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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-03-02

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

Thursday, March 2, 2006

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES NATIONAL DIALOGUE IN LEBANON

Secretary-General Kofi Annan

welcomes the national dialogue that began today in Lebanon and hopes that it will contribute to political stability in the country by addressing critical issues of national concern.

The Secretary-General congratulates the Speaker of Parliament for this crucial and timely initiative and wishes it every success.

. ANNAN ENCOURAGES IVORIAN LEADERS TO CONTINUE DIALOGUE

The Secretary-General

welcomes the meeting between the main Ivorian leaders which was convened by Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny in Yamoussoukro, in Côte dIvoire, on 28 February.

It constitutes a significant step towards sustained dialogue and building trust among these leaders, which is indispensable to the return of peace and reconciliation in Côte dIvoire. The meeting enabled the parties to address a number of key issues with a view to moving the peace process forward.

The Secretary-General encourages the Ivorian leaders to continue this constructive dialogue. He assures the Ivorian parties of the United Nations support for the implementation of the recommendations of the Yamoussoukro meeting.

Also on Cote d'Ivoire, out as a document is the Secretary-Generals

letter to the president of the Security Council giving the names of five persons to be appointed to the panel of experts on Côte dIvoire. The group is charged with monitoring, in collaboration with the UN mission in that country, the arms embargo the council imposed in 2004 on Cote d'Ivoire and report to the Security Council's Sanctions Committee on the country.Their mandate is for six months.

SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES AGREEMENT ON HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

On entering the building this morning, the Secretary-General

spoke to reporters this morning about the Human Rights Council, and he asserted, The stakes are very high.

He warned that, if we are not careful and we make the wrong moves that unravel the agreement on the Council, we could be placed in a situation where we are left with a Human Rights Commission that we all claim is discredited. He urged Member States, as they try to come to agreement on this issue, to make sure that the better must not be the enemy of the good.

U.N. ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY WELCOMES EU-IRAN TALKS

The Director- General of

the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei today

welcomed the high-level meeting between Foreign Ministers of the EU3, the High Representative of the European Union and the secretary of Irans Supreme National Security Council, which is scheduled to take place tomorrow in Vienna.

In a statement, ElBaradei urged all parties to use this opportunity to create the necessary conditions to return to negotiations. He called on Iran to demonstrate full transparency toward the IAEA to resolve important outstanding issues related to its nuclear programme, and to take all the necessary confidence-building measures.

He said that a durable solution can be found only through full transparency on the part of Iran and negotiations with all concerned parties.

U.N.S ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY WELCOMES INDIAN ACCORD

Asked whether the Secretary-General welcomed the deal between the United States and India, the Spokesman responded that the Secretary-General has not commented, but noted that IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei had issued a

statement welcoming that agreement.

U.N. ENVOY TO IRAQ CONCERNED OVER SECTARIAN VIOLENCE

In a

statement we have upstairs, Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, expressed his deep concern over the increased sectarian violence in that country. He said that hundreds of people are estimated to have lost their lives since the attack on the Shrine of the Two Imams last week.

Despite the constructive response by Iraqs government, Qazi said, the situation threatens to further deteriorate. Accordingly, he calls upon the leaders of Iraq to intensify their efforts to adopt measures to stop the violence and promote national accord, and also appeals to the Iraqi people to act with restraint.

In another

press release, issued jointly with UNICEF, Qazi said, This brutal violence that takes innocent lives, especially those of children, is totally unacceptable.

SECURITY COUNCIL AGREES OF MARCH WORK PROGRAMME

The

Security Council held its first consultations this month, to discuss its programme of work for March.

The new Council President, Ambassador Cesar Mayoral of Argentina, just spoke to the press about what the Council will be doing in the coming month.

U.N.-SUPPORTED OPERATION AGAINST MILITIAS CONTINUE IN D.R. CONGO

The

UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo says its received no reports of any civilian casualties in an operation aimed at removing militia members from the town of Tchei, some 60 kilometres south-east of the town of Bunia, in the Ituri district.

Meanwhile, UN peacekeepers are continuing their support of national army soldiers involved in the operation.

The UN Mission estimates that there are between 700 to 1,000 militia members in the area.

Asked about reports that some DRC troops serving alongside UN troops in the eastern Congo had mutinied, the Spokesman confirmed that there had been an incident in which DRC troops vented their frustration at their commanding officers. These officers, he said, then took refuge at a base of the UN Mission. UN troops were able to defuse the situation, he said.

TWO BOMBS HIT U.N. FOOD OFFICE IN NEPAL

Two bombs were thrown at a

World Food Programme (WFP) office in eastern Nepal this morning. No casualties were reported, and no major damage to the office building is known to have taken place.

The United Nations strongly condemns the attack, which violates international humanitarian law.

UN offices in the town of Damak, where the bombs exploded, will remain closed pending an investigation of the attack.

In addition to WFP, the UN refugee agency has a presence in Damak, where it attends to the needs of more than 105,000 Bhutanese refugees.

