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United Nations Daily Highlights, 02-07-11

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

HIGHLIGHTS

OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY HUA JIANG

DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, July 11, 2002

ANNAN VOICES HOPE ON PEACE DEAL FOR SUDAN

Secretary-General Kofi Annan began his second day in Sudan today with a visit to a camp housing some 100,000 people displaced by war and natural disaster, located about a 40-minute drive on a dusty and bumpy dirt roads outside Khartoum, the capital.

Upon arrival, a group of camp residents unfurled a banner that read Stop War, We Need Development. No for War, Yes for Peace. The displaced people also chanted, Salam, Wahda, Sawa Sawa, -- or No North without the South, no South without the North, we are all equals.

The Secretary-General told the group that he had come to Sudan in the name of peace. When it comes to peace, he said, no one needs to convince you who have suffered from the war the need for peace and what peace will bring. He then returned their chant of Salam, Wahda, Sawa sawa, drawing a huge applause and cheers.

In scorching heat, the Secretary-General walked about the camp, visiting a clinic where four mothers were having their infants vaccinated, talking as well to girls who were attending school and visiting a local church.

He then met with Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail on the peace efforts underway and on humanitarian access, first in a meeting of delegations and then in a one-on-one session between the two.

As he walked to a lunch hosted by the Foreign Minister, the Secretary-General stopped to chat with a group of schoolgirls clad in blue tunic uniforms who were waving at him. One of the girls, in response to the Secretary-Generals remarks about their future leadership roles as women, quipped, to his delight, We are going to be better than men.

Following his meeting with the Foreign Minister, the Secretary-General spoke briefly to the press, saying he had been following closely the discussions going on in Nairobi, Kenya, and added, Like all concerned, I am hopeful that the parties will come to an agreement before they conclude their meeting on July 20, and then build on it.

Among his scheduled appointments this afternoon are meetings with Brig. Gen. Ian Wilhelmsen, head of the Joint Monitoring Committee of the Nuba Mountain Cease-fire Monitoring Commission, and former Prime Minister Sadiq Al Mahdi.

He is also to have a boat trip of the Blue Nile, one of the two Niles that converge in Khartoum, before he meets this evening with President Omar al-Bashir at the Presidential Palace. The Secretary-General is also expected to hold press conference after his meeting with the President.

The Secretary-General is scheduled to leave for Abuja, Nigeria, on Friday morning.

COUNCIL SET TO RESUME DISCUSSIONS ON ICC AFTER BRIEFINGS ON AFRICA

This morning the Security Council held back-to-back private meetings.

During the first, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, introduced the Secretary-Generals recent report on the UN Mission in Sierra Leone.

Ambassador Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, who chairs the Councils Sierra Leone sanctions committee, briefed the rest of the members on his recent trip to Sierra Leone and other countries in the region.

Immediately afterwards, the Council held another closed meeting to hear from General Lamine Cissé, the Head of the UN Office in the Central African Republic. He presented the Secretary-Generals latest report on that country.

At 3:30 p.m., Council members will resume discussions in closed consultations on the UN mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the International Criminal Court, which they had begun late Wednesday afternoon following the conclusion of an open debate on the same subject.

During Wednesdays consultations, the United States introduced a new draft resolution on the ICC.

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH KEY TO FIGHTING POVERTY, ANNAN SAYS ON POPULATION DAY

Today is World Population Day and this year the theme is Reducing PovertyImproving Reproductive Health.

In his message, the Secretary-General said that in the eight years since the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, there has been improved levels of schooling, higher survival rates of children, and better access to reproductive health services including voluntary family planning. Birth rates, he added, are dropping faster than expected in several large developing countries, and global population growth is slowing. This virtuous circle in turn makes further progress possible, the Secretary-General said.

He concluded, Let us recognize reproductive health as one of the key tools in the wider battle against poverty. And let us resolve to mobilize the resources and the political will to work for reproductive health as a means to building a healthier, stronger, more prosperous human family.

In her message on the occasion, the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Thoraya Obaid, said that one in four of all women in developing countries are adversely affected by lack of proper maternal health care.

