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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-03-10

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

Friday, March 10, 2006

AFGHANISTAN: SECURITY STILL A MAJOR CHALLENGE

The Secretary-General, in a

report on

Afghanistan that has gone to the Security Council and the General Assembly, says that security continues to be a major challenge in that country.

He points to different causes of conflict in Afghanistan, including the continued insurgency and terrorism, factional violence and the influence of the narcotics trade. He adds that there are other necessary conditions to improve the security situation, including the disarmament of illegal armed groups and the development of credible, sustainable national security institutions.

ENCOURAGING PROSPECTS REPORTED FOR RECONCILIATION IN SOMALIA

The

Security Council held consultations today on Somalia. Francois Lonseny Fall, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for that country, briefed Council members on the Secretary-Generals recent

report, which came out a couple of weeks ago.

In that report, the Secretary-General said the signing in January of the Aden Declaration created encouraging prospects for reconciliation among Somali leaders.

The Council is also hearing today from the chair of the Sanctions Committee on Somalia, the Ambassador of Qatar.

Also today, the Secretary-General is scheduled to have his monthly luncheon with the members of the Security Council.

U.N. ENVOY WELCOMES NEW GOVERNMENT IN KOSOVO

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative in

Kosovo, Søren Jessen-Petersen, today welcomed the Kosovo Assemblys election of a new government.

Congratulating all parties for once again upholding democratic values in challenging circumstances, he paid special tribute to the new Prime Minister, Agim Ceku, who has proved to be a good working partner for the UN Mission in Kosovo and the international community as a whole.

PEACEKEEPING CHIEF VISITS D.R. CONGO, DISCUSSES SEXUAL VIOLENCE

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, arrived in Bunia, the capital of the Ituri district in the countrys east.

He held a series of meetings with local authorities and civil society representatives, during which he stressed the need for a stable environment in Ituri, and discussed the issue of sexual violence against women.

From Bunia, Guehenno will travel to Goma.

Meanwhile, the UN Development Programme (UNDP)

notes that President Joseph Kabila has promulgated a new electoral law that sets 18 June as the date of the first election in the DRCs 46-year history as an independent nation. The preparations for the 18 June vote for a president and parliament constitute the largest and most complex UN electoral-assistance mission ever undertaken.

In related news, the UN Population Fund has

welcomed Canadas contribution of $13.2 million to support efforts to fight sexual and gender-based violence in the DRC.

LACK OF FUNDS LEADS TO RATION CUTS FOR HUNGRY SUDANESE

The World Food Programme

says that as a result of the shortage of funds for its Sudan appeal, it has been obliged to cut down its rations of vegetables, sugar and salt to 3.5 million persons in Darfur and the south of Sudan.

Meanwhile, the lack of water, proximity to the Sudan border and a deteriorating security situation is

forcing the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees to relocate more than 16,000 Sudanese refugees a site in eastern Chad to a refugee camp further away from the border.

Asked for comment about the meeting underway at the African Union on Sudan, the Spokesman said that the United Nations was watching closely what was going on at that meeting and was waiting to see what the final communiqué from that meeting said.

Until the United Nations studies that communiqué, he added, he would not comment on reports about the results of that meeting.

The Spokesman noted that the Secretary-General on Thursday had said the United Nations had been working with the African Union and the Sudanese Government on the issue of a transition to the United Nations in Darfur. He has been in touch with the head of the African Unions Peace and Security Council, Alpha Oumar Konaré, on that issue.

Asked about the possibility that the AU decision could affect UN contingency planning for Darfur, the Spokesman said that contingency planning is proceeding.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals reaction to a proposed summit among the Presidents of Egypt, Libya and Sudan, the Spokesman said that anything that would move the process along and lead to a situation where the civilian population of Darfur would be protected would be a good thing.

PAKISTAN: CAMPS FOR QUAKE SURVIVORS START CLOSING DOWN

With winter drawing to an end in Pakistans quake zone, the authorities there have announced that relief camps will start closing today, with most camps to be closed by the end of March.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which currently helps care for more than 147,000 quake survivors in more than 150 relief camps, has

stressed to the authorities that returns must be informed and voluntary, and that provisions should be made for vulnerable people who cannot return for the time being.

UNHCR is planning to contribute to a return package for the quake survivors.

IMMUNIZATION DRIVE SUCCEEDS IN CUTTING MEASLES DEATHS BY HALF

A global immunization drive has cut measles deaths by nearly half between 1999 and 2004, according to a

report issued today by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The largest reduction occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the highest burden of the disease, where measles cases and deaths dropped by 60 percent.

