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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-03-29

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 MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

KOFI ANNAN WELCOMES DETENTION OF EX-LIBERIAN PRESIDENT TAYLOR

[The UN helicopter transporting former Liberian President Charles Taylor arrived in Freetown, Sierra Leone at 7:06 p.m. local time Wednesday. Taylor is in the custody of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The Court will hold a press briefing at 8:30 p.m. local time.]

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in remarks to reporters and in an official statement issued earlier today, said he is

relieved by reports that Charles Taylor, the former President of Liberia, was detained by the Nigerian authorities after his initial disappearance yesterday. He expects that Mr. Taylor will be transferred to Liberia sometime today for immediate dispatch to the Special Court for Sierra Leone, with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) assistance. The Secretary-General strongly believes the capture and trial of Taylor will send a powerful message to the region and beyond that impunity will not be allowed to stand and the rule of law must prevail.

In comments to reporters this morning, the Secretary-General

said he had spoken to Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who had arrived in Washington last night, and Obasanjo had informed the Secretary-General that he had taken every measure to search for Taylor and had also put under arrest the guards who were watching Taylor.

The Secretary-General added that Taylors capture, and possible trial, sends a powerful message to the region that impunity will not be allowed to stand, and would-be warlords will pay a price.

Asked for details about the UN Missions role regarding Taylor, the Spokeswoman said that the Mission in Liberia had confirmed that Taylor was in the Missions hands in Monrovia. She declined to discuss further details until the operation is completed, but noted that the Secretary-General had mentioned Taylors transfer to the Special Court.

ANNAN HIGHLIGHTS DESPERATE NEED FOR RESOURCES

TO FIGHT BIRD FLU IN AFRICA

The following is a

statement by the Secretary-General on the urgent need of poor countries for funds and technical assistance to control avian influenza:

I am deeply concerned about the rapid spread of avian influenza from Asia into Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Both the disease, and the measures needed to control it, will increase the vulnerability of millions of smallholders and their families, most of them in poor countries.

We know that H5N1 avian influenza can be controlled if outbreaks are identified quickly, infected animals are culled, and movement and marketing of poultry are stopped in outbreak areas. But such measures can succeed only if communities and animal health authorities work together, if we keep the public informed about risks and the means to reduce them, if we monitor progress carefully, and if we provide swift and adequate financial compensation for culled birds.

To do their part, and protect their people, some nations are absolutely dependent on outside assistance. Nowhere is this more the case than in Africa, from where I have just returned. As I learned at first hand, there is an immediate and desperate need for expertise, funds, transport and equipment. With H5N1 cases now confirmed in four African countries, that need grows more pressing every day.

At the International Pledging Conference on Avian and Human Influenza in Beijing in January, donors generously pledged grants and loans worth 1.9 billion dollars. Vast and urgent needs have emerged since then, which makes it yet more imperative to convert the pledges into cash quickly. Bearing in mind the growing challenges faced by poor countries in all regions, donors will have to be prepared to mobilize additional resources for urgent as well as long-term needs. And we must work together to create flexible mechanisms that bring funds and expertise more rapidly to where they are needed, particularly for culling and compensation.

Avian influenza threatens the entire world. It knows no borders. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that all countries -- rich and poor -- are protected and prepared. The United Nations family will do all it can to help ensure that this happens.

SECURITY COUNCIL ASKS SECRETARY-GENERAL

TO NEGOTIATE WITH LEBANON ON TRIBUNAL

The Security Council

met this morning on

Cote dIvoire to hear a briefing by that countrys Foreign Minister, Youssouf Bakayoko. It then went into consultations on Cote dIvoire, with the Director of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations Africa Division, Dmitry Titov, briefing. The Council later adopted a Presidential Statement on Cote dIvoire, by which it urged Ivorian leaders to fulfill all their commitments, in particular those made in Yamoussoukro on 28 February 2006.

Also on the Councils agenda this morning was

Lebanon -- specifically the proposed tribunal of an international character, which would deal with the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Following consultations on that subject, the Council decided to request the Secretary-General to negotiate an agreement with the Government of Lebanon aimed at establishing such a tribunal based on the highest international standards of criminal justice.

The Council also held consultations on the

Sudan Panel of Experts, which deals with sanctions, and decided to extend the Panels mandate until 29 September 2006.

Under other matters, the Council was briefed by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations on former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

U.N. STAFF MEMBER DIES AFTER ATTACK IN SOUTH SUDAN

A staff member from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

passed away in a Nairobi hospital overnight from wounds he received two weeks ago in an attack on the agency's compound in Yei, south

Sudan.

Nabil Bahjat Abdulla, a 48-year-old Iraqi with a wife and four children, was a logistics officer and had joined the refugee agency in 1991. He was assigned last October to UNHCRs south Sudan operation.

He had suffered serious wounds in a night-time attack on the agency's Yei compound that left one guard dead and another wounded.

UNHCRs staff around the world observed a minute of silence today in tribute.

ANNAN SUPPORTS HIS HUMAN RIGHTS ENVOY IN CAMBODIA

Asked about comments made by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen about Yash Ghai, the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for human rights in Cambodia, the Spokewoman said that a full translation of the Prime Ministers statement was being made and would be reviewed before the United Nations responds. She noted that Ghai had issued a press release of his own following his visit to Cambodia.|

Okabe added that the Secretary-General has repeatedly expressed the hope that Prime Minister Hun Sen will ensure freedom of expression and respect by Cambodia for its human rights obligations and the rule of law.

Asked whether the Secretary-General endorses Ghais statements, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General appointed the envoy and supports his work.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. ENVOY REGRETS STABBING OF KOSOVO SERB YOUTH: The Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Kosovo, Søren Jessen-Petersen, has

expressed deep regret at the stabbing yesterday evening of a Kosovo Serb youth in the northern part of the town of Mitrovica. He has asked the police to investigate, and has urged restraint in the meantime.

PAKISTAN QUAKE SURVIVORS RETURNING HOME: The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees

reports that the first relief camps in Pakistans earthquake zone have been emptied after more than 36,000 people left for their homes as part of the return process that started earlier this month.

MAURICE STRONG NO LONGER A U.N. ENVOY: Asked whether Maurice Strong continues to serve as a UN envoy concerning the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, the Spokeswoman said that he is no longer an envoy.

  • * The guests at the noon briefing were: the Department of Peacekeeping Operations Gender Adviser, Comfort Lamptey; the Deputy UN Police Advisor, Antero Lopes; and Nana Effah-Apenteng, the Permanent Representative of Ghana to the UN. They briefed on enhancing gender balance in peacekeeping operations.

    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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