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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-01-15
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, January 15, 2007
BAN KI-MOON HEADS TO WASHINGTON, D.C. TOMORROW
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be in Washington, D.C. tomorrow, where he will meet U.S. President George W. Bush at the White House.
He is scheduled to go to Capitol Hill, where he will have discussions Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning with leaders of both houses of the U.S. Congress -- Democrats as well as Republicans.
A public speech hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals previous meetings with President Bush, the Spokeswoman said this would be his first meeting with Bush in his capacity as Secretary-General, and added later that Ban Ki-moon had met Bush as Secretary-General-designate once last year. All other meetings were as Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea.
HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF REGRETS IRAQI EXECUTIONS
High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour expressed regret over the execution in Baghdad today of Awad Hamad Al-Bandar and Barzan Ibrahim Al-Hassan, who had been charged with crimes against civilians in Dujail, Iraq.
The High Commissioner reiterated her concerns about the fairness and impartiality of the Dujail trial before the Iraqi High Tribunal, and recalled that under international law, the application of capital punishment was only possible under narrow, strictly regulated circumstances.
Arbour also reiterated that she herself was opposed to capital punishment under all circumstances.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals views on the executions, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General had already spoken twice on this issue. He regrets that despite pleas from both himself and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to spare the lives of the two co-defendants, they were both executed.
SUDAN: U.N.S DARFUR ENVOY WRAPS UP FIRST OFFICIAL VISIT
The Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for Darfur, Jan Eliasson, has concluded his first official visit to
Last Friday, Eliasson visited Al Fasher, the capital of the State of North Darfur, where he met with local Government representatives as well as non-signatories of the Darfur Peace Agreement, namely from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army(SLM/A). His message to the parties was to commit to reduction of violence in order to create an environment conducive to a political settlement.
Meanwhile, the Tripartite Mechanism on the implementation of the UN support to the African Union Force in Darfur, which comprises representatives from AMIS, the UN Mission and the Government of National Unity of Sudan, held its fourth meeting over the weekend.
The UN Mission informed the group that a second group of 10 military staff officers will be deployed to Darfur to support the AU mission. This is in addition to the 17 UN military staff officers and 19 UN police advisers who are already in Darfur, as part of the so-called light support package.
Phase two of UN support to the AU force in Darfur will consist of a heavy support package, including additional staff and equipment. The United Nations and the African Union are in the process of finalizing the heavy support package and will jointly inform the Government of National Unity of Sudan on its details.
The UN Mission also reports that security situation in South Darfur continues to be volatile.
SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
The Security Council today held consultations on the Central African Republic. General Lamine Cissť, the head of the UN Peace-Building Office in that country, briefed Council members on the latest developments there.
On Friday afternoon, the Security Council failed to adopt a resolution on Myanmar, due to negative votes by two permanent members: Russia and China. The resolution received nine votes in favour, three against, with South Africa also voting against it, and three abstentions, from Indonesia, Qatar and the Republic of Congo.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals views on the Friday vote, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General regrets that there was no unity in the Security Council on Myanmar.
BAN KI-MOON CALLING FOR MIDDLE EAST QUARTET MEETING SOON
Asked about the planned tripartite meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General had been informed about that initiative by talking to Rice before her trip to the
She added that the Secretary-General still insists on the need for a meeting of the principals of the Middle East Quartet, probably in early February.
She noted, in response to a question, that the Secretary-General had tried to schedule such a meeting in Paris, but there had been scheduling problems, and arrangements were being sought to bring all the Quartet principals together as soon as possible.
BAN KI-MOON CONDEMNS VIOLENCE IN GEORGIAN-ABKHAZ CONFLICT ZONE
The Secretary-Generals latest report on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, is now available.
In it, he says that the focus of the Georgian and Abkhaz sides seems to have shifted towards enlisting more active external support, rather than addressing each others concerns and pursuing their political objectives through mutual accommodation.
The Secretary-General also says that recent acts of violence in the conflict zone are a cause for concern. He condemns them and urges the parties to work together in identifying and bringing to justice those responsible. He appeals to both sides to engage in dialogue.
AFGHANISTAN: U.N. ENVOY WELCOMES APPOINTMENT OF POLICE OFFICERS
Tom Koenigs, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Afghanistan, welcomed an Afghan Presidential decree confirming the appointment of 40 new police officials to the country's national force as a step towards stability.
Koenigs said, in a statement released in Kabul on Saturday, that all of the officials had been selected based on merit, integrity and experience. He expressed confidence that their skills, experience and commitment to public service will serve them well as they continue the work of cementing much needed peace and stability across Afghanistan.
SECRETARY-GENERAL DOES NOT NEED APPROVAL FOR INTERNAL APPOINTMENTS
In response to questions about the hiring of senior officials and UN restructuring, the Spokeswoman said that the General Assembly would have to approve restructuring and any changes in the budget, but would not approve nominations for internal posts. The Secretary-General does not need approval for internal appointments.
Asked whether there would be changes in the Secretary-Generals Special Representatives, the Spokeswoman said that all those posts would be reviewed, in line with the review of all Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General-level posts.
The Spokesperson later added that the policy for making public the shortlists of senior appointments had not changed. As had been the case in the past, for appointments of officials who required General Assembly approval, the United Nations would continue to make the shortlists public. Shortlists are not made public for internal appointments made solely under the Secretary-Generals authority.
BAN KI-MOON TO MEET WITH HIS DEPUTY TODAY
Asked about the arrival of the Deputy Secretary-General designate, Asha-Rose Migiro, the Spokeswoman confirmed that Migiro was in New York, where she would meet with the Secretary-General today.
She noted that Migiro would only take up her duties formally in early February and was expected to talk to the press then.
WOMENS COMMITTEE STARTS MEETINGS: The 37th session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women opened this morning at UN Headquarters. During this session, which will last until 2 February, the Committee will examine fifteen country reports.
GROWING NUMBER OF U.N. PEACEKEEPERS IN LEBANON: The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) says that the number of its peacekeepers has risen to 11,570, comprised of soldiers from 27 countries, 9,660 ground troops and 1,758 naval personnel. Peacekeepers also continued to deliver humanitarian assistance to the civilian population, with 213 instances of medical interventions and the controlled destruction of some 1400 explosive devices.
OUTER SPACE OFFICE CONSIDERS GEOSPATIAL DATA: The UN Office for Outer Space Affairs will be hosting an open session on 19 January on UN activities related to the use of geospatial data collected in outer space by Earth-orbiting satellites. The session will be taking place on the margin of the Inter-Agency Meeting on Outer Space Activities, which will open on Tuesday in Geneva.
PRESS OFFICE ROUNDS UP SECURITY COUNCILS WORK FOR 2006: The Department of Public Informations Meetings Coverage Section has just released a concise round-up of the work of the Security Council in 2006. Available in English and French, the round-up is a comprehensive yet compact, summary of the major peace and security issues that retained the Council's attention during the past year.
RECORD NUMBER OF COUNTRIES CONTRIBUTE AMOUNT TO UNFPA IN 2006: In 2006, 180 countries around the world contributed a total of $360 million to the regular resources of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. This was the highest number of donor nations and the largest amount of contributions to UNFPA since the organization began its operations in 1969.
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