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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-07-29
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, July 29, 2010
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO MEET EHUD BARAK IN NEW YORK, FOLLOWING CALLS TO SEVERAL LEADERS IN THE REGION
The Secretary-General will meet on Friday with Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. He expects to discuss a range of issues with him, including the situation in Gaza and the need to continue Israel's freeze on settlement activity.
The Secretary-General also made a number of calls to senior leaders in the region yesterday, in his continuing efforts to encourage the parties in the
Middle East peace process to move forward in the peace process. He spoke by telephone separately with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, with Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa and with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, underscoring his support for proceeding towards meaningful direct talks.
Asked about the League of Arab States agreement in principle to direct talks, the Spokesperson noted that the Arab League Secretary-General was one of the people whom the Secretary-General had contacted by phone on Wednesday.
He said that the Secretary-General has been playing a very important role in moving the process forward and communicating with the parties. Recently, Nesirky noted, the Secretary-General had also spoken about the peace process with the US envoy, George Mitchell.
EAST JERUSALEM: U.N. SPECIAL COORDINATOR DEPLORES TAKEOVER OF PALESTINIAN HOUSE BY ISRAELI SETTLERS
Robert Serry, the
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, issued a statement today deploring what he called an unacceptable action by armed Israeli settlers who forcibly took over a building, which is home to nine Palestinian families, in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City in East Jerusalem.
Serry called on the Israeli authorities to remove the settlers from the property and restore the previous status quo.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED ABOUT KALMA CAMP SITUATION IN DARFUR
The Secretary-General is
concerned about the situation in Kalma camp between internally displaced persons (IDPs) supporting the Darfur Peace Process in Doha and others.
The Secretary-General calls on all concerned to address their differences through political dialogue and to refrain from any action that could incite violence.
The AU-UN Joint Chief Mediator and the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) are doing all they can to defuse the situation and facilitate reconciliation.
UNITED NATIONS IS CONCERNED ABOUT WELFARE OF PILOT MISSING IN DARFUR
Asked about a pilot seized from a UN helicopter in Darfur, the Spokesperson said that the pilot is still unaccounted for. Three days after the initial incident, the United Nations remains deeply concerned about his welfare.
UNAMID is working with the Government of Sudan to locate him.
On 26 July, Nesirky recalled, UNAMID lost contact with one of its helicopters in the area of Oum Sader, located roughly 55 kilometers north of Nyala, South Darfur.
The UTair Russian company aircraft, working under contract for UNAMID, had been in the process of picking up representatives of the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), who were to be taken to Doha, Qatar, to participate in the ongoing peace negotiations. Four Russian crew members, three LJM delegates, and one international UNAMID civilian staff were on board the helicopter.
The assailants robbed the passengers and beat up several of the passengers and the pilot of the aircraft. Sudanese authorities arrived at the scene from where the group, with the exception of the pilot, was taken to a nearby Government military camp and remained overnight.
The passengers, the remaining crew and the aircraft arrived back at UNAMIDs base in Nyala on 27 July.
Asked who was responsible, the Spokesperson said that, at this time, it is not clear who was responsible for the beatings or the abduction. The United Nations is investigating this incident, together with the Government.
GUN BATTLE AT DARFUR CAMP FOR DISPLACED LEAVES THREE DEAD
The UN/AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) says that three individuals close to the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), which just signed a ceasefire agreement with the Sudanese Government, were killed on Wednesday.
The killings took place during a gun battle at the Hamadiya camp for the internally displaced, in West Darfur. As a result, all humanitarian assistance to the camp has been suspended until security conditions improve.
The Mission says that the three individuals were killed during fighting between Liberation and Justice Movement supporters and supporters of the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW) faction. A number of houses belonging to Liberation and Justice Movement supporters were also burnt down.
The fighting has now stopped, the Mission says, and Sudanese police have arrested four suspects and seized a number of weapons. The Mission says that it, too, is investigating the incident and closely monitoring its aftermath.
Meanwhile, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) says that peacekeepers on a short-range patrol in Western Darfur were ambushed earlier today by a group of unidentified armed individuals.
The peacekeepers returned fire on their attackers, who later fled the scene. Seven peacekeepers were wounded during the attack, and UNAMID immediately sent reinforcement troops to the scene. All peacekeepers later returned to their base, where the wounded are now receiving medical treatment.
SUDAN: SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS FORTHCOMING REFERENDA WILL REQUIRE SIGNIFICANT INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
Alain Le Roy, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, briefed the Security Council this morning on the Secretary-Generals
recent report on the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).
In it, the Secretary-General says that, despite operational challenges and shortcomings, the successful conduct of the national elections marked a critical milestone in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and provided for the expansion of the political space available for democratic change. He noted that, given the absence of elections during the past 24 years, the process of democratization is still fragile and slow to take root.
The Secretary-General added that the forthcoming referenda in Sudan will require significant international support if they are to be viewed as credible. He urges the parties to take full advantage of UNMIS and other international partners offers of material, technical, logistical and good offices assistance.
SECRETARY-GENERAL, SERBIAN FOREIGN MINISTER DISCUSS KOSOVO, DISARMAMENT MEETING
The Secretary-General held a meeting at UN Headquarters today with Vuk Jeremic, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Serbia. They discussed questions related to
Kosovo and a planned high-level meeting on disarmament.