U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEFS URGE HELP FOR GREAT LAKES

The heads of three UN humanitarian agencies today

urged the international community to help end the suffering of millions of refugees, displaced persons and returnees in the Great Lakes region of Africa.

After a six-day trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and Rwanda the executive-directors of the

UN Childrens Fund, the

World Food Programme and the

UN Refugee Agency said political progress has been made in the area but it must be matched with a new commitment to help the people who they described as forgotten by the rest of the world.

They said all three agencies need substantial additional funding for their work in the area.

U.N. TO OPEN OFFICE TO ASSIST INTERNET GOVERNANCE FORUM

The Secretary-General has decided to

establish a small Secretariat in Geneva to assist in the convening of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The Secretary-General was asked by the

World Summit on the Information Society, held in Tunis in November, to convene such a Forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue.

Nitin Desai, the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser for the Summit, held open consultations on 16 and 17 February 2006 in Geneva aimed at reaching a common understanding on how the Forum should function. Those discussions produced a consensus that the IGF should have a strong development orientation. It was also felt that the Forum should be open and inclusive, and allow for the participation of all interested stakeholders with proven expertise and experience in Internet-related matters.

The Secretariat will be headed by Mr.

Markus Kummer, who has been the Executive Coordinator of the Secretariat of the Working Group on Internet Governance, which was established by the Secretary-General at the request of the first phase of the Summit, in Geneva in 2003. The first meeting of the Forum is expected to take place later this year in Athens.

On a separate issue, the Secretary-General has also decided to ask Mr. Desai to consult informally on how to start a process aimed at enhancing cooperation on international public policy issues related to the Internet. The Summit had requested the Secretary-General to start such a process.

ABDUCTED U.N. STAFFER IN SOMALIA IS RELEASED

We have received confirmation that an international staff member of the

UN Childrens Fund, who was abducted yesterday in Somalia, has been released.

The staff member was abducted yesterday on the outskirts of Afmadow, 110 kilometers northwest of Kismayo in the Lower Juba region. He was released a few hours ago and is reported to be in good health.

We are grateful for the help given by the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia in securing his release.

U.N. IRAQ MONITORS SUBMIT REPORT TO SECURITY COUNCIL

The latest report by the

UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission for Iraq (UNMOVIC) has gone to the Security Council and is out as a

document.

The report details the Commissions work over the past three months, including a meeting by its College of Commissioners that convened in New York last month.

The Commission has also begun an internal review of its substantive records to identify any issues if those records are eventually to be transferred to the United Nations archives.

UNITED NATIONS CONDEMNS ATTACK ON NEWSPAPER AND TV IN KENYA

Klaus Toepfer, the head of the

UN Office at Nairobi, today expressed alarm and concern over a raid on the offices of the Standard newspaper in Nairobi and its sister television station, KTN.

Several editions of the paper were burnt, the offices of KTN vandalized, and the station was temporarily silenced.

Toepfer said the UN calls upon the Kenyan government to clarify the circumstances surrounding todays events at the Standard Group, and to take the appropriate action against those responsible, including legal action if necessary.

The Director-General of the

UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, Koïchiro Matsuura also condemned the attacks. He said, "It is our duty to draw the attention of the authorities in the country to the importance of press freedom in maintaining a credible democracy and upholding the rule of law.

U.N. SECURITY WILL EXAMINE ALL ALLEGATIONS OF ANTI-SEMITISM

The Spokesman, in response to a question about whether the United Nations is opening an investigation into allegations of anti-Semitism by UN Security personnel, confirmed that the Department of Safety and Security has opened an investigation with the Office of Human Resources Management to make sure that all allegations of this type are fully examined.

The Spokesman added that a staff member who had been the victim of anti-Semitic actions had not been fully satisfied by the initial response by management. The United Nations, Dujarric emphasized, intends to have an atmosphere where anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and xenophobia are not tolerated.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

UNITED NATIONS TO HELP DISCUSSIONS IN CYPRUS: Asked about ideas concerning low-level mediation in Cyprus, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General was happy to note that both communities have agreed to bi-communal communications on a number of issues, and that the United Nations would try to help those efforts. He said that the discussions would concern issues aimed at helping everyday life in both communities, and would be of a technical nature.

DEPUTY-SECRETARY-GENERALS FUNCTIONS FILLED IN-HOUSE: Asked whether the Secretary-General would appoint an Indian diplomat, Vijay Nambiar, to replace Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette, or for any other senior appointment, the Spokesman said he had nothing to announce. He noted that Fréchettes functions were to be filled upon her departure by existing resources within the Executive Office of the Secretary-General.

SECURITY COUNCIL ARRANGEMENTS UP TO MEMBERS: Asked about an arrangement whereby a Brazilian diplomat sits with Argentinas Security Council delegation, the Spokesman said that Member States were free to make whatever arrangements they want, and noted that it was not the first time this has happened.

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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