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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-06-09

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 FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, June 9, 2003

ANNAN DEPLORES WEEKEND VIOLENCE BY PALESTINIANS

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a statement, deplored the violence by Palestinian groups over the weekend. Such violence is especially untimely following the Aqaba Summit, where the parties made a commitment to implementing the Quartets Road Map.

The Secretary-General called on the parties not to allow violence, the aim of which is clearly to derail the peace process, to set the agenda, and he commended the two Prime Ministers for their recent expressions of determination to stay the course. The Secretary-General believes that the Road Map sets out the best path to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace that would ensure the security of the peoples of the Middle East.

Asked whether the Secretary-General would attend a meeting of the Quartet, the Spokesman said the United Nations was not ready to announce a travel appointment. However, in response to another question, he said that the Secretary-General was expected to travel later this month.

ALARMED BY IMPACT OF LIBERIA FIGHTING, ANNAN APPEALS TO WARRING PARTIES

The Secretary-General, in a statement, voiced his alarm at the severe impact which intensified fighting between rebels and government forces in Liberia is having on Monrovias one million inhabitants.

Clashes on the western outskirts of Monrovia have caused the majority of an estimated 100,000 displaced people in camps there to flee for their safety. Thousands have moved to the central and eastern parts of the capital. Before fighting erupted around Monrovia on June 5, humanitarian workers had access to barely 30 percent of Liberia. Today, virtually none of Liberias more than 3 million people, already traumatized by years of war and abject poverty, will be able to receive emergency relief assistance.

The Secretary-General called on the parties to the conflict to take all necessary measures to ensure that civilians are not targeted and are spared the effects of war. He also called on them to prevent looting of humanitarian assets and property and reminded them that perpetrators of international humanitarian and human rights law violations, which have been far too common in Liberia, will be held accountable for their acts.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS LIBERIA CONFLICT

The Security Council has scheduled consultations this afternoon at 3:30 on Liberia at the request of the Secretary-General.

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast is expected to provide a briefing on the latest developments.

In Ghana, the Secretary-Generals Representative for Liberia, Abou Moussa, continues to engage informally with the parties to the Liberia Peace Talks, which are expected to begin fully on Wednesday when the political delegation of the Movement for Democracy of Liberia (MODEL) is expected to participate.

Earlier today in Monrovia, the intensified fighting forced 29 UN international staff, together with European Union nationals, to be taken out of the city to a French ship waiting off the coast.

Asked what the United Nations could do to deal with conflicts in Africa, the Spokesman noted the many UN peacekeeping and peace-making efforts there, saying, Were trying to put out a lot of fires at once.

UN MISSION REPORTS WEEKEND FIGHTING IN BUNIA, DR CONGO

Fighting between Lendu and Hema militias erupted in Bunia, in the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, on Saturday. The UN Mission reported that some 500 Lendu militia personnel launched an attack against the Hema militia at around 6:20 a.m. to regain previously held positions. After several hours fighting, the Hema pushed Lendu militia out of Bunia.

Reports of casualties from the fighting are unconfirmed; there are reports of at least four killed and six wounded. However, the figure may be higher.

Around 14,000 internally displaced persons are still located within the two camps in Bunia under UN protection. There was an influx of displaced persons into the camp in Bunia on Saturday when fighting resumed. However, most of those coming into the camp have now returned home.

The advance party of the Interim Emergency Multinational Force, which arrived in Bunia late last week, has taken up patrolling the road from the airport to the center of town in Bunia, and the main body of the force is to be deployed in the coming days.

Asked whether the Secretary-General would ask for more troops in Bunia, the Spokesman said he had nothing to announce.

SECURITY COUNCIL CENTRAL AFRICA MISSION VISITS SOUTH AFRICA

The Security Councils mission to central Africa is set to arrive in Angola shortly, after traveling over the weekend to South Africa, where it met Sunday with President Thabo Mbeki and Deputy President Jacob Zuma.

Today, prior to leaving for Luanda, delegation members were briefed by Ambassador Mahmoud Kassem, the Chair of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

UN ENVOY VISITS MYANMAR, PLANS DEPARTURE FOR TUESDAY

The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Myanmar, Ambassador Razali Ismail, continued his mission in Yangon today.

Since his arrival on June 6, he has met top Foreign Ministry officials, members of the diplomatic corps, leaders of ethnic minority political parties, and the UN country team. He also met with Secretary-One of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), Gen. Khin Nyunt on June 7, and today he met the SPDC Vice-Chairman, Gen. Maung Aye, for the first time. The further continuation of the mission is dependent on the judgment of the Special Envoy. He is scheduled to depart on Tuesday.

Asked whether Razali would meet with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Spokesman noted the Envoys stated intention to meet with her, which he clearly hopes will happen.

ANNAN CONDEMNS COUP ATTEMPTS IN MAURITANIA

The Secretary-General strongly condemns ongoing armed attempts to overthrow the constitutional Government of President Ould Taya in Mauritania. He is deeply concerned over reports of widespread violence, injuries suffered by the civilian population and looting.