This amounts to deadly neglect, she said, adding, By increasing interventions for safe motherhood, especially emergency obstetric care, we can save the lives of half a million women and seven million infants, and prevent millions of women from suffering from infections, injury and disability each year.

She said the need for reproductive services was especially important in the fights against HIV/AIDS, as they empower women and young people with life-saving messages and skills to help stop the disease from spreading.

UNHCR AND NORTHERN AFGHAN LEADERS MEET TO DISCUSS SECURITY ISSUES

The Chief of Mission for Afghanistan of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has returned from a mission to Northern Afghanistan.

He had discussions with the local leaders regarding the issue of the protection of returnees and internally displaced persons.

During the meeting, Grandi received assurances that all efforts are being made to control factional fighting and that additional measures will be taken to guarantee safe returns. These measures are under discussion.

The UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) announced that nearly 1.25 million children are now attending school in the 20 provinces where data was collected, and that 30 percent of pupils attending school are girls.

UNICEF says that while these figures provide a positive message about education in Afghanistan, several problems remain. For example, only 22 percent of schools assessed so far have adequate sanitation for pupils, and many children are still being taught in temporary, tented classrooms.

UNICEF is appealing for an additional $10 million on top of its original appeal for $47 million for education, to ensure that all children and teachers returning to school in coming months are properly equipped.

AFGHAN SUPPORT GROUP BRIEFED ON POPPY CULTIVATION

The UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention today briefed the Afghan Support Group, which is meeting in Geneva, on its efforts to break Afghanistans dependence on opium poppy cultivation.

Antonio Mario Costa, who heads that Office, said that ultimately, Afghan society needs to build its own institutions in order to beat the evils of drugs, crime and terror.

He told the meeting, attended by the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, that Afghanistan had produced some 450 tons of heroin in 1999, and might produce between 200 and 250 tons this year.

He stressed the importance of providing farmers a sustainable agricultural alternative to drug cultivation.

WFP CHIEF WARNS SOUTHERN AFRICA FOOD CRISIS MAY SOON BE A CATASTROPHE

James Morris, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), said today in Johannesburg that the humanitarian crisis facing millions of people across southern Africa is desperate, and may soon lead to a catastrophe. Throughout the region, he warned, people are walking a thin tightrope between life and death.

WFP is urging a rapid response to its appeal for $507 million to feed 10.2 million people in six of the regions countries: Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland.

Today, Morris announced a donation by the United States for $98 million, which he said was a great start as he called for more donations.

COURT DENIES DR CONGOS REQUEST FOR PROVISIONAL RULING AGAINST RWANDA

On Wednesday in The Hague, the International Court of Justice, by a vote of fourteen judges in favor to two against, concluded that the Court does not have the jurisdiction to grant the provisional measures requested by the Democratic Republic of the Congo against Rwanda.

The DRC Government had brought the case to the Court, accusing Rwanda of violations of human rights and international law and of aggression by Rwanda against the DRCs territory.

But the Court noted that one of the fundamental principles of its Statute is that it cannot decide a dispute between States without the consent of those States to its jurisdiction.

At the same time, the Court asked all parties to the DRC conflict to put an end to violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

In a press release issued today, the Security Council sanctions committee dealing with Resolution 1267, which placed sanctions on individuals and entities associated with al-Qaeda, has removed a Canadian citizen, Liban Hussein, from that list. The Committee took the decision to delete him from the list on Monday. The Committee will continue to update its list as it receives information from Member States.

The Security Council sanctions committee dealing with Liberia decided on Tuesday to drop three individuals, including senior Revolutionary United Front official Omrie Golley, as well as Romeo Horton and Robert Neal, from the list of persons affected by the travel sanctions in Resolution 1343.

On Friday in Geneva, the Director-General of the International Labour Office (ILO), Juan Somavia, will meet with a delegation of Palestinian National Authority representatives, including the Minister of Labor, Ghassan El-Khateeb, and Palestinian trade union officials. They are expected to discuss the expansion of the ILOs current technical assistance programs for Palestinian workers.

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General United Nations, S-378 New York, NY 10017 Tel. 212-963-7162 - press/media only Fax. 212-963-7055

All other inquiries to be addressed to (212) 963-4475 or by e-mail to: inquiries@un.org


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