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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-10-22
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.comARCHIVES
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING
BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
ASSOCIATE SPOKESMAN FOR THE
OF THE UNITED NATIONS
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Friday, October 22, 2004
SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON VIOLENCE, DRIFT IN MIDDLE EAST
In an open briefing to the Security Council, Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast said that since his last briefing violence, not negotiation, continues to be the all-too-frequent mode of communication in the Middle East.
He noted a palpable sense of drift and foreboding, and added that neither side has fulfilled its obligations under the road map.
He highlighted the major Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip, which resulted in the deaths of a large number of Palestinians, including numerous civilians. He also underscored the fact that the terror attacks in Taba Egypt, were an attack on a place that had been known as haven of coexistence and peace.
He told Council members that the United Nations remains gravely concerned at the extensive destruction of civilian property by the Israeli army, adding that movement restrictions imposed on Palestinians continue to erode the humanitarian situation. He also expressed renewed concern at the continuous, illegal Israeli policy of targeted assassination.
Prendergast also called on the Palestinian Authority to do everything possible to quell the terror emanating from territory under its control; and to pursue a determined course of reform, including the appointment of an empowered Prime Minister.
He reminded Council members that the planned Israeli pullout from Gaza and the northern West Bank must be full and complete, and be carried out in the context of the Road Map. Israel and the Palestinian Authority must coordinate the implementation of the pullout.
In conclusion, Prendergast said that the time had come for renewed commitment and effort. He said that the international communitys more vigorous engagement is an indispensable ingredient if we want end the violence and restore hope for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace, as the parties cannot succeed left to themselves.
Council members continued their discussions in closed consultations.
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES GUINEA-BISSAU, VOTES ON CYPRUS
After the consultations on the Middle East ended, Security Council members held consultations on Guinea-Bissau. Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tuliameni Kalomoh briefed the Council on the situation in that country.
After consultations ended, the Security Council held a formal meeting in which it voted to adopt a resolution extending the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus.
UN: SOME TWO MILLION PEOPLE IN CRITICAL NEED IN DARFUR, SUDAN
The number of people in Darfur, Sudan, who are now in critical need of relief has risen by nearly ten percent in the past month, according to a new report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. This increase means that two million of Darfurs six million people are now affected by the crisis.
Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland said, Though we are steadily increasing the amount of aid we deliver to Darfur, we are constantly running to catch up with growing needs. He noted that the number of humanitarian personnel in Darfur has tripled, to more than 6,000, since July.
Of the two million people in Darfur affected by the crisis, some 1.6 million are internally displaced persons. The number does not include an additional 200,000 Darfuri refugees in Chad.
UN VOICES DOUBTS ABOUT SUPPORT FOR IRAQI TRIBUNAL
Asked about the refusal of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to allow UN support for an Iraqi tribunal, the Spokesman said that, earlier this month, the United Nations sent a letter to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) concerning a request to authorize Prosecutor Carla Del Pontes attendance at a training conference for the judges and prosecutors of the Iraqi Special Tribunal.
The Spokesman said that the United Nations informed the ICTY that accepting such invitations would divert Tribunal officials from performing their duties at the Tribunal, at a time when it is expected to do its utmost to meet the target dates for its completion strategy, as stressed by the Security Council and the General Assembly.
From a legal point of view, the United Nations added, it is doubtful whether UN officials should be involved in the establishment of a tribunal that is not a UN body. In this case, there is no specific mandate for this from a competent political organ, the Spokesman said.
In addition, the United Nations noted that serious doubts exist regarding the capability of the Iraqi Special Tribunal to meet relevant international standards.
The Secretary-General recently stated that UN officials should not be directly involved in lending assistance to any court or tribunal that is empowered to impose the death penalty, the Spokesman added.
Asked why this approach differs from UN support for mixed courts in Sierra Leone and Cambodia, the Spokesman noted that the mixed courts had mandates from the Security Council and General Assembly.
Asked about Afghanistan, the Spokesman said he was not aware of UN involvement in any tribunal for that country.
SPOKESMAN SAYS ELECTIONS TECHNICALLY POSSIBLE IN IRAQ
Asked whether elections in Iraq would be postponed, the Spokesman said that the United Nations believes that it is possible, from a technical standpoint, to hold elections. He said that the United Nations is providing technical assistance for the elections, but that it is ultimately the decision of the Iraqi authorities to go ahead with the elections.
Asked whether the United Nations was ready to send in more electoral workers, he said that the present ceiling of UN international personnel in Iraq, set at 35, was unchanged. He added that there were some eight UN electoral workers in the country, but that number did not reflect the much larger number of electoral staff doing out-of-country work.
