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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-01-20

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

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, January 20, 2006

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES FIRST IRAQI ELECTION RESULTS

Secretary-General Kofi Annan

welcomes the announcement by the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) of the preliminary results of the 15 December election.

The Secretary-General pays tribute to the courage and determination of the Iraqi people for participating in large numbers in this national election.

Once the final results are announced, the Secretary-General calls upon all Iraqi political parties to come together in a spirit of national reconciliation to form an inclusive and fully representative government that will serve all the Iraqi people.

The Secretary-General is pleased that the United Nations has been able to support the IECI in conducting the two national elections and constitutional referendum of the past year under challenging circumstances. The United Nations remains fully committed to implementing its mandate under Security Council resolution 1546 (2004) in support of the Iraqi people in their efforts to build a peaceful, prosperous, democratic and united Iraq.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO EUROPE

The Secretary-General will be traveling to Europe this weekend.

He begins his trip in Switzerland, where he plans to visit the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne and FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) in Zurich before attending the World Economic Forum in Davos.

In Davos, the Secretary-General is scheduled to make remarks at the opening media lunch on the subject of The Impact of Sports in the World. He will also give a speech at a plenary session titled A New Mindset for the United Nations.

The Secretary-General will make a short trip to The Hague, where he is scheduled to attend the UNDP Global Management Meeting.

He then travels to London, where he plans to meet with the principals of the Middle East Quartet.

The Secretary-General is also scheduled to co-chair with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and British Prime Minister Tony Blair the London Conference on Afghanistan, which he says "is an excellent opportunity to send a signal to the Afghan people that the outside world continues to share their goals as they build a democracy that respects the rights of all."

Also in London, he will deliver a speech at a meeting in Central Hall, Westminster, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the first meetings of the General Assembly and Security Council.

Asked why the Secretary-General was attending a Quartet meeting on the Middle East now, and whether the Palestinian peace process was stalled, the Spokesman said that the meeting is taking place during a crucial part of the process, with elections to be held by both the Palestinians and the Israelis during the coming weeks.

He added that the United Nations hopes that, once the elections are past, they will give an impetus to the peace process.

CALM RETURNS TO COTE DIVOIRE

The UN

Operation in Cote dIvoire (UNOCI) reports the country has returned to a state of relative calm.

The mission says anti-UN demonstrators have withdrawn and roadblocks have been dismantled.

However the state broadcaster continues to send out messages attacking UNOCI and French forces.

On the humanitarian front, the UN

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports for that except for Guiglo, most agency work had continued during the past four days. In Guiglo UN personnel are under Ivorian protection today.

UN agencies currently feed more than one million people in Cote dIvoire.

SECURITY COUNCIL IS BRIEFED ON CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

The

Security Council held consultations this morning on the Central African Republic and other matters.

The Council was briefed by General Lamine Cissé, the Secretary-Generals Representative and Head of the

UN Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic.

Meanwhile, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), says the potential for a renewed humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) exists. Currently, the northern region of CAR remains off-limits to the UN staff. And it is in the north that an ongoing conflict has provoked new population displacements.

In Bodjomo and neighbouring villages near the Chadian border, several thousand people have fled recent clashes between Government troops and local insurgents, with half reportedly seeking refuge in Chad and the rest internally displaced in the countrys northern forests.

ANNAN SAYS SECURITY IN LEBANON IS FRAGILE

The Secretary-General, in a

report to the Security Council, says that the political and security environment in Lebanon continues to be fragile, with a Hizbollah attack across the Blue Line in November being the greatest cause of recent concern.

He also warns that the rocket firing incidents by unidentified armed elements, which took place in August and December, carried significant potential for military escalation. He says he is encouraged by Lebanons commitment to hold perpetrators of such attacks responsible so as to avoid their recurrence.

Also, the report adds, persistent Israeli air incursions remain a matter of deep concern.

The Secretary-General recommends a six-month extension of the UN

Interim Force in Lebanon. The Security Council is scheduled to discuss Lebanon next Wednesday.

NEW HEAD OF U.N. PROBE OF LEBANON BOMB ARRIVES IN BEIRUT

Serge Brammertz, the new Commissioner of the

United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) arrived in Beirut yesterday, to assume charge of the Commission.

Brammertz spoke briefly to reporters on his arrival, saying that he felt deeply honoured that the Secretary-General had selected him for this assignment. He added that his priority will remain to assist the Lebanese authorities in their investigation.

Asked about a letter from the Syrian Government complaining about comments made by Brammertzs predecessor, Detlev Mehlis, the Spokesman said that the letter has not been received yet.

