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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-02-21

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

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

ANNAN ASKS FOR ALL LEADERS TO DEPOLITICIZE CARICATURE ISSUE

Asked about events during Secretary-General Kofi Annans trip this weekend to Qatar, the Spokesman said that the schedule would include a meeting of the High-Level Group for the Alliance of Civilizations, as well as a side event, organized by the United Nations jointly with another body, that would be announced later.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals position on blasphemy and the Human Rights Council, the Spokesman said that issue is before the Member States, and the Secretary-General hopes that they can come to a conclusion on it.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals views on the caricatures, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General has appealed for calm and a halt to violence, as well as for the start of a dialogue on how to avoid these crises in the future. He has also asked for all leaders to depoliticize this issue.

Dujarric noted that the Secretary-Generals recent joint statement with the Organization of the Islamic Conference signified how seriously that organization has been dealing with this issue.

Asked about the involvement of the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser, Iqbal Riza, in the upcoming meeting, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General has full confidence in Riza, who has been working closely with the Secretary-General on this event.

Asked whether Louise Arbour had sent the caricatures issue on to any human rights experts, the Spokesman said she had asked two of the special rapporteurs appointed by the Human Rights Commission to look into it.

SECURITY COUNCIL IS BRIEFED BY TERRORISM COMMITTEES

The

Security Council held closed consultations this morning to hear the daily Secretariat briefing. Hédi Annabi, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, briefed on

Haiti and the outcome of the International Working Group in

Cote dIvoire. A draft presidential statement on Cote dIvoire was introduced.

Following consultations, the Council went into a formal meeting to hear briefings by the chairs of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), the 1267 Committee (which deals with Al-Qaida and the Taliban), and the 1540 Committee (which works on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction). The three chairs are Danish Ambassador Ellen Margrethe Løj, Argentine Ambassador César Mayoral, and Slovakian Ambassador Peter Burian, respectively. They spoke to the press following that meeting.

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Haiti, Juan Gabriel Valdes, will be at Headquarters tomorrow to brief the Security Council.

LIBERIA: TRUTH & RECONCILIATION COMMISSION INAUGURATED

The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) today

announced that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission has begun work in that country.

The nine-member commission is supported by a $500,000 grant from the UN Development Programme.

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Liberia, Alan Doss, told an inauguration ceremony, For many countries emerging from prolonged periods of conflict and war, truth and reconciliation has proved to be one of the best ways to bind up the wounds of the past, to confront impunity, and to liberate the energies of the people to focus on the urgent business of national recovery.

IRAQ: U.N. ENVOY TRAVELS TO FALLUJAH TO HEAR MAYORS CONCERNS

Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Iraq, traveled to the city of Fallujah today and met with the citys Mayor and other members of the City Council.

Qazi discussed the current situation in Fallujah and listened to the Mayors concerns for the citys inhabitants, particularly over compensation for the losses incurred as a result of the fighting.

Qazi reiterated the UNs commitment to help all of the people of Iraq, and promised to engage with the Mayor in exploring means to address the needs of the people of Fallujah.

U.N. MISSION INVESTIGATES WARNINGS OF IMMINENT ATTACKS

IN WESTERN COTE DIVOIRE

The UN Operation in Côte dIvoire (UNOCI) today reported that its Human Rights Unit is investigating the circulation of an anonymous letter warning of alleged planned attacks on villages in the Zone of Confidence and in Government-controlled areas in the west of the country.

The Mission said it feared that the letter could generate fear among the different communities, which could lead to inter-ethnic clashes.

The Mission said that if it confirms the threats it will report them to the Government. It reminds the Government of its duty to protect civilians.

HEADS OF HUMANITARIAN AGENCIES TO HIGHLIGHT

REFUGEES PLIGHT IN CENTRAL AFRICA

The heads of the three largest UN humanitarian agencies will be

traveling to the Great Lakes region of Africa Saturday to highlight the plight of millions of African refugees, internally displaced persons and returnees,

The agency heads -- António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, James Morris, World Food Programme Executive Director, and Ann Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director -- will visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi from 25 February to 2 March.

This joint mission -- the first ever by the three heads of the UN agencies -- is aimed at symbolizing their closer cooperation to alleviate the plight of refugees.

SRI LANKANS WANT CONFLICT TO END

High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres

said today that a recent decline in displacement in Sri Lanka prior to the scheduled start of peace talks for that country reflects the desire of the Sri Lankan people for an end to conflict.

The peace talks between the Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil Tigers are scheduled to begin in Geneva on Wednesday, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees has seen a drop in new arrivals at its camps for displaced people in recent days.

