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United Nations Daily Highlights, 05-01-03
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S DAILY NOON BRIEFING
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Friday, 31 December, 2004
[This page will be updated daily until the briefing resumes on Tuesday, 4 January, 2005.]
ANNAN TO DISCUSS TSUNAMI WITH U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE
Secretary-General Kofi Annan will meet at 2:30 p.m. this afternoon with US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
They are to discuss the response to the tsunami that hit southern Asia, and may also take up other matters. After that meeting, they are expected to hold a joint press encounter.
Also this afternoon, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland will talk to the press.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY TO BEGIN EMERGENCY AIRLIFT TO ACEH
The UN Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is scheduled to start an emergency airlift on Sunday to carry tons of shelter materials and other urgently needed supplies from its warehouses in Dubai and Copenhagen for an initial 100,000 people in Indonesia's ravaged province of Aceh.
"We will be immediately providing shelter material for about one-fifth of the estimated affected population, but this is just the start of our operation," said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Ruud Lubbers.
The airlift is expected to start from both Copenhagen and Dubai on Sunday, flying into Jakarta over 400 tons of relief items. From
Jakarta, the materials are expected to be loaded onto C-130 aircraft and ships and then ferried into Aceh. UNHCR is planning to use ships to get shelter supplies and other aid to otherwise inaccessible areas of Aceh.
UNICEF CONCERNED THAT CHILDREN ORPHANED OR SEPARATED FROM FAMILIES
UNICEF, the UN Childrens Fund, said today that it is concerned that children throughout the tsunami-devastated region have been orphaned or separated from their families and are in critical need of basic care and support.
UNICEF has estimated that children account for more than one-third of tsunami deaths, but reliable figures on children who have been separated from their families are not available.
Throughout the affected region, UNICEF is starting to coordinate with Non-Governmental Organizations and government authorities to develop systems to identify children and reunite them with parents or other relatives.
With large, extended families as the norm in many of the affected communities, the first task is to place children back with grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins or close members of their communities a process that Carol Bellamy, UNICEFs Executive Director, said was already occurring.
WFP CHIEF CALLS FOR MORE DONOR SUPPORT IN COMING YEAR
The Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), James Morris, paid tribute today to donors' generosity over the past year but cautioned that even more support was vital for the coming year.
"The repercussions of this tragedy are so severe that communities are going to require massive international aid for many months to come," Morris said. "At the same time, there is a danger that this disaster will overshadow and divert attention from the needs of millions of other people affected by various crises, both natural and man-made, around the world. We will need to reach out to them, too."
Morris said WFP was taking urgent steps to provide relief to survivors. In Sri Lanka, where WFP has 5,000 tons of food stocks, convoys of trucks have been heading for the worst-hit parts of the country.
By January 6, WFP expects to support 750,000 people with enough food for two weeks. The agency is also airlifting food to Indonesia's Aceh province and sending food overland to Somalia.
ANNAN WELCOMES INITIALING OF AGREEMENTS ON SUDANS NORTH-SOUTH PEACE PROCESS
The Secretary-General, in a statement attributable to his Spokesman, welcomed the initialing on 31 December by the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement of the last two agreements of the North-South peace process, namely, the Agreement on the Implementation Modalities of the Protocols and Agreements, and the Agreement on the Permanent Ceasefire and Security Agreements Implementation Modalities.
These constitute an integral part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which marks the parties commitment to end more than two decades of civil war. He commended the dedication of the Sudanese delegates, who persevered to bring the talks to a successful conclusion by the agreed timeline.
The Secretary-General also hailed the relentless diplomatic efforts of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, led by its indefatigable Chief Mediator, General Lazarus Sumbeiywo, which were instrumental in bringing about a final agreement.
He thanked the Government of Kenya for its sustained support for the negotiations, and other governments, in particular those of the Troika, for their substantial assistance.
He looks forward to the official signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, ushering in a new era of peace in Sudan, in which the United Nations is prepared to play a significant role.
The Secretary-General was asked by a reporter on Thursday about the signing, and he said that he thought it would have a positive impact on the country.
He added, Some of the agreements and the solutions they found for the north-south conflict could apply to Darfur and, in that respect, could facilitate the negotiations on the Darfur crisis.
U.N. MISSION REPORTS ROBBERIES, VIOLATIONS IN COTE DIVOIRE
The UN Mission in Cote dIvoire reported a series of robberies and violations of the Zone of Confidence in that country, as well as ethnic tensions in some areas.
The Mission noted that a group of about 100 traditional hunters, supported by Forces Nouvelles troops, attacked the village of Zeregbo and took several people from the Gere tribe as hostages. The UN Mission and the Force Licorne are negotiating to secure the release of the hostages.
ANNAN: U.N. MUST PROVIDE MORE SUPPORT TO AFRICAN UNION
The Secretary-General, in a report to the General Assembly on the enhancement of Africas peacekeeping capacity, said that, while the United Nations has already provided some assistance to African Union peacekeeping efforts, it must be ready to provide a new level support as the Union moves forward.
He writes that the United Nations should be guided by the principles of flexibility and openness, and should support any initiative that promises to add real peacekeeping capacity while eschewing any mechanism that would limit the room for non-African Member States to shoulder some of the continents peacekeeping burden.
ARGENTINA TO HOLD SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY: There are no meetings of the Security Council scheduled today. Starting on Saturday, Ambassador César Mayoral of Argentina will take over the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of January, replacing Ambassador Abdallah Baali of Algeria.
SECRETARY-GENERAL SUSPENDS THOMSON'S SUSPENSION: The Joint Appeals Board of the United Nations considered the appeal by Dr. Andrew Thomson to UN management to suspend action on the decision not to renew his fixed-term appointment, which is scheduled to expire today, 31 December. The Board recommended that the decision not to renew that contract be suspended for a period of two months. The Secretary-General decided therefore to suspend the decision for two months, beginning 6 January 2005 , and invited Dr. Thomson to file an appeal by 14 January. The Joint Appeals Board would then render a definitive decision by 18 February.
COUNCIL AGREES TO EXTEND SPECIAL ADVISER FOR HORN OF AFRICA: In an exchange of letters, the Secretary-General and the Security Council agreed that Mohamed Sahnoun, the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser dealing with the Horn of Africa, should have an extension of his appointment until 31 December, 2005.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
Monday, January 3
UN Headquarters will be closed in observance of the New Years Holiday.
Tuesday, January 4
The President of the Security Council for January, Ambassador César Mayoral of Argentina, is expected to hold bilateral consultations with other Council members on the program of work for the month.
Wednesday, January 5
The Security Council is expected to hold consultations on its program of work for January. Afterward, at 12:30 p.m., Council President César Mayoral of Argentina will give a press conference to discuss the Councils work for the month.
Thursday, January 6
The Secretary-General intends to issue a flash appeal to deal with the earthquake and tsunami that hit Asia.
Friday, January 7
The guests at the noon briefing will be Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean Marie Guéhenno and the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, William Swing.
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