REFUGEE AGENCY WELCOMES EGYPTS RELEASE OF SUDANESE

The

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

welcomes the decision of Egyptian authorities to release all the Sudanese women and children who were still being held in detention since police broke up a demonstration on 30 December.

They were among 2,000 Sudanese who for three months had held a sit-in close to UNHCR's office in Cairo.

In addition, 87 Sudanese men, most of them from the troubled Darfur region, were also freed. UNHCR had requested their release because it does not support the return of anyone to the war-torn region of Sudan.

UNHCR says it will continue to assess the status of the 183 Sudanese men remaining in detention through a proper in-depth legal assessment to ensure whether these people are of concern.

PROGRESS REPORTED ON ESTABLISHING HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

This morning, the informal consultations of the plenary on the Human Rights Council met to hear a statement from General Assembly President Jan Eliasson and remarks by the two Co-Chairs, the Ambassadors of Panama and South Africa.

They reported on the past week of intensive bilateral consultations and their suggestions for the way forward. The President said that significant progress had been made, and it was widely felt among delegations that the fruit is now ripe. National positions are well known, and it is time to find formulas for consensus.

The President stressed that, even based on what is already agreed, the proposed Council represents a significant improvement from the existing Commission, in establishing a universal periodic review, in mandating more frequent meetings that will allow more serious and genuine discussion, and in emphasizing that a spirit of cooperation and dialogue must be the basis for the Councils work.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SOMALIS ARE DYING TRYING TO REACH YEMEN: The UN refugee agency also

says that once again, people are dying trying to reach Yemen aboard smugglers' boats crossing the Gulf of Aden from Somalia. The latest deaths underscore the urgency of UNHCR's earlier appeal for action to stem the flow of desperate people who fall prey to smugglers in their flight from Somalia and Ethiopia.

CLINTON ADVOCATES TSUNAMI AWARENESS EDUCATION: The UNs Special Envoy for

Tsunami Recovery, former US President Bill Clinton, has issued a statement to mark the anniversary of the Hyogo Framework, a key international strategy for natural disaster reduction. He says that disaster risk awareness education should be incorporated into school curricula, communities should be informed about potential hazards, and new construction must adhere to safer building-standards.

SITUATION IN HAITI DELICATE AS ELECTION APPROACHES: Asked about the unrest in Haiti, including the harassment of UN forces, the Spokesman said that there clearly has been a campaign launched against the UN Mission and its head, Juan Gabriel Valdes. He said that the situation in Haiti is delicate as it approaches elections, and that the United Nations wants an environment in which elections can be conducted in a fair and calm way.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Monday, January 23

The Secretary-General will start a visit to Europe today. His first stop will be Switzerland, where he plans to visit the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) in Zurich, and the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The Security Councils Cote dIvoire Sanctions Committee will hold a formal meeting in the afternoon today.

In the Security Council this morning, there will be a public meeting on the UN Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL).

The Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) will begin a weeklong meeting at WHO Headquarters in Geneva. It will be considering avian influenza and the earthquake in Pakistan, among other topics.

The Third Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, which is being held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, starts today and runs until 28 January.

Tuesday, January 24

The Security Council will this morning hold its annual open briefing on the work of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. High Commissioner António Guterres will brief.

In observance of Holocaust remembrance week, a Yad Vashem exhibition, called No childs play, will officially open in the Northeast Gallery at 12:00 pm. Then, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library auditorium, the film "Fateless" will be screened.

The 2006 session of the UN Conference on Disarmament opens in Geneva today.

At 11:15 in S-226, Jose Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, will launch the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2006.

Wednesday, January 25

In the Security Council this morning, there will be a private meeting of the countries that contribute troops to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). It will be followed by consultations on UNIFIL.

Thursday, January 26

The Deputy Secretary-General will open a conference at the Université du Québec à Montréal on UN reform and the relevance of the UN.

In the Security Council this morning, there will be a private meeting of the countries that contribute troops to the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG). It will be followed by consultations on UNOMIG.

The Department of Public Informations Non-Governmental Organizations Section will hold a briefing in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. on the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. Dan Gillerman, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN, and Judea Pearl of the Daniel Pearl Foundation will speak.

Also in connection with Holocaust remembrance, a candlelight vigil will be held in the visitors lobby from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Under-Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor will introduce six Holocaust survivors, who will each light a candle representing the six million Jews who died and read excerpts from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Friday, January 27

In the Security Council this morning, there will be an open debate on peace, security and development in the Great Lakes.

Today is the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.

At 10:30 a.m. in the General Assembly hall, there will be a Holocaust memorial ceremony and lecture. Speakers will include Under-Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor, Holocaust survivor Gerda Klein, and Professor Yehuda Bauer of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research.

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 100178

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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