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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-02-07

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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

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

SECRETARY-GENERAL JOINS E.U. AND O.I.C. SENIOR OFFICIALS IN CALLING FOR CALM FOLLOWING PUBLICATION OF CARICATURES

In a joint statement, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Organization for the Islamic Conference Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and Javier Solana, European Union High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, said they are deeply alarmed at the repercussions of the publication in Denmark several months ago of insulting caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed and their subsequent republication by some other European newspapers and at the violent acts that have occurred in reaction to them.

The anguish in the Muslim World at the publication of these offensive caricatures is shared by all individuals and communities who recognize the sensitivity of deeply held religious belief. In all societies there is a need to show sensitivity and responsibility in treating issues of special significance for the adherents of any particular faith, even by those who do not share the belief in question.

They said, in their joint statement, that they fully uphold the right of free speech. But they understand the deep hurt and widespread indignation felt in the Muslim World. The three believe freedom of the press entails responsibility and discretion, and should respect the beliefs and tenets of all religions.

They added that they also believe the recent violent acts surpass the limits of peaceful protest. In particular, they strongly condemn the deplorable attacks on diplomatic missions that have occurred in Damascus, Beirut and elsewhere. Aggression against life and property can only damage the image of a peaceful Islam. They call on the authorities of all countries to protect all diplomatic premises and foreign citizens against unlawful attack.

These events make the need for renewed dialogue, among and between communities of different faiths and authorities of different countries, all the more urgent. They call on them to appeal for restraint and calm, in the spirit of friendship and mutual respect.

SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES CONCERN AT TARGETED KILLINGS

Secretary-General Kofi Annan

noted with concern that in recent days Israel has conducted several targeted killings in the West Bank and Gaza strip. While recognizing Israels right to defend its citizens, targeted killings place innocent bystanders at grave risk and amount to executions without trial.

The Secretary-General has also noted with concern the repeated rocket attacks against Israel emanating from the Gaza Strip. He underlines to all parties the need to respect international humanitarian law, and to refrain from actions that could lead to an escalation of violence.

HIGH VOTER TURNOUT REPORTED IN HAITI

The latest reports from Haiti on todays elections indicate a high turnout. Aside from a few technical glitches which have caused some delays, the vote is proceeding without serious incident.

The UN

mission is helping resolve the technical issues. So far there are no reports of any injuries.

The Secretary-Generals latest

report on Haiti was issued today. In it, he says it is essential that the incoming leadership show strong commitment to reconciliation and an inclusive approach.

The Secretary-General recommends that the mission there be continued in its present configuration for six months to help in the post-electoral period.

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON HAITI

The

Security Council held consultations this morning in which Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi gave an update on the elections in Haiti, the first of this months daily briefings provided by the Secretariat.

Regarding Cote dIvoire sanctions, Greek Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis, who chairs the Security Council's committee on that subject, told reporters that a public announcement was expected this afternoon.

U.N. AFGHAN MISSION VOICES CONCERN OVER NEW VIOLENCE

Violence in protest at the cartoons that have appeared in some European newspapers has taken place in several parts of Afghanistan in recent days, and the UN

Mission in Afghanistan, in a statement today, expressed its great concern at the attacks.

The Mission urged all parties to avoid all acts and statements that could further inflame the situation, adding that violence and destruction of property cannot be condoned under any circumstances.

ANNAN APPOINTS ENVOY FOR CHILDREN AND ARMED CONFLICT

The Secretary-General has appointed Radhika Coomaraswamy of Sri Lanka as his Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.

Coomaraswamy, a lawyer by training and currently Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission, is an internationally known human rights advocate who was Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women from 1994 to 2003.

Coomaraswamy succeeds Olara Otunnu of Cote dIvoire, who left that position in the latter half of last year.

SECRETARY-GENERAL NAMES FORCE COMMANDER IN CYPRUS

The Secretary-General has written to the Security Council to inform its members of his intention to appoint Major General Rafael Jose Barni of Argentina, as the new Force Commander for the UN

Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.

General Barni replaces Major General Herbert Figoli of Italy, to whom the Secretary-General extends his gratitude for his exemplary and highly professional service.

U.N. TO OBSERVE REFERENDUM IN TOKELAU

The United Nations is sending a four-member team to observe a referendum in the South Pacific territory of Tokelau.

Tokelau is located in the South Pacific, about 500 km north of Samoa. It has a population of 1,500. New Zealand has been administering the territory since 1926.

The UN team will observe a referendum for Tokelaus self-government, in free association with New Zealand, that will take place from 11 to 15 February.

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER TO VISIT RUSSIA

The

High Commissioner for Human Rights

Louise Arbour plans to visit the Russian Federation from 19 to 25 February.

Her office said her visit would include stops in Chechnya, specifically Grozny, and in North Ossetia, in addition to Moscow and Saint Petersburg. There were plans for Arbour to meet with President Vladimir Putin during the visit.

U.N. SAYS 1.5 MILLION CHILDREN AT RISK IN HORN OF AFRICA

The

UN Childrens Fund says in a

report out today that a severe drought in the Horn of Africa is endangering an estimated 1.5 million children under the age of five.

The agency said the drought has left an estimated 8 million people in need of emergency assistance in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti

Working with governments, the World Food Programme and NGO partners in the affected countries, UNICEF is already supporting feeding programs. Today it is launching an appeal for $16 million to continue the effort.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. RUNS OUT OF MOST FOOD SUPPLIES FOR ARMENIA: As bitterly cold weather keeps its grip on the Caucasus region, the

World Food Programme has

warned that due to a lack of funding, it has run out of most food commodities for the 110,000 people it assists in Armenia.

U.N. SAYS INSECURITY THREATENING FOOD SUPPLIES IN DARFUR: The

World Food Programme said that insecurity in Darfur is seriously threatening WFPs food operations in the region. This is extremely worrying to WFP, which is feeding 2.7 million persons in the region, and the security situation could affect the future work of the program there. The north and south of Darfur are of particular concern. WFP trucks transporting food have been attacked daily. In recent weeks, 20 trucks had been lost, according to WFP.

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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