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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-07-22
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, July 22, 2010
BAN KI-MOON URGES DIALOGUE IN WAKE OF WORLD COURT ADVISORY OPINION ON KOSOVO
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has delivered today its advisory opinion on the question Is the unilateral declaration of independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo in accordance with international law?
The Secretary-General will be
forwarding the advisory opinion to the General Assembly, which had requested the Court's advice and which will determine how to proceed on this matter.
The Secretary-General strongly encourages the parties to engage in a constructive dialogue. The Secretary-General urges all sides to avoid any steps that could be seen as provocative and derail the dialogue.
Asked about the implications of the advisory opinion, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General does not pronounce on the merits of judgements of the ICJ.
The advisory opinion states that, by ten votes to four, the ICJ is of the opinion that the declaration of independence of Kosovo adopted on 17 February 2008 did not violate international law.
BAN KI-MOON DISCUSSED AFGHANISTAN, MIDDLE EAST WITH VISITING U.K. PRIME MINISTER
The Secretary-General is back at UN Headquarters following his visits to Madrid, Geneva and Kabul. Immediately on his return on Wednesday afternoon, he
met with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who was making his first visit to the UN Headquarters.
They discussed a number of issues, including
Afghanistan, the situation in the
Middle East, climate change, and preparations for the
Millennium Development Goals summit in September.
The Secretary-General praised the UKs high level of commitment and leadership on the MDGs and hoped that the country's position could serve as a model for other countries to follow.
SECRETARY-GENERAL ADDRESSES ISSUES RAISED IN REPORT BY DEPARTED CHIEF OF INVESTIGATIONS OFFICE
Today, the Secretary-General also met with his senior advisers to brief them on his trip and other matters. Among other things, he raised the matter of the end-of-assignment report of the outgoing head of the
Office of Internal Oversight Services, Inga-Britt Ahlenius.
The Secretary-General noted that the end-of-assignment report is supposed to be a management tool. It is meant to allow all senior advisers to learn from the frank thinking and advice of a departing senior manager, Ms. Ahlenius. It is an internal document. Regrettably, the Secretary-General said, the report was leaked.
The Secretary-General said he believed in collective leadership. Leadership comes from teamwork. He said he did not expect his senior advisers would always agree with him. That is the beauty of the United Nations, he said: many nations, backgrounds, experiences and wisdom, all coming together. We need collective vision and solidarity, he said.
He said that was why he had always welcomed constructive criticism. But as public servants, there are rules and procedures. In this case, a trust, a bond, had been broken, he said.
The Secretary-General said that the UN Secretariat is carefully reviewing the report. The Deputy Secretary-General and the Chef de Cabinet are leading the internal review process. The Secretary-General said where there is room for improvement, we will take action. Where there are inaccuraciesand there are significant inaccuracies--we will set the record straight.
The Secretary-General made clear he had always told Ms Ahlenius that she had full independence. But operational independence does not mean being above the rules that apply to all of us.
The Secretary-General said that in every senior appointment in every UN department and agency he insists that there be at least three candidates for the post, at least one of whom should be a woman. That is the only way to ensure that the workforce culture of the UN reflects the full diversity, gender balance and strength of our modern world.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ATTEND AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT
The Deputy Secretary-General will depart today for the African Union Summit, to be held in Kampala, Uganda from 25-27 July. She will represent the Secretary-General at the Summit, which this year focuses on "Maternal, Infant and Child health and Development in Africa".
She will address the AU Assembly on the theme of the Summit, as well as political issues of concern in the region, including Somalia and Sudan. The Deputy Secretary-General will also hold bilateral meetings with a number of heads of state. In addition, she will participate in side events taking place on the margins of the Summit.
Asked why the Secretary-General was not attending the AU meeting, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General had attended the AU Summit earlier this year in Addis Ababa while the Deputy Secretary-General would attend the Kampala meeting. He noted the Secretary-Generals work at UN Headquarters, on the Middle East and other matters.
SECURITY COUNCIL CONCERNED AT POLITICAL INSTABILITY, ORGANIZED CRIME IN GUINEA-BISSAU
Security Council adopted a Presidential Statement on Guinea-Bissau this morning, expressing concern at the current security situation and threats to constitutional order.
The Council called on the Government of Guinea-Bissau to release immediately all those detained in the events of 1 April 2010 or prosecute them with full respect for due process. And the Security Council also expressed serious concern about the continued growth in drug trafficking and organized crime, which threatens peace and security in Guinea-Bissau and in the sub-region.
CYPRIOT LEADERS DISCUSS PROPERTY ISSUES AS TALKS REACH GOOD MOMENTUM
Cypriot leaders met today at the UN protected area in Nicosia, and concentrated their discussions on the issue of property. This discussion will be continued on Monday by the Representatives in the presence of the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser, Alexander Downer, and then the leaders will meet again next Wednesday on the property issue.
In remarks to the press after the meeting, Downer said that he believes the process of talks on Cyprus has good momentum. He said that he believes the leaders are showing a lot of commitment to meeting and to talking about issues.
U.N AID APPEAL FOR YEMEN REMAINS LARGELY UNDERFUNDED
The United Nations remains concerned about the humanitarian situation in
Yemen, where resources are not commensurate with humanitarian needs. So far this year, only 36 percent of the $187 million required for assistance to Yemen has been received.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that aid workers have increased their efforts to reach civilians in the conflict area, taking advantage of a recent lull in fighting. However, the unpredictable security situation continues to restrict full access to those in need.
The United Nations estimates are that there are 340,000 internally displaced persons in Yemen. OCHA says there is an urgent need for more food aid, water, sanitation, and basic health care.
U.N.D.P. BEGINS CASH-FOR-WORK PROJECT FOR JOBLESS YOUTH, WOMEN IN SOUTHERN KYRGYZSTAN
More than 1,100 people in the cities most affected by violence in southern Kyrgyzstan last month have started work on repairing roads, cleaning up irrigation systems, removing litter and restoring parks, as part of an initiative by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and local municipalities.
Following the crisis that displaced some 400,000 people in the region last month, UNDP has launched a cash-for-work programme in the cities of Osh and Jalalabad, which is intended to bring short-term jobs to unemployed young people and women.
GAZA: YOUNG BASKETBALL PLAYERS AWAIT CONFIRMATION BY GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORD-BREAKING PERFORMANCE
Seven thousand, two hundred and three children in Gaza simultaneously bounced six thousand basketballs today, doubling the previous Guinness Book of World Records record set in 2007.
The Director of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza, John Ging, said, We have to await the final verdict from the Guinness Book of World Records, which we hope will come in a matter of days. But certainly we know the figures and the chances look good.
Not content with smashing just one world record, the children of Gaza will attempt in just a weeks time to break their own world record set during Summer Games last year for the number of kites flown simultaneously.
BAN KI-MOON, U.S. ENVOY AGREE ON IMPORTANCEOF ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PROXIMITY TALKS: In response to a question, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General had spoken by phone with US Middle East envoy George Mitchell on Wednesday, and the two agreed on the importance of the Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks as a step on the road to direct talks. The Secretary-General assured Senator Mitchell that he would do his utmost to reach out to the parties as they participate in this process.
BAN KI-MOON HAS CALLED FOR INCLUSIVE, TRANSPARENT ELECTIONS IN MYANMAR: Asked about the Secretary-Generals efforts regarding Myanmar, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has been outspoken on the need for transparent and inclusive elections there and the need for the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest.
Catherine Pollard, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management, and Angela Kane, Under-Secretary-General for Management.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, SA-1B15
New York, NY 10017
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