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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-07-21

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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, July 21, 2010

SECURITY COUNCIL INFORMED THAT MIDDLE EAST IS AT CRITICAL JUNCTURE

B. Lynn Pascoe, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, opened todays

Security Council meeting on the

Middle East by saying that we believe we are once again at a critical juncture in the effort to move to serious Israeli-Palestinian negotiations aimed at achieving a two State solution.

He noted that, since Israelis announcement of its new policy on Gaza, food and productive items have entered Gaza and the volume of imports into Gaza has increased steadily. A weekly average of 780 truckloads entered in recent weeks, a 40 percent increase compared to the weekly average in 2010 prior to the announcement. But while these are positive steps forward, we hope they can be enhanced to address the deplorable conditions in the Strip.

In the period ahead, Pascoe said, we must work to bring the parties into direct talks without delay on a basis that gives confidence in the possibility of genuine progress on the core issues and on the ground. We must ensure that policy change towards Gaza is fully implemented and followed with further steps.

Asked when the Secretary-Generals report to the General Assembly concerning follow-up to the Goldstone Report would come out, the Spokesperson said it would come out on time, adding that it was due on 26 July.

GAZA: BAN KI-MOON SENDS BEST WISHES TO YOUNG BASKETBALL PLAYERS SEEKING TO BREAK WORLD RECORD

On Thursday, thousand of children in Gaza will attempt to smash the world record for the number of basketballs bounced simultaneously. This event is part of the Summer Games organized by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA),

involving about a quarter of a million children across the Gaza Strip.

In a

video message

recorded specially for the world record, the Secretary-General congratulated the children of Gaza for taking part in this event. He told them, You are showing the world that, if you are given the opportunity, you can be number one.

Adding his voice of support, UNRWAs Gaza Director, John Ging, said, I have total confidence that the children of Gaza will break this world record. With their extraordinary determination and capacity to rise to a challenge, the children here can do anything.

DARFUR PEACE MEDIATOR SAYS DOHA TALKS ADVANCING WELL

The UN/African Union Chief Mediator for

Darfur, Djibril Bassolé, has issued a statement saying that the Doha peace talks between Sudan and some Darfur rebel groups are advancing well. Bassolé described the process as inclusive, with Darfur civil society, including internally displaced people and refugees, participating actively and constructively. However, the main Darfur rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdel Wahid faction, are not participating in the talks.

Bassolé issued the statement on Tuesday after meeting with Sudans First Vice President, Salva Kiir Mayardit. During that meeting, Bassolé said he encouraged Vice President Kiir to help the Mediators bring all remaining rebel groups to the talks.

He also said that ongoing fighting in Darfur is putting at risk the chances for a definitive and stable peace.

Asked about a visit by Sudans President to Chad following the recent International Criminal Court (ICC) charges against him, the Spokesperson reiterated that the ICC is not a UN body, but noted the seriousness of the charges put forward by the Courts prosecutor.

UNICEF, DARFUR REBEL GROUP SIGN DEAL ON THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN

The UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) has confirmed the signing today of a Memorandum of Understanding between it and the Darfur rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). The deal, which UNICEF described as a concrete step towards a detailed plan of action, would allow the United Nations access to JEM bases and ensure that the rebel group does not recruit children as soldiers. The agreement would also allow the UN to address more efficiently grave violations against women and children, including sexual violence.

UNICEF said that the negotiations began in mid-2008 in a process that has involved United Nations and African Union mediators on Darfur, as well as the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The Government of Sudan has already signed the agreement, UNICEF said.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

BAN KI-MOONS PLANE WAS DIVERTED DUE TO ROCKET ATTACK ON KABUL AIRPORT: Asked about a rocket attack that occurred while the Secretary-General was landing in Afghanistan two days ago, the Spokesperson said that the rocket attack was on Kabul airport, and it was unclear whether the United Nations was being targeted. He said that the Secretary-Generals plane was diverted to Bagram air base and that the Secretary-General and his delegation arrived safely at the

Kabul conference on Tuesday morning.

BAN KI-MOON HAS URGED A THOROUGH PROBE OF RECENT INCIDENTS IN RWANDA: Asked about the death of a journalist in Rwanda, the Spokesperson recalled that the Secretary-General had met with Rwandan President Paul Kagame last week in Madrid and had urged a thorough investigation into the latest incidents. Nesirky emphasized the importance for media to go about their work in an unfettered way.

NEW HEAD OF INTERNAL INVESTIGATIVE OFFICE TO BE NAMED SOON: Asked about an end-of-assignment report turned in by the departed former head of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), Inga-Britt Ahlenius, the Spokesperson said that constructive criticism was welcome and that the Secretariat would be looking seriously at the constructive and substantive elements of the report, while responding to any inaccuracies in it. He added that a successor to Ahlenius would be named soon.

TEMPORARY EXHIBIT CLOSED AS PLANNED AT U.N CENTER IN VIENNA: Asked about the recent removal of an exhibit from the UN Centre in Vienna, the Spokesperson noted remarks by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime spokesperson that the exhibit was a temporary one and the time for its display had ended.

SECRETARY-GENERAL STILL INTENDS TO TRAVEL TO NIGERIA: Asked about a visit by the Secretary-General to Nigeria, the Spokesperson said that, although the Secretary-General had to change plans to visit Nigeria earlier this summer, he still intends to visit the country at some point.

  • * The guest at the briefing was Mark Bowden, the United Nations Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator for Somalia, who gave an update on the situation in that country.

    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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