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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-02-15

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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 STEPHANE DUJARRIC

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

U.N. MISSION IN HAITI, SECURITY COUNCIL URGE CALM

AS HAITIAN ELECTION RESULTS ARE TABULATED

The Security Council heard a daily briefing by the UN Secretariat on

Haiti and Côte dIvoire in closed consultations this morning. The briefer was Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hedi Annabi.

Annabi told the Council that tabulation of votes had not resumed due to staffing problems at the tabulation centre, but the

UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti and Haitis Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) will take steps to ensure the tabulation centre resumes its work soon, depending on the security situation.

The UN mission has called on demonstrators to keep in mind that their activities are affecting the tabulation of the results, as tabulation centre employees have been reluctant to come to work given the protests.

Annabi also said that the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, is going to Haiti to work with the international community in helping Haiti move forward, and that UN engineering units are clearing away roadblocks set up by demonstrators over recent days.

Security Council President, Ambassador John Bolton of the United States, then read out a Council press

statement on Haiti, urging the Haitian people to refrain from violence as the results of the elections are tabulated and reviewed.

Asked if the United Nations would step in to help Haiti with its contested elections, the Spokesman said a special commission had been created by the Haitian government to look at the results of the election.

He added that the Special Representative of the Secretary-General,

Juan Gabriel Valdes, and interested ambassadors in Port au Prince, are working hard to help Haitians find a political solution to the current crisis.

The Spokesman stressed that the United Nations was calling for calm during this period.

Asked about complaints about voting irregularities, the Spokesman said the United Nations would assist in any way it could, but any complaints about the elections are addressed to Haitis Provisional Electoral Commission.

Asked about whether the Secretary-General would be willing to accept the Brazilian proposal that the best way to avoid violence is to declare leading presidential candidate René Preval the winner even if he falls short of an outright winning majority, the Spokesman said it is not up to the Secretary-General to decide who the winner will be. We are not the ones to crown the winner of any election, Dujarric said.

SECURITY COUNCIL ENDORSES "AFGHANISTAN COMPACT"

Following consultations, the Security Council adopted a

resolution on

Afghanistan endorsing the Afghanistan Compact, which provides the framework for partnership between the Afghan Government and the international community. That plan was launched in London two weeks ago.

Earlier in consultations, Council members were briefed by Ambassador Oswaldo de Rivero of Peru in his capacity as the Chairman of the Sanctions Committee on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

ANNAN CHAIRS UNIVERSITY MEETING IN PRINCETON

Secretary-General Kofi Annan is at Princeton University today where he is chairing a Global Colloquium of University Presidents.

The event has brought together more than 50 academic experts from 25 universities around the world, as part of the Secretary-General's effort to further an exchange of ideas between the UN and academia, both in the developed world and the global south.

Last night, the Secretary-General addressed a private dinner of the university presidents, and talked to them about UN reforms and the challenges the UN faces.

This afternoon, he will deliver closing remarks this afternoon, following a keynote speech by the

UN Development Programme Administrator Kemal Dervis.

U.N. MISSION IN LIBERIA DEPLOYS TROOPS TO NEIGHBORING CÔTE DIVOIRE

[The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) is today deploying one mechanized infantry company to the United Nations Operation in Côte dIvoire (UNOCI) in order to implement a recently adopted UN Security Council resolution.

The Force Commander of UNMIL, Lt.-Gen. Chikadibia Obiakor, said this deployment is part of the long-standing inter-mission cooperation in West Africa and he reminded that the first peacekeepers sent to Liberia in 2003 came from the former UN peacekeeping mission in neighboring Sierra Leone, UNAMSIL.]

Meanwhile,

Jan Egeland, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs is in Côte DIvoire today meeting with officials from the government and non-governmental organizations.

He stressed that aid organizations there are engaged in impartial, neutral and apolitical humanitarian work, to assist people confronting great needs, and that they need to continue their work.

Egeland also said that recent attacks on UN agencies in Guiglo were deeply regrettable. He said the Government has assured him that such violence will not happen again. He also noted that the United Nations will have regular meetings with the Government to discuss measures to protect civilians and the neutrality of aid work.

UNITED NATIONS INVESTIGATES REPORTED ARMS TRANSFERS IN LEBANON

Asked if the Secretary-General has any position on Lebanese army helping transfer weapons to Hizbullah, the Spokesman said the United Nations has been following the reports and statements about the arm shipments, including the statement from the Lebanese army, and that if these information were to be confirmed, it would be an alarming development in violation of

resolution 1559.

He added that

Terje Roed-Larsen, the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy on the implementation on Resolution 1559 has been having discussions with Lebanese officials to look further into these reports.

Asked if the Lebanese army is in contravention of resolution 1559, the Spokesman said the resolution calls for the disarmament of Lebanese militias and a first and obvious step in the disarmament process would be to stop the flow of arms. He added that if the shipments are confirmed it would be a violation of the resolution.

CONTRACTOR SUSPENDED FROM FUTURE U.N. TENDERS

Asked why Euro Support Services, a company which was suspended as a supplier to the UN had its contract extended in Eritrea, the Spokesman later told the correspondent that it can takes a number of months to get a new rations contractor mobilized and therefore it was necessary to go through with the current contract for a limited period so that the United Nations would have food and rations available at the peacekeeping missions without interruptions.

He also noted ESS has been suspended from future responding to future United Nations tenders.

UNITED NATIONS PROTESTS ARRESTS OF STAFF IN ERITREA

Asked about the arrest of UN staff in Eritrea, the Spokesman said that the number of people arrested now stands at 11 and that was 11 too many.

He said the

UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) has protested to the Eritrean Government over the arrests, and contacts have also been made in New York. He added that the United Nations is trying to get access to those arrested and hopes the matter is resolved rapidly.

Asked if there is a United Nations policy on such arrests, the Spokesman said theres a much greater problem which is being examined the fate of UNMEE. The Spokesman said the restrictions imposed by the Eritrean Government make if difficult for the Mission there to operate, and the Security Council is expected to deal with the issue within the next month.

The Spokesman noted that the Government of Eritrea has still not given an official reason for its actions. We have very little understanding of what the Eritrean Government is doing in terms of the restrictions its imposed on the Mission as a whole, Dujarric said.

TOKELAU REFERENDUM RESULTS EXPECTED TOMORROW

Turning to Tokelaus referendum on self-government in free association with New Zealand, the results are expected to be announced later today local time, which will be early tomorrow New York time.

A UN team has been there assisting the process.

After the second leg of the referendum was successfully completed in Atafu on Monday, the team moved to Nukunonu, another atoll in this island chain, on Tuesday.

The polls there were completed as scheduled, and the team then moved to Fakaofo, the last atoll where the final votes were cast.

Asked if Tokelau could become a member of the United Nations as a result of the vote, the Spokesman said the vote was on self-government in free association with New Zealand, which meant that we would not move up to 192 [Member States].

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

MORE THAN $18 MILLION NEEDED TO HELP FARMERS IN ETHIOPIA: The UN Food and Agriculture (FAO) organization today appealed for $18.5 million to help farmers and herders in drought-stricken southeastern Ethiopia who are facing severe food shortages, with pre-famine conditions, including widespread human and livestock migrations, deteriorating livestock health and cases of livestock deaths, being reported in some areas. Initial estimates indicate more than one million people in Somali Region alone require immediate assistance to stave off starvation, and the onset of the dry season from January to March is expected to worsen the situation, according to FAO.

ABU GHRAIB PRISON FOOTAGE IS DEEPLY DISTURBING: Asked about the United Nations' stance on the latest footage showing abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the Spokesman said all such footage is deeply disturbing, and said the United Nations hopes these incidents are investigated as soon as possible.

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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