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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-10-11

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING

BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC

ASSOCIATE

SPOKESMAN FOR THE

SECRETARY-GENERAL

OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, October 11, 2004

AFGHANISTAN: ELECTIONS A TRIBUTE TO DETERMINATION OF PEOPLE;

ANNAN URGES USE OF LAWFUL MEASURES TO RESOLVE DISPUTES

Secretary-General Kofi Annan was

pleased to learn of the enthusiastic voter turnout in Saturdays poll for

Afghanistans first elected President.

It presented the Afghans with a historic opportunity towards the establishment of a stable and democratic state for which they have worked so hard and deserve. That this election was held without major security incident is a tribute to the determination of the Afghan population.

A number of Presidential candidates have cited some electoral irregularities which are being investigated. The Secretary-General urges the Presidential candidates and their supporters to continue to work through lawful measures to resolve such disputes.

The Secretary-General calls on the Afghans, with the support of the international community, to work in concert to ensure Afghanistans transition of a peaceful and democratic nation.

PANEL TO INVESTIGATE REPORTED AFGHAN POLLING IRREGULARITIES

The

UN Mission in Afghanistan

reported that the Presidential elections on Saturday were marked by massive popular participation and enthusiasm around the country, and the vote was held in a safe environment.

The mission noted some problems involved in applying indelible ink to voters fingers to prevent them from voting more than once, but said that by the late morning, the problem of how to ink voters fingers had been addressed. That and other reported irregularities will need to be investigated by the Joint Electoral Management Body.

The Joint Electoral Management Body issued a statement today saying that it has decided to request the United Nations to identify an impartial panel of international electoral experts to fully investigate irregularities and difficulties encountered on election day.

The panel members who have been nominated by the United Nations are Craig Jenness of Canada and Staffan Darnolf of Sweden. The European Union has been requested to identify another expert who would be the third member of the panel.

Presidential candidates are to submit their detailed complaints by Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m., Afghanistan time.

The panel of experts will immediately and carefully review these complaints.

Asked how the team investigating irregularities would go about its work, and what freedom they would have to invalidate any results, the Spokesman said to wait to see first what claims would be filed by presidential candidates. The panel would then go about its work, he added.

ANNAN WELCOMES ELECTION OF TRANSITIONAL PRESIDENT FOR SOMALIA

The Secretary-General

welcomes the election yesterday of Abdullahi Yusuf as the transitional president of Somalia by the Transitional Federal Parliament.

He considers this as another important step toward the re-establishment of peace and stability in Somalia, and he looks forward to the formation, in the near future, of a Transitional Federal Government capable of beginning reconciliation and reconstruction in a spirit of consensus and dialogue.

The Secretary-General commends the efforts of Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, his Government, other Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) leaders, the countries in the IGAD Partners Forum and organizations that have assisted the Somali peace process for almost two years.

The Secretary-General reiterates the readiness of the United Nations to do its utmost to support the return of normalcy and good governance in Somalia. He urges all Somalis to be part of the effort to restore peace and security in their country.

ANNAN CALLS ON CHINA TO HELP THE WORLD REACH

MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS

The

Secretary-General met today in Beijing with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing for an extensive discussion of international issues that continued through a working lunch.

They spoke in detail about

UN reform, and also discussed, among other topics, the six-nation process dealing with North Korea, Taiwan, the UN role in

Iraq, the recent election in

Afghanistan, the Iranian nuclear issue,

Sudans Darfur crisis and Myanmar.

In a press encounter, the Secretary-General was asked about the international conference on Iraq, and said that it is going to be an important meeting. He declined to comment on whether the Iraqi resistance would be invited. I think the underlying message of that conference, he said, is that the stability of Iraq is in the interest of every country.

The Secretary-General then went to Tsinghua University, a centre of academic excellence in Beijing, where he

told the students, no visitor can help feeling the excitement of a great country developing at breakneck speed, and every day opening up new vistas of knowledge and opportunity to its citizens.

He called on China to help the world reach the targets set in the

Millennium Development Goals, saying that, if it didnt, there would be terrible consequences for humanity.

Also today, the Secretary-General addressed several hundred assembled UN staff at UN House and took questions from several of them. At the same venue, he participated in a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the UNs presence in China, attended by senior Chinese officials as well as UN staff.

The Secretary-General, accompanied by his wife Nane, then toured information booths that explained the UNs work in the country. Asked by a reporter about the AIDS problem in China, the Secretary-General said, I think lots of progress has been made, and from what I see, the Government is committed, and the Government at the highest level has declared its support and determination to fight the disease.

Earlier in the day, the Secretary-General met with Qian Qichen, a member of his High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, as well as with the heads of the UN agencies, funds and programs working in China.

U.N. ENVOY FOR SUDAN MEETS DARFUR REBEL DELEGATION;

STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF NEGOTIATED POLITICAL SETTLEMENT ON DARFUR

In Nairobi, Kenya site of the peace talks on ending the North-South conflict in

Sudan the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Sudan,

Jan Pronk, today met with the a rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) delegation from Darfur.

Discussions focused on the forthcoming peace talks on Darfur to be held in Abuja, Nigeria, and recent developments in Darfur. Pronk stressed the importance of pursuing a negotiated political settlement on Darfur, which addresses the root causes in a sustainable way.

Also in Nairobi, Pronk met with Sudanese First Vice President Ali Othman Mohamed Taha, who briefed him on the ongoing talks between the Sudanese government and the rebel People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).

