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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-01-11

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

ARCHIVES

SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON'S

PRESS CONFERENCE

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, January 11, 2007

[The noon briefing will resume Friday, January 12, 2007]

BAN KI-MOON'S OPENING REMARKS AT PRESS CONFERENCE

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I am delighted to see you all again.

I feel as if some of you have become already my old friends. Weve had two press conferences during the transition, several brief encounters along the way -- including a stakeout on my first day -- and today, we just meet a week after I took office. I hope I am well on my way to proving that I will not be avoiding you -- on the contrary, I may be pursuing you!

I have had a busy first 10 days in office.

I have met with the staff of the Organization, including representatives from all major duty stations around the world.

I have made five major appointments, including the post of Deputy Secretary-General and Chef de Cabinet. Three of those five are women from developing countries. All of them are outstanding, and who should be judged on their merits.

I have met with my new Special Envoy for Darfur, Jan Eliasson, as well as the African Union Chief Mediator, Dr. Salim A. Salim, and I have chaired a series of meetings of all my senior advisors on the Darfur crisis. I have since deployed Mr. Eliasson to the region. I just spoke with Mr. Eliasson this morning, and he is encouraged by his meetings with President Bashir and other Sudanese leaders. He will continue his consultations and join me in Addis Ababa to attend the African Union Summit meeting.

On Lebanon, Iraq, Somalia, and other pressing issues, I have both held substantive meetings and made many telephone calls to the leaders concerned. I have outlined my vision of major peace and security challenges to the Security Council, and I have met with many Ambassadors, including representatives of all five regional groups, as well as a number of negotiating groups.

To ensure flexibility in forming my new team, I have asked all Under-Secretaries-General and Assistant Secretaries-General to tender their resignations by January 15. And to seek to set a high ethical standard right from the start, I have submitted my financial disclosure form to the Ethics Office. Once the statement has been reviewed by the outside firm of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, it will be made public.

Those are just some of my activities during the last 10 days in office. The next three months promise to be even busier.

Inside the UN, I will work on three broad fronts:

I will strive to restore trust, both between Member States and Secretariat, and between senior management and staff.

I will seek to strengthen institutional capacity, and to ensure that the Secretariat is structured in a way that allows it to respond effectively to the demands placed on us. Today, I will begin consultations with Member States about a possible restructuring of Departments and Offices related to peace and security.

And I will strive to change the working culture of the Organization itself. My goal will be to build a staff which is truly mobile and multi-functional, through greater emphasis on career development, training, accountability, and recognition of work performed at all levels.

Meanwhile, the world will not stop while we work to get our house in order.

Africa will be the focus of many of my priorities, and my first major trip will reflect that focus. At the end of the month, I will attend the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, where Darfur and Somalia will be at the top of the agenda. I will meet with staff at the UN duty station in Addis Ababa, and in Nairobi, our African UN headquarters.

I will also go to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where we have our largest peacekeeping mission, and where free elections took place last summer for the first time in 40 years. I look forward to seeing at first hand the gains made in DRC -- a huge country in the heart of Africa, and the key to so much of the future stability of the region. While there, I will meet with peacekeepers and express my personal gratitude for the contributions they are making under difficult and often dangerous conditions.

I will also stress the UN policy on sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeeping personnel and others: zero tolerance means zero complacency and zero impunity. In the coming months, I will work with Member States to forge an ever stronger partnership to ensure that accountability is brought to bear -- among the perpetrators, and among their commanders and superiors.

Another priority will be to inject new momentum into the search for peace and stability in the Middle East. On my way to Africa, I will attend the Lebanon reconstruction conference in Paris. On Israel-Palestine, I am pushing for a Quartet meeting to take place as soon as possible.

In addition to those broad areas, there are a number of other major issues that cannot wait -- including the political and security challenges of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the work for a conclusion to the status of Kosovo. The same applies to strengthening the global disarmament and non-proliferation regimes, as well as addressing the special challenges posed by the cases of Iran and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.

These issues of peace and security are considerable. But they must not be allowed to overwhelm our efforts in other areas. We must step up our work to reach the Millennium Development Goals by the target date of 2015. And we must do far better in the mission to halt climate change. This, too, will be one of my priorities.

Finally, many of you have been asking about my views on the death penalty. Today, let me answer that question in person.

I believe that life is precious and must be protected and respected, and that all human beings have the right to live in dignity. International law affirms these values. I recognize the growing trend in international law and in national practice towards a phasing out of the death penalty. I encourage that trend. As Member States are taking their decisions, I expect they will comply with all aspects of international human rights law. As you know, I have also urged restraint by the Iraqi authorities in the execution of death sentences imposed by the Iraqi High Tribunal.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for letting me get that off my chest. Now I will try to answer your questions. Thank you very much.

[The full transcript of the questions and answers will be posted later today]

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM THE U.N. SYSTEM

WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME STAFFER KILLED IN SUDAN: The World Food Programme (WFP)

said today that it is deeply saddened and shocked by the killing of one of its employees during an ambush in southern

Sudan yesterday. The WFP employee, Emmanuel Chaku Joseph, was 28 years old and the first WFP staff member to have been murdered in Sudan in years. "WFP deplores the cold-blooded and senseless killing of a man who was working to help his country after many years of war," said WFP Executive Director, James Morris. "The thoughts and prayers of WFP staff are with Mr. Joseph's family at this time," he added.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES D.P.R. KOREA, NEPAL: The Security Council this morning held an open meeting to receive a briefing on the implementation of sanctions on the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea by the chairman of the Councils Sanctions Committee dealing with that country, Ambassador Peter Burian of Slovakia. Afterward, Council members began consultations on Nepal, to hear from the Secretary-Generals Personal Representative for that country, Ian Martin. Martin presented the Secretary-Generals report on Nepal, which recommended the establishment of a new UN Mission in that country that would help to monitor the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and facilitate elections for the Constituent Assembly.

RECONCILIATION POSSIBLE IN SOMALIA: The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, François Lonseny Fall, has welcomed the reported positive outcome of this weeks talks between Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf and his predecessors Abdikassim Salad Hassan and Ali Mahdi. After their meeting, President Yusuf said he and Abdikassim were in agreement that international and African peacekeepers should immediately deploy in replacement of Ethiopian troops now backing the Transitional Federal Government. Reiterating the UNs support for the transitional authorities, Special Representative Fall said that the continuation of such meetings would send the message to the Somali people that reconciliation is indeed possible in their country and that differences can be resolved peacefully.

UNITED NATIONS SUSPENDS TECHNICAL SUPPORT FOR BANGLADESH ELECTIONS: In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, the Spokeswoman said that the political crisis in Bangladesh has severely jeopardized the legitimacy of the electoral process. The announced cancellation of numerous international observation missions is regrettable, she said. The United Nations has had to suspend all technical support to the electoral process, including by closing its International Coordination Office for Election Observers in Dhaka. The United Nations is deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in the country, and urges all parties to refrain from the use of violence. It is hoped that the Army will continue to play a neutral role, and that those responsible for enforcing the law act with restraint and respect for human rights. The United Nations urges the non-party Caretaker Government and Election Commission to create a level playing field and ensure parties can have confidence in the electoral process. The United Nations is concerned that Bangladesh's democratic advances and international standing will be negatively affected if the current crisis continues. It urges all concerned to seek a compromise that will serve the interests of peace, democracy and the country's overall well-being.

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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