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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-06-11

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

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

ANNAN CONDEMNS JERUSALEM BUS BOMBING,

SAYING IT WOULD ONLY SERVE TO SPUR FURTHER HATRED

In a statement issued through his Spokesman, Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned in the strongest possible terms the suicide bombing by the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Jerusalem today, which killed at least 16 Israelis and injured dozens more.

He expresses his profound condolences to the families of the victims. As he has made clear repeatedly, the Secretary-General believes that such attacks are utterly reprehensible and only serve to spur further hatred and mistrust.

The Secretary-General calls on the leaders of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples not to be deterred from the path to peace through the Quartet's Road Map by this attack.

He urges Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas to work assiduously to fulfil his pledge to end the armed intifada.

The Secretary-General calls on both sides to act with restraint in the face of this terrorism.

He believes that the Israeli attacks in Gaza today only contribute to a renewed cycle of violence. The Secretary-General remains firm in his belief that security for both Israelis and Palestinians can best be achieved through the resolution of this conflict through the two state solution called for in the Road Map.

UNRWA PROTEST ISRAELI DECISION TO BLOCK OFFICIALS FROM LEAVING GAZA

Early this morning at the Erez checkpoint in Gaza, Israeli security forces prevented Peter Hansen, the Commissioner General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and his senior management team from leaving Gaza to attend a meeting in Jordan.

UNRWA has filed a protest with the Israeli government.

UNRWA says this incidentis the culmination of weeks of ever-tightening restrictions on the movement of UNRWAs international personnel. Hundreds of man-hours have been lost at the Erez crossing in the last month, seriously impairing the Agencys operations.

James Morris, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) is in Jerusalem today to begin a three-day visit to review first hand WFP's efforts to provide food aid to Palestinians impoverished by deteriorating security and economic conditions over the past two years. While over the past 12 months, WFP was able to bring in nearly 45,000 tons of food for nearly half a million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Israeli security measures have made the agencys operations in the area extremely difficult.

ANNAN MEETS WITH POWELL, RICE IN WASHINGTON

The Secretary-General traveled to Washington, D.C. this morning, where he met with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell for a working lunch, at which they are expected to discuss the Middle East and Iraq, among other matters.

Prior to the meeting with Secretary Powell, the Secretary-General met with U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. They discussed the Middle East, Iraq, Liberia, Western Sahara and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The National Security Advisor also brought up the situation in Myanmar.

He is scheduled to return to New York this afternoon.

UN ENVOY CONTINUES CONTACTS WITH IRAQI POLITICAL LEADERS

Today in Baghdad, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative, Sergio Vieira de Mello, met with Ibrahim Jaafari a prominent Iraqi political leader who leads the Dawa party.

Jaafari told de Mello that the Iraqis needed the UN to assist them in achieving their legitimate rights. The two discussed issues related to the current transition and explored how to advance the political process.

De Mello told Jaafari that he came to Iraq with a deep sense of responsibility and duty, and would do everything in his power to assist the Iraqi people at this critical juncture in their history. They agreed to continue their consultations.

In separate meetings, de Mello also met with resident diplomats of France and Italy. He also received a delegation from Amnesty International.

ANNAN HOPES FOR PROGRESS ON RETURN OF KUWAITI PROPERTY, ARCHIVES

Published today was the Secretary-Generals latest report to the Security Council on the work of the High Level Coordinator for the return of all Kuwaiti property, including archives, seized by Iraq. The report covers the activities of the High Level Coordinator, Yuli Vorontsov, from December of last year up to now.

During that period, prior to the start of hostilities, the then government of Iraq returned two batches of Kuwaiti property.

However, the Secretary-General notes, that while some property and some documents were handed over, it must be stressed that the Kuwaiti archives, along with Kuwaiti military equipment seized by Iraq, remain largely unreturned.

Detailed lists of the items returned in December 2002 and February 2003 are included in the report.

The Secretary-General hopes that there will be continued commitment to the search and return of Kuwait property and archives and that real progress may soon be achieved.

UN: HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN MONROVIA REMAINS GRIM

Monrovia is reported to be relatively calm today following days of sporadic gun and rocket explosions in the western and eastern suburbs, but the humanitarian situation remains grim.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) staying at the national stadium in Monrovia is now estimated to be as high as 30,000. Cases of measles and diarrhea are being reported among the population at the stadium and in other spontaneous IDP camps in the city.

Health agencies are concerned that the situation could result in epidemics if the war continues and these areas become inaccessible.

It remains extremely difficult for humanitarians to operate in Monrovia, as personnel have been threatened and vehicles have been looted, OCHA reported.

Prices of basic commodities continue to skyrocket in one of the worlds poorest countries. Hundreds of people queued in front of Western Union Offices today to collect money sent to them by relatives and friends abroad.

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS WITH KABILA, TRAVELS TO BUNIA THURSDAY

The Security Council mission to Central Africa led by Frances Ambassador to the United Nations, Jean-Marc de la Sablière, met today with President Joseph Kabila and other members of his government in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

On their agenda was: the expected establishment of the transitional government and the remaining obstacles, the situation in the eastern DRC -- the Kivus and Ituri, the grave human rights violations as a direct consequences of the ongoing fighting and impunity, the constant attention of the Security Council for the DRC and support for the DRC political process, and the relations with neighboring countries.

The Council delegation then met with the "Comite de Suivi"comprised of representatives signatories of last Decembers Pretoria Agreement.

