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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-01-25

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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 FARHAN HAQ

ASSOCIATE

SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, January 25, 2007

BAN KI-MOON URGES DONORS TO SUPPORT LEBANON

The Secretary-General in Paris today spoke at the international donor conference on reconstruction in Lebanon, and he urged the international community to respond favourably and generously to the package presented by the Lebanese Government.

He said that rarely has the United Nations witnessed such a quick transition from the emergency phase to development work.

The Secretary-General also called on Lebanons neighbours to fully respect its unity, independence and sovereignty. He also urged all parties and communities within Lebanon to engage in meaningful dialogue, and to avoid any recourse to violence and intimidation.

In the morning, the Secretary-General met with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who briefed him on the situation in the country and conveyed his appreciation of the UNs involvement in Lebanon.

The Secretary-General reaffirmed the UNs long-standing commitment to Lebanon, and they discussed the political and economic situation and the implementation of

resolution 1701.

The Secretary-General also held bilateral meetings with a number of foreign ministers, including those from Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. He was also scheduled to meet with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. A short while ago, he participated in a joint press conference.

Earlier in the morning, the Secretary-General met with his Special Envoy for the Future Status Process for Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari, who discussed his plans for presenting his proposal on Kosovos status in the coming weeks.

U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF HIGHLIGHTS HEIGHTENED LEVELS OF INSTABILITY & SUFFERING IN MIDDLE EAST

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari told the Security Council in an open briefing this morning that the past month has seen heightened levels of instability and suffering in the Middle East, combined with a renewed sense of international urgency to find a political way ahead.

He said that both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert have been working hard to try to ease tensions and move towards a resumption of political dialogue.

Meanwhile, efforts by Egypt are continuing for the release of Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit, but they have yet to yield results.

On Lebanon, Gambari said that a tense calm returned to Beirut yesterday following the decision by the opposition to suspend its strike.

However, he warned, the events that took place in the country on Tuesday showed how easily political tensions can spill over into violence, and the United Nations remains in contact with all parties, encouraging an early return to dialogue.

Gambari told the Council that it is clear that none of us can afford another year like 2006. He said that the Secretary-General views next weeks Quartet meeting as an important opportunity to chart a way forward to re-energize the peace process.

The Council has followed its open meeting with closed consultations, also on the Middle East.

MORE CLASHES OCCUR IN LEBANON

The office of the Secretary-Generals Personal Representative for Lebanon reports that, over the past few hours, there have been a number of clashes happening in Beirut and south of Beirut.

These included reports of clashes between students at Beirut Arab University.

The army immediately deployed there, but there are reports of deaths, the Personal Representatives office says.

U.N. ENVOY TO VISIT SUDAN

Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UNs Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, will be visiting Sudan from tomorrow until 1 February, upon the invitation of the Sudanese Government. She will be accompanied by Rima Salah, UNICEFs Deputy Executive Director.

Coomaraswamys objective is to get a firsthand look at the situation on the ground, in order to see how she and all stakeholders can ensure greater protection for children affected by the conflict.

In addition to Khartoum, shell visit Darfur and southern Sudan.

U.N. HELPS FLOOD SURVIVORS IN BURUNDI & PERU

The UN has carried out an assessment mission in Peru, following recent flooding there. In one flood-hit province, the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) is working to provide chlorine kits and water reservoirs.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is also concerned about recent floods in western Burundi.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is trying to help flood survivors there with food aid, but says that it does not have enough food to help all those in need.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

UNDP EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETS IN NEW YORK: The UN Development Programmes Executive Board met today at UN Headquarters. Asked if external audits on the UN Development Programme would extend to a recent programme in New York concerning Srebrenica, the Spokesman said that it was up to the External Board of Auditors to decide on what projects they would take up. Their initial focus would be on the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea. After that, they would look at a number of other cases that dealt with such topics as the hiring of local staff.

SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS YET TO COMMENT ON KASHMIR: Asked about comments that had been attributed to the Secretary-General on Kashmir, the Spokesman said that, during his time as Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon had not made any comments about Kashmir.

NUMBER OF UNEMPLOYED REMAINS HIGH: The International Labour Organization (ILO) today released its annual report on global employment trends. According to the report, the number of people unemployed worldwide remained at a historic high in 2006 despite strong global economic growth.

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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