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United Nations Daily Highlights, 05-01-26

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING

BY FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

IRAQ: ELECTIONS ARE RIGHT INSTRUMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL TRANSITION

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Keiran Prendergast, in comments to reporters today, said that, although conditions for Iraqi elections are far from ideal, the United Nations strongly hopes that the election will help to stabilize Iraq, in the interest of the Iraqi people.

He added, Nothing justifies intimidating or murdering voters, electoral workers or candidates, saying that, however imperfect, elections are the right instrument of policy for a democratic political transition in Iraq.

Carina Perelli, Director of the UN Electoral Assistance Division, added that, from a technical point of view, these elections are as sound as they can be, under the circumstances. The United Nations, she said, has tried to advice Iraqs Independent Electoral Commission on having mechanisms in place for genuine, credible elections.

She noted that there were 40 international electoral experts in Baghdad now, including 22 from the United Nations, as well as others from the United Kingdom, the European Union and the International Foundation for Electoral Assistance.

UNITED NATIONS TO STAND BY IRAQIS IN ADVANCING POLITICAL PROCESS

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Iraq, Ashraf Qazi, today met with the President of the Iraqi Islamic Party, Muhsen Abdul Hamid, for talks on the political process in Iraq.

The meeting, which was also attended by the party's Secretary General, Tareq Al Hashemi, addressed means through which the United Nations can further contribute to advancing the political process in Iraq in the post-election period.

Qazi said that the United Nations will continue to work towards meeting its obligations under

resolution 1546 and will stand by the Iraqis as they move forward in the political process.

He outlined UN efforts to provide humanitarian and political assistance to the Iraqi people. He explained that while the UN has no role in organizing the polls, it has been providing essential support to the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, which has the sole authority over all decisions pertaining to the elections.

GREECE ASSUMES PRESIDENCY OF IRAQ-KUWAIT COMMISSION

The Governing Council of the

UN Compensation Commission (UNCC) held a special session today to elect a new president and one of two vice-presidents to serve two-year terms. The UNCC was created in 1991 as a subsidiary organ of the UN Security Council to process claims and pay compensation for losses and damage suffered as a direct result of Iraq's invasion and occupation of Kuwait.

The UNCC elected Greece as President, and Japan as the new Vice President of the Governing Council, joining current Vice President Romania. Greece and Japan replace Germany and Angola, which held the presidency and vice-presidency of the Governing Council during 2003 and 2004, according to a press release.

HUMANITARIAN SITUATION GENERALLY STABLE IN TSUNAMI-HIT AREAS

Jan Egeland, the UNs Emergency Relief Coordinator, briefed correspondents on where the UN stood, one month after the tsunami wreaked devastation in Asia and Africa.

He noted the unprecedented level of contributions from the private sector and world public. Specifically, private contributions have amounted to $188 million. Additionally, of the $977 million sought by the United Nations, $775 million has been pledged, of which some $200 million is in the bank.

Declaring that the United Nations has reached every major community in need with some aid, he added that the humanitarian situation has stabilized everywhere except pockets in Indonesia and Somalia.

He noted that, across the region, the World Food Programme is already reaching more than 1.2 million people with food, out of a target population of 2 million. More than 500,000 people are being provided with clean water. Students are going back to school; 60,000 started back to classes in Sumatra today. Hundreds of thousands more will return in February.

In Sri Lanka, a World Health Organization (WHO) strategy targeting one million people is underway. More than 700,000 people are being fed (100% of target population). School supplies for 200,000 students have been delivered.

In Indonesia, shelter has been provided for more than 250,000 people, and a malaria control program is in place for 200,000 people. Five coordination offices have been established in Aceh, and there are 100 UN staff on the ground. Food aid is now reaching 330,000, and will soon reach 500,000.

In Somalia, UNICEF is reaching 15,000 people with basic supplies. More than 20,000 people are receiving food, and clean water has been brought to 1250 households.

He said that priorities for the next month are shelter, clean water, sanitation, and health care. Also, important next steps involve support for rebuilding livelihoods (fishing and agriculture) and rehabilitation of infrastructure.

He also stressed that the international community should not neglect the rest of the world because of the tsunami relief effort.

PEACEKEEPERS DISMANTLE MILITIA CAMPS IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Peacekeepers from the

UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) yesterday dismantled four camps belonging to armed militias in the Ituri district, in the countrys east.

Both of the camps were located around the town of Bunia. Two of them were identified as belonging to the militia known as the Union of the Patriots, and the other two belonged to an unknown group.

Peacekeepers seized uniforms, machetes, drugs and a large quantity of female clothing. This is because one of the militias involved has a tendency to disguise its members as women before launching their attacks.

