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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-10-04
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: firstname.lastname@example.orgARCHIVES
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FRED ECKHARD
SPOKESMAN FOR THE
OF THE UNITED NATIONS
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, October 4, 2004
ANNAN OUTLINES FOUR WAYS TO ASSIST AFRICAN UNION MISSION IN DARFUR
Secretary-General Kofi Annan has written to the Alpha Oumar Konare, the Chair of the African Union (AU) Commission, to propose four areas where the United Nations could provide additional immediate assistance to expand the current AU observer mission in Darfur,
These are: the establishment of a UN Assistance Cell at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa; the identification of pre-screened police from AU member states for possible inclusion in the AU mission; the opening of offices in Darfur of the UN Advance Mission in Sudan and assisting in preparing a pledging conference for the expanded AU mission.
The first group of the UN assistance cell was expected in Addis Ababa today.
ANNAN: IGAD-LED PROCESS IS CENTRAL TO COMPREHENSIVE PEACE IN SUDAN
report on the UN Mission in Sudan established under
Resolution 1547 is out as a document. It is a progress report on the UN mission and also on the North-South peace process led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
The Secretary-General says that the IGAD-led peace process is central to comprehensive peace in the
Sudan. No other peace process has come so far or has addressed the fundamental roots of the conflict in southern Sudan, the report says.
While the process does not offer a comprehensive solution to the countrys problems, the breadth of the agreements reached so far offer a basis for answers to the wider issues of insecurity and conflict. He says that the current crisis in Darfur is emblematic of that problem.
This report is not to be confused with the Secretary-Generals second 30-day report on progress, or lack thereof, by the Government of Sudan towards meeting the requirements to restore security in Darfur. Advance copies of this report in English only are expected to go to members of the
Security Council this afternoon.
Asked when the commission of inquiry for Darfur would be announced, the Spokesman said he expected to make an announcement very soon, possibly in the next 24 hours.
U.N. OFFICIAL TO ATTEND REVIEW OF CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT FOR DARFUR
At the invitation of the Chadian mediation, the Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs in Sudan, Taye Zerihoun, left today to N'Djamena, Chad to attend a meeting of the Joint Committee on the cease-fire agreement signed between the government and the Darfur rebel groups to be held tomorrow.
The purpose of the meeting is to review the status of implementation of the ceasefire agreement.
From N'Djamena, he will leave to Nairobi to attend the Kenya Talks scheduled to resume on 7 October, with a meeting between first Sudanese Vice-President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha and John Garang, Chairman of the rebel Sudanese People's Liberation Movement. (SPLM).
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSED DRAFT RESOLUTION ON TERRORIST THREATS
Security Council this morning adopted the
programme of work for the month of October.
Then, Council members took up Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts. A new draft resolution was circulated and discussed.
At 12:30 p.m.,
Security Council President, U.K. Ambassador Emyr Jones-Parry, briefed the press on the months programme of work.
At 3:30 p.m., the Council will hold consultations on the Middle East, and these will be followed by a formal meeting.
U.N. OFFICIAL DENIES U.N. VEHICLE USED TO TRANSPORT WEAPONS
In response to media reports that an ambulance driver for the
UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was photographed by an Israeli Defense Forces drone loading a Kassam rocket into his vehicle, UNRWA Director-General
Peter Hansen immediately launched an investigation.
reviewing the videotape and interviewing the ambulance driver, UNRWA concluded that that the object visible on the tape is a folded stretcher. It appeared to be the wrong length and much too light in weight to be a missile.
Hansen has warned that such serious allegations can endanger the safety of UN humanitarian workers in the region.
Secretary-General has no reason whatever to doubt Hansens conclusions.
He intends to call in Israels Ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, to ask what evidence Israel has to support the allegations and to let him know of his decision to launch an investigation to be conducted by a UN team which will leave New York tomorrow.
Asked about Hansens recent comments to the media on Hamas, the Spokesman said, We dont hire terrorists.
He noted that, although the United Nations does not ask staff about their political affiliations, it requires all staff to conduct themselves with appropriate practices and principles.
If any UN staff member were involved in any illegal activity, he affirmed, the United Nations would respond quickly by taking disciplinary and legal action.
Asked about the team leaving New York to investigate the allegations, the Spokesman said that the team had already been scheduled to go to the region to review UN operations there. The Secretary-General has asked the team to look into the allegations and asked Israel to provide any evidence that it has.
The Secretary-General is also expected to raise with the Ambassador UNRWAs problems of entry into and exit from Gaza.
Asked about Hansens conclusions, the Spokesman noted that Hansen had looked at a videotape provided by a media outlet. He assumed that a Government could have the means to provide more specific information.
UN MISSION IN HAITI ASSISTS POLICE TO MAINTAIN ORDER
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative in
Haiti, Juan Gabriel Valdes, has expressed grave concern over the recent bloodshed in Port au Prince.
In a statement issued Monday afternoon, he regrets that a peaceful demonstration last Thursday lead to violence and he condemns the subsequent brutal killing of police officers. He notes that arrests have been made and says he expects judicial proceeding to take place, with due respect for the rights of the detainees.
