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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-02-16
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING
BY STEPHANE DUJARRIC
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, February 16, 2006
ANNAN TO REVIEW CYPRUS SITUATION IN PARIS
Secretary-General Kofi Annan and President Tassos Papadopoulos have
agreed to meet on 28 February in Paris in order to review the situation in Cyprus and discuss ways of moving forward the process of reuniting Cyprus.
Asked whether the Secretary-General sees a possibility of resuming his good offices on Cyprus, the Spokesman said this visit should be seen as a continuation of his consultations on Cyprus.
Asked about the agenda for the visit, the Spokesman said it would be to review the situation in Cyprus and to discuss ways of moving forward on the prospect of reuniting Cyprus.
NEW PANEL TO WORK ON U.N. OPERATIONAL RESTRUCTURING
The Secretary-General is
establishing a new, high-level panel that will explore how the UN system can work more coherently and effectively around the world, in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance and the environment.
The panel is to be co-chaired by the Prime Ministers of Norway, Mozambique and Pakistan. It has 15 members in all, whose work will be supported by a small Secretariat based in New York.
It will produce a study, which was called for in the
World Summit Outcome Document, that will lay the groundwork for a fundamental restructuring of the UNs operational work, which will complement the other major reforms currently underway.
The panel is expected to complete its work by this summer and to present its recommendations to the next session of the General Assembly.
SECURITY COUNCIL IS BRIEFED ON HAITI, ERITREA
Security Council held consultations this morning during which members heard briefings on Haiti and Eritrea. Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi gave the briefings as part of this months daily briefings by the UN Secretariat.
On Haiti, Annabi briefed Council members on the decision by Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council - also known by its French acronym CEP - to declare Rene Preval the official winner with 51.15% of the total votes counted. He also explained how the CEP adopted the decision by distributing blank ballots on a pro rata basis according to the distribution of votes amongst the candidates.
On Eritrea, Council members were informed that as of today, 10 Eritrean staff members of the UN peacekeeping operation in Ethiopia and Eritrea remain in detention.
The monthly Security Council lunch with the Secretary-General is also scheduled for today.
U.N. MISSION SAYS ELECTORAL CELEBRATION START IN HAITI
UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti says that, following the announcement by
Haitis Provisional Electoral Council of the election results, residents in the capital began celebrations as early as 3:00 a.m. today, and at the moment, there are about 20,000 people demonstrating their joy after the Councils announcement.
Around 15,000 of those people are gathered around the National Palace, the rest are scattered around Port au Prince.
Along with the Force Commanders reserve troops, and peacekeepers usually deployed in the regions and around Port au Prince have temporarily been redeployed to the capital to increase the number of military static points.
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Haiti,
Juan Gabriel Valdes, and the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States, José Miguel Insulza, began a press conference in Port au Prince around 30 minutes ago.
Asked whether the Secretary-General had called to congratulate Préval, the Spokesman said that he was not aware of any calls between the Secretary-General and Préval in the last 24 hours.
Asked whether the United Nations was satisfied with the results, Dujarric said that Haitis top electoral body had found a political solution that was within the confines of the law.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF SHOCKED AT DAMAGE IN COTE DIVOIRE
Jan Egeland, United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator said today he was profoundly shocked at the level of destruction he observed at offices belonging to the United Nations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Guiglo, in western Côte dIvoire.
Egeland said he was even more deeply concerned about those who have been deprived at the humanitarian aid they so urgently need due to the disruption of aid work.
The offices were attacked in late January.
Egeland, who is on a four-day visit of Côte dIvoire, said he had received assurances from the government that the violence will not be repeated.
SPECIAL ENVOY TO VISIT DROUGHT-STRICKEN HORN OF AFRICA
The Secretary-Generals Special Humanitarian Envoy for the Horn of Africa,
Kjell Bondevik will be heading to that region next week to discuss with local leaders and UN agencies problems caused by a continuing drought in that part of the world.
Bondevik will visit some of the worst affected areas and meet with government and UN officials in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti and Kenya.
Several UN agencies, including the
Childrens Fund the
World Food Programme and the
UN refugee agency, have already issued appeals for drought relief in the region.
U.N. ENVOY FOR IRAQ BRIEFS RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY
Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, met today with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.
Qazi briefed the Foreign Minister on recent events, including the United Iraqi Alliances nomination of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to head the first elected Government, the emerging of new alliances in Iraq and the likely formation of the new Government.
He also updated the Foreign Minister on the work being done by the UN Mission in Iraq, and Lavrov expressed appreciation and continued Russian support for the UN role in Iraq.
REPORT ON GUANTANAMO RELEASED IN GENEVA
Five independent investigators of the UN Commission on Human Rights are
calling on the United States to close immediately the detention centre in Guantánamo Bay and bring all detainees before an independent and competent tribunal or release them.
