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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-01-09

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

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MICHELE MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

CONGOLESE ELECTIONS ARE A SOURCE OF PRIDE

The Security Council this morning heard a briefing in an open meeting on the work done by the European Force (EUFOR) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); that briefing was given by Javier Solana, the European Unions High Representative for a Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean Marie Guéhenno, who spoke afterwards, told the Security Council that EUFORs work in that country was a rewarding experience, with the presence of the European peacekeepers of great value during the Congolese elections.

He added that in Ituri, a new cease-fire has been agreed between the Congolese Armed Forces and the National Integrationist Front following fighting near the town of Fataki in December, although the situation remains tense.

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari also addressed the Security Council, telling them that the Congolese elections have resulted in the establishment of the first democratically elected national institutions in over four decades, and of this we can be justly proud. However, he added, much still remains to be done.

The Security Council followed its open meeting with consultations on Cote dIvoire, to discuss a draft resolution on extending the mandate of the UN Mission in that country.

Tomorrow, the Security Council expects to hold consultations on Somalia, as well as on the recent report concerning the work of the UN team that visited Chad and the Central African Republic.

INVESTIGATIVE TEAM TO LOOK INTO HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES

IN EASTERN D.R. CONGO

The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) reports that the inauguration of the countrys first democratically-elected National Assembly in more than 40 years took place in Kinshasa today in the presence of William Lacy Swing, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and other members of the international community.

Meanwhile, the Mission says that an investigative team arrived in the eastern Ituri province on 5 January to look into human rights abuses, including the execution of some 24 civilians near Bunia in late December and the torching of civilian homes near Fataki just last week.

BAN KI-MOONS ENVOY ARRIVES IN SUDAN FOR DARFUR TALKS

Jan Eliasson, the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for

Darfur, has arrived in Khartoum and is meeting with the senior leadership of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS). This is the second leg of his trip in the region to discuss steps required to arrive at a durable solution to the situation in Darfur on the basis of the Darfur Peace Agreement.

Also today, the UN Mission today congratulated the people of the Sudan on the occasion of the second anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between North and South Sudan. The UN Mission reiterated its commitment to assisting the Parties to the CPA and the people of Sudan in meeting these challenges.

Meanwhile, the UN Mission continues to report attacks in Darfur.

And the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees says it remains extremely concerned about the security situation in eastern Chad near the Darfur border, where there are more than 220,000 Darfur refugees and now over 100,000 internally displaced Chadians 20,000 of them uprooted within the past three weeks. While there has been a decrease in fighting between the Chadian army and opposition forces, inter-communal conflict continues in south-eastern parts of the country near the border with Sudan's Darfur region.

UNITED NATIONS SEEKING MORE INFORMATION

ON REPORTED MILITARY ACTION IN SOMALIA

The United Nations is planning to send an assessment team to the Kenya-Somalia border on Thursday. The team will look into the possibility of re-starting humanitarian deliveries into Somalia and examine recent population movements in and around the border.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), at least 4,700 internally displaced persons at the border have no access to humanitarian aid and are in critical need of food, shelter, medicine and basic supplies.

Over the weekend, the World Food Programme distributed food to nearly 19,000 Somali flood survivors.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals reaction to a reported U.S. attack in Somalia, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations is still trying to gather more information about the reported military action in southern Somalia, including through the office in Nairobi of the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Somalia, Francois Lonseny Fall. For now, she said, the United Nations does not have detailed information beyond what has been reported in the media.

Notwithstanding the motives for this reported military action, the Spokeswoman said, the Secretary-General is concerned about the new dimension this kind of action could introduce to the conflict and the possible escalation of hostilities that may result.

He is also concerned about the impact this would have on the civilian population in southern Somalia, and regrets the reported loss of civilian lives.

Regarding the latest U.S. air strikes, Montas said that humanitarian operations were suspended in that area and international staff was evacuated when the recent fighting started last month. Currently, humanitarian operations have not resumed and there is no international humanitarian staff in that area.

Asked whether the United Nations had received prior notification of the U.S. attack, the Spokeswoman said she was not aware of any.

Asked whether the U.S. intervention in Somalia is legal, the Spokeswoman noted that the Security Council would discuss Somalia in its consultations on Wednesday.

UNICEF STAFFER KILLED IN IRAQ

UNICEF today confirmed that one of its national staff members in Iraq, Janan Jabero, has been killed in Baghdad. Initial reports from local authorities indicate that Mr. Jabero, a 52 year-old Iraqi national, was shot while driving his car in Baghdad.

Jabero was described as a brilliant engineer, who had been a key part of UNICEFs school rehabilitation programme in Iraq since 1999. His death has cost Iraqs children a staunch advocate and we deeply mourn his loss, said Roger Wright, the UNICEF Representative for Iraq.

HEALTH AGENCY GETS NEW DEPUTY CHIEF

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that although more than 12 million people each year are bitten by dogs or snakes, or stung by scorpions, the worlds capacity to treat them is inadequate because the appropriate medicines are often unavailable or unaffordable in the countries where they are most needed. In that context, top health experts will meet tomorrow at WHO Headquarters in Geneva to agree on a global five-year action plan to boost production of such medicines in developing countries.

In other WHO-related news, WHO today sent a specialized team to northwestern Kenya, to bolster its presence on the ground and help control the recent outbreak of rift valley fever in the area.

Meanwhile, the head of WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, today

named Dr. Anarfi Asamoa-Baah of Ghana as the agencys Deputy-Director General.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

BAN KI-MOON TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE THURSDAY: Regarding the Secretary-Generals upcoming press conference, there has been a change, to accommodate journalists desire for an earlier time. It will now be held this Thursday at 11:00 a.m. in Conference Room 1.

HAITI MISSION TO GET NEW FORCE COMMANDER: The Secretary-General has informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Major-General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz of Brazil as Force Commander of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Maj-Gen. dos Santos Cruz will succeed Lieutenant General José Elito Siqueira Carvalho, also from Brazil.

BAN KI-MOON PUTS CLIMATE CHANGE HIGH ON AGENDA: Asked whether the Secretary-General would be willing to convene a summit to deal with climate change, the Spokeswoman, while noting that she had nothing specific to announce on that, said that the Secretary-General is putting climate change at the top of his agenda and considers it to be very important.

SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVES NOT ASKED FOR RESIGNATIONS: Asked whether the Secretary-Generals Special Representatives in the field had to turn in their resignations, as other Under-Secretaries-General and Assistant Secretaries-General have done, the Spokeswoman said that they did not, although their status may be reviewed later. Currently, she said, 58 people are affected, most of them based at UN Headquarters.

REFUGEE AGENCY CONCERNED BY HARSH CONDITIONS IN SRI LANKA: More than 20,000 people have fled fighting and harsh conditions in the eastern Sri Lankan coastal strip of Vaharai in the past three weeks. But despite reaching relative safety they still face many problems and an uncertain future, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055


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