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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-02-28
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
ANNAN ENDS PARIS VISIT WITH MEETING ON FUTURE OF CYPRUS
Secretary-General Kofi Annan spent the day in Paris, where he met with President Tassos Papadopoulos. The purpose of the meeting was to review the situation in Cyprus and examine ways in which to move forward towards reunification of the island.
They agreed that the resumption of the negotiating process, within the framework of the Secretary-Generals Good Offices, must be timely and based on careful preparation. Referring to the agreement by both communities leaders to hold technical discussions on a series of issues, the Secretary-General and the Cypriot President expressed hope that those discussions would help restore trust between the two communities.
They also agreed that progress on a number of issues, including demilitarization and de-mining on the island, would greatly improve the atmosphere for further talks.
Speaking to the press afterwards, the Secretary-General said that, in the next couple of months, he would be doing whatever he could to narrow the gap between mere words and actual actions.
ANNAN, IN PARIS, ADDRESSES DEVELOPMENT FINANCING, MIDDLE EAST
In Paris earlier today, the Secretary-General attended the Ministerial meeting on Innovative Sources of Financing for Development chaired by French President Jacques Chirac, and he
asserted that financing for development is an area where political courage is needed.
He said that we must not rule out ideas solely for fear of controversy. Human need should be our overriding consideration. He praised the efforts by President Chirac, among others, to find new ways of funding the fight against poverty.
Prior to attending the meeting, the Secretary-General met with President Chirac. The two discussed a wide range of issues, including Lebanon and Syria, Haiti, Cote dIvoire and Financing for Development.
The Secretary-General left Paris for New York on Tuesday evening.
U.N. ENVOY ON MIDDLE EAST BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL
Alvaro de Soto, the UN Special Coordinator for the
Middle East Peace Process,
today briefed the Security Council in an open meeting on the latest developments in the region, and said that the choices that Hamas makes are the single most important variable that will shape the future of the conflict. He noted, as the Secretary-General has said, that it will take time for clarity to emerge.
He reminded the Council of the need, as stressed by the Quartet, to stabilize the finances of the Palestinian Authority during the caretaker period. De Soto welcomed the decision announced yesterday by the European Union to provide $143 million of emergency assistance to the Palestinians.
He also said that we should be alert to the danger that cutting off assistance prior to the formation of a new government might be interpreted by the Palestinians and the Arab world as a punishment for the way the Palestinians voted in January.
De Soto continued to talk to Security Council members in consultations that followed the open meeting.
SECURITY COUNCIL HEARS BRIEFING ON DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Security Council also received a daily briefing by the UN Secretariat.
The Under-Secretary-General for
Jean Marie Guehenno, briefed the Security Council on the achievements of the Ttransition period in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the key remaining challenges on the way forward to build on the substantial progress made so far in the peace process.
The Council also passed a resolution on the use of ad litem [short-term] judges for the
International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
Today is the last day for the U.S. Presidency of the Security Council, and Argentina will assume the Council Presidency on the first of the month.
U.N. ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCYS REPORT ON IRAN SENT TO ITS MEMBERS
Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the
International Atomic Energy Agency, (IAEA) this week circulated his latest report on the Agencys nuclear verification in Iran to the IAEAs Member States.
The Agencys 35-member Board of Governors will consider the report at its next meetings, which will begin in Vienna on 6 March. The documents circulation is restricted, and unless the IAEA Board decides otherwise, the Agency cannot authorize its release to the public.
Asked whether the report would eventually be released, the Spokeswoman said that decision would be up to the IAEA Board of Governors.
CHADIANS REPORTEDLY FLEE INTO DARFUR, SUDAN
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
says it is seeing population movements in both directions along the troubled Chad-Sudan border, further evidence of the spreading insecurity that now straddles this increasingly insecure region.
In addition to the more than 200,000 Sudanese refugees from Darfur who have sought refuge in eastern Chad in the past three years, the refugee agency says it is seeing indications that some Chadians are themselves fleeing in the opposite direction, into Darfur.
