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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-05-15

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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 15, 2007

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE,

REQUESTS PULLOUT TIMETABLE FOR DR CONGO MISSION

The Security Council has adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) until the end of this year.

The members of the Security Council will also hold their monthly luncheon with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

BAN KI-MOON IS ALARMED BY REPORTS OF ILLEGAL ARMS

TRAFFICKING IN LEBANON

The Secretary-Generals latest report to the Security Council on the implementation of resolution 1559, which concerns Lebanon, is out on the racks today. In it, he says that the enduring standoff in Lebanon demonstrates that the country is in need of a comprehensive and consensual political framework, as manifested in the Taif agreement.

The report notes that the Secretary-General has been provided with detailed information related to an extensive number of illegal crossing points between Syria and Lebanon, saying that it underlines the necessity of a full delineation of the Syrian-Lebanese border and of improvements in monitoring that border.

The Secretary-General voices great concern at the allegations coming from various sides and parties about illegal arms trafficking and the possible arming of a variety of Lebanese and non-Lebanese groups, and he says that a return to Lebanons darkest days must not happen.

Yesterday, Security Council members also received copies of a letter by Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora to the Secretary-General, concerning the establishment of a Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals reaction to a letter by Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, the Spokeswoman said that the letter had yet to be formally received.

She added, in response to a question, was concerned about the possibilities of further instability in Lebanon.

Asked whether the Secretary-General would travel to Lebanon, Montas said she had no information on any plans to visit.

CONDITIONS WORSEN FOR REFUGEES AT SYRIAN BORDER CAMP

The Iraq office of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is organizing a three-day conference this week in Amman, Jordan, that will establish a vision for the water sector in Iraq.

The principal aim of the conference is to spotlight the major challenges to the water sector in Iraq and propose a course of action that includes identifying a long term strategy, as well as sound policies for water resource management. We have a press release from UNDP with more details.

Meanwhile, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says it is highly concerned about living conditions for hundreds of Palestinians stuck at the Al Waleed refugee camp, close to Iraqs border with Syria.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals concerns regarding the Palestinian refugees, the Spokeswoman said he viewed it as a great concern and had discussed it with the leaders he met in the Middle East.

HUMANITARIAN CHIEF TOURS NORTHERN UGANDA

Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes today arrived in Kitgum District in Northern Uganda, where he visited a new settlement site for people who had been displaced by conflict.

Tonight, he is scheduled to visit a camp for internally displaced persons, where he will meet with aid workers, ex-combatants, elders, women and children who had previously been abducted, and community leaders.

In his meetings with local authorities earlier today, Holmes noted that, while the security situation has improved, the problems are not yet over. He stressed that the international community needs to continue its support to the recovery process.

Before traveling to Kitgum, Holmes met with the Prime Minister of Uganda, Professor Apollo Nsibambin, as well as the Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Professor Tarsisi Kabwegyere.

WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME WILL REPAIR ROADS

TO REACH CENTRAL AFRICANS DISPLACED BY CONFLICT

The World Food Programme today urged the international community to redouble its efforts in support of the agencys recently upscaled life-saving operation in the Central African Republic.

WFPs country director says that the current infrastructure cannot cope with the scale of its new operation so WFP is going to have to do the job themselves. The job includes necessary repairs to roads and bridges which are crumbling in decay.

RELIEF AGENCIES GAIN FULL ACCESS TO MONITOR

SRI LANKA REPATRIATION DRIVE

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that it is involved in the return of tens of thousands of displaced civilians to an area in eastern Sri Lanka that until recently was under rebel control.

UNHCR is monitoring the returns and will report directly to the Government on any problems regarding the moves voluntary nature. And starting tomorrow, UN agencies will be given full access to the area, to provide support to the returnees.

UNHCR is looking at possible reintegration packages and is calling on the international community to help with assistance. It is also asking the Sri Lankan Government to speed up its rehabilitation plan for the areas of return. We have more on that upstairs.

MORE FUNDS NEEDED FOR CYCLONE-HIT MADAGASCAR

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is doubling the appeal that it had launched for cyclone-hit Madagascar two months ago.

According to OCHA, the food security situation in Madagascar has deteriorated, especially in light of the drought that had preceded the storms.

Nearly $20 million is urgently needed before the next cyclone season, OCHA says.

A DIGNIFIED FAMILY LIFE CAN EMPOWER THE DISABLED,

BAN KI-MOON SAYS ON FAMILY DAY

Today is the International Day of Families. The theme this year is Families and Persons with Disabilities.

In a message to mark the occasion, the Secretary-General says that society has a responsibility to empower and enrich the lives of the persons with disabilities in their households.

In his message, the Secretary-General says Let us dedicate ourselves to enabling the family, the most basic unit of society, to fulfill its role in ensuring that persons with disabilities enjoy full human rights and dignity, and flourish as individuals.

WOMEN AND PEOPLE IN AFRICA HAVE SPECIAL HEALTH NEEDS

Addressing the World Health Assembly, which is gathering in Geneva, the World Health Organizations Executive Director, Doctor Margaret Chan, today

called on global health leaders to build a health legacy for women and the people of Africa.

She said that women need special attention because of their role as care-givers and agents of change, who can lift households and communities out of poverty. She added that Africa bore the overwhelming burden of disease and must not be left behind by development.

STAFFING OF EXECUTIVE OFFICE IS ON-GOING

In response to a question on the Secretary General's Executive office, the Spokeswoman later added that the staffing of the Secretary-General's Executive Office is on-going.

While most positions are no longer vacant, a number of senior positions are still in the process of being filled. When he announced the vacancies, Secretary-General said they were going to be filled through an open and competitive process in effort to encourage mobility. While that process may take more time it ensures that posts in the Secretary-General's office are open to a wide pool of UN staff members.

Once the team is put together, the full list will be released publicly. In res;ponse to another question, she denied that some meetings of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General are conducted in Korean.

The Spokeswoman, in response to a question, denied that some policy meetings of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General are conducted in Korean.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON CLIMATE CHANGE IN SEPTEMBER: In response to a question, the Spokeswoman confirmed that there would be a high-level side event on climate change held at the United Nations in September.

ONLY MEMBER STATES PICK SEAT HOLDERS AT RIGHTS COUNCIL: Asked whether the Secretary-General believes that Belarus should have a seat on the Human Rights Council, the Spokeswoman said that was a matter for the General Assembly to decide.

UNITED NATIONS UPHOLDS ONE CHINA POLICY: Asked whether Taiwan should become a member of the World Health Organization, the Spokeswoman said that was a matter for WHO to consider, and noted the 1971 General Assembly resolution concerning the one China policy.

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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