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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-02-13

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 MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, February 13, 2006

ANNAN MEETS WITH BUSH, RICE AND U.S. SENATORS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived in Washington, D.C. this morning.

He was scheduled to have a working luncheon with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

After that, the Secretary-General met with President George W. Bush in the White House. The Secretary-General is expected to speak to reporters after that meeting, around 2 p.m.

Then, in the afternoon before he returns to New York, the Secretary-General will have an informal meeting with some members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, hosted by the Committee Chairman, Senator Richard Lugar.

DEMONSTRATIONS REPORTED FOR THIRD STRAIGHT DAY IN HAITI

The

UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) says that for the third consecutive day, supporters of presidential candidate Rene Preval are demonstrating on the streets of Port-au-Prince.

MINUSTAH says that demonstrators have erected roadblocks in several parts of the capital to demand that Preval be declared the winner of

Haitis presidential election.

UN-formed police units have been deployed to manage the demonstrations. The demonstrations managed to disrupt the functioning of the capital.

The latest results announced by Haitis provisional electoral council known by its French acronym CEP show that 90% of the election tally sheets have been tabulated, but 1,000 tally sheets have still to be entered into the tabulation system. The CEP says that, so far, Preval is the leading candidate with 48% of the vote tabulated.

The CEP says final results wont be available until all tally sheets are entered into the tabulation system, and a member of the CEP announced this morning that this should be completed either today or tomorrow.

MINUSTAH urges all participants in the electoral process to remain calm and await the tabulation of the final results.

In response to a question about press reports that UN peacekeepers opened fire on demonstrators near the airport leaving many casualties, she said that the United Nations cannot confirm these reports. The latest information from the UN Mission is that peacekeepers did open fire, but they were firing in the air, above their heads.

Asked about reports that the vote in Haiti had been manipulated, the Spokeswoman declined to comment until the electoral process had been completed. She noted that UN personnel are on the ground working with Haitian electoral officials.

TOP HUMANITARIAN OFFICIAL TO VISIT COTE DIVOIRE

Jan Egeland, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) will visit Cote dIvoire tomorrow through Friday.

Egeland will meet national and local authorities and the members of the humanitarian community in Abidjan, Guiglo, and Bouaké. He will also attend the forthcoming meeting of the International Working Group, on behalf of the humanitarian community.

The

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Egelands mission will underscore the necessity for all parties to respect the principles and laws governing humanitarian action, a message of particular importance following the disturbances 17 to 19 January 2006, when the offices and equipment of ten of the humanitarian organizations operating in the western town of Guiglo were attacked, looted and burned.

Asked whether Egeland would discuss getting money from the Ivorian Government to pay for damages caused during the mid-January disturbances, the Spokeswoman said that Egelands work during his trip was humanitarian, and did not have to do with the damages that took place against the UN peacekeeping mission.

HUMANITARIAN ACTION PLAN IS LAUNCHED FOR D.R.CONGO

In Brussels today, the United Nations and the European Commission launched the

2006 Humanitarian Action Plan for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The plan requires $681 million to meet the needs of at least 30 million vulnerable Congolese.

In a video message for the launch, the

Secretary-General said the people of the

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have demonstrated their faith in the future through the recent endorsement of a new national constitution, but that faith needs to be backed by tangible support.

He said the Action Plan provides that support and if it succeeds, it can also help provide stability after the DRCs elections, which are due this summer.

The Action Plan presents a strategy that meets both urgent life-saving needs and reduces vulnerability, and looks beyond a one-year time frame, presenting a select number of highly-focused targeted programs that will help to accelerate recovery and poverty reduction in hard-hit areas in the country after the elections.

IRAQ TO USE U.N. ESCROW FUNDS FOR BUDGET CONTRIBUTION

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a

letter, proposed that some $416,000 that had been in the escrow account of the UN

Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission for Iraq be credited against that countrys assessments for the UN regular budget, peacekeeping, Tribunal activities and the capital master plan.

The Security Council approved that proposal in a letter to the Secretary-General last Friday.

ITALIAN REACTION TO BIRD FLU IS LAUDED AS EXAMPLE FOR THE WORLD

The UN

Food and Agriculture Organization today

complimented Italian health authorities on what it called their extremely effective control measures taken last week following the discovery of bird flu in six wild swans in the southern part of Italy.

The FAO said the heath authorities immediately and publicly identified the problem, quickly isolated the birds, and rapidly notified commercial poultry companies, advising them to keep their birds indoors and be vigilant.

The FAO said the measures are examples of how governments should move to contain the virus once it is detected.

The agency also said it is important to underline that there is no evidence that Italian poultry has bird flu, and that the reported cases are in wild birds only.

Asked about the schedule of David Nabarro, the UN system-wide coordinator for bird flu, the Spokeswoman said that Nabarro is on his way to Ukraine, where he will meet with the President and other Ukrainian officials, as well as UN officials in the region, tomorrow and Wednesday.

