to ensure that the elections are conducted in a peaceful atmosphere, free of violence, harassment or intimidation and to engage in dialogue to address outstanding concerns.
In accordance with its mandate, the United Nations will continue to provide technical assistance and limited logistical support to the NEC and other relevant authorities, towards a successful electoral process.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SHOCKED BY DEATH OF POLISH PRESIDENT AND OFFICIALS
The Secretary-General was
shocked to hear the news of the Saturday plane crash in which Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and many other people, including senior officials, were killed in Smolensk, Russia.
On behalf of the United Nations, the Secretary-General expresses his deep and heartfelt condolences to the people and Government of Poland and to the families of those who perished.
The Secretary-General said President Kaczynski had served his country and people with distinction and conviction, and was deservedly respected internationally. That he died en route to an event marking a new level of reconciliation between Poland and Russia is particularly poignant.
SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON U.N. ASSISTANCE TO A.U. SOMALIA MISSION: The
Security Council held consultations today on peace and security in Africa. Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Susana Malcorra briefed Council members on the UN assistance that is being provided to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES NEED TO FOCUS ON PEACE AND RECONCILIATION IN AFGHANISTAN: Asked about recent remarks by President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had said that recent rhetoric had been unhelpful, but had stressed the need to focus on the work being done on the ground, including on peace, reconciliation and governance.
LETTER FROM IRANIAN PRESIDENT HAS NOT BEEN FORMALLY RECEIVED: Asked about a letter to the Secretary-General from the President of Iran, the Spokesperson later said that the letter has not been formally received by the Secretary-General.
BHUTTO COMMISSION REPORT TO BE PRESENTED ON 15 APRIL: In response to a question, the Spokesperson said that the report of the Commission of Inquiry concerning the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was expected to be presented on 15 April.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
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