Also yesterday, UN peacekeepers shot dead a militia officer in the central market of Fataki, near the town of Bunia.

The officer was sought because of alleged human rights violations, and he was shot after firing at the peacekeepers.

SECURITY COUNCIL CONSIDERS EXTENSION OF LEBANON MISSION

The

Security Council held consultations today on Lebanon, with Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi briefing the Council on the Secretary-Generals recent

report on the

UN Interim Force in Lebanon.

In that report, the Secretary-General requested a six-month extension of the Interim Force, until the end of July.

In todays consultations, France circulated a draft resolution on the Forces mandate to other Security Council members.

NEPALESE GOVERNMENT AND MAOIST INSURGENTS

URGED TO SIGN HUMAN RIGHTS AGREEMENT

High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour today

called on the Nepalese Government and Maoist insurgents to sign an agreement on human rights as an important step to achieve peace in the country.

Speaking in Kathmandu at the end of a three-day visit to Nepal, the High Commissioner said the Nepalese people were being subjected to violence and brutality on a staggering scale as a result of the armed conflict.

The High Commissioner said widespread disappearances, executions and torture must come to an end immediately. She urged effective and credible measures to bring to account those responsible for such acts.

COUNTER-TERRORISM COMMITTEE MEETS IN KAZAKHSTAN

The fourth special meeting of the UN

Counter-Terrorism Committee opened this morning in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The two-day meeting was opened by the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Committee Chairman Andrey Denisov also addressed the meeting.

The

session is considering the following main topics: financing of terrorism, international anti-terrorist cooperation, its methods and forms and cooperation on border issues.

MAJOR EFFORTS NEEDED TO ENSURE TREATMENT FOR MILLIONS LIVING WITH AIDS

By the end of 2004, 700,000 people living with AIDS in developing countries were receiving antiretroviral treatment thanks to the efforts of national governments, donors and other partners. That is an increase of approximately 75% from a year ago.

Those findings were

announced today by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and their partners, at the World Economic Forums Annual Meeting in Switzerland.

But the agencies also warned that major, continued efforts are needed to ensure access to treatment for who need it. WHO and UNAIDS estimate that at the end of 2004, around six million people were in need of treatment in developing countries.

VOLCKER REPORT MAY BE DELAYED UNTIL FEBRUARY

Asked about the Secretary-Generals meeting on Tuesday with Paul Volckers Independent Inquiry Committee, the Spokesman said that it was the third such meeting between the Secretary-General and the Committee, and is confidential. The results of that meeting, he added, may be reflected in Volckers reports.

Asked about the timing of the report, the Spokesman said that was in the Committees hands, but added that Volcker had made comments to reporters on Tuesday that its release may be delayed until early February.

The Spokesman declined to name the participants at the meeting, but added that the Secretary-General is getting legal advice from a close personal friend.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. MISSION IN SUDAN NOTES SERIES OF ATTACKS ON VILLAGE IN DARFUR: The

UN Advance Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS) today provided more details of a series of recent attacks on villages in Darfur,

Sudan. The mission also notes a serious deterioration in the security of at least one camp housing people displaced by the fighting in Darfur.

UNICEF SEEKS MORE THAN $750 MILLION FOR FORGOTTEN EMERGENCIES: UNICEF today

appealed for $763 million to help millions of children in forgotten emergencies around the world. The appeal was part of the agencys annual Humanitarian Action Report, which was launched today in Geneva. It includes countries that were not covered in the UNs 2004 Consolidated Appeals Process.

WATER NEEDS OF AGRICULTURE AND ECOSYSTEMS MUST BE RECONCILED: Agriculture and natural ecosystems are increasingly competing for often scarce water resources, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

said today. Reconciling the water needs of the two sectors is essential to ensure food production and safeguard natural resources. An international conference to take place in The Hague, 31 January - 4 February 2005 will discuss what actions are needed to meet this challenge.

UNESCO STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF CIVIL SOCIETY AT WORLD SOCIAL FORUM: The World Social Forum opens today in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and will run until 31 January. For the fourth time, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will be

participating. UNESCO says its presence marks the will of the UN system to recognize civil society as an important player in international cooperation.

NO REPLACEMENT YET FOR U.N. MIDDLE EAST COORDINATOR: Asked about a new UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East, the Spokesman noted that a search is ongoing for a replacement to Terje Roed-Larsen.

  • The guest at the noon briefing was Jan Egeland, the UNs Emergency Relief Coordinator, who briefed correspondents on UN efforts to assist tsunami victims, one month after the disaster.

    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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