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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-12-11
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.comHIGHLIGHTS
OF THE NOON BRIEFING
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, December 11, 2003
SECRETARY-GENERALS GOOD OFFICES AVAILABLE FOR CYPRUS
Secretary-General Kofi Annan is in Berlin, Germany, today, where he met with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
They discussed Afghanistan, Iraq, Cyprus, the Middle East, next years conference in Bonn on renewable energy and UN reform.
After the meeting, he told reporters at a press encounter that, as he has indicated to the parties in Cyprus, my good offices are available the moment they show the will, the political will, to move forward and seek a settlement.
On Iraq, he noted that, in his report on Wednesday, he has asked the Coalition and the Iraqi Governing Council for clarity as to what role they expect the UN to play in the transition period, and has indicated the political, constitutional and humanitarian areas where the UN can help.
The Secretary-General was asked for his views about the decision taken yesterday to exclude Germany, France and Russia from reconstruction contracts in Iraq, and he stressed the need for the actions being taken on Iraq to be unifying rather than divisive. And in that respect, he said, I would not characterize the decision taken yesterday as unifying.
Before his meeting with the Chancellor, the Secretary-General met with Foreign Minister and Deputy Chancellor Joschka Fischer.
Later, he held talks with German Defense Minister Peter Struck, which focused on Afghanistan and Iraq .
He and Nane Annan then are expected to meet with President Johannes Rao before attending a dinner hosted by the Chancellor with Chief Executive Officers of the Global Compact companies.
In the evening, a meeting with Angela Merkel, leader of the Christian Democratic Opposition, is also scheduled.
Mrs. Annan, meanwhile, is expected to address a group of women from political and womens organizations in a fireside chat hosted by the German UN Association.
Before leaving Geneva for Germany, the Secretary-General met with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou.
Asked when the Secretary-General would return to UN Headquarters, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General would return to New York over the weekend and be in the office on Tuesday.
UN MISSION CONCERNED BY REPORTS OF DEATHS OF AFGHAN CHILDREN
Lakhdar Brahimi, the head of the UN Mission in Afghanistan, today said he was shocked and saddened to learn that yet another group of Afghan children had been killed as a result of military action by coalition forces, this time in Paktia province.
Brahimi said that, in addition to the terrible loss suffered by the families of these children, this type of incident has a destabilizing effect, adding to the sense of insecurity and fear in the country. Unfortunately and worryingly, this type of incident also makes it easier for those who are trying to spoil the peace process to rally support for their cause.
As the Mission has noted before, it trusts that the results of coalition investigations into these incidents will be made public and that lessons will be learned so that these tragic situations are not repeated.
The Secretary-General shares his Special Representatives views on this latest incident.
The UN Childrens Fund also expressed its concerns about the deaths, saying, The death of a single child is one death too many.
Also today, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported that it has sent a security mission to Kandahar this week, following a similar mission to Jalalabad earlier this month. UNHCR is taking measures to keep its programs going, but full resumption of all operations and redeployment of staff are not foreseen in the near future unless measures are taken to improve security along the border.
INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR IRAQ BECOMES OPERATIONAL TODAY
The joint UN/World Bank fund for Iraq is operational today. The fund, which will go by the official name of the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq, is being inaugurated by the UN Development Group and the World Bank.
Now that it is up and running, interested Governments can contribute to the rebuilding of Iraq 's economy and infrastructure through projects managed by UN agencies and the World Bank.
This fund is made up of two individual trust funds. One of these is managed by the World Bank which will focus on technical assistance, infrastructure support and feasibility studies. The other will be handled by the UN Development Group and it will focus on quick impact projects and transition activities.
UN HUMANITARIAN STAFF TO RETURN TO IRAQ AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
The Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs says UN humanitarian staff are committed to returning to Iraq as soon as possible, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Jan Egeland, said today at a press conference in Geneva.
Egeland added that he regretted the misconception that the UN has left Iraq. Rather, he said, UN programs are still underway and are being monitored there by 2,000 national staff. The Humanitarian Affairs office is directing operations and providing leadership from neighboring countries.
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES DR CONGO, KOSOVO
The Security Council held consultations today on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean Marie Guéhenno briefed the Council on regional developments concerning that country, and updated them on the disarmament process and transitional government process there, as well as the situation in Ituri Province.
The Council President, Ambassador Stefan Tafrov of Bulgaria, read a statement to the press on the DRC, welcoming the improvement of bilateral relations among the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda, and expressing appreciation for the involvement of the African Union in moving forward the peace process.
Guéhenno also briefed Council members on Kosovo.
Also on Kosovo, the head of the UN Mission there, Harri Holkeri, today said that the Kosovo Assemblys decision to abrogate all laws enacted in Yugoslavia and Serbia after March 22, 1989, is not valid. That decision, he ruled, was beyond the Assemblys competence.
WFP WARNS OF HUNGER THREAT IN NORTH KOREA IN 2004
In North Korea, hunger and undernourishment could rise again in 2004, if food aid and agricultural projects are not funded.
According to warnings issued by the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization, $171 million is urgently required to feed 6.5 million of the most vulnerable people in rural areas of North Korea, while a further $3.5 million is needed to increase crop and vegetable production.
Despite the fact that North Koreas 2003-2004 harvest is forecast to be the best in nine years, domestic food production still falls well below minimum food needs and malnutrition rates remain disturbingly high.
UNICEF TARGETS GIRLS EDUCATION IN ANNUAL REPORT
Girls' education is one of the most crucial issues facing the international development community, the UN Childrens Fund today said in its annual report, The State of the World's Children.
The report argues that development theories and policies have been marked by gender discrimination and that the standard approach to development has focused on economic growth, rather than human welfare. UNICEF calls on all nations to make the education of all children - with an emphasis on girls - a major focus of investment.
CONVENTION ON MIGRANT WORKERS RIGHTS BEGINS TODAY
The first meeting of States Parties to the International Convention Dealing with the Protection of Migrant Workers Rights began this morning at Headquarters. The meeting will elect the ten members of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
The Committee to be established as a result of today's election will examine reports submitted by States parties on the legislative, judicial, administrative and other measures they have taken to give effect to the provisions of the Convention.
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