The Secretary-General reiterates his firm condemnation of any attempt to change the Government of any country by force or by other unconstitutional means. He calls for an immediate end to the violence and for a peaceful approach to resolving any difference.

UN ENVOY FOR IRAQ HOLD TALKS WITH IRAQI POLITICAL FIGURES

Today, as part of his continuing effort to consult with the widest possible spectrum of Iraqi society, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, met with Hamid Al-Bayati, Member of the Central Committee and Representative of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

Al-Bayati informed de Mello that his organization wanted to see a democratic government in Iraq as soon as possible, and asked for the United Nations to play an independent role in helping the Iraqi people. He stressed that the political process must be an Iraqi process to select an Iraqi administration.

De Mello answered that the United Nations had experience in supporting the constitutional and electoral processes in many countries around the world, and assured him that the United Nations was ready to assist the Iraqi people in any way possible.

De Mellos first meeting with an Iraqi political leader took place on Sunday when he met with Adnan Pachachi, who advocated a strong UN role in establishing the democratic government of Iraq. De Mello said we must make the best of resolution 1483, which offers an opportunity despite its vagueness. The resolution affirms the UNs independence and that is our strongest asset, de Mello said. The UN role, he added, is bringing about what the Iraqis want, which is, ultimately, sovereignty.

De Mello has also had two meetings, one on Sunday and one today, with the Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, L. Paul Bremer III. On Sunday, they discussed economic and monetary matters, along with representatives of the UN Development Programme, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Today, they touched upon the political process.

Asked about the issue of insecurity and how that was affecting the UNs work, de Mello said that, while it was obvious that the situation remained unstable, improvements could be seen in Baghdad on a daily basis. De Mello added that he would begin to travel to the provinces this coming weekend and would then have a more informed opinion on the situation outside of the capital.

Asked about whether de Mello truly has an independent role, the Spokesman noted his work with both the Iraqi political leaders and the Coalition authorities, saying, He has a foot in both camps. He called de Mellos recent meetings with Iraqi leaders just the beginning.

UNICEF NOTES THREATS TO HEALTH OF IRAQI CHILDREN

On Sunday in Baghdad, the UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) said the health situation of children in Iraq remains tenuous. Many children continue to suffer from high rates of diarrhoeal disease, much higher than at this time last year.

One of the most deadly of diarrhoeal related disease is cholera. In Basra there are now 66 confirmed cases of cholera, of which 79 percent are children under 5 years old. Fifty-nine percent of the victims are girls. Suspected cases have also been found in Nassariya and Missan. Dysentery and typhoid are also becoming a real problem for children.

To assist Iraqi children afflicted with these diseases, UNICEF is providing hospitals with intravenous fluids and Oral Re-hydration Salts (ORS) and Ampicillin to treat typhoid.

UN MISSION CRITICIZES ATTACK ON ISAF IN AFGHANISTAN

The UN Mission in Afghanistan said that on Saturday morning at 8:00, a bus carrying German International Special Assistance Force (ISAF) personnel was destroyed by a bomb detonated from a taxi.

At the time, the bus was traveling in convoy along the Kabul-Jalalabad road. Four German soldiers were killed and 31 injured, with four in critical condition. An investigation is ongoing, but there is every indication that it was a suicide bombing. The UN Mission commented that it was the first suicide bomb attack in Kabul, ever.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, sent his condolences, through his spokesman, to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the attack and pledged to continue pushing for peace there. The Special Representative is absolutely convinced that Afghanistan, with the support of their friends, will overcome these anti-Afghan forces that are still out there intent on destroying the peace process, his spokesman said.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

GREECE-FYROM TALKS HELD: Pursuant to the Interim Accord of September 13, 1995, the representatives of Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia met on June 6 under the auspices of the Secretary-General. The Greek side was represented by Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was represented by Ambassador Nikola Dimitrov. The Secretary-General was represented by his Special Representative, Matthew Nimetz. The parties continued to exchange views in the context of article 5 of the Interim Accord. They decided to meet again on a date to be agreed.

TOP UN RELIEF OFFICIAL TO VISIT COLOMBIA: Kenzo Oshima, the Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, will be traveling to Colombia, starting today, until June 12. The primary purpose of his mission is to get a first-hand look at the UN response to the humanitarian situation in that country. During his mission, Oshima will undertake field visits to areas heavily affected by internal displacement and will discuss the mid-term review of the UN Humanitarian Plan of Action for Colombia.

UN ROLE IN LATIN AMERICA: Asked whether Latin America has slipped from the Secretary-Generals agenda, the Spokesman said it had not, and added that UN efforts continue in many Latin American countries, notably Colombia.

ANNAN CONTACTS WITH U.S. OFFICIALS: Asked about whether it has been a long time since the Secretary-General talked with U.S. President George W. Bush, the Spokesman noted that the Secretary-General has been in contact with other senior U.S. officials, most recently by phone with Secretary of State Colin Powell.

SECURITY COUNCIL ACTION ON INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT: Asked about the Secretary-Generals views about whether the Security Council should extend a one-year deferral of investigations by the International Criminal Court into actions by UN-approved or authorized missions, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General was considering his position on that topic.

style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: 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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