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United Nations Daily Highlights, 05-01-14

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 BRIEFING

BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC

ASSOCIATE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, January 14, 2005

ANNAN CONDEMNS PALESTINIAN TERROR ATTACK,

CALLS FOR THOSE RESPONSIBLE TO BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a statement issued through his Spokesman,

condemns the Palestinian terror attack that caused the death of six Israeli civilians and injury to four others at the Karni crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip yesterday evening. He wishes to express his deepest condolences to the families of those killed and injured.

The Secretary-General hopes that this terrible incident will not be allowed to undermine the recent positive steps made by both parties.

He also calls on the new Palestinian leadership to make all possible attempts to bring to justice the organizers and perpetrators of this attack.

The Secretary-General emphasizes again that violence cannot provide a solution to the

conflict, and that only through negotiation can peace be achieved.

ANNAN HEARTENED BY RESPONSE TO TSUNAMI DISASTER,

WELCOMES SUPPORT FOR EARLY WARNING SYSTEM

On his last day in Mauritius, the

Secretary-General

told the press that he has been heartened by what he has seen in terms of response to the tsunami, with communities pulling together to restore their livelihoods.

The Secretary-General also said "in order to ensure maximum coherence and coordination of relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts, I have decided to appoint a special envoy and I hope to announce the name by the end of next week."

He added that he is happy that his call for a global early warning system has been enthusiastically supported at the

Conference on Small Island Developing States that wrapped up today. But he added that the humanitarian crises in other parts of the world should not be forgotten.

The Secretary-General today also conducted bilateral meetings with leaders gathered for the Mauritius conference, including the Presidents of Madagascar and Equatorial Guinea.

In the afternoon, he and his wife Nane planted a green mangrove tree at a botanical garden, where they met with five Mauritian religious leaders, who discussed signs of stigma and prejudice against people suffering from

AIDS.

The Secretary-General told reporters afterward that the leaders were committed to helping people living with AIDS, to show compassion and sensitivity and not to cast them aside.

ANNAN: IRAQI ELECTIONS MUST BE AS INCLUSIVE AS POSSIBLE

The

Secretary-General spoke to reporters today about the elections in

Iraq, saying, It is clear that the vast majority of Iraqis are eager to exercise their democratic right to vote. But it is equally obvious that the conditions in which the elections are being held is far from ideal.

He added that the elections must be as inclusive as possible if they are to contribute positively to the countrys political transition. He emphasized the need for outreach, especially to Sunni Arabs.

The Secretary-General encouraged all Iraqis to exercise their democratic right to vote, saying that Iraq needs as broad a base as possible for a successful transition. Asked if he was concerned about the legitimacy of the Iraqi elections, he said, We need to see how things evolve. He said that there would be attempts at intimidation, and there has been regrettable violence, but he also noted that efforts are being made to pull in as many people as possible.

Asked about the meaning of the Secretary-Generals comments, the Spokesman said that polls show that a majority of Iraqis want to participate in elections, but he added that it is a fact that the security situation is clearly less than ideal.

Asked what could be done about that, the Spokesman noted that any decision about the elections is in the hands of the Iraqis, and recalled that the Transitional Administrative Law makes clear that only Iraqs Independent Electoral Commission can adjust the date of the elections.

U.N. ENVOY MEETS WITH LEBANESE OFFICIALS ON IRAQI ELECTIONS

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq,

Ashraf Qazi, is in Beirut for talks with Iraqi political figures based in Lebanon and Lebanese officials on the political situation in

Iraq and efforts to ensure the success of the transitional process.

Qazi, accompanied by his Deputy,

Staffan de Mistura, met with Lebanese Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud for a detailed discussion of the situation In Iraq ahead of the countrys elections scheduled for 30 January.

In remarks to the press after the meeting, Qazi stressed the need for all Iraqis to participate in the elections which he said represent a milestone in the political process.

He also stressed the importance of continuing efforts to broaden dialogue among all Iraqis so as to ensure a broad based and inclusive political process that will bring Iraqis together in rebuilding their country on the basis of democracy and equal rights for all.

NO OBSTACLES BEING PLACED ON HUMANITARIAN AID IN INDONESIA

Margareta Wahlstrom, the Special Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance to Tsunami Affected Communities, has been meeting with local Indonesian authorities to discuss the Indonesian decision to register all humanitarian aid workers. Thus far, there have been no reports of obstacles being placed on humanitarian aid by either the Government or the Aceh separatist movement.

The

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has carried out an

assessment mission on Acehs west coast by helicopter. The mission found more than half of the total population of 23,400 displaced and in urgent need of shelter and assistance. UNHCR plans to fly in relief supplies by helicopter this weekend.

In Banda Aceh today, UNHCR started distributing some of its 2,000 tents to house displaced people at a temporary settlement that has been set up on the grounds of a local television station.

From 18 to 20 January, UNHCRs Assistant High Commissioner, Kamel Morjane, will be visiting Sri Lanka, where some 130,000 tsunami-displaced people have received shelter and supplies from the agency.

The Executive Director of the

World Food Programme (WFP),

James Morris, will also be visiting Sri Lanka. He arrives tomorrow. To date, WFP has distributed more than 10,000 tons of food to more than 1 million tsunami victims. In Aceh, WFP has reached out to 300,000 persons, but hopes to increase that figure to 400,000 by the end of next week.

In other news,

UNICEF, the UN Childrens Fund, has

announced that getting children back in school is essential for their recovery, even if it takes place in tents. This week, UNICEF helped open two schools near Banda Aceh, and is shipping educational materials -- including school tents, school-in-a-box kits and recreation kits -- to Aceh. The supplies are for the more than 100,000 school children and 4,000 teachers in hard-hit areas of the Indonesian province.

In Sri Lanka, UNICEF is providing the Ministry of Education with school supplies, text books and teaching aids, in order to get all children in the tsunami-hit areas back in school by January 20.

In Thailand, UNICEF is supplying children from hard-hit coastal provinces with cooking utensils, school materials, textbooks, uniforms, and playground and sports equipment. It is also supporting the construction of temporary schools.

In the Maldives, UNICEF is helping the government build 73 temporary classrooms, so that students will be able to go back to school on January 25. The agency is also helping to clean school premises and ensure adequate sanitation facilities there.

The

United Nations Population Fund reports that it has sent maternity-related equipment and supplies to Aceh. Items include simple provisions for safe and sanitary home deliveries, as well as hospital equipment for re-establishing emergency obstetric care.

Because information and communication technology have been critical in coordinating the UNs relief effort, the

International Telecommunication Union has

made 15 satellite earth stations available for emergency deployment by he hardest-hit Member States.

For its part, the

World Trade Organization has

urged its members to consider trade policies that would help tsunami-stricken economies to recover.

Meanwhile, the

Food and Agriculture Organization

reports that there is no evidence that illnesses related to fish consumption have increased in Asian countries hit by the tsunami. The announcement is significant because rumors -- which say it is dangerous to eat fish that have been in proximity to or have fed on victims' bodies -- are circulating in southern Asia, where seafood plays a major nutritional role. Reports suggest that fish consumption is dropping off because of the rumors.

According to OCHA, there are currently 500 UN humanitarian aid workers in Banda Aceh, and the number continues to grow. However, interpreters are badly needed. The

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has also expressed concern that only 20% of Banda Acehs population has been inoculated against measles.

SMALL ISLAND CONFERENCE ENDS WITH PLAN

TO IMPLEMENT PROGRAMME OF ACTION

The

International Meeting to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States concluded its work today in Mauritius.

Governments adopted a Strategy to implement the Programme of Action and an accompanying political statement, called the Mauritius Declaration.

The meeting was attended by 18 Presidents, Vice Presidents and Prime Ministers, as well as some 60 ministers and nearly 2,000 delegates, civil society representatives and journalists from 114 countries.

In the closing ceremony, the Secretary-General of the International Meeting,

Anwarul Chowdhury, said he believed the process of implementation should begin with the drawing up of a Road Map for the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy. Such a Road Map would serve as an overarching guideline and provide a basis for monitoring and review.

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON WORK

OF INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY AND MONITORING BOARD FOR IRAQ

The

Security Council, in consultations this morning, heard a briefing by Jean-Pierre Halbwachs, the Secretary-Generals Representative to the

International Advisory and Monitoring Board for Iraq (IAMB).

Council members discussed a letter the

Secretary-General transmitted to the Security Council on the review of the IAMBs work over the past year.

UP TO 7,000 CONGOLESE REFUGEES IN NEED OF IMMEDIATE AID IN UGANDA

The

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

says that several thousand Congolese refugees have arrived in Uganda in recent days, saying that they are fleeing fighting in the Ituri region of the neighbouring

Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The refugees are estimated to number up to 7,000; and the majority is made up of women and children, many in poor health and in immediate need of assistance.

The refugees are stuck at the bottom of a sharp escarpment on the shores of Lake Albert, and most of them are not strong enough for the three-hour walk up it. UNHCR has dispatched emergency relief items, and will set up a temporary transit centre.

ANNAN TO RECEIVE REPORT OF MILLENNIUM PROJECT ON MONDAY

The

Secretary-General is scheduled to receive the report of the

Millennium Project at noon on Monday.

After comments by the Secretary-General, Millennium Project Director Jeffrey Sachs will discuss the report, entitled Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Also addressing the press will be former President of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo, one of the Task Force leaders of the Millennium Project; and the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs,

Josť Antonio Ocampo.

The Millennium Project was commissioned by the Secretary-General to propose the best strategies for meeting the

UN Millennium Development Goals.

Prior to this press event and upon arrival at UN Headquarters Monday morning, the Secretary-General is expected to take a few questions on other subjects, as is customary when he returns from overseas.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

Asked about media reports that the United Nations is looking for a head of its Washington office, the Spokesman said that the United Nations currently has an acting director of its Information Centre in Washington and is looking for a full-time director.

*** Todays guest at the Noon Briefing was Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF, the UN Childrens Fund. She spoke about her recent visit to areas affected by the tsunami in Asia.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Monday, January 17

At noon in Room 226, the Secretary-General will receive the report Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals, by the UN Millennium Project, headed by Professor Jeffrey Sachs. The Secretary-General and Professor Sachs will talk to the press.

Tuesday, January 18

The General Assembly will be hold a plenary meeting at 10:00 a.m., in the General Assembly Hall, to consider the strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance. The Secretary-General is expected to address the meeting.

The Security Council will hold a public meeting on the work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee. It has also scheduled the monthly luncheon between the Secretary-General and the members of the Security Council.

At 11:15 a.m., the Ambassador of Luxembourg, Jean-Marc Hoscheit, will brief the press on Luxembourgs Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

In Kobe, Japan, the World Conference on Disaster Reduction begins. It will continue through Friday.

Wednesday, January 19

The Security Council has scheduled consultations on the arms embargo on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

At 12:45 p.m., Russian Ambassador Andrey Denisov and Javier Ruperez, Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, will brief the press on the Committees work.

Thursday, January 20

Friday, January 21

UN Headquarters will be closed in observance of the Eid holiday.

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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