UNITED NATIONS CONTINUES TO ASSIST LEBANESE PEOPLE

Asked for a reaction to the death nearly one year ago of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the Spokeswoman underscored that the United Nations has consistently provided assistance to the people of Lebanon as they deal with the changes of the past year and will continue to do so.

Since Hariris death, a UN team led by Peter FitzGerald examined the crime scene, and subsequently, the

International Independent Investigation Commission was established, as part of the UN effort to ensure that there is no impunity for this crime, she added.

The United Nations has also provided assistance to the Lebanese elections last year, as well as the help provided in the south by the UN Interim Force, Okabe said. And

Terje Roed-Larsen continues his work as Special Envoy to ensure that resolution 1559 will be implemented fully.

UNITED NATIONS CONSULTS WITH STAFF ON CHANGES

Asked about complaints from members of the UN Staff Union that they had not been consulted as the United Nations considers outsourcing possibilities, the Spokeswoman said in October of last year, the head of the Human Resources Department sent out a note to all heads of departments, administrative chiefs of peacekeeping missions and the all the heads of all staff associations, asking them for input and suggestions on the overhaul of staff regulations and other human resource issues. In December, the same request went out to all UN staff.

Also, Okabe said, the United Nations had extensive exchanges with staff regarding the whistleblower protection policy. In addition, the Deputy Secretary-General has regularly met with a group middle managers, as well as with an integrity survey group of more junior staff, for discussions of issues related to management reform.

Noting that the United Nations is a global organization with staff worldwide, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General on most trips makes it a priority to meet with staff in the field.

[She later told the correspondent that when the outsourcing possibilities are identified - with thorough cost/benefit analyses and options identified, staff will be consulted. At this stage, Member States are being asked to revisit the general proposition that there are alternative ways of delivering services (including but not limited to outsourcing) and to give the go-ahead for the cost-benefit analyses.]

RAINS IN ALGERIA RENDER HOMELESS 50,000 REFUGEES

The UN

Refugee agency today

reports that rare torrential rains over the last few days in the desert region of Tindouf in western Algeria have destroyed houses in three refugee camps and left homeless some 50,000 refugees.

Since last Thursday, the highly unusual non-stop torrential rains destroyed 50 percent of the mud brick homes in the camps, leaving another 25 percent of shelters seriously damaged and on the verge of collapse.

UNHCR said it is joining other agencies to address the problem. The agency is sending lightweight tents, blankets, jerry cans, mattresses and plastic sheeting from its regional warehouse in Jordan.

The camps in the Tindouf area host refugees who fled Western Sahara in 1975 during the conflict over the right to govern the Territory after Spain withdrew from the region. UNHCR is presently supporting 90,000 of the most vulnerable refugees in the five camps.

TOKELAU REFERENDUM IS UNDERWAY

Tokelauans began to vote last Saturday, 11 February, on the referendum on self-government in free association with New Zealand.

The UN observer team reports that the first day of voting took place in Apia, Samoa, where eligible Tokelauan voters who temporarily reside in that country cast their ballots. The second leg of the referendum is scheduled to be held in Atafu, one of the atolls in Tokelau, today.

The referendum is scheduled to end on 15 February.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

COUNTER-TERRORISM COMMITTEE VISITS TANZANIA: The Security Councils

Counter-Terrorism Committee began today a week-long visit to Tanzania, as part of its continuing practice of on-site dialogue with Member States in order to assess the implementation of Security Council resolution 1373. The 11-person expert group is lead by Javier Ruperez, the Executive Director of the Committees Executive Directorate. It includes officials from Interpol, the

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the International Maritime Organization, the African Union and the European Commission.

NEW DISARMAMENT ENVOY TO BE NAMED SOON: Asked whether a new Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs has been named, the Spokeswoman noted recent reports in the Japanese media and said that no announcement has been made on that post, although one is expected soon.

HUMAN RIGHTS SPECIALISTS TO REPORT ON GUANTANAMO: Asked about a report concerning human rights in Guantanamo Bay, the Spokeswoman said that UN human rights officials in Geneva said the report has not been finalized, although it is expected to be finished sometime this week. She declined to comment on a draft copy of the report.

DEPUTY-SECRETARY-GENERAL NOT TO BE REPLACED: Asked whether Deputy Secretary-General

Louise Fréchette would be replaced once she steps down, the Spokeswoman said that her responsibilities are to be handled by existing Executive Office staff. The next Secretary-General, she added, would be expected to name a new Deputy.

UN FORUM ON FORESTS OPENS AT UN HEADQUARTERS: The session runs from the 13th to the 24th of February, and the Forum will resume negotiations on an International Arrangement on Forests and the future direction of the intergovernmental body.

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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