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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-05-07

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

Monday, May 7, 2007

SECRETARY-GENERAL: AGREEMENT BETWEEN CHAD AND SUDAN IS A POSITIVE STEP

The Secretary-General welcomes the bilateral agreement between Chad and Sudan signed in Riyadh on 3 May 2007 by Presidents Idriss Déby and Omar al-Bashir, under the auspices of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia. The agreement is a positive step towards normalizing the relations between Chad and Sudan, which is a very important factor in resolving the tragic conflicts in both Darfur and Eastern Chad. It is now crucial for the parties to honour their agreements and, in close collaboration with the United Nations and the African Union, to work together to achieve lasting peace and stability.

The Secretary-General warmly welcomes the efforts of the King of Saudi Arabia to facilitate the conclusion of this agreement, and commends his constructive role in addressing the overall situation in the region.

BAN KI-MOON DISTURBED OVER DEADLY VIOLENCE IN GAZA

The Secretary-General is deeply disturbed over the violent incident on Sunday outside a UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) school in the Gaza Strip, in which one person was killed and eight injured, including two UNRWA schoolchildren. This is the latest of a series of intra-Palestinian clashes that have claimed innocent and unarmed victims. He calls on the Palestinian National Unity Government to exercise its responsibility to ensure law and order, including the protection of humanitarian organizations such as UNRWA that deliver vital services to the people of Gaza.

The Secretary-General also calls on the Palestinian Authority to take all actions needed to halt immediately the firing of rockets against Israeli population centres, which by definition target civilians.

Asked about the security implications for the United Nations of the shootings in Gaza, the Spokeswoman noted that the incident in Gaza on Sunday took place outside the school compound, not inside, and was not directed at UNRWA.

SECRETARY-GENERAL THANKS DEPARTING MIDDLE EAST SPECIAL COORDINATOR

As Alvaro de Soto concludes his service to the United Nations today after 25 years of dedicated work for the Organization, the Secretary-General wishes to express his profound gratitude for Mr. de Sotos outstanding service.

During a distinguished career both at UN Headquarters and in the field, the diplomatic talents of Under-Secretary-General Alvaro de Soto were in high demand around the world, from El Salvador to Myanmar, Cyprus to Western Sahara, and most recently in the search for peace in the

Middle East.

Of particular note was the decisive mark that Mr. de Soto made in the Central American peace process. The agreements he helped to broker in El Salvador not only brought a better future to the people of that country, but also became a model for UN peacemaking efforts elsewhere. Mr. de Sotos contributions to the development of UN practices in conflict mediation and resolution will be a lasting part of his legacy to the United Nations.

The Secretary-General joins UN staff in wishing him the very best in his future endeavors.

Asked who would succeed de Soto, the Spokeswoman said a successor had not been announced. She added that the UN Special Coordinators office would be led by an officer-in-charge until an appointment was made.

BAN KI-MOON SADDENED BY DEATH OF PEACEKEEPERS IN SINAI AIR CRASH

The Secretary-General was saddened to learn of the deaths of the eight French and one Canadian members of the Multinational Force and Observers serving in the Sinai in an airplane crash on Sunday.

He expresses his sincere condolences to the bereaved families and to the governments of the victims of the accident.

U.N. AGENCIES PROVIDING RELIEF TO AFGHAN FAMILIES

UN agencies have been working with the local authorities in Afghanistan to provide relief assistance to some 900 families who have been displaced by the recent fighting in the province of Herat.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has provided food to the area, while UNICEF, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Afghan Red Crescent Society are providing tents, lanterns, sheets, blankets and soup, among other assistance.

The UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) sent a team to the area last week to examine concerns about the possible disproportionate use of force there, and has so far received about 50 credible reports of deaths.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ADDRESS UNICEF MEETING ON INTERNATIONAL SANITATION

This afternoon, the Secretary-General will address UNICEFs first preparatory meeting for the International Year of Sanitation 2008. He is expected to say that, regarding the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), sanitation stands out as one of the critical areas where we are falling way behind. He is also expected to say that the fact that two out of every five people lack access to basic sanitation services is simply unacceptable.

Also participating in todays all-day meeting at UNICEF House is Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, who serves as Chairman of the Secretary Generals Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation.

CLIMATE CHANGE ENVOYS TO MEET WITH SECRETARY-GENERAL

The Secretary-Generals three new climate change envoys Gro Harlem Brundtland, Han Seung-soo, and Ricardo Lagos Escobar will be at UN Headquarters Tuesday to meet with the Secretary-General.

There will be a photo opportunity on the 38th floor. Then, sometime in the afternoon, the envoys will be available to speak to the media, most likely in Room 226.

Asked whether the Secretary-General shared the optimism of the recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Spokeswoman said that he had not proposed specific remedies. But she noted his continuing engagement on climate change issues, as seen in his appointment of the three climate change envoys.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO CONTRATULATE SARKOZY UPON INAUGURATION: Asked about the electoral victory by Nicolas Sarkozy in France, the Spokeswoman recalled that the Secretary-General, according to traditional practice, congratulates the incoming head of state upon inauguration.

ALLEGATIONS AGAINST PEACEKEEPERS BEING INVESTIGATED: Asked about a report in the Sydney Morning Herald about the alleged use of brothels by UN peacekeepers, the Spokeswoman said that the charges are being investigated. If they are true, she said, the Secretary-General has a zero-tolerance policy towards all such behaviour.

DPRK AUDIT REPORT EXPECTED SOON: Asked whether the Board of Auditors looking into the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea was sending in its final report, the Spokeswoman said that it would soon send a report to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions.

HEAD OF COUNTER-TERRORISM EXECUTIVE DIRECTORATE HAS RESIGNED: Asked whether the Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, Javier Ruperez, had resigned, the Spokeswoman confirmed that he had resigned last Friday, and that he wanted to pursue other projects.

  • **The guest at todays noon briefing today was Mr. Ibrahim Gambari, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on the International Compact with Iraq, who briefed on the launch of the Compact last week in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and the follow-up to that launch.

    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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