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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-02-22

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

ANNAN SHOCKED OVER BOMBING OF HOLY SHRINE IN IRAQ

Secretary-General Kofi Annan was deeply

shocked and saddened to learn of the bombing of the holy Shrine of Imam Ali-Hadi Mosque in Samarra this morning, an act which is clearly aimed at provoking sectarian strife and undermining further the peace and stability of

Iraq.

He appeals to all communities to show maximum restraint in the face of these provocative actions.

The Secretary-General further calls on all political and religious leaders of Iraq to come together in a spirit of dialogue and mutual respect to calm the situation and dedicate their efforts to ensure the respect of human rights and the protection of places of worship.

The United Nations will continue to do everything possible to assist the Iraqi people to promote inter-communal dialogue and national reconciliation.

In a separate statement,

Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq,

said he will be inviting government, political, religious and civic leaders to a meeting to discuss the urgent need to adopt a common policy and to take concrete and immediate measures to deal with sectarianism.

ANNAN WELCOMES IMPORTANT MILESTONE IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

The

Secretary-General, in a statement,

welcomes the promulgation on 17 February of the Constitution of the

Democratic Republic of the Congo, following its adoption by popular referendum on 18 December 2005, and the adoption on 21 February by the Parliament of the electoral law.

These steps mark important milestones in the history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Secretary-General looks forward to the early publication by the Independent Electoral Commission of an electoral calendar providing for the timely holding of free, fair and transparent elections. The United Nations remains deeply committed to providing all possible support for the Congolese peace process, including for the conduct of the elections.

ANNAN TO ATTEND QATAR MEETING ON CARICATURE CRISIS

The

Secretary-General will be traveling to Doha, Qatar, to attend two events.

On Saturday, he will convene a meeting to discuss the current crisis related to the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

The other participants will be the Secretaries-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Arab League, as well as the Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Spain, Austria and Qatar. Also attending will be the European Unions High Representative for a Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana.

That gathering will be followed by a joint press conference with most of the participants, where they will read out a joint statement.

On Sunday, the Secretary-General will attend the second meeting of the

High-Level Panel of the Alliance of Civilizations.

From Doha, the Secretary-General will travel to Geneva, where, on Monday, he will host a mini-summit between President El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba of Gabon and President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, in an effort to revitalize the mediation efforts relating to their ongoing territorial dispute.

The Secretary-General will then go to Paris where, on Tuesday, he will deliver remarks at the Ministerial Conference, hosted by French President Jacques Chirac, on Innovative Sources of Financing for Development.

Later in the day, he will meet with President Tassos Papadopoulos of Cyprus in order to review the situation in

Cyprus and discuss ways of moving forward the process of reuniting Cyprus.

The Secretary-General will be back at the office on Thursday.

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON PEACEKEEPING PROCUREMENT

The

Security Council held a public meeting on procurement aspects of UN Peacekeeping Operations.

From the Secretariat side, a briefing was given by

Mark Malloch Brown, the Chef de Cabinet.

Malloch Brown noted that a comprehensive review is being undertaken to address the broader underlying weaknesses that have been identified in procurement.

He flagged the launching of radical proposals in a management reform report next week. The

Secretary-General is expected to present that management reform report to the General Assembly next Thursday, 2 March.

This afternoon at 3:00 p.m., the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Haiti,

Juan Valdes, is scheduled to brief Council members in closed consultations. The Security Council has then scheduled a meeting on

Haiti, in which Interim Prime Minister Gérard Latortue will be briefing.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals views concerning the dispute between the Group of 77 and the Security Council over whether the Council or the

General Assembly is the appropriate body to deal with this issue, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General had made it clear that issues concerning peacekeeping, procurement and sexual abuse should be of concern to all Member States.

Those matters, the Secretary-General believes, should be discussed by the Member States without becoming tied up by the issue of which forum is the most appropriate one. However, the Spokesman added, the question of which is the appropriate forum is one to be decided by the Member States.

Asked whether the Secretary-General had prevented the heads of the

UN Office for Internal Oversight Services and of the

Department for Peacekeeping Operations from addressing the Council, the Spokesman said it was felt that Malloch Brown was the best person to speak on behalf of the Organization.

