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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-10-12

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

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

COTE D'IVOIRE: ANNAN URGES UNCONDITIONAL

IMPLEMENTATION OF PEACE PROCESS

Secretary-General Kofi Annan is concerned at the deteriorating security situation in Côte dIvoire, in particular the attacks against the Sector East offices and staff of the UN Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (ONUCI ) in Forces Nouvelles-controlled areas.

In a statement, the Secretary-General strongly appealed to all Ivorian parties to desist from any action that could aggravate the situation in the country. He expects the Ivorian authorities and political forces to demonstrate restraint from violence and fulfill without delay their responsibilities with regard to the full and unconditional implementation of the peace process.

[In a

press release, the UN mission reported violent demonstrations on Monday in Bouaké, which targeted the business district, the Headquarters of UN peacekeepers in Sector East, as well as the UN military observers office. It also said that faced with an increasingly threatening crowd, the UN peacekeepers, under order to show the utmost restraint, fired warning shots in the air. At no time did any UN military personnel aim at civilians.]

ANNAN, IN MESSAGE READ OUT TO AFGHAN PEOPLE, CONGRATULATES THEM

ON IMPRESSIVE ELECTION PARTICIPATION

The Secretary-General today warmly congratulated the men and women of Afghanistan on their impressive participation in last Saturdays elections.

In a message read out on Afghan television and radio by his Special Representative, Jean Arnault, the Secretary-General said that the long walks the Afghan people made to the polling stations were a heart-warming demonstration that democracy is firmly taking root in their country.

He also congratulated the national security forces and the 120,000 Afghans who served as polling staff. He noted allegations of irregularities and said, Rest assured that they will be fully clarified.

The Secretary-General concluded by congratulating the Afghan people for their patience, resilience and civic maturity.

SECURITY COUNCIL WELCOMES ELECTIONS IN AFGHANISTAN

The impressive participation in the Afghan elections augurs well for the Afghan journey towards democracy, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Hédi Annabi told the Security Council today.

In an open briefing, Annabi said that the elections were in most ways a well-run operation, with a high turnout and no major security incidents. The only serious problem was the improper use of indelible ink by some polling officials, a problem which he said was identified and resolved within the first hours of polling.

He noted that presidential candidates were to submit their detailed complaints about the elections by this evening, with a three-member panel to investigate them fully. Annabi said that the process of counting ballots is expected to continue for some two to three weeks.

The Security Council then held consultations, followed by a meeting in which it adopted a Presidential Statement welcoming the Afghan elections as historic and congratulating the millions of voters.

The Council urged the Government of Afghanistan to continue to confront the remaining challenges, including security, the timely preparations of parliamentary elections next April, reconstruction, disarmament and the fight against narcotics.

Asked for details about the investigation into the election complaints, the Spokesman said that the candidates had until 6:00 p.m. today, Afghan time, to submit their complaints. That deadline has now passed, and the panels work will now begin.

U.N. HELICOPTER MAKES FORCED LANDING IN AFGHANISTAN

A UN helicopter flying over Badakhshan, Afghanistan, was forced to land this morning because of engine problems. The three crew members and five passengers were forced to land near the village of Patukh, near the Afghanistan-China border.

The eight people are reported to be fine, and not injured, but they cannot be rescued tonight, given the weather conditions and the rugged terrain. They have been provided with warm clothes, food and shelter material, by an air drop, so that they can be taken care of until they are picked up, likely on Wednesday.

ANNAN TROUBLED AS MILITARY ACTION CONTINUES IN GAZA STRIP

The Secretary-General is deeply troubled by the continuing military action and violence in the northern Gaza Strip, with the high toll of death and injuries among the civilian population, according to a statement issued today. He grieves for the many children who have been killed or wounded in these operations.

The Secretary-General is also very disturbed by the destruction of civilian property, infrastructure and agricultural land in the northern Gaza Strip in such operations and calls on the Government of Israel to do the utmost to avoid any harm to Palestinian civilians.

The Secretary-General once again reiterates his deep conviction that there exists no military solution to the conflict, and calls again on both parties to cease all forms of violence and to renew their search for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. He also urges the leadership on both sides to pay far greater heed to their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians in armed conflicts.

CHILD HIT IN STOMACH BY GUNFIRE IN U.N.-FLAGGED GAZA SCHOOL

A child sitting in a UN-flagged school in the Gaza Strip was hit in the stomach by gunfire from an Israeli position today, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reported.

The child, an

11-year-old girl, was immediately taken to the hospital, where her condition is currently reported as stable.

The Relief and Works Agency says this is the fourth such incident in less than two years. It has repeatedly called on the Israeli authorities to stop firing at schools.

Asked about the Israeli allegations that a rocket had been stowed away in a UN vehicle, the Spokesman took note of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharons media comments that a stretcher had been mistakenly identified as a Qassam rocket. He said that a UN team, which is in the region to investigate the allegations, will report back to the Secretary-General once it has returned to New York.

ANNAN TOURS PEACEKEEPING CENTER, ECO-VILLAGE IN CHINA

This morning, the Secretary-General toured a peacekeeping training center in Langfang, China. The compound was completed last year for the purpose of training civilian police for UN peacekeeping missions.

He told the 90 Chinese officers undergoing training there, who are preparing to be sent to Haiti, There is great need for your talent, your help and your contribution, and I am sure you will do well in Haiti.

The Secretary-General then visited the Eco-Village at Liuminying, featuring environmentally friendly farming, animal husbandry and biogas production. He told the villagers and environmental experts there that they were helping China to achieve a vision of a balanced, well-rounded society.