According to Valdes, the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is assisting the Haitian police to maintain public order. He calls on all Haitians to refrain from entering the cycle of revenge and violence and to work towards dialogue, reconciliation and peace.
ANNAN CALLED FOR HALT TO VIOLENCE IN GAZA STRIP
On Sunday, the
called on the Government of Israel to halt its military incursions into the Gaza Strip, which have led to the deaths of scores of Palestinians, among them many civilians, including children.
The Secretary-General likewise called on the Palestinian Authority to take action to halt the firing of rockets against Israeli targets by Palestinian militants. He reminded both sides to this conflict that they have a legal obligation to protect all civilians.
Asked about criticism from the Israelis and the Palestinians about recent UN statements on the violence, the Spokesman said that the number of deaths on both sides is unacceptable. The continuing attacks just add to tensions and make a political solution more difficult.
There is too little attention on both sides, he said, to the effects of attacks on civilians, and too much acceptance of collateral damage. The United Nations is reminding the sides of what international law calls for.
ANNAN CONDEMNED SATURDAY TERRORIST ATTACKS IN INDIA
On Saturday, the
Secretary-General learned with shock and dismay the news of bomb and gunfire attacks that took place that day in crowded public places in Nagaland and Assam states, India, which have claimed the lives of a large number of people.
The Secretary-General strongly condemned these terrorist attacks.
No cause or grievance can justify such senseless and cruel acts that target innocent civilians. He expressed his sincere condolences to the victims and their families.
SECURITY COUNCIL APPROVES MORE TROOPS FOR UN MISSION IN DR CONGO;
NEW CEILING FALLS WELL BELOW RECOMMENDED STRENGTH
On Friday afternoon, the
Security Council voted unanimously to extend the mandate of the
UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo until March 31, 2005. It also authorized an additional 5,900 military and police personnel for the Mission.
Following the vote, the
Secretary-General reminded the Council that while the additional personnel would improve the Missions operational capacity, the newly approved ceiling fell well below the figure of 23,900 troops and 507 civilian personnel he had recommended.
He continued to believe that the total strength recommended in his report was the minimum required to meet the current challenges in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In view of this reduction, the Secretary-General said that the Mission would have to review the scope of support it could provide to the peace process.
He welcomed the Council's intention to keep the strength and structure of the Mission under regular review, and said he hoped that the Council would revisit the Missions requirements favourably in the future.
SECURITY COUNCIL URGES COUNTRIES TO PROVIDE FORCES TO PROTECT
UN MISSION IN IRAQ
Security Council agreed on Friday to send a letter to the
Secretary-General welcoming his proposals regarding security arrangements for the United Nations Assistance Mission for
letter, the Council also urged Members States to contribute to the effort.
letter to the Council, the Secretary-General called for international security staff, protection coordination officers, personal security details and guard units. This would be in addition to protection provided by the United States-led multinational force, which would be responsible for security throughout the country.
Asked about the
Secretary-Generals meeting this morning with U.S. Senator Carl Levin, the Spokesman noted that Senator Levin sees the Secretary-General periodically, and they were expected to discuss Iraq.
ANNAN: PEACEKEEPERS NEEDED ON CYPRUS,
BUT ADJUSTMENTS CAN BE MADE TO U.N. PRESENCE
report to the
Security Council containing his review of the
UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus has been released.
In the aftermath of the rejection of the comprehensive settlement plan by the Greek Cypriot side of the referendum on 24 April, the Secretary-General said he would conduct a review of the missions operations taking into account developments on the ground as well as the views of the parties.
While in the absence of a comprehensive settlement, the presence of the UN peacekeepers on the island remains necessary for the maintenance of a cease-fire, certain adjustments to the missions can be made.
With the security situation on the island having become increasingly benign, the Secretary-General recommends that the number of peacekeepers be almost one third. He proposes that a more mobile and efficient concept of operations.
As for the UN police officers, who live within the community and perform a wide-range of community service, the Secretary-General recommends that the present ceiling be maintained.
He also recommends an increase of the number of civilian affairs officers working in the mission. He notes that their work has grown qualitatively and quantitatively as they intercede on behalf of members of one community or the other to ease specific situations
AFGHANS IN PAKISTAN REGISTER TO VOTE IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
The UN Mission in
Afghanistan says that some 315,000 Afghans registered to vote from Pakistan over the weekend, on the first two days of registration activity there.
The out-of-country registration exercise comes just ahead of the Presidential elections on 9 October.
Secretary-Generals Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, Filippo Grandi, told reporters yesterday that there continues to be, in many areas, intimidation by anti-governmental forces, including the Taliban.
He said that a report by the UN Mission and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission also notes instances where government and local officials have shown partiality towards one candidate or another.
CONSULTATIONS BEGIN ON COTE DIVOIREPEACE PROCESS
Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Cote dIvoire,
Albert Tevoedjre, has begun a mission to consult with concerned Heads of State and Government regarding the situation and to discuss proposals on the way forward that would help ensure the full implementation of the Accra III Agreement.
