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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-06-21

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

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, June 21, 2010

QUARTET: ISRAELS GAZA POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT IS A WELCOME DEVELOPMENT

In a statement, the Quartet re-affirms that the current situation in

Gaza, including the humanitarian and human rights situation of the civilian population, is unsustainable, unacceptable, and not in the interests of any of those concerned. The Quartet reiterates its call for a solution that addresses Israels legitimate security concerns, including an end to weapons smuggling into Gaza; promotes Palestinian unity based on the Palestine Liberation Organization commitments and the reunification of Gaza and the West Bank under the legitimate Palestinian Authority; and ensures the unimpeded flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza, consistent with United Nations

Security Council resolution 1860 (2009). The Quartet declares its readiness to work closely with Israel, the Palestinian Government and international donors in order to achieve sustainable economic development on the basis of the full implementation of the Agreement on Access and Movement of 2005 and in the broader perspective of the two-state solution.

Consistent with these objectives, the Quartet and the Quartet Representative have worked with Israel, as well as consulting the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, and other concerned parties, to effect a fundamental change in policy in Gaza. The new policy towards Gaza just announced by the Government of Israel is a welcome development. The Quartet notes that the elaboration of further details and modalities of implementation will be important in ensuring the effectiveness of the new policy. Full and effective implementation will comprise a significant shift in strategy towards meeting the needs of Gazas population for humanitarian and commercial goods, civilian reconstruction and infrastructure, and legitimate economic activity as well as the security needs of Israel. The Quartet will continue to work with Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and other concerned parties to ensure these arrangements are implemented as quickly as possible. The Quartet affirms that much work remains to achieve fully the solution stated above, and, in consultation with the concerned parties, it will monitor closely the implementation of the policy in all its aspects. It will actively explore additional ways to improve the situation in Gaza, encourage involvement of the PA at the crossings and promote greater commerce between the West Bank and Gaza.

The Quartet stresses the importance of United Nations and other international interventions, as well as the work of local non-governmental organizations, to be expanded in Gaza to meet urgent civilian needs, and calls on all parties to fully enable this work.

The Quartet recognizes that Israel has legitimate security concerns that must continue to be safeguarded, and believes efforts to maintain security while enabling movement and access for Palestinian people and goods are critical. The Quartet commits to work with Israel and the international community to prevent the illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition into Gaza. It urges all those wishing to deliver goods to do so through established channels so that their cargo can be inspected and transferred via land crossings into Gaza. The Quartet emphasizes that there is no need for unnecessary confrontations and calls on all parties to act responsibly in meeting the needs of the people of Gaza.

The Quartet also calls for an end to the deplorable detention of Gilad Shalit in advance of the fourth anniversary of his capture on June 25; it further condemns the violation of Hamas' international obligation to provide him access by the International Committee of the Red Cross and demands that Hamas immediately remedy the situation.

The Quartet also reiterates its support for proximity talks toward the resumption, without pre-conditions, of direct bilateral negotiations that resolve all final status issues as previously agreed by the parties. The Quartet believes these negotiations should lead to a settlement, negotiated between the parties within 24 months, that ends the occupation which began in 1967 and results in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours.

THREE PEACEKEEPERS KILLED IN DARFUR ATTACK; SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR PERPETRATORS TO BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE

On 21 June, unidentified armed assailants attacked an

African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) security detail in Nertiti near Zalingei,

Western Darfur. Three UNAMID military personnel were killed and another wounded in the resulting exchange of fire. All UNAMID casualties were from Rwanda.

This incident follows a deadly attack on UNAMID peacekeepers on 7 May, in which two UNAMID peacekeepers were killed. Since the establishment of UNAMID in January 2008, 27 peacekeepers have been killed in hostile actions in Darfur.

The

Secretary-General deplores these attacks on peacekeepers in Darfur and calls on the Government of Sudan to continue to make every effort to apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice immediately.

The Secretary-General expresses his condolences to the families of the peacekeepers who lost their lives and to the Government of Rwanda and reiterates his appreciation for their service and commitment to the search for peace in Darfur.

SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBERS IN KABUL TO ASSESS SITUATION IN AFGHANISTAN

The 15 members of the

Security Council

arrived in Kabul today to assess the situation in the lead-up to the Security Council debate on

Afghanistan scheduled for late June.

The Councils visit is also to demonstrate their continued support for the Government and the people of Afghanistan as they strengthen the foundations to ensure a sustainable peace for all.

The Council will review progress made by the Afghan Government, with the assistance of the international community, assess the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions and will look ahead to issues on the agenda for the Kabul Conference.