ANNAN SAYS WESTERN SAHARA PARTIES NO CLOSER TO AGREEMENT
The Secretary-Generals report on the UN Mission in the Western Sahara says that the parties are no closer to agreement on the Peace Plan for the Self-Determination of the People of Western Sahara than they were when he last reported in April. Moreover, he adds, there is currently no agreement on what can be done to overcome the existing deadlock.
The Secretary-General also expresses concern regarding the recent escalation of public rhetoric emanating from the parties and the region, and he urges them to exercise the utmost restraint.
Regarding the Security Councils call for the United Nations to review its military strength in Western Sahara, the Secretary-General recommends either the maintenance of the status quo or the withdrawal of no more than 37 military observers from the Mission.
UN ENVOY TO HAITI SHOWS SUPPORT FOR DEMOBILIZATION EFFORTS
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Haiti, Juan Gabriel Valdés, is traveling to the northern coastal city of Cap Haitien today, where he will hold meetings with the Mayor, the Government delegate and the Archbishop, among other local authorities.
Valdes will also show support for the Governments office to support demobilized military, which started its work on Thursday. There are a number of former members of the Haitian army that are still operating in the Cap Haitien area.
UNICEF SAYS SCHOOLS HAVE REOPENED IN GRENADA
Thousands of children have begun returning to school in Grenada just one month after Hurricane Ivan battered the island.
The UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) says that the schools have reopened thanks to the clean up efforts of school administrators, teachers, government officials and children, as well as help from several neighboring governments.
Children are resuming schooling in classrooms whose roofs have been temporarily sealed with plastic sheeting provided by the US government, and a shipment of 74 UNICEF-provided tent classrooms will provide more classroom space when it arrives next week.
Nearly 30,000 children were affected when Hurricane Ivan struck in September, with many of the islands schools either severely damaged or used as shelters for the homeless.
UNEP WELCOMES RUSSIAN RATIFICATION OF KYOTO PROTOCOL
Klaus Toepfer, the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, has welcomed the Russian Dumas decision to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
In a statement released today, he also said that while the US has declined to ratify the treaty, dialogue on the issue must be kept open so that hopefully it can eventually be won over.
UNEP CITES RESOURCE PROBLEMS IN SOUTHERN CAUCASUS: A new report co-authored by the UN Environment Programme finds that environmental degradation and access to natural resources could deepen contention in areas of existing conflicts in the Southern Caucasus. The report also says that the militarized situation in the region is holding back economic growth because it hampers waste management and disposal, and the maintenance of irrigation and hydroelectric dams.
ANNAN WELCOMES COOPERATION AMONG ASIAN STATES: The Secretary-General, in a message, welcomed the meeting today in Kazakhstan of the foreign ministers of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building in Asia. He noted that the geopolitical and security situation in Asia and the world is changing rapidly, as we face challenges like terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, drug trafficking and regional conflict.
WFP WELCOMES SOUTH KOREA DONATION: The World Food Programme has welcomed a donation of 100,000 tons of maize from South Korea for an emergency operation in North Korea. The operation seeks to help 6.5 million vulnerable people, most of them children and women. WFP says the donation will allow it to keep providing vital rations to the neediest of the needy in North Korea throughout the harsh winter.
ANNAN MEETS WITH NEPAD PANEL: The Secretary-General is hosting a lunch today of the members of the Advisory Panel on International Support for the New Partnership for Africa, known as NEPAD.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
Monday, October 25
The Security Council has scheduled consultations on the Central African Republic and a private meeting with the troop contributors to the UN Mission in Western Sahara.
The Seventh Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention on the Control of the Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal will take place in Geneva through Friday.
Tuesday, October 26
The Security Council has scheduled consultations on Somalia and Western Sahara.
Wednesday, October 27
The Security Council has scheduled consultations on the Great Lakes and Georgia.
Global health leaders and Dr. Lee Jong-wook, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, are launching the World Alliance for Patient Safety at 10:00 a.m. in Washington, D.C., at the Pan American Health Organization.
Other press conferences:
10:00 a.m. -- Ambassador Philippe Djangone-Bi of Cote dIvoire on the situation in his country
12:45 p.m. -- Hina Jilani, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders
3:30 p.m. Theo van Boven, the Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Thursday, October 28
The Security Council has scheduled formal meetings to vote on the mandates of the UN Mission and in Western Sahara. It also expects to hold an open debate on women, peace and security.
The guest at the noon briefing will be Jean-Marie Guehenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, who will brief on the Secretary-Generals report on women, peace and security.
11:00 a.m. Jean Ziegler, Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on the right to food
3:00 p.m. Cherif Bassiouni, Independent Expert appointed by the Secretary-General on human rights in Afghanistan
Friday, October 29
11:00 a.m. Vitit Muntarbhorn, Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea
3:00 p.m. Hilde Frafjord Johnson, Minister of Development of Norway
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