UN Operation in Cote DIvoire says that Tevoedjre will travel to Ghana, Togo, Benin, Gabon, Niger and Mali.
UNITED NATIONS AND INT'L CRIMINAL COURT SIGN COOPERATION PACT
Secretary-General signed an
agreement on the United Nations relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC), along with the Courts President, Judge Philippe Kirsch.
The agreement recognizes the status and mandate of both organizations. It provides that the two institutions will cooperate closely on administrative and judicial matters and will consult each other on issues of mutual interest.
Asked whether the United States may withhold funds because of the agreement between the ICC and the United Nations, the Spokesman said he was not aware of any such threat.
U.N.-CIVIL SOCIETY REPORT TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The Deputy Secretary-General,
Louise Fréchette, today presented to the
General Assembly the report of the panel of eminent persons on UN-civil society relations, which, she noted, appeals for the United Nations to become an even more outward-looking organization.
She said that the
Secretary-General, in response to the panels report, had suggested, among other things, that the contribution of non-governmental organizations in intergovernmental bodies should be built into the General Assemblys regular business. Also, the Secretariats own dialogue with NGOs at Headquarters should be improved.
She asserted, The time is right to take this partnership one step further for the benefit of the Organization and the people it was created to serve.
WFP FACES GROWING SHORTFALL IN ITS FUNDS FOR REFUGEE-RELATED OPERATIONS
World Food Programme has a growing shortfall in its funds for refugee-related operations. The agency is now some $220 million short of the $865 million needed this year to feed nearly 11 million people in refugee-related operations.
James Morris, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, drew attention to the shortfall while addressing the 55th annual session of the Executive Committee of the
UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva.
At the opening of the event,
Ruud Lubbers, the High Commissioner for Refugees,
said there is a less friendly environment for refugees despite a sharp fall in the number of refugees and asylum seekers around the world.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT SHOULD FOCUS ON URBAN/ RURAL AREAS
While there are differences between urban and rural development that require different interventions, ultimately sustainable development cannot and should not focus exclusively on one or the other.
That is part of the
World Habitat Day, which is today.
The days theme is Cities engines of rural development and it aims to underline the importance of mutually beneficial linkages that are essential for the development of both cities and rural areas.
World Habitat Day has been
celebrated every year since 1985, and it is set aside by the United Nations for the world to reflect on the state of human settlements and the basic right to adequate shelter and to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat.
NEW PROGRAMME TACKLES DISCRIMINATION AGAINST MIGRANT WORKERS: The
International Labour Office, with the support of the European Union, has
launched a new programme designed to tackle on the job discrimination against
migrant workers. The new project will also seek ways of helping some 27.5 million migrant workers currently in Europe, integrate into the societies where they work. According to the project coordinator, the evidence indicates that newcomers rejuvenate populations and stimulate growth without inflation. However, negative perceptions of migrants in receiving countries arise out of a concern at their presumed effects on unemployment, wage rates and social security.
FAO CONFERENCE LOOKS TO IMPROVE LIVELIHOOD OF MOUNTAIN PEOPLE: Representatives from governments, civil society organizations and international organizations are at the Rome headquarters of the
UN Food and Agriculture Organization today, for a two-day conference on
improving the livelihoods of mountain people. Mountains are home to 12% of the world's population, or 720 million people of whom some 270 million are vulnerable to food insecurity and, of these, 135 million suffer chronic hunger and malnutrition. The conference will consider more effective and sustainable agriculture and
rural development policies and practices for mountain regions and put the final touches to an
international project designed to support mountain people.
MORE THAN 80 MILLION CHILDREN TO BE IMMUNIZED AGAINST POLIO ACROSS AFRICA: More than 80 million children will soon be immunized against
polio in 23 countries across west and central Africa, as part of the single-largest, public health campaign in history. This massive-cross border campaign was launched last Saturday, and the immunization process will begin on 8 October.
UNICEF, the UN Childrens Fund,
says the campaign is vital for protecting African children from a looming polio epidemic and getting Africas polio eradication programme back on track.
ANNAN CALLS FOR BETTER RESPONSE TO ARMED CONFLICTS IN AFRICA: A new
report of the
Secretary-General has just been issued, on the causes of conflict and promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa. In it, the Secretary-General looks at how Africa and the international community are better responding to armed conflicts in the continent, in particular through the efforts of the African Union to mediate conflicts and strengthen its own peacekeeping forces. He urges the international community to support these initiatives more effectively.
U.N. TASK FORCE ON FINANCIAL MECHANISMS LAUNCHED TODAY: The UN Task Force on Financial Mechanisms, which was requested by the
World Summit on the Information Society last year, was launched today in New York. Chaired by
UN Development Programmes Administrator,
Mark Malloch Brown, the Task Force will review existing financial mechanisms and examine ways of making the benefits of information technology available to developing countries. The task forces final report is to be presented to the
Secretary-General at the end of December. It will be taken up at the second preparatory meeting for the World Summit, to be held in Geneva next February.
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
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