António Guterres has repeatedly expressed deep concern over the potential for further destabilisation in the region.
UN Mission in Sudan continues to report insecurity in Darfur due to the constant attacks on civilians. An African Union patrol was attacked yesterday in South Darfur. In West Darfur, instability was reported, due to increased banditry activities believed to be perpetuated by Chadian rebels.
Reports indicate that women passengers were raped after an attack on a convoy of six trucks going from Nyala to Al Fasher two days ago, the Mission says.
ALL PARTY PEACE TALKS BEGIN IN CÔTE DIVOIRE
UN Mission in Côte dIvoire reports today that a meeting of the main leaders from the government, the rebel forces and the political opposition has begun in the capital, Yamoussoukro.
The meeting is designed to map out a peace plan, aiming towards elections by October. It was called by Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny.
The meeting was originally scheduled to open yesterday but was postponed due to disagreements over security arrangements.
It is the first time the parties have met on Ivorian soil since the civil war began in 2002.
ANNAN URGES SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT HELP FOR BURUNDI
The Secretary-General today
asked an international donors conference trying to raise $168 million to engage in an active partnership towards sustainable development in Burundi.
In a message read by his Special Representative in Burundi,
Carolyn McAskie, the Secretary General said that in a country emerging from conflict, reconstruction and development are as vital as peacekeeping and should attract the same priority from the international community.
He congratulated Burundi on its democratic elections, and its progress in transition, but said much remains to be done.
SOME 400,000 AFGHAN REFUGEES TO RETURN HOME THIS YEAR
World Food Programme (WFP) has
called on donors to urgently provide funds to its operation in Afghanistan, which is facing critical shortages. WFP needs $11 million in order to keep supplying food to 3.5 million vulnerable Afghans during the coming months. If those funds are not raised, there will be a break in food supplies in March.
Meanwhile, the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is tomorrow
restarting its repatriation operation from Pakistan to Afghanistan after the usual winter break. Some 400,000 Afghans are expected to repatriate to Afghanistan this year.
ANNAN NOTES ENCOURAGING PROSPECTS IN SOMALIA: The Secretary-General, in his latest report to the Security Council on Somalia, notes that the signing of the Aden Declaration in January created encouraging prospects for reconciliation among Somali leaders, and calls upon the international community to continue supporting these efforts at political reconciliation.
ANNAN NOTES ACHIEVEMENT IN SMALL ARMS: In his report to the Security Council on small arms, the Secretary-General says that one of the most significant achievements reached in this area last year was the adoption of the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons.
U.N. EMERGENCY RELIEF COORDINATOR TO VISIT GUATEMALA: The UNs Emergency Relief Coordinator,
Jan Egeland, will be in Guatemala from tomorrow until Friday, for a meeting on the forthcoming hurricane season. He will also meet tropical storm survivors in the Lake Atitlán area.
UNITED NATIONS TO HELP VICTIMS OF MOZAMBIQUE QUAKE: Following last weeks earthquake in Mozambique, the Mozambican Government has requested technical support from the UN, to help it manage risks and disasters.The UN has also been playing a role in earthquake assessment missions, having already helped the Government to get helicopters for remote areas. According to the
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the most urgent needs so far include food, water, sanitation and shelter for families who lost their houses in the earthquake.
VIETNAM NOW FREE OF NEONATAL AND MATERNAL TETANUS: The
UN Childrens Fund and the
World Health Organization
said today that Viet Nam has eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus as a public health problem. A UNICEF statement said "We congratulate the Government of Viet Nam on achieving this critical goal for children and women. This accomplishment demonstrates that life-saving vaccines can be delivered to even the poorest and most marginalized communities.
PROPERLY HANDLED POULTRY NOT A BIRD FLU RISK: The
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Lee Jong-Wook, in a
statement, reconfirmed that when poultry products are safely handled and properly cooked, humans are not at risk of acquiring H5N1 infection through food. He said that the main health risk currently is to people who are in close contact with infected poultry, such as families with backyard flocks and poultry workers in wet markets or live animal markets.
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