UNITED NATIONS REVIEW FORESEES THAT STAFF IN AFGHANISTAN WILL NOT BE REDUCED SIGNIFICANTLY

Asked about staff movements in Afghanistan, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-Generals

recent report on Afghanistan makes clear that the volatile security environment translates into a high security risk for UN personnel, assets and operations. In accordance with a request by Headquarters, the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the United Nations country team reviewed which activities were sufficiently critical to warrant the presence of international staff when balanced against existing security threats.

Nesirky said that UNAMA reviewed its staffing levels to ensure that those present in the country were provided with secure premises. The review foresaw no significant reduction in the actual number of substantive staff members in Afghanistan at any given time.

Instead, he said, some staff who carry out administrative work would do that work elsewhere, which would free up secure premises for people whose work on the ground is deemed to be critical.

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW HEAD OF U.N. ETHICS OFFICE

The

Secretary-General has appointed Ms. Joan Elise Dubinsky of the United States as the Director of the Ethics Office. Ms. Dubinsky succeeds Mr. Robert Benson of Canada.

After having worked many years specializing in ethics, compliance and organizational development, Ms. Dubinsky most recently served as the Director of Ethics, BAE Systems, Inc.

PLANE-LOADS OF U.N. HUMANITARIAN AID ARRIVE IN KYRGYZSTAN

As part of the United Nations humanitarian response to recent events in southern

Kyrgyzstan, a plane-load of aid from the

World Food Programme (WFP)

arrived in the city of Osh.

It was carrying food rations for 30,000 people as well as telecommunications equipment to support the humanitarian response to the crisis. WFP is opening a humanitarian hub in Osh airport to act as a staging post, receiving assistance for the whole humanitarian community.

Todays flight included 20 metric tonnes of high-energy biscuits, an armoured car, body armour and emergency telecoms equipment, as well as pre-fabricated office equipment to set up the humanitarian hub. It follows the

arrival in

Osh on Sunday of the first plane delivery of shelter and non-food relief from the

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

UNHCR has already flown in two hundred and forty tonnes of aid for refugees in

Uzbekistan.

WFP also brought a plane-load of supplies to Andizhan, Uzbekistan, over the weekend. This included 40 metric tonnes of high energy biscuits, enough to provide a daily ration for 75,000 people. It is also planning to have two more flights arrive in Osh over the next couple of days with more food and relief items.

Asked whether the United Nations would support an investigation into the crisis in Kyrgyzstan, the Spokesperson recalled that the Secretary-Generals Special Representative in the region,

Miroslav Jenca, said that there would need to be some kind of investigation that would be combined with reconciliation efforts. But Nesirky added that for now, the focus remains on humanitarian assistance.

Asked about reported arrests of journalists covering the conflict, the Spokesperson said that the

Secretary-General has repeatedly made clear that freedom of the media is a fundamental right. He added that trying to portray the events on the ground accurately is not an easy job and is to be commended.

SECRETARY-GENERAL EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER DECLINE IN NUMBER OF REFUGEES ABLE TO GO HOME

In a

message for

World Refugee Day, observed on Sunday, the

Secretary-General underlined a troubling trend: the decline in the number of refugees who are able to go home.

In 2005, more than a million people returned to their own country on a voluntary basis. Last year, only 250,000 did so, the lowest number in two decades. The Secretary-General said that the theme of this years observance Home highlights the plight of the worlds 15 million refugees, more than three-quarters of them in the developing world, who have been uprooted from their homes by conflict or persecution. He added: Refugees have been deprived of their homes, but they must not be deprived of their futures.

Also marking the day, the

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),

António Guterres,

called on the international community to do more for the forcibly displaced.

World Refugee Day was marked with events all over the world. Following with past tradition, landmarks around the world were illuminated, including, for the first time, the Empire State Building in New York as well as the Coliseum in Rome and the towering Jet d'Eau fountain in Geneva.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

MEETING HELD ON STRENGTHENING STATE JOINT MECHANISMS IN DARFUR: The UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan,

Georg Charpentier, co-chaired with the South Darfur State Wali, Abdulhameed Musa Kasha, a roundtable discussion on strengthening State Joint Mechanisms in Nyala,

South Darfur, on Sunday. The meeting focused on strengthening collaboration between the newly elected state government officials and the humanitarian community in South Darfur through the State Joint Committee and sub-committees on programmes, procedures and safety and security.

ANNOUNCEMENT ON SRI LANKA PANEL EXPECTED SHORTLY: Asked when an advisory panel on Sri Lanka would be announced, the Spokesperson said that an announcement would probably be made on Tuesday.

  • ** The guests at the Spokespersons Noon Briefing on Monday were the Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Planning, Bob Orr; the Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Jomo Kwame Sundaram; and the Assistant Administrator of the UN Development Programme and Director of the Bureau for Development Policy, Olav Kjorven. They gave a preview of the UN Secretary-General's messages for the G-20 summit, the Millennium Development Goals Report 2010, the impact of the economic crisis on the most vulnerable, and other issues.

    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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