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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-05-01

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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 SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N.

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

BAN KI-MOON APPOINTS SPECIAL ENVOYS ON CLIMATE CHANGE

As part of his efforts to address the major global challenges posed by climate change, the Secretary-General this morning announced the appointment of three Special Envoys on Climate Change.

They are Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former Prime Minister of Norway and former Chair of the World Commission of Environment and Development; Han Seung-soo, the former Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea, who also served as president of the General Assembly five years ago; and former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos Escobar, who currently is president of the Foundation for Democracy and Development, which he created.

The three envoys will meet with heads of Government and other key actors in climate change negotiations to solicit their views. The Secretary-General says he looks forward to working with these three highly respected international figures on a matter which is of highest importance to the future of the planet.

Asked what work the envoys would do, the Spokeswoman said that they would discuss the way forward on climate change issues. She added later that they would solicit the views of Heads of State and Government which play a leading role in the climate change negotiations. She noted the meetings that would take place later this year on climate change, including the conference in Bali, and, most probably, an informal high-level event in New York in September. Montas stressed the envoys important credentials as international figures, with years of experience in diplomacy. The Special envoys will be an asset to the Secretary General's efforts on climate change as they try to build global support in key countries.

UNITED STATES ASSUMES SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY FOR MAY

The United States today replaces the United Kingdom as the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of May. US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is holding bilateral consultations with other Council members on the Councils programme of work for this month.

The Council is expected to hold consultations tomorrow to approve the programme of work for May.

Asked about the activities of Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Nicolas Michel concerning Lebanon, the Spokeswoman said that Michel would meet with the Security Council to discuss Lebanon, possibly as early as Wednesday. She said he had agreed to speak to the press after he meets with the Council.

TOP UN HUMANITARIAN OFFICIAL IN SUDAN CONDEMNS

ABDUCTION OF REFUGEE STAFF IN DARFUR

UN Humanitarian Coordinator Manuel Aranda da Silva strongly condemns the temporary abduction of six staff members of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the hijacking of the refugee agencys vehicles by unknown armed men in West Darfur.

Six UNHCR staff members in a two-vehicle convoy, clearly marked with the UN refugee agencys logo, were attacked yesterday morning while they were on their way for a routine visit to a refugee camp, located approximately 80 km west-south-west of El Geneina.

The attackers drove away with the UNHCR staff members and dropped them off later. After several hours of search carried out by the UN with the assistance of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) and the Government authorities, the staff members were located near Saraf Omra, which is located East of Geneina, near the border between West Darfur and North Darfur state, where they were brought by truck by the local population. None of the staff members was hurt.

UNHCR ASSISTS SYRIAS RESPONSE TO IRAQI REFUGEE CRISIS

UNHCR has signed an agreement with the Syrian government to provide the country's Ministry of Health with $2.06 million for the rehabilitation of public hospitals in Damascus, capacity building for medical staff and the provision of new medical equipment.

The agreement the fourth between UNHCR and the Syrian Government, Ms. Pagonis pointed out was part of UNHCR's commitment to support Syria's response to the Iraqi refugee crisis.

The Syrian government estimates that 1.4 million Iraqis have taken refuge in Syria in the last three years.

POSTPONEMENT OF NEPALESE ELECTIONS NOT A DISASTER

Ian Martin, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Nepal, gave a press conference today in Kathmandu, saying that, although the United Nations would have been delighted if it had proved possible to hold elections before this years monsoon, postponement should not be viewed as a disaster.

He expressed his hope that a new date will soon be decided upon by the Interim Government, in consultation with the Election Commission, and that the time available will then be used to address the several critical issues that pose risks to the peace process.

Martin said that the postponement of the Constituent Assembly election may prolong the period during which Maoist army personnel remain in cantonment sites. This makes it urgent, he added, to improve cantonment conditions, which have repeatedly proved to be unsatisfactory for current weather conditions, and certainly cannot withstand the fast-approaching monsoon.

AFGHANISTAN COMPACT ON TRACK TO MEET BENCHMARKS

The Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board bringing together the UN Mission in Afghanistan and the Afghan Government met today to examine progress in implementation of the Afghanistan Compact. Overall, the Compact was found to be on track with momentum on both early and longer-term benchmarks.

Tom Koenigs, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Afghanistan and co-chair of the Board, said, In healthcare, in education, in community projects, in microfinance, in government revenue collection, in the modernization of the Afghan National Armyin each of these areas and many others we are moving forward.

The Board also highlighted further work that needs to be done to implement the Compact.

UNITED NATIONS WELCOMES IMPLEMENTATION

OF COTE DIVOIRES PEACE DEAL

With the integration of former rebels into the National Army now well underway, the UN Operation in Cote dIvoire has welcomed the willingness of the parties to fully implement the Ouagadougou Agreement.

Yesterday in western town of Bangolo, the UN Deputy Force Commander, General Mouahamadou Kandji, and Police Commissioner Cristian Gérardo Chaumont, attended the installation of two new mixed brigades in a bid to stress the UNs commitment to support the gradual dismantling of the Zone of Confidence, one of the key provisions of the Ouagadougou Agreement.

And yesterdays event comes in the heels of the April 16 official launching by President Laurent Gbagbo of the abolition of the Zone of Confidence and last Fridays inauguration of the Integrated Command Center in the capital Yamoussoukro.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SPOKESWOMAN REGRETS BROADCAST ERROR AT POLISARIO PRESS ENCOUNTER: The Spokeswoman, in response to complaints, apologized for an error yesterday when the Department of Public Information cut off a TV feed as Ahmed Bukhari of the Frente Polisario was addressing the press. DPI said what happened was a mistake, and theyre sorry for it, she said. Apparently, there was confusion about the identity of the speaker. When Mr. Ahmed Bukhari approached the mike, staff didn't recognize him and were unable to identify him. And the judgment was made that the TV feed should be cut short. Asked whether DPI took the action on recommendation from someone in the Department of Political Affairs, Montas said that no order had come from that Department. She said that the person who recommended cutting the feed had not been identified, but clearly was not authorized to make that recommendation. The majority of Bukharis press encounter is available online at UN webcast, Montas added. Asked whether there was any policy not to allow Bukhari to speak, the Spokeswoman said that was not the case, and she affirmed his right to speak at the press stakeout.

SEVENTY-THREE MEMBER STATES HAVE SETTLED BUDGET DUES: As of the end of April, a total of 73 countries have paid in full their assessments to the UN regular budget for 2007.

WATCHDOG TO BRIEF REPORTERS ON WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY: At 11 a.m. tomorrow, there will be a press conference by Robert Mahoney, Deputy Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Joel Campagna, the Committees Senior Middle East Program Coordinator, who will brief you on a new report released to mark World Press Freedom Day, which is on Thursday, 3rd May.

  • ** The guest today at the noon briefing was the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, who briefed on the results of the International Conference on Displacement of Iraqis and his recent mission to Sudan.

    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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