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United Nations Daily Highlights, 05-01-20

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

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, January 20, 2005

  • PLEASE NOTE: There will be no Noon Briefing on Friday as UN Headquarters will be closed

    to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice.

    HEAVY RAINS HAMPER TSUNAMI RELIEF EFFORT IN INDONESIA

    Even as relief distribution improves in Indonesia in the wake of the tsunami, a particularly heavy rainy season is worsening conditions in temporary settlements and hampering the delivery of supplies, especially by road.

    In addition, a recent assessment shows that many of the health care facilities north of town of Meulaboh in Aceh are not functioning. Because of intensified concern over sanitation conditions for displaced persons in the area, soap and hygiene kits are now being distributed along with food. Also, four specialized water-processing units have arrived in Meulaboh to provide clean water to hospitals and settlements.

    Meanwhile, mental health experts from the

    World Health Organization (WHO) fear that psychological trauma among the tsunami victims is more widespread than initially believed. WHO has therefore begun to coordinate the appropriate training of community workers.

    The

    UN Human Settlements Programme, known as UN-HABITAT, has launched a finance facility to accumulate funds for long-term reconstruction efforts in tsunami-hit countries. It has already donated $1 million to that fund.

    Since the Muslim holy day of Eid Al-Adha is tomorrow, the

    Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees is distributing some 5000 prayer shawls to Acehnese women affected by the tsunami.

    On January 13,

    UN Development Programme (UNDP) said it had hired 300 locals in Aceh to remove debris while creating employment opportunities. The project will now be scaled up to employ up to 3,000 people over the next six months. UNDP has also provided 17 units of heavy equipment and 60 crewmembers to clear debris and bodies from the worst hit areas.

    Since the tsunami struck in Indonesia, the

    World Food Programme has delivered over 4,000 tons of food to 330,000 people in Banda Aceh.

    In addition, WHO has provided 8 tons of medical supplies, UNAIDS has distributed information on HIV/AIDS in emergency settings, and the

    UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has delivered over 600 reproductive health kits.

    GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO HOLD SPECIAL SESSION ON 60th ANNIVERSARY

    OF LIBERATION OF NAZI DEATH CAMPS

    The

    General Assembly is holding a

    special session at 10:00 a.m. this Monday to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.

    The session will be attended by survivors of the camps including

    Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and UN messenger of peace, who will speak at the event.

    Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the President of the General Assembly will also participate, and the provisional list of speakers for the event includes - among many others - the foreign ministers of Israel, Germany, France and Canada.

    Side events include an exhibition later that day on Auschwitz, sponsored by the Israeli Mission to the United Nations.

    UNITED NATIONS TO COORDINATE TSUNAMI EARLY WARNING

    SYSTEM FOR INDIAN OCEAN

    At the

    World Conference on Disaster Reduction, being held in Kobe, Japan, it has been agreed that the United Nations will be responsible for coordinating the implementation of a

    tsunami early warning system for the Indian Ocean.

    Key countries across the globe have already committed technical assistance and national resources, estimated at $30 million, towards establishing the system.

    Asked when the

    Secretary-General would announce the appointment of a special envoy to deal with tsunami response, the Spokesman said an announcement could be made early next week.

    TENSIONS AROUND "BLUE LINE" IN LEBANON HAVE NOT DIMINISHED

    The

    Secretary-Generals latest

    report on the

    UN Interim Force in Lebanon was released today. In it, he asks the Security Council to further extend the forces mandate by six months, until 31 July, 2005.

    In his report, the Secretary-General notes that while violent incidents across the Blue Line were considerably fewer than in the previous six months, the tensions between the parties did not appreciably diminish.

    He also reminds all the parties of the UNs consistent position that there should not be any air violations, a position which applies to both sides of the Blue Line.

    POLITICAL INSTABILITY IN ABKHAZIA LIMITS TALKS BETWEEN PARTIES

    The

    Secretary-Generals latest

    report on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, was released today. In it, he notes that the recent political uncertainty in Abkhazia has limited the possibility of talks between the two sides.

    He hopes the political situation there will stabilize, allowing talks to resume.

    The Secretary-General also recommends that the mandate of the

    UN Observer Mission in Georgia be extended for another six months.

    U.N. AGENCIES ASSESSING FLOOD DAMAGE IN COSTA RICA

    UN agencies are assessing damage following recent flooding in Costa Rica, with agency officials visiting the town of Talamanca today and tomorrow. Experts from the

    World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization,

    UN Development Programme and

    UNICEF, the UN Childrens Fund, have traveled there.

