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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-02-03

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, February 3, 2006

SECRETARY-GENERAL SADDENED BY LIVES LOST IN FERRY DISASTER

Secretary-General Kofi Annan was deeply saddened to learn of the sinking of the Egyptian ferry, Al Salam Boccaccio 98, in the Red Sea last night. The ship, which was en route from Dubah, Saudi Arabia, to Safaga, Egypt, was reportedly carrying approximately 1,400 people.

The Secretary-General sincerely

regrets the loss of life due to this tragedy and extends his condolences to the victims and their families. He urges all who are able, to extend their assistance to the Egyptian Government in the search for survivors.

U.N. REPORTS EXCHANGE OF FIRE ON LEBANON BORDER

The UN

Interim Force in Lebanon reports that there was an exchange of fire along the Blue Line this afternoon, in the Shebaa Farms area, which it says started from the Lebanese side. The exchange of fire lasted for about an hour and a half.

The UN peacekeepers were in close contact with both parties, and succeeded in brokering a halt to the firing, which is currently holding. UNIFIL troops are patrolling the area.

This incident took place on a day in which the UN Interim Force completed its investigation into the shooting death of a young Lebanese national by the Israeli Defence Force on Wednesday.

The Secretary-Generals Personal Representative for Lebanon,

Geir Pedersen, met today with Lebanese Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, calling the killing a serious violation of the Blue Line by Israel.

He said that the United Nations calls on all parties to exercise full restraint and to fully respect the Blue Line. The UN reminds all concerned that one violation cannot justify another.

SECURITY COUNCIL FOCUSES ON SUDAN, COTE DIVOIRE

The

Security Council met this morning in consultations on the work program for February, Sudan and Cote dIvoire.

On the program of work, Chef of Staff,

Mark Malloch Brown, took part in consultations about the Secretariat Daily Briefings requested by the Security Council President.

Following the consultations, the Security Council President, Ambassador John Bolton of the United States, read a presidential

statement requesting the Secretary-General to initiate contingency planning without delay, jointly with the African Union, on a range of options for a possible transition from the African Union mission in Sudan (AMIS) to a UN operation in Darfur.

At 4:00 p.m., Security Council consultations have been scheduled on the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO CONFER WITH BUSH, RICE

The Secretary-General will be traveling to Washington on February 13.

While in the US capital, he will be meeting with US President George W. Bush to discuss a range of issues of mutual interest.

He will also have a separate working lunch with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The Secretary-General will return back to New York the same day.

Asked whether the Secretary-General had asked for the meeting, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General regularly meets with senior US officials and felt that this was a good time for a meeting, and the United States agreed. He noted that the Secretary-General frequently meets with Heads of State, including those of the permanent membership of the Security Council.

Asked about the agenda for the meetings, the Spokesman said that issues of mutual interest would be discussed.

ANNAN TO RECEIVE ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD IN DUBAI

The Secretary-General will leave for Dubai this weekend where he will attend a ceremony to receive the 2005 Zayed International Prize for Global Leadership for the Environment.

The Zayed Prize International Jury announced the prize in December last year. Previous Global Leadership winners have been Jimmy Carter, the former President of the United States, and the British Broadcasting Corporation for their global media commitment to environment and sustainable development issues.

While in Dubai, the Secretary-General is also expected to hold a bilateral meeting with His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum before returning to New York early next week.

ANNAN APPOINTS NEW HORN OF AFRICA ENVOY

The Secretary-General has appointed Kjell Magne Bondevik, former Prime Minister of Norway, as his new Special Humanitarian Envoy for the Horn of Africa in response to recurrent drought and food insecurity devastating the region.

Bondevik will work with the United Nations system, the Governments of the affected countries, the donor community, NGO partners and other civil society organizations to ensure effective humanitarian action. He will help the affected Governments strengthen comprehensive Country Food Security Programmes, with a focus on tackling the root causes of chronic food insecurity.

Bondevik succeeds

Martti Ahtisaari, the former President of Finland, who is now the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for the Future Status Process for Kosovo.

SECRETARY-GENERAL HOPES CARTOON APOLOGY WILL BE ACCEPTED

The Secretary-General

spoke to the press briefly today to introduce his new Humanitarian Envoy for the Horn of Africa, former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, and was asked about a cartoon that had appeared in a Danish newspaper and various other media.

He said he shared the distress of Muslims who feel that the cartoon offends their religion, while adding that he also respects the right of freedom of speech. What is important, he said, is that the newspaper that initially published the cartoons has apologized, adding, I would urge my Muslim friends to accept the apology, to accept it in the name of Allah the merciful, and lets move on.