From there, he returned to Beijing, where he was joined by his wife, Nane, for a visit to an AIDS voluntary counseling and confidential testing center. They met privately first with an AIDS patient who was in counseling, and then with seven other infected individuals. On exiting, the Secretary-General told the press that he had met with courageous people who are not only living with the condition but are also determined to share their experience with others. He added that it would be helpful if we could encourage people we know to come and get tested.

Nane Annan added that it is so important to reach out to all levels of society to raise awareness about AIDS because that is the way we can stop it at the early stage.

NANE ANNAN VISITS WATER, AIDS PROGRAMS IN CHINA

In a separate program in the morning, Nane Annan visited a UNICEF-supported water, sanitation and hygiene project at Majuan Primary School, 40 miles northeast of Beijing. She talked to the children about the hygiene messages they are learning in school and taking home.

Later in the day, she was joined by well-known Chinese actress Jiang Wenli at a community-based HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment centre in Guan County, 35 miles south of Beijing. They met a group of farmers living with HIV/AIDS who are receiving free anti-retroviral treatment.

By reaching out and caring for others and breaking the silence that surrounds the epidemic, Nane Annan said to the center directors and supporters, you are helping people to cope with the disease and helping to prevent its spread.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO IS ALLOWING RETURNS FROM BURUNDI

After six days of stand-off at the border, the Congolese government has agreed to allow some 1,300 Congolese refugees to return from Burundi.

According to the UN

High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the border was opened early Monday afternoon, and a first group of 200 refugees were taken into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) under the protection of the UN Mission in the Congo to a transit centre near the city of Uvira. The rest are due to return to the DRC today after verification by the UN Mission and Congolese authorities.

The returning refugees are part of some 20,000 who arrived in Burundi after they fled fighting in the eastern DRC in June.

According to a UNHCR spokesperson, the refugees have been repeatedly advised that the situation in their home region of South Kivu remains volatile, and that return at this stage could be difficult. Given their determination to return home, UNHCR is putting in place an emergency program to assist them and opening an office in Uvira.

I.A.E.A. CONCERNED BY DISMANTLEMENT AT NUCLEAR SITES IN IRAQ

The International Atomic Energy Agency continues to be concerned about the widespread and apparently systematic dismantlement that has taken place at Iraqi nuclear sites that the Agency had previously monitored.

In a letter to the Security Council, IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei says that imagery shows in many instances the dismantlement of entire buildings that housed high precision equipment.

He adds that the disappearance of high-quality dual-use equipment may be significant in terms of nuclear proliferation, and he asks any State that has information about the location of such items to provide it to the IAEA.

Asked how the United Nations would deal with the missing materials, the Spokesman said the issue had been a concern for both the IAEA and the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspections Commission (UNMOVIC). He noted that some missing material was reported to be found as far away as the Netherlands.

He added that the important thing was for Member States to provide information to the IAEA and UNMOVIC so that the materials can be found.

U.N. COMMISSION SURVEYS GOOD GOVERNANCE IN AFRICA

A new report released today by the UN Economic Commission for Africa finds that African governance is improving but significant challenges remain. The report, Striving for Good Governance in Africa, is an overview of the state of governance in 28 countries covering 72 percent of Africas population.

It says that while African political governance is improving in some areas such as tax evasion and corruption, theres still a long way to go. It also proposes a ten-point action plan for reversing Africas governance deficits.

ANNAN MARKS PASSING OF EX-U.N. FORCE COMMANDER IN LEBANON

The Secretary-General is saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Major-General Lalit Mohan Tewari of India, who served with distinction as the Force Commander of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Earlier during his career, Tewari served as the Chief Military Observer of the Observer Group in Costa Rica within the UN Observer Group in Central America (ONUCA) in 1990-1991.

Tewaris long career of honorable service is a credit to both his country and to the United Nations. The Secretary-General offers his deepest condolences to the Government of India, the Indian Armed Forces and General Tewaris family and friends in this most difficult time.

NEW CHIEF NAMED FOR U.N. MISSION IN MIDDLE EAST

The Secretary-General announced today the appointment of Brigadier-General Clive Lilley of New Zealand, as Chief of Staff of the UN Truce Supervision Organization, known as UNTSO.

Lilley succeeds Major-General Carl Dodd of Ireland who gave up his post at the end of September.

Set up in 1948, UNTSO was the first peacekeeping operation established by the United Nations.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

NEW WEB SITE LAUNCHED AS PART OF CAMPAIGN TO END FISTULA: A new web site was launched today for the global Campaign to End Fistula. Fistula is a childbirth injury that affects at least 2 million women in developing countries; it is also preventable, and can be treated through surgery that costs under $300. The Campaign was launched by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in 2003, and its long-term goal is to make fistula as rare in developing areas as it is in industrialized countries today.

TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF CAIRO CONFERENCE TO BE MARKED: On Thursday, there will be a commemorative meeting in the General Assembly Hall to mark the 10th anniversary of the Cairo Conference on Population and Development. Speakers will include ministers of planning and other senior officials from around the world.

U.N. DAILY NEWS PRODUCT AVAILABLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY FORMAT: The Department of Public Information today launched its new version of the Daily Highlights, which will now be called UN Daily News. The revamped digest can be seen online in printer-friendly PDF format on the UN News Centre. UN Daily News is available in Chinese, French, Spanish and Russian. Work is being competed on the Arabic version.

  • The guest at todays briefing was Wolfgang Petritsch, President-designate of the Nairobi Summit on a Mine Free World, which will take place this November 29-December 3.

    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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