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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-05-26

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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

BY MARTIN NESIRKY

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

BAN KI-MOON LEAVES FOR ALLIANCE OF CIVILIZATION FORUM IN BRAZIL

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be leaving New York later today, for Rio de Janeiro where he will take part in the 3rd Global Forum of the

Alliance of Civilizations. From there, he will travel to Malawi on Saturday to further his advocacy in favour of the Millennium Development Goals. He will meet with the countrys leadership and the UN Country Team.

On Sunday, the Secretary-General will travel to Kampala, in Uganda, where he will address the Review Conference of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). And on Tuesday he will be in Nice, in France, where to take part in the Africa-France summit.

BAN KI-MOON WILL ATTEND OPENING WORLD CUP GAME IN SOUTH AFRICA

As the Secretary-General mentioned this week, his second Africa trip will take him to South Africa.

He is pleased to accept a personal invitation from President Zuma of South Africa and President Blatter of FIFA to attend the opening ceremony of the football World Cup on 11 June.

As the Secretary-General said, the fact the World Cup is being hosted by South Africa is a tribute to the prowess and potential of the entire continent.

Of course it's a chance to celebrate the start of a huge sports event that brings with it the prospect of many goals.

But it's also the chance to highlight that we also have other goals in mind -- the

Millennium Development Goals.

Africa is a top priority for the Secretary-General as we seek to ramp up progress towards achieving the eight Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

HAITI: U.N. TAKES LES CAYES PRISON INCIDENT VERY SERIOUSLY

Asked about the intrusion of UN troops in a university in Port-au-Prince, the Spokesperson noted that the UN Mission in Haiti,

MINUSTAH, has issued an apology concerning this incident. He said that the troops went inside the university to arrest a student who threw rocks at a UN patrol but, as Edmond Mulet, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative in the country had said, UN troops should not enter university grounds.

In response to a question about the establishment, by the UN and the Haitian authorities, of an independent commission to investigate the incident in Les Cayes Prison on 19 January, Nesirky said the UN Mission in the country, MINUSTAH, had been aware of the incident immediately. He added that the Human Rights Section of the Mission in Les Cayes immediately began looking into this. He added that the incident took place right in the aftermath of the earthquake, on January 19, at the time when the scale of the death, injury and destruction affecting the Haitian population and the UN on the ground was still being measured and was the primary focus.

Nesirky said the incident was taken very seriously. He noted that MINUSTAH had already conducted its own investigation precisely because repeated requests for an investigation by Haitian police had not been. That was also the reason why an independent commission was now being set up by the UN and the Haitian President, the Spokesperson added.

TOP HUMANITARIAN OFFICIAL ENDS VISIT TO CHAD, PROCEEDS TO SUDAN

John Holmes, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, today met with President Idriss Deby and discussed key humanitarian issues in eastern and western Chad. President Deby reiterated his assurances that the Government will take responsibility to protect civilians, including those in the humanitarian community. He also emphasized the need for support from the international community as they assume that responsibility.

On food insecurity and the malnutrition crisis in the west, they agreed that the situation is serious. Although there has been some level of response on the part of the Government and the humanitarian community, they noted that more needs to be done to put into place a better response.

On returns, the President agreed that people cannot return to their homes unless the situation is secure, and the President specifically highlighted the need for de-mining in areas of potential return.

Holmes concludes his visit to Chad and proceeds today to Khartoum, where he is scheduled to conduct his fifth official visit to Sudan from tomorrow until 30 May.

CYPRUS SETTLEMENT IS WITHIN GRASP, AS TALKS BETWEEN LEADERS RESUME

Talks between the Cypriot leaders have resumed today.

The Secretary-General sent a

message to the two leaders, read by his Special Adviser, Alexander Downer, at the start of the meeting.

In it, the Secretary-General says that a settlement is within their grasp and that this opportunity must be seized. He adds that achieving an agreement will require vision, statesmanship and courage. The Secretary-General also says that the communities want and expect a settlement and that this will require give-and-take on both sides, as well as the ability to understand the issues and what is at stake from the perspective of the other side.

Speaking to the press afterwards, Downer

said the meeting was held in a very warm and positive environment. The two leaders will meet again next Thursday, 3 June.

BAN KI-MOON CONSISTENTLY EXPRESSES STRONG CONCERNS

Asked about the Secretary-Generals comments on the results of an investigation concerning the sinking of the South Korean naval ship, the Spokesperson said that the investigation had been conducted by an international group of investigators and had been very thorough. He said that it was the Secretary-Generals duty to be objective but not to sit on the fence on all issues. He consistently expresses strong concerns on any number of worrisome events taking place in many different parts of the world, Nesirky added.

In response a question on the former Special Envoy for the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK), Nesirky said that the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs had visited the DPRK recently in order to reopen the channel established by that Special Envoy and others. He added that the Secretary-General followed this particular topic closely and had many people to advise on this within his team and the Department of Political Affairs, among others.

SRI LANKA PANEL OF EXPERTS SET UP INVOLVES MANY PEOPLE

Asked about the panel of experts on Sri Lanka to be set up, the Spokesperson said many people were involved in its establishment, not least the Secretary-General.

He noted that it does not directly involve the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka, as it will be the Secretary-Generals panel of experts.

COTE DIVOIRE: SECRETARY-GENERAL RECOMMENDS ADJUSTMENT OF U.N. MISSIONS MANDATE

The Secretary-Generals

report on Côte dIvoire is out.

In it, the Secretary-General says that the events of February and March 2010 have demonstrated that the failure to hold elections in Côte dIvoire constitutes a potential conflict trigger. He appeals to all Ivorian parties to avoid taking any actions that may reverse the significant progress they had made and risk plunging the country into renewed violence and instability.

The Secretary-General recommends maintaining the United Nations Operation in Côte dIvoire (ONUCI) until the end of the year with the same current total strength of its military and police components.

If the Security Council approves such an extension, the Secretary-General also recommends an adjustment of the Missions mandate, to allow it to focus on helping the parties to implement the remaining priority tasks those are the tasks related to disarmament and all aspects of the reunification of the country, and to elections.

SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES NEED TO PROTECT CULTURAL DIVERSITY

The

Security Council held an open debate on Intercultural Dialogue for Peace and Security, and the Secretary-General

addressed that meeting earlier today.

He said the debate was especially relevant now, on the eve the Third Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations, which begins Friday in Rio de Janeiro.

He noted that support for the Alliance keeps growing but that prejudice, hatred and identity-based extremism remain all too common. There is a need to protect cultural diversity. This is a basic human right, enshrined in many legally-binding instruments, he said.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

United Nations, SA-1B15

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055


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