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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-07-06

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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

FARHAN HAQ

ASSOCIATE

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES ISRAELI GOVERNMENTS FURTHER MEASURES ON GAZA ENTRY

The

Secretary-General welcomes the further measures announced by the Government of Israel in increasing the scope and quantity of materials entering the

Gaza Strip from Israel.

He also notes the agreement to facilitate the immediate start of construction of 12 United Nations education and health facilities. The Secretary-General has long called for a significant shift in strategy towards meeting the great needs of Gazas population. Further steps must now follow to meet those needs and to allow the United Nations to accelerate and expand its efforts.

The Secretary-General reiterates that the full recovery of Gaza cannot be addressed without a durable solution consistent with

Security Council

resolution 1860. The United Nations will continue to work towards this aim and will closely follow the implementation of the steps already agreed.

In addition, the

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process,

Robert Serry, has welcomed the measures announced on Gaza as important steps in the right direction. He hopes that these measures will stimulate commercial activities and allow a substantial increase in the amount of construction materials entering the Gaza Strip.

Asked whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would meet the Secretary-General, the Spokesperson confirmed that they would meet in New York this week.

UNITED NATIONS STRONGLY OBJECTS TO BLOCKING OF ACCESS TO SRI LANKA OFFICE

The United Nations has registered its strong objections to protests organized outside UN offices in

Colombo today by a cabinet minister of the Government of Sri Lanka which prevented staff and visitors from entering or leaving the premises.

While respecting the right of citizens to demonstrate peacefully, preventing access to UN offices hinders the vital work being carried out by the United Nations each day to help the people of Sri Lanka.

The Government has provided assurances for the safety and security of UN staff and for their full access to their offices. The United Nations will be closely monitoring developments and trusts that these commitments will be honoured.

Asked about actions that the United Nations was taking to ensure staff security in Sri Lanka, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations has contacted Sri Lankan officials at senior levels in New York and in Colombo.

He noted that, for most of the day, UN staff members were unable to come or go, and visitors were also blocked. By the end of the day, following interventions by the government, all staff were able to leave the offices. Some protesters remain outside. The United Nations will continue to closely monitor developments.

Asked about previous assurances that Cabinet minister Wimal Weerawansas comments did not reflect Government policy, Haq said that the Sri Lankan Government had repeatedly assured the United Nations at high levels in recent days that, despite such comments, Sri Lanka would support the UNs work in Sri Lanka and would abide by commitments to ensure the safety of staff.

He noted that on Monday, Sri Lankas Prime Minister had made those assurances to the UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Neil Buhne; however, one day after those assurances, staff were blocked at UN House.

Haq added that the main issue is that UN offices should not be blocked; our access, that of visitors, and our work should be allowed to continue unobstructed.

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON RECENT VIOLENCE IN MITROVICA

The

Security Council met this morning on the issue of Kosovo, in the wake of an explosion which took place in Mitrovica in northern Kosovo last Friday, leaving one person dead and a dozen injured.

Serbian President Boris Tadic addressed the Council during its open meeting, as did the head of the

UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo,

Lamberto Zannier.

Zannier briefed on the circumstances on last Fridays explosion as well as the general situation on the ground. He also reiterated the

Secretary-Generals call for all parties to commit to dialogue.

SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES NEED FOR CARIBBEAN LEADERS TO ASSIST HAITI

The

Secretary-General returned on Monday night from Montego Bay, Jamaica, which he had visited over the weekend as the first Secretary-General to attend a meeting of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

In

remarks to the regional groups opening session on Sunday, the Secretary-General stressed the need for continued assistance to Haiti. Although there have been accomplishments over the past six months since the earthquake, we nonetheless have an enormous task ahead, he warned, especially with the onset of the hurricane season.

He also told the CARICOM leaders that the region and the world need to move forward on three priority issues: economic and development concerns, including implementing the

Millennium Development Goals; security challenges, including drugs and crime; and climate change.

JOINT COMMUNIQUÉ: MORE EFFORTS NEEDED TO CONVINCE

DARFUR MOVEMENTS TO COME TO NEGOTIATING TABLE

The UN/African Union Joint Special Representative for Darfur,

Ibrahim Gambari, yesterday chaired a retreat in El Fasher of international special envoys and mediators on the

Darfur crisis. Participants at the retreat, who included representatives of member states and UN partner organizations, adopted a joint communiqué.

In it, they stressed that all efforts must be made to convince all Darfur movements to come to the negotiation table without delay. A lasting peace deal, they say, must be reached before years end so that peace can take hold throughout Sudan before the January referendum on the self-determination of South Sudan. They also expressed concern over increased ethnic violence and criminal activities, including the kidnapping of aid workers and attacks on peacekeepers.

Meanwhile, the

African Union-UN hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) says that more than 800 former combatants are taking part in a voluntary demobilization initiative which began this weekend in El Geneina, in West Darfur. The Mission is providing logistical support to the effort, which is part of the Sudanese Governments disarmament programme, which itself is a result of a deal between the signatories to the Darfur Peace Agreement.

U.N. PEACEKEEPERS HELP IN AFTERMATH OF FUEL TRUCK EXPLOSION IN D.R. CONGO

A fuel tanker overturned in the vicinity of Sange village in South Kivu, in the eastern

Democratic Republic of the Congo, last Friday. Military personnel from the

UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) rushed to the scene and tried to disperse the crowd. However, 242 people, including some 60 children who had gone to collect spilt fuel from the tanker, were killed when it subsequently exploded.

As of Monday, MONUSCO, the Congolese Red Cross and local hospitals in Uvira, Bukavu and Sange were caring for some 199 burn and trauma victims.

MONUSCO troops and equipment were quickly deployed to Sange to provide additional security and assistance with the burials. MONUSCO and the UN Country Team have worked closely with the Congolese authorities and the Red Cross to provide assistance, including delivering medical supplies, transporting medical personnel and the Health Minister to the area and evacuating casualties to local hospitals. MONUSCO has also provided food to members of bereaved families in Sange and the surrounding areas.

UNIFIL IS TAKING CARE TO COMMUNICATE WITH LOCAL COMMUNITIES ABOUT ITS ACTIVITIES

Asked about violent incidents over the weekend involving the

UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the Spokesperson noted that in recent days, UNIFIL has taken particular care to minimize disturbance or inconvenience to the local population during its operations in southern

Lebanon.

He said that, in cooperation with the Lebanese Army, UNIFIL is making every effort to talk to the communities and explain to them the nature and purpose of its activity in order to clear any misunderstandings they may have in this regard.

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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