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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-05-16

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

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

BAN KI-MOON: DEADLY FACTIONAL FIGHTING IN GAZA IS UNACCEPTABLE

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon s profoundly concerned at the escalation of violence in Gaza, and the growing number of casualties.

The deadly factional fighting has included unacceptable attacks on Palestinian Authority installations, institutions and personnel, and endangers civilians throughout Gaza. Equally unacceptable is the firing by Palestinian militants of rockets into Israel, targeting and injuring civilians.

The Secretary-General calls on all Palestinian factions to cease immediately all acts of violence. He calls on President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and the Palestinian Authority government to bring violence to an end and restore calm.

He underlines the obligations on all parties involved to act in strict accordance with international human rights and humanitarian law, and to ensure that humanitarian operations can continue without impediment.

BAN KI-MOON ANNOUNCES THREE SENIOR APPOINTMENTS

The Secretary-General has informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Mr. Michael C. Williams of the United Kingdom as his Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. He will also serve as the Secretary-Generals Envoy to the Quartet and succeeds Mr. Alvaro de Soto of Peru

Mr. Williams has also served as the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on the Situation in the Middle East and, prior to this, he was the Director for the Asia and the Pacific Division in the Department of Political Affairs.

The Secretary-General has also decided to appoint Mr. Haile Menkerios of Eritrea as his new Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, succeeding Mr. Tuliameni Kalomoh of Namibia. Mr. Menkerios is currently the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Secretary-Generals third appointment is Mr. Nicholas Haysom of South Africa as Director for Political Affairs in his Executive Office. Mr. Haysom succeeds Mr. Carlos Lopes of Guinea-Bissau. Mr. Haysom was the Legal Advisor to President Mandela until 1999 and has since been engaged in resolving internal conflicts and advising on constitutional reform in East and Central Africa, and South and South East Asia. He most recently served as head of the Office of Constitutional Support in the UNs Assistance Mission in Iraq

Asked about the level of Williamss appointment, the Spokeswoman said he would be at the Assistant Secretary-General level.

SOMALIA: U.N. ENVOY CONDEMNS ATTACK ON AFRICAN PEACEKEEPERS

The Special Representative of the Secretary General for Somalia, François Lonseny Fall, has strongly condemned the attack earlier today in Mogadishu which claimed the lives of 4 Ugandan troops from the African Union peacekeeping force and injured and several others.

On behalf of the United Nations, Fall extended his condolences to the African Union Mission and to the families of the fallen peacekeepers. He also reiterated his appreciation for the Missions courageous initiative to restore security and ease the suffering of the people of Somalia.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes also offered his condolences to the families of the African Union peacekeepers from Uganda, who died today in Mogadishu. He was speaking at a press conference in Kampala, Uganda, and said he was especially saddened since he had been personally