Still, the disease remains a killer with almost a half million children dying from it in 2004.

The agencies are expanding their efforts in South Asia where measles deaths are highest outside sub-Saharan Africa.

ANNANS TRIP TO BE HIS FIRST OFFICIAL STATE VISIT TO SOUTH AFRICA

Asked about the main purpose of the Secretary-Generals upcoming visit to Africa, the Spokesman highlighted that it would include the Secretary-Generals first official state visit to South Africa, which has been a major UN partner in a number of peacekeeping and political efforts on the continent. President Thabo Mbeki, he noted, has been very supportive of UN efforts.

The Secretary-General, Dujarric added, would also visit the large UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and, in the neighboring Republic of Congo, he would meet with the Congolese President, Denis Sassou-Nguesso, who currently chairs the African Union and with whom he will discuss a number of issues, including Darfur.

DISCUSSIONS PLANNED WITH U.N. STAFF ON MANAGEMENT REFORM

Asked about a no-confidence motion passed yesterday against the Secretary-General by the UN Staff Union, over the lack of consultation with staff prior to the launch of the management reform report, the Spokesman said that the report issued Tuesday was a strategic vision given to the Member States, while consultations with staff were planned as the United Nations moves to implement the report.

He said that the strategic vision had been laid out to the Member States, who are our bosses at their request, and it was intended to benefit UN staff both at Headquarters and in the field.

Now, Dujarric said, there would be a consultation phase, in which UN management would talk with the Staff Union, first through the Joint Advisory Committee and then through the Staff Management Committee.

At the same time, the heads of UN departments would discuss with their staff the implementation of the proposed reforms.

The Spokesman added that the report contains a number of suggestions that would be beneficial for staff throughout the United Nations, including more funding for training, equalizing the way contracts are made, and allowing general service staff to apply for professionals posts without having to resign beforehand.

Asked about the level of consultation with staff ahead of the reports release, the Spokesman said Secretary-General had acknowledged that there had been no formal consultation earlier with the Union. However, he added, there had been an effort to obtain input from UN staff, including through e-mails sent to staff last year requesting their views on human resources reform.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. POPULATION FUND GETS NEW DEPUTY CHIEF: The Secretary-General has approved the appointment of Mari Simonen of Finland as Deputy Executive Director of External Relations, UN Affairs and Management at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Simonen, who has most recently served as Director of UNFPAs Technical Support Division, has worked for the UN since 1980.

NEW TOUR GUIDES WELCOME VISITORS TO THE UNITED NATIONS: A new group of 26 multilingual UN tour guides from 18 countries will

join the team next week, bringing the number of guides to 67. The tour office reports that the recruitment of guides this year reflects the pattern of visitors to New York, with an increase in need for French, Russian and Mandarin speakers. The guides assist about a half a million people who visit the United Nations each year.

PRISONERS RIGHTS SHOULD BE RESPECTED: Asked whether the Secretary-General was pleased by U.S. plans to close the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the Spokesman said he had no specific comment, but added that, wherever prisoners are held, their rights should be respected.

DETAILS OF ANNANS MEETING WITH CYPRIOT PRESIDENT CAN BE FOUND IN JOINT STATEMENT: Asked about a recent meeting between the Secretary-General and President Tassos Papadopoulos in Paris, the Spokesman said the relevant details were part of a

joint statement issued afterward.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Saturday, March 11

The Secretary-General leaves today for a two-week visit to South Africa, Madagascar, the Republic of Congo, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Deputy Secretary-General will be in Santiago to attend the inauguration ceremony of the President-elect of Chile, Ms. Michelle Bachelet. This historic event will be attended by a number of Heads of State and Government as well as other foreign delegations.

Monday, March 13

In the Security Council this morning, there will be a private meeting for the countries that contribute troops to the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. There will also be consultations on Ethiopia/Eritrea and Sudan.

Tuesday, March 14

The Security Council will hold a formal meeting this morning to consider a draft resolution on the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. There will also be an open debate this morning on Afghanistan.

Wednesday, March 15

In the Security Council this morning, there will be a public meeting on Iraq. The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, Ashraf Qazi, will brief.

Thursday, March 16

The Security Council will hold an open briefing and consultations this morning on the UN Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. UNIIIC head Serge Brammertz will brief.

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, Ashraf Qazi, will hold a press briefing at 10:00 a.m. in room 226.

Friday, March 17

In the Security Council this morning, there will be an open briefing on Liberia.

The Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. Stephen Lewis, will come to the noon briefing to talk about his recent trip to Lesotho and Swaziland.

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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