    Talamanca is the most heavily affected area, with nearly 2,000 of its almost 30,000 people now living in 19 temporary shelters, following the flooding caused by heavy rains that began on 9 January.

    UNRWA CHIEF BEING REPLACED AFTER NINE YEARS IN POST

    Asked whether

    Peter Hansen was being replaced as Commissioner-General of the

    UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) because of U.S. and Israeli pressure, the Spokesman said that was not the case.

    He noted that, by the end of March, Hansen will have completed three full terms and an additional month as head of UNRWA. Hansen, he said, has done a very good job leading the dedicated UNRWA staff in providing vital assistance, under very difficult circumstances, to the Palestinian refugee communities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and in the region.

    The Spokesman added that the

    Secretary-General feels that after nine years, it is time for a change and someone else will take the leadership of UNRWA.

    Asked whether U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos, during a recent UN visit, had asked for Hansen to leave, the Spokesman said he was unaware of that.

    OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

    NO SECURITY COUNCIL MEETINGS TODAY: There are no meetings or consultations of the

    Security Council scheduled for today.

    BUSINESSES NEED TO ADDRESS HIV/AIDS EARLIER: Businesses rarely draw up written policies to tackle

    HIV/AIDS until 20% of the countrys population is infected, according to a global survey on the impact of the disease on business. The

    findings come from the

    Business and HIV/AIDS: Commitment and Action report, jointly published today by the Global Health Initiative of the World Economic Forum, Harvard School of Public Health and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, known as

    UNAIDS, after a survey of almost 9,000 business leaders in 104 countries.

    NEW OFFICIAL APPOINTED TO U.N. MISSION IN KOSOVO: Joachim Ruecker has joined the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, as head of the Missions Pillar IV, which deals with reconstruction and economic development. A German national, Ruecker will take up his duties in February. Prior to this appointment, he served as Head of the Budget and Finance Division in the German Foreign Ministry.

    ENCOURAGING DEVELOPMENTS NOTED BETWEEN ISRAELIS AND PALESTINIANS: Asked whether the United Nations was aware of any Israeli acceptance of a Palestinian police deployment plan, the Spokesman said that the developments the United Nations has seen are encouraging, and it encourages both sides to follow that path.

    OIL-FOR-FOOD INVESTIGATION IS IN HANDS OF INDEPENDENT COMMITTEE: Asked whether the United Nations is investigating whether any UN officials have ties to Samir Vincent, the Spokesman said that the

    oil-for-food investigation is in the hands of

    Paul Volckers Independent Inquiry Committee, which has all the relevant documents and access to UN staff. He said there was no sense in the United Nations running any parallel investigation, and added that the U.S. authorities dealing with the Vincent case were in touch with Volcker.

    WORK ON SECURITY FENCE AT U.N. HEADQUARTERS STARTING AT NORTHERN END: Asked about the security fence around the UN Headquarters, the Spokesman said that work was starting at the northern end of the perimeter.

    THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

    Monday, January 24

    At 10:00 a.m., the General Assembly will hold a Special Session to Commemorate the Liberation of the Nazi Concentration Camps. The Secretary-General will speak to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the camps.

    The Security Council will hold private meetings with the troop contributors for the UN Missions in Georgia and in Lebanon.

    At 12:45 p.m., French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier will give a press briefing.

    In Geneva, the Conference on Disarmament, the world's sole multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations, will open its 2005 session on Monday at the Palais des Nations. The first public plenary will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 27 January.

    Tuesday, January 25

    The Security Council has scheduled consultations on the UN mission in Georgia.

    At 11:00 a.m., Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Josť Antonio Ocampo will brief the press on the yearly report on the World Economic Situation and Prospects.

    Wednesday, January 26

    The Security Council has scheduled consultations on the UN mission in Lebanon.

    The guest at the noon briefing is Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland, who will discuss the response to the Indian Ocean tsunami.

    Thursday, January 27

    The Security Council has scheduled consultations on the humanitarian situation in Africa.

    Friday, January 28

    The Security Council intends to hold formal meetings to vote on draft resolutions on the UN Missions in Georgia and in Lebanon. It has also scheduled consultations on the Democratic Republic of the Congos arms embargo.

    The guests at the noon briefing will be UN Development Programme administrator and UN chief of staff Mark Malloch Brown and Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland, who will talk about the follow-up on pledges for recovery efforts dealing with the tsunami.

    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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