FRESH ATTACKS ON VILLAGES REPORTED IN DARFUR

AMID PLANNING FOR POSSIBLE U.N. FORCE

The

UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) reports that the situation in Darfur remains volatile.

UNMIS says it has received reports that the armed forces supported by militia, attacked yesterday a village, Likalik, in North Darfur. They raided the market area in this village and then attacked the water pump area, destroying the water point and killing many animals in that location, the Mission reports.

There also reports that the day before, another village, Al Amin, came under attack in North Darfur during which the market was raided and huts were burned.

In addition, there are reports that the African Union (AU) has been targeted again in North Darfur. An AU force vehicle was attacked on Monday by unidentified armed elements who stole the car.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese authorities, in collaboration with the

World Health Organization, the

UN Children's Fund and other partner organizations, today launched this years first round of the national polio immunization campaign in Sudan, from 20 to 22 February 2006. The goal of this first round is to immunize the estimated 8.1 million children under five years of age in Sudan, particularly those living in the poorest communities or those intermittently cut off by conflict. These children are the key to stopping the spread of the disease.

Asked about the state of military contingency planning for a possible UN force in

Darfur, the Spokesman said planning is going full steam ahead, led by the

Department of Peacekeeping Operations. He added that, in the meantime, it would be good for those Member States with the capacity to assist in building a mobile and robust force to consider what assets they can provide when the United Nations comes to ask them for help.

FIRST ROUND OF TALKS ON FUTURE STATUS OF KOSOVO ENDS

Delegations from Pristina and Belgrade yesterday

concluded their first round of direct negotiations in Vienna, under the auspices of the Secretary-Generals

Special Envoy for the future status process of Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari.

The talks, which were chaired by the Deputy Special Envoy, Albert Rohan, focused on decentralization, as it relates to health care, education, culture, social welfare, police and justice. According to Rohan, common ground was found in all of those areas.

Both parties have decided to have their next formal meeting on 17 March. In addition, Ahtisaaris office will send expert delegations to both Belgrade and Pristina to have further in-depth discussions.

BIRD FLU: VACCINATION OF POULTRY URGED IN NIGERIA

The

UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today

called for vaccination of poultry in Nigeria to avoid the spread of bird flu.

The agency said that although the government has taken the right steps such as culling in outbreak areas, those measures may not be enough.

A vaccination campaign would l require the mobilization of several thousand veterinarians and will need a strong commitment from the national and regional authorities and the support of the international donor community, the agency said.

FAO is already assisting the Nigeria effort, and stands ready to do more, the agency said.

UNITED NATIONS DISCIPLINES OFFICER AFTER ALLEGATIONS OF ANTI-SEMITISM

Asked about an incident in which a security office was alleged to have drawn swastikas and made the Nazi salute, the Spokesman said that the allegations concern one officer, who was disciplined by receiving a reprimand and being made to undergo sensitivity training.

Other senior managers, Dujarric added, also went through sensitivity training. He added that he was not aware of any further actions beyond that.

Asked whether the person who complained about the anti-Semitic incidents would be punished, the Spokesman said the United Nations does not want to see any action taken against the person who complained, and would punish anyone who tried to do so. He said the United Nations wants to create an environment in which people of all races, religions and nationalities can feel comfortable.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

IMMUNIZATION CAMPAIGN TO BE LAUNCHED IN AZERBAIJAN: The

World Health Organization, with support from the

UN Childrens Fund, is

launching a measles and rubella immunization campaign in Azerbaijan this Friday. The two-week campaign, which will target over three million 7- to 29-year-olds throughout the whole country, will aim at reaching groups in remote rural communities. Kicking off the campaign will be world renowned cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich.

NO COMMENT WHILE PROCUREMENT INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY: Asked about 15 UN personnel who had been asked to speak to the Office of the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York regarding a case involving UN procurement, the Spokesman said that he had no further comment about that issue while the investigations by the U.S. Attorney and by the

UN Office for Internal Oversight Services are ongoing.

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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