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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-03-28

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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING

BY MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

ANNAN: CHARLES TAYLORS DISAPPEARANCE EXTREMELY WORRYING

Secretary-General Kofi Annan

spoke to reporters this morning, and was asked about reports that former Liberian President Charles Taylor has disappeared from his residence in Nigeria. The Secretary-General said that it would be extremely worrying if indeed he has disappeared, since Nigeria had indicated that it would cooperate with transferring Taylor to Liberia and to the

Special Court for Sierra Leone.

He also discussed his recent travels in Africa, including his visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where preparations are underway for the first elections in 45 years. The Secretary-General said he was struck by the difference in the country when he visited Kisangani, in the east, where, he noted, the last time he visited, the tension was palpable, but this time, the atmosphere was fairly calm.

Asked whether the Secretary-General would speak to the authorities in Nigeria, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General was in the process of trying to reach President Olusegun Obasanjo. UN officials in New York are also in contact with the UN office in Nigeria, she added.

ANNAN, IN MESSAGE TO ARAB LEAGUE SUMMIT, SAYS PALESTINIAN AFFIRMATION

OF ARAB PEACE INITIATIVE WOULD BE WELCOME STEP

Ibrahim Gambari, the Under-Secretary-General for

Political Affairs, today delivered a

message on the Secretary-Generals behalf to the Summit of the League of Arab States taking place in Khartoum, Sudan.

In that message, the

Secretary-General notes that todays gathering takes place during a period of continued turbulence in the Arab world.

The Secretary-General says that the affirmation by the new Palestinian cabinet of the Arab Peace Initiative would be a first and welcome step towards the reaffirmation of Palestinian commitment to the principles of nonviolence, recognition of Israels right to exist, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the

Road Map.

On

Darfur, Sudan, he stresses that the transition to a UN force means building upon the existing African Union mission, so as to make the UN successor mission larger and more mobile.

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON GEORGIA

This morning, the

Security Council held a private meeting for troop-contributing countries of the UN Observation Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG).

It then went into consultations on Georgia and other matters, with a briefing by Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber, who heads the

Department of Peacekeeping Operations Europe and Latin America Division.

U.N. PEACEKEEPERS REDEPLOY IN WESTERN TOWN IN COTE DIVOIRE

The UN Operation in Cte dIvoire (UNOCI) today reports that its troops redeployed in the western town of Blolequin yesterday, two months after the Mission withdrew its troops from the town following violent anti-UN demonstrations.

Other UN peacekeepers redeployed into Toulepleu last week, bringing to approximately 220 the numbers of peacekeepers back in position in the west. The redeployment operation continues.

The Mission also reports that The University of Bouake opened its doors today for the first time in three years.

The Blue Helmets delivered for marking thousands of student examination papers that were the result of the first round scholastic examinations in the north for three years. UNOCI provided security and logistic support for those examinations, which are necessary for students to go on to higher education.

UNITED NATIONS IS HELPING BURUNDI SET UP

TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

Nicolas Michel, the Under Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, is in Burundi today leading a high level UN delegation aimed at helping that country set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and establishing a Special Tribunal.

Michel said he was encouraged that the Burundian authorities have given a high priority to reconciliation and to ending impunity, which, he said, were essential elements for a durable peace.

UNITED NATIONS SEEKS $92 MILLION FOR

FOOD REQUIREMENTS IN AFRICAS SAHEL REGION

The United Nations today

launched a humanitarian appeal for nearly $92 million to meet food requirements in Africas Sahel region, which is still recovering from poor harvest yields in 2004 and 2005 and is now entering the lean season between harvests.

The appeal covers Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for West Africa, said, We cannot wait for thousands of people, the majority of them women and children, to die of hunger or malnutrition to react.

U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF TO VISIT AFRICA

The Under-Secretary-General for

Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator,

Jan Egeland, will

embark this Thursday on a nine-day mission to Uganda, Sudan, Chad and Kenya.

In Uganda, he is planning to visit the countrys north, to get a firsthand view of the situation of the internally displaced persons there. In Sudan, he will travel to Juba in southern Sudan, as well as South Darfur. In Chad, Egeland plans to visit a Sudanese refugee camp in the east of the country.

PROGRESS LESS THAN HOPED FOR IN HIV TREATMENT

IN LOW- AND MIDDLE-INCOME COUNTRIES

A new

report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)

shows that the number of people on HIV antiretroviral treatment in low- and middle-income countries more than tripled to 1.3 million, from 2003 to 2005. In addition, Sub-Saharan Africa and East, South and Southeast Asia -- the regions most heavily affected by the epidemic -- achieved the most rapid and sustained progress.

At the same time, however, that progress, despite being substantial, is less than what had been hoped for.

The WHO/UNAIDS "3 by 5" initiative actually aimed to get treatment to 3 million people in low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2005. The report also finds that access to therapy that would prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission remains unacceptably low.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

LECTURE SERIES TO FOCUS ON USE OF LANGUAGE IN WAR AND PEACE: The latest in the

Secretary-Generals lecture series kicks off this afternoon at UN Headquarters. At 1:30 p.m., the Secretary-General introduced his two guests the novelist, Professor Chinua Achebe, and the poet, Professor Paul Muldoon who spoke on the topic The Use of Language in War and Peace. The lecture was followed by a question and answer session.

U.N. ENVOY WELCOMES KOSOVO PRIME MINISTERS OUTSTRETCHED HAND TO KOSOVO SERBS: The Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Kosovo,

Sren Jessen-Petersen,

welcomed the call of Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku yesterday, for Kosovo Serbs to join efforts of the Kosovo government and the international community to build a multi-ethnic society, which would guarantee them their rightful place in Kosovo. Jessen-Petersen said, The Prime Ministers appeal is yet another example of the earnestness of the Kosovo leadership to fully integrate the Kosovo Serb community in the current and future structures in Kosovo. It is now time for the Kosovo Serbs to respond in kind.

LEBANESE JOURNALIST AWARDED UNESCO PRIZE: The

UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization today designated Lebanese journalist May Chidiac, winner of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2006. Chidiac, a popular television presenter was the victim of a car bomb attack last year, that left one of her hands and her left leg amputated. The, the prize honours the work of an individual or an organization defending or promoting freedom of expression, especially if this action puts the individuals life at risk

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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