In addition, Pronk met with John Garang, the Chairman of the SPLM/A. They also discussed the status of the ongoing peace talks in Nairobi.

In both these meetings, Pronk reiterated the need for both parties to seize this last chance to put an end to their conflict.

Meanwhile, the UN Mission in

Sudan, deplored the loss of life yesterday of two humanitarian aid workers working for Save the Children. Initial reports state that a Save the Children vehicle was hit by an explosion in North Darfur. The mission said it was believed that this explosion was caused by a landmine or an Un-Exploded Ordnance.

ANNAN CALLS FOR NEW DIRECTORATE OF SECURITY FOR UNITED NATIONS

The

Secretary-General issued a report to the

General Assembly today calling for a new Directorate of Security, which would include the Office of the Security Coordinator, the UN Security and Safety Services and the security component of the

Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

The report says it should be headed by an Under-Secretary-General who reports directly to the Secretary-General. The report also called for a significant increate in the number of security personnel, particularly in the field.

The Deputy Secretary-General,

Louise Fréchette, will on Wednesday present the report to the UNs main budgetary body (the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions).

On the following day, Thursday, she will be the guest at the Spokesmans noon briefing, to talk about the work being done to enhance UN security.

OPIUM CULTIVATION IN MYANMAR FELL BY ALMOST A THIRD IN 2004

Opium cultivation in Myanmar fell 29% in comparison to 2003,

according to the

Myanmar Opium Survey 2004, released today by the

UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The opium cultivation this season is estimated at 44,200 hectares representing a significant cumulative decline of 73% when compared to the 163,000 hectares in 1996.

The production of opium for the year 2004 amounted to 370 metric tons, representing a decline of 54% with respect to 2003.

Factor in a parallel decline in opium cultivation in Laos 45% in comparison to 2003 and what we may be seeing, if the decline continues, is a potential end to more than a century of opium production in the Golden Triangle, said

Antonio Maria Costa, UNODCs Executive Director.

TWO U.N. PEACEKEEPERS WOUNDED IN HAITI OVER WEEKEND

This past Saturday, peacekeepers and civilian police from the

UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) conducted a joint operation with the Haitian National Police to capture weapons and deter gang violence in Bel Air, Port au Prince. The operation led to the arrest of 73 people.

The operation lasted close to five hours, and one Brazilian soldier was slightly injured when a round grazed his foot. Another soldier had a round ricochet off his helmet but he was not injured, and one member of the National Police was also wounded.

Also, on Saturday evening, in the northern city of Gonaives, an Argentine soldier was wounded in the left arm while clearing a road-block. The incident followed an official visit to Gonaives by

Haitis interim President, Boniface Alexandre. His visit coincided with a strong anti-government protest, which saw the Presidents delegation run into a blockade made up of old vehicles, burning tires, and rocks which prevented it from leaving.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES U.N. OPERATIONS IN CYPRUS, BOUGAINVILLE

The

Security Council is holding consultations on Cyprus, Bougainville and other matters.

On Cyprus, Chief of Mission Zbigniew Wlosowicz briefed members on the latest report in which the Secretary-General recommended approval of the missions amended concept of operations and force level. He had also recommended the extension of the mission's mandate for a further six-month period, through 15 June 2005.

On Bougainville, Council members were briefed on a report that noted major progress in the peace process in recent months. The Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Danilo Turk gave that briefing.

A press statement on Somalia elections is expected to be read out by the Council

President following consultations.

U.N. ENVOY CONCERNED OVER ISRAELI AIR VIOLATIONS OVER LEBANON

Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-Generals Personal Representative for Southern Lebanon has expressed serious concern over the large number of Israeli air violations that took place across the Blue Line today.

Twelve air violations were recorded, and thereve been no reports of any anti-aircraft fire. The United Nations calls again on the Israeli authorities to cease these violations of the Blue Line and reminds all concerned that one violation cannot justify another.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

TODAY IS FIRST GLOBAL DAY AGAINST PAIN: Today is the first

Global Day Against Pain, of which the

World Health Organization (WHO) is one of the co-sponsors. The aim is to

draw global attention to the urgent need for better pain relief for sufferers from diseases such as cancer and AIDS. WHO says the majority of those suffering unrelieved pain are in low- and middle-income countries, and limited health resources shouldnt be allowed to deny sick people and their families the dignity of access to pain relief and palliative care which are integral to the right to enjoy good health.

UNICEF CHIEF CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL VACCINE STRATEGY: Carol Bellamy, the Executive Director of

UNICEF, the UN Childrens Fund, is

calling for a coalition of the powerful to improve the routine immunization of the worlds children. Bellamy made the call in her keynote address to the World Vaccine Congress, in Lyon, France, today. She also laid out a strategy for closing the gap between children protected by routine immunization and the millions of children still left out. Two million children still die needlessly each year from vaccine-preventable diseases; and some 17 countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, are suffering the effects of immunization coverage that is well under 50%.

ANNAN TO WELCOME CONTRIBUTIONS TO OVERSIGHT OF U.N. SYSTEM: The Under-Secretary-General for

Internal Oversight Services,

Dileep Nair, will deliver a message on the

Secretary-Generals behalf to Congress of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions tomorrow in Budapest. That group is to approve principles for the best audit arrangements for international institutions, and the Secretary-Generals message will welcome its contributions to the oversight of the UN system itself.

  • ** The guest at todays briefing was Vincent McClean, the New York representative of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. He spoke about this years Myanmar Opium Survey.

    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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