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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-01-31

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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

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

BAN KI-MOON LEAVES AFRICA, EN ROUTE TO EUROPE

The Secretary-General is flying from Nairobi to Amsterdam on his way to The Hague, the last leg of his first visit in office to Africa and Europe.

The Secretary-General met this morning with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki. They discussed the partnership between the United Nations and Kenya, Sudan, the Great Lakes region and the situation faced by Somali refugees.

After that, he went to UN headquarters in Nairobi and addressed a closed meeting of the Staff Management Consultative Committee, which brings together representatives of about 38,000 staff from all duty stations. He also spoke to a packed Town Hall meeting with hundreds of UN staff in Nairobi.

The Secretary-General is expected to arrive late Wednesday night and will begin his programme in The Hague on Thursday morning.

While there, he will visit the International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court and International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and hell also meet with the Dutch Prime Minister.

SECURITY COUNCIL DEBATES POST-CONFLICT PEACEBUILDING

The Security Council is today holding an open debate on post-conflict peacebuilding. Among the forty speakers is Carolyn McAskie, the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support.

In remarks made earlier this morning, McAskie said that, in the long run, peacebuilding must not be another layer of work for Governments or the UN or donors on the ground. Instead, it should help ensure that we can most effectively respond to the immediate needs of a post-conflict society and keep the peace process on a sustainable track.

In related news, today is the last day of the Russian Federations Presidency of the Security Council. Tomorrow, Slovakia will assume that role.

Meanwhile, available today are two letters from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council, re-appointing experts to the Monitoring Team dealing with the sanctions on al-Qaeda and the Taliban and to the Experts Panel dealing with Liberia sanctions.

SPECIAL ENVOY CALLS FOR REGIONAL COOPERATION ON IRAQ

Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, called on Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, to discuss recent developments in Iraq and the role of neighbouring countries in supporting efforts to reduce violence and promote stability.

His meeting was part of a regional tour to hear the views of governments in the region.

Qazi

expressed the need for greater regional cooperation in supporting the Iraqi governments reconciliation initiatives.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO CONSULT MEMBER STATES ON U.N. RESTRUCTURING

Asked about the Secretary-Generals plans to deal with Member States on the restructuring of the United Nations, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General would consult with the general membership on Monday, to provide an opportunity to listen to what the Member States have to say.

She said that the discussions about restructuring have been going on for some time, with give and take on both sides.

In response to questions, she added that UN restructuring would take place prior to the announcement of new appointments to senior positions.

Asked about the expiration of contracts among senior officials, Montas noted that most of the contracts expire in February, and the Secretary-General would make decisions on the contracts as they develop.

The Spokeswoman said that, following a request that went to 58 Under-Secretaries-General and Assistant Secretaries-General to submit their resignations voluntarily, about 20 Under-Secretaries-General had tendered their resignations. Later, she added that the number of resignations tendered by Assistant Secretaries-General was not yet available.

Asked about the response to those officials who had not submitted their resignations, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General would move ahead with needed changes, noting that most contracts expired in February in any case.

MEETING ON CLIMATE CHANGE TAKING PLACE IN PARIS

Asked about pressure for the United Nations to have a conference on climate change, the Spokeswoman said that officials, including Yvo de Boer, head of the Framework Convention on Climate Change, had discussed the matter with the Secretary-General. However, she said, there was no decision taken yet on holding a summit.

Montas noted the important climate change conference taking place in Paris right now, among other steps forward in dealing with the issue.

KOSOVO STATUS PROPOSAL TO BE GIVEN TO PARTIES ON 2 FEB

Asked about the process by which the final status proposals on Kosovo will be presented, the Spokeswoman said that Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari was aware that a portion of the proposal for a Kosovo Status Settlement had been published in the press.

As has been indicated, Ahtisaari intends to provide the parties with the Kosovo Status Settlement proposal on 2 February.

The Special Envoy will engage the parties during the month of February for more discussions and consultations before finalizing the proposal and sending it to the Secretary-General.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES REGIONAL APPROACH ON U.S.-IRAN TENSION: Asked about tensions between the United States and Iran, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General had stressed a regional approach to the issue and was in touch with a number of Member States on the issue. She noted later, in response to further questions, that the Secretary-General had met with the Iranian Foreign Minister on Tuesday in Addis Ababa.

BAN KI-MOONS FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE FORM MADE PUBLIC: Asked about the Secretary-Generals financial disclosure, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary Generals disclosure form provides information on his assets over $10,000; which includes an apartment and two land lots. In addition, the Secretary General has declared holding two bank accounts valued in the range of $50,000-100,000; and his wife holds a bank account in the range of $10,000-50,000.

BALLOONS OVER LEBANON NOT HARMFUL: Asked about a reported overflight of balloons over Lebanon, the Spokeswoman said that the UN Interim Force in Lebanon had not found the balloons to be harmful.

SECURITY COUNCIL DETERMINES U.N. ROLE IN SOMALIA: Asked about peacekeeping forces in Somalia, the Spokeswoman noted that, for the coming six months, this is an issue for the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority for Development. Beyond that, it would be up to the Security Council to determine any UN role.

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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