Guterres said, The marked decline in violence since the announcement of talks has had a very positive effect on reducing the pressure on Sri Lankans to flee their homes in fear.

BOSNIAN WAR CRIMINAL TAKEN INTO CUSTODY

Milan Lukic was today

brought into the custody of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), after having been transferred from Argentina, where he was arrested in August 2005 after almost seven years on the run.

The Tribunal has indicted Lukic, a Bosnian Serb paramilitary leader, on charges of murdering, severely beating, unlawfully detaining and terrorizing Bosnian Muslim and other non-Serb civilians. He is also charged with destroying and looting their homes and personal property.

Asked whether Ratko Mladic has been arrested, the Spokesman said that the Tribunal has received no information to that effect. He added in response to a question that, if Mladic were arrested, his arrest, like that of Radovan Karadzic, would send a clear signal that impunity will not be tolerated. Such an arrest, he said, would be historic.

QUARTET APPEALS FOR SUPPORT TO INTERIM PALESTINIAN GOVERNMENT

Asked about the UNs response to the Israeli Governments announcement that it would not turn over tax money to the Palestinian Authority, the Spokesman noted that the Middle East Quartet, following a teleconference on Monday, appealed for a continuation of support to the interim Palestinian government.

ISRAELI MILITARY WITHDRAWS FROM U.N. AGENCY SCHOOLS IN WEST BANK

Asked for an update of the situation at the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) facilities in the Balata camp in the West Bank town of Nablus, the Spokesman later said that the Israeli Defence Force had left the two UNRWA schools at the Balata camp, as of this evening. It has also allowed the health clinic to run normally as of this morning.

UNRWA categorically denies that any firing came from those facilities yesterday, he said in response to a question about rumors of firing from those areas.

Asked about a letter from UNRWA Commissioner-General Karen AbuZayd, the Spokesman said that the letter was a standard reiteration of UN policy regarding the neutrality of all staff, and it is normal for those announcements to go out before and after elections.

LEBANESE OFFICIALS TO DISCUSS HARIRI TRIBUNAL WITH U.N. LEGAL CHIEF

In response to a question, the Spokesman confirmed that a delegation of Lebanese officials will come to New York this week to discuss the possibility of a tribunal of an international character in the Rafik Hariri case with Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Nicolas Michel.

Meanwhile, he added, Serge Brammertz is continuing his investigation. Asked whether Brammertz could visit southern Lebanon, Dujarric said he could go wherever he needs, within the mandate of his investigation.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

REFUGEES FROM CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC TO BE MOVED TO CAMPS IN CHAD: The number of refugees fleeing violence in the northern Central African Republic

continues to climb, with 200 arriving each day in neighbouring Chad, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Tomorrow, UNHCR will move 300 of the new arrivals from the border to a refugee site near Goré, the main town in south Chad. More will be transferred to camps in the coming days.

DEVELOPMENT CHIEF MEETS WITH PRESIDENTS OF ARGENTINA & BRAZIL: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, Kemal Dervis, met this morning with Argentina's President, Nestor Kirchner, in Buenos Aires. The pair discussed UN reform and the role of UNDP in middle income countries like Argentina, as well as the role of international and multilateral aid agencies. Dervis is in the region on his first official visit to Latin America, and he is currently en route to Brazil where he will meet President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

HEALTH AGENCY COMBATS VIRAL DISEASE IN AFRICAN ISLANDS: The World Health Organization is sending a team to islands off the coast of southeastern Africa, following an extensive outbreak there of

chikungunya, a viral disease that is passed from mosquitoes to people. The team -- which will visit the French island of Réunion, Mauritius, Madagascar and the Seychelles -- will assess the outbreak and work on developing epidemic alert, surveillance and response systems in the region.

TSUNAMI OFFICIAL VISITS INDONESIA AND INDIA: Deputy Special Envoy for

Tsunami Recovery Eric Schwartz is in Indonesia and India this week to assess the status of the recovery effort, and look at what's being done to provide shelter and promote disaster reduction. After his weeklong visit, hell head to Geneva to discuss human rights-related aspects of the recovery effort with High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour.

MURDER OF ECUADORIAN JOURNALISTS CONDEMNED: The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today

condemned the assassination of radio journalist José Luis León Desiderio and freelance photographer Saúl Suárez Sandoval, both shot dead in the city of Guayaquil in southwestern Ecuador on 13 and 14 February respectively. The agency said, Such crimes are not only an offence against individuals, but an attack on society as a whole.

ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR EUROPE CONVENES: The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is beginning its 61st Session today. In a message to the gathering, the Secretary-General calls on Member States to adapt the Commission to the new realities and challenges in the region and to make a more effective United Nations.

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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