On Kosovo, the Secretary-General said he planned to closely coordinate next steps with the European Union, which has offered to facilitate a process of dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade. The Secretary-General and the Minister also discussed a Serbian draft General Assembly resolution on this subject.
The Secretary-General said he continued to appeal to all sides to support constructive dialogue and the settlement of all remaining concerns, while encouraging political stability and discouraging provocations.
On disarmament, the Secretary-General noted he was convening a high-level session of the Conference on Disarmament in New York on 24 September. He said he hoped Minister Jeremic would attend.
LOSS OF LIFE AND WIDESPREAD DISPLACEMENT AFTER FLOODS IN PAKISTAN
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that, in Pakistan, heavy rains in the past few days have triggered floods in several parts of the country, resulting in a loss of life and widespread displacement. Thousands of people have lost their homes and livelihoods.
The humanitarian community is working on getting assessment missions to the affected areas. However, continued rains and damaged infrastructure make the roads impassable and complicated the task of assessing damage.
Meanwhile, in a
statement issued on Wednesday, the Secretary-General said he was deeply saddened by the tragic air crash near Islamabad in which many people lost their lives. He has written to the Prime Minister of Pakistan to express the sincere sympathy of the United Nations with Pakistan at this painful time.
GALAPAGOS ISLANDS REMOVED FROM ENDANGERED WORLD HERITAGE LIST, SITES IN UGANDA AND GEORGIA ADDED
The World Heritage
Committee has decided to remove the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) from the List of sites of World Heritage in Danger. The Islands were inscribed in 2007 because of threats posed by invasive species, unbridled tourism and over-fishing, but the Committee found that Ecuador had made significant progress in addressing these problems.
The Committee also inscribed the Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Uganda) and the site of Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Georgia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Last March, fire almost completely destroyed the main structure at the Tombs site which contained four royal Buganda tombs. As for the Cathedral and Monastery, the Committee expressed its serious concern about irreversible interventions carried out on the site as part of a major reconstruction project.
The List of World Heritage in Danger aims to raise international support for the conservation of World Heritage Properties.
HEAD OF W.F.P. WRAPS UP FOUR-NATION AFRICAN TOUR, SEES REVOLUTION IN FIGHTING HUNGER
The Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Josette Sheeran, ended a four-nation tour in Kigali, Rwandas capital. She said she was struck by the enthusiasm and commitment for change she heard from almost everyone, ranging from African Union leaders at a summit to victims of violence and poverty.
WFP says that people in many African countries can recover from conflict faster and even have their lives transformed through a revolution in the fight against hunger including greater opportunities to harness the power of markets. Sheeran said WFP was building on peace in many places, because no one wanted to be dependent.
She added that this overall revolution in how and what assistance was delivered was empowering people to overcome hunger while helping to defeat hunger in Africa.
At the same time, however, she appealed for more funds to help millions of people in drought-stricken Niger.
CYPRUS: LAUNCH OF A BI-COMMUNAL INITIATIVE ON CRIMES
In support of efforts to combat crime across Cyprus, the United Nations-backed Technical Committee on Crime and Criminal Matters (TCCCM) today launched the Joint Communications Room (JCR), a bi-communal initiative set up to exchange information between the islands two communities on crimes and crime-related matters.
Delivering remarks at todays launch, Alexander Downer, the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on Cyprus, said the Committee was a very good example of the two communities in Cyprus successfully working together.
BRAZIL AND U.N.D.P. AGREE ON JOINT PROJECT TO SUPPORT HAITI PUBLIC HEALTH
The chief of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Helen Clark, and the Brazilian Government on Wednesday signed an agreement for a joint project to strengthen public health and tracking of infectious disease in Haiti. The Memorandum of Understanding, signed in Brasília on the first day of Helen Clarks visit, will help reinforce Haitis public health infrastructure and increase monitoring of diseases in the Caribbean country.
The partners will work together to foster knowledge exchange, build capacity and cooperate in other initiatives inside Haitis Ministry of Health and other governmental and non-governmental national institutions. Brazil has designated around 170,000 Brazilian reais (US$100,000) for these activities.
NEW HEAD OF INTERNAL OVERSIGHT SERVICES TO START IN SEPTEMBER: Asked about the leak of a document from the former head of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), the Spokesperson said that the United Nations is now focused on looking forward, following the General Assemblys approval on Wednesday of the appointment of a new OIOS head, Carman Lapointe-Young. He said that Lapointe will start work in September and has a lot of work to do in leading a crucially important office.
HEAD OF PEACEKEEPING TO BRIEF NEXT WEDNESDAY: The Spokesperson, in response to a question, said that Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy will give a press conference next Wednesday, 4 August.
CHILDREN AT GAZA SUMMER GAMES MAY BREAK KITE-FLYING RECORD: Thousands of children in Gaza attending Summer Games organized by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) appear to have doubled their own world record for the number of kites flown simultaneously. The world record breaker took place on a beach in northern Gaza in the same location where they set the world record just one year ago. UNRWA sources say the unofficial figure for the number of kites flown is over seven thousand two hundred.
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