Earlier in the morning, Council members heard a briefing on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in eastern DRC due to the ongoing fighting in Kivus and Ituri. In relation with the fighting in the Kivus, the Security Council delegation reiterated its demand for the immediate cessation of fighting, for the withdrawal to positions previously agreed, and for a meeting between the Parties involved.

Tomorrow morning, the mission is scheduled to leave for Bunia, Ituri, where it will meet with the UN mission, the multinational force and the members of the Ituri Pacification Commission and representatives of all the Iturian communities.

UN MISSION EXPLAINS MULTI-NAT'L FORCE MANDATE TO BUNIA COMBATANTS

The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is convening today a meeting of the delegates of armed groups in Bunia, which is being held in part to explain the purpose and mandate of the multinational force that has been deployed to Bunia. The UN mission reports that the current strength of the multinational force is about 250 personnel, and deployment is continuing to increase through the week.

The UN Mission describes the situation in Bunia as quiet but volatile, and adds that, while no fighting has been reported between Hema and Lendu militias, further clashes cannot be ruled out.

The Special Rapporteur dealing with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iulia Motoc, issued a statement welcoming the arrival in Bunia of the first members of the multinational force. She expressed her hope to visit Ituri herself to investigate allegations of human rights abuses there.

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS UN MISSION IN CYPRUS

CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE CEASE-FIRE IN LIBERIA

The Security Council met in consultations this morning first on a draft resolution recommending an extension of the UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP), which members later unanimously adopted in a formal meeting as resolution 1486 (2003). The resolution extends the mandate of the peacekeeping force for six months and also endorses the Secretary-Generals recommendation that the missions Civilian Police component be increased by up 34 officers.

Following the Cyprus consultations, Youssef Mahmoud, Director of the Africa II Division of the Department of Political Affairs, in an update to the Secretary-Generals quarterly report on Liberia issued last week, briefed on the ongoing peace talks in Akosambo, Ghana, as well as the situation on the ground.

Afterwards, a press statement on Liberia was read by Security Council President Sergey Lavrov of Russia in which Council members expressed their grave concern at the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Liberia and urged all combatants in the strongest terms to immediately cease hostilities and agree to a cease-fire.

Also in the Security Council today, Hedi Annabi, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, reported on the release of the four UN personnel from the peacekeeping mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) who had been taken hostage.

In other Security Council activity, the so-called 661 Committee on Iraq had a meeting this morning.

UN PERSONNEL RELEASED UNHARMED IN GEORGIA

The UN Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) confirmed that its four personnel, who were abducted in the Upper Kodori Valley on June 5, were released in an unspecified location at approximately 2200 hrs local time yesterday.

The Chief Military Observer of the Mission had a telephone conversation with the released staff this morning and all reported that they were well. The team later arrived at Tblisi.

SECRETARY-GENERAL ANNOUNCES THREE SENIOR APPOINTMENTS

The Secretary-General has decided to appoint Jose Antonio Ocampo of Colombia as Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, replacing Nitin Desai.

Jane Holl Lute of the United States will be the new Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, replacing Michael Sheehan.

Nigel Fisher of Canada will replace Reinhard Helmke as Executive Director of the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

WHO TEAM TO DISCUSS SARS OUTBREAK WITH CHINESE OFFICIALS

A team of top officials of the World Health Organization (WHO) travelled to China yesterday, where they will confer with health officials about the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and exchange views on the plans for the future.

In particular, WHO aims to develop a research agenda that fully exploits the many lines of evidence associated with the SARS experience in China. WHO officials also want to assess areas where Chinese authorities may require more support to ensure containment of the disease.

The latest statistics on SARS indicate a total 8430 probable cases, including 789 deaths, reported from 28 countries.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

ERITREA: Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Carolyn McAskie, wrapped up her visit to Eritrea today, where she re-launched the Consolidated Appeal for that country, seeking to make up the shortfall on $90 million in donations. She left Eritrea for Ethiopia where she will review the overall humanitarian situation. he is also seeking to raise awareness in the international donor community of the needs of the 12.6 million Ethiopians dependant on food aid.

MYANMAR: The World Food Programme (WFP) warned today that its operations to provide food aid to 100,000 refugees in Nepal and nearly 400,000 people in Myanmar would be severely hampered unless contributions from international donor countries are secured by the end of June. WFP has, to date, only received nine percent of the resources needed.

YUGOSLAVIA TRIBUNAL: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) confirmed that Jovica Stanisic, the former head of Yugoslavias State Security Services, was transferred into the custody of the Tribunals detention unit today. Stanisic is charged with four counts of crimes against humanity and one count of war crimes. His initial hearing will be announced in due course.

REPUBLIC OF CONGO: The International Court of Justice will deliver a decision next week in a case in which the Republic of Congo Congo-Brazzaville asked for an annulment of an investigation taken by French judicial authorities following up on a complaint against crimes against humanity and torture, filed by various associations against Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso and other senior officials. The decision will be delivered next Tuesday, June 17.

AFRICAN ECONOMIC SUMMIT: At the African Economic Summit in Durban, South Africa, today, Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) called on African leaders to embrace child-centred standards as the primary measure of progress across the continent. She urged the leaders to focus their limited resources on investments in health, education, equality and the protection of children.

UN BUDGET: Today, Bulgaria became the 86th Member State to pay its 2003 regular budget contribution in full with a payment of more than $175,000. Sweden contributed more than $11 million by Sweden to the peacekeeping budget.

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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