He appealed to all concerned not to take any measures that will enflame an already difficult situation.

DEPUTY-SECRETARY-GENERAL COMMENTS ON GOVERNANCE ISSUES

The Deputy Secretary-General

Louise Fréchette today delivered opening remarks at a UNDP high-level event titled, Crisis of Governance: The International Stake in Sustaining Democracy in Latin America.

She said, Our challenge is to consolidate the best of what is happening in Latin America, and sustain the vigor with which change is being pursued, while at the same time addressing the backlog of need.

COTE DIVOIRE TO REINFORCE PEACEKEEPERS IN COTE DIVOIRE

A

letter from the Secretary-General to the Security Council was issued today, asking for permission to temporarily redeploy up to one mechanized infantry battalion and a police unit from the UN

Mission in Liberia to the UN

Operation in Côte dIvoire for at least three months.

The Secretary-General said he made the decision to seek the transfer because of the current situation in Côte dIvoire.

ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY TO CONTINUE IRAN TALKS SATURDAY

The Board of Governors of the

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will continue its consideration of Iran on Saturday morning in Vienna. (The Board is currently expected to resume its meeting at 10:00 a.m. Vienna time.)

Asked why the meeting was delayed, the Spokesman noted that this was not the first time such a delay has happened, saying that it was a part of the deliberative process among the membership of the Board of Governors.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. SEES BIRD FLU SPREADING TO POULTRY: The

World Health Organization (WHO) today said that it expected to see new outbreaks of bird flu in poultry in the near future, but sporadic cases in humans. Dr. Margaret Chan, Director of WHO Communicable Disease branch told a press conference in Geneva today that the flu is still pretty much an animal disease and is rare in humans. She said WHO recommends that the best control measure is containment of the flu at the source - at the farm level.

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY HELPING COLOMBIANS, PAKISTANIS: The UN

refugee agency reports that its Assistant High Commissioner for Protection,

Erika Feller, is in Quito, Ecuador, today, attending a meeting on resettlement in Latin America.

Earlier this week Feller visited Colombia, where at least 2 million people have been displaced by violence, and Ecuador, where another quarter million Colombians are temporarily housed.

U.N. REPORTS URGENT NEED FOR FOOD IN NORTHERN BURUNDI: The UN

World Food Programme today said it was in consultations with donor countries in an effort to find some $26 million to feed an estimated 2.2 million people in urgent need of food in Burundi. The agency said a combination of weak rains, a disease which destroyed the harvest, and extreme poverty has left the people of the northern areas in need of at least 700,000 tons of food.

ANNAN DISCUSSES ASSISTANCE TO PALESTINIAN PEOPLE: Asked about a meeting on Thursday between the Secretary-General and the Non Aligned Movements Committee on Palestine, the Spokesman said it concerns issues in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the question of assistance to the Palestinian people.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Saturday, February 4, 2006

The International Conference on Chemicals Management begins a three-day meeting in Dubai (UAE). For more details, see http://www.chem.unep.ch/saicm/.

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Monday, February 6

In Dubai, the Secretary-General will receive the 2005 Zayed International Prize for Global Leadership for the Environment.

Assistant-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi will be the guest at the noon briefing. He will brief on recent developments in Haiti.

The Security Council has scheduled a meeting between US Senator Richard Lugar and members of the Council.

Tuesday, February 7

Some 130 Environment Ministers from 160 countries are expected to participate in the three-day 9th Special Session of the UN Environment Programmes Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum in Dubai (UAE). UNEP will be launching its 2006 Global Environment Outlook report, which this year focuses on energy and air pollution. For more details, see

www.unep.org/gc/gcss-ix/

The Security Council has scheduled a daily briefing from the UN Secretariat.

Wednesday, February 8

The 44th Session of the Commission on Social Development, which is on the theme of poverty eradication, begins today. The Division for Social Policy and Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs will sponsor a press conference at 1:15 on the work before the Commission.

The Security Council has scheduled a daily briefing from the UN Secretariat, as well as consultations on Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Thursday, February 9

The Secretary Council has scheduled a private meeting with troop contributors to the UN Mission in Haiti, as well as consultations on the UN Mission in Haiti. It has also scheduled a daily briefing from the UN Secretariat.

Friday, February 10

The Security Council has scheduled a daily briefing from the UN Secretariat. It has also scheduled an open briefing, followed by a private meeting, on Afghanistan.

The guest at the noon briefing will be Dennis McNamara, Director of the United Nations Inter-Agency Internal Displacement Division.

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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