The call comes in a
report published today and issued in Geneva, following a six-month joint study by the experts into the situation of detainees at that U.S. Naval Base.
Asked what the next step is, following the White House rejection of the report, the Spokesman noted that the report was produced by independent rapporteurs, and that it is now scheduled to be discussed by the
Commission for Human Rights. The Commissions next session is scheduled to begin on March 13, and it will be up to the members of that Commission to determine any follow-up.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals response, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General would study the report and advised others to do the same. He noted that the Secretary-General has stressed the need for an effective balance between the struggle against terrorism and the protection of civil liberties and human rights.
Asked when the Secretary-General would provide any further response, the Spokesman noted that it was not the Secretary-Generals responsibility to endorse the reports produced by the independent experts.
He noted, in response to further questions about the timing of the report, that the Secretary-General had no control over the drafting, issuance or timing of the report, which is produced by experts appointed by the Commission on Human Rights.
Asked about the credibility of the Commission, the Spokesman recalled that the Secretary-General has called for a more effective and credible Human Rights Council which would meet throughout the year. Discussions on that Council are ongoing, he said, and noted the key issue for the Secretary-General that those who would sit on the new Council would have their own human rights records examined. He added that the United Nations hopes that Member States will continue to work hard on establishing the Council.
Asked whether the Secretary-General had discussed the report this week when he met U.S. President George W. Bush and other officials, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General had not brought the matter up.
ANNAN URGES INCREASED SUPPORT FOR PEACE-BUILDING IN AFRICA
The Secretary-General today
urged the international community to support post-conflict peace-building and reconstruction in Africa.
In a message to the Tokyo International Conference on African development meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, today, the Secretary-General praised the participants for their work and said the conference should recognize the urgent need for the international community to do even more -- from high-level political attention to contributions on the ground.
His message was delivered by
Tuliameni Kalomoh, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs.
INDIAN PEACEKEEPERS TO REPLACE CANADIANS IN GOLAN
In an exchange of letters, the Secretary-General and the Security Council agreed to add India to the list of countries providing military personnel to the
UN Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights. The Indian troops will replace Canadian soldiers who had been serving as a logistic support element for the Force.
Asked about the reason for the troop rotation, the Spokesman said that troop rotations are a regular occurrence in UN peacekeeping missions, and the United Nations promptly seeks replacements for departing contingents.
NEW U.N. ENVOY TO AFGHANISTAN TAKES UP HIS POST: Tom Koenigs today took up his post in Kabul as head of the UN
Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. Koenigs succeeds Jean Arnault.
REFUGEE AGENCY APPALLED THAT UZBEK REFUGEES DEPORTED FROM UKRAINE: The Office for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said it was
appalled to discover that 11 asylum seekers from Uzbekistan had been forcibly deported back to their home country by the Ukrainian authorities on Tuesday night. Nine of the asylum seekers had earlier registered their asylum claims with the Ukrainian authorities and the other two had expressed their intention to also claim asylum.
URGES DISPLACED PERSONS IN KOSOVO SHOULD BE MOVED TO SAFER CAMP: The Principal Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Kosovo, Larry Rossin and. Marc Danzon, the Regional Director for Europe of the World Health Organisation today called on displaced Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian people currently living in lead- contaminated camps in the north of Kosovo to immediately relocate to a newer camp which they said was safer. They said the alternate site, Camp Osterode, is an interim solution, it is not a permanent solution. They said, The health situation for all of the residents, particularly the young children in the camps, is intolerable and really one of the worst health crises that we have in this part of Europe.
NEW CHIEF OF U.N. LEBANON BOMB PROBE IS FORMING TEAM: Asked about changes made in Serge Brammertzs team of investigators in the
International Independent Investigation Commission, the Spokesman said that it is up to Brammertz to put his team together as he takes up the mandate previously held by Detlev Mehlis. Brammertz is continuing to form his team.
UNITED NATIONS IS CHECKING REPORTS OF ARMS TRANSFER IN LEBANON: Asked about allegations that arms from Syria are entering Lebanon, the Spokesman said that
Terje Roed-Larsen, the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for the Implementation of
Resolution 1559, was following up on the statements made about arms transfers. If those statements are correct, Dujarric said, this would be an alarming violation of resolution 1559.
PLANNING IS UNDERWAY FOR A MORE ROBUST, MOBILE FORCE FOR DARFUR: Asked about a possible UN force for Darfur to replace the one led by the African Union (AU), the Spokesman said that idea was still in the planning process. The United Nations has a planning unit at headquarters and is working together with the AU on devising a more mobile and robust force once a transition takes place from the African Union to the United Nations.
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
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Tel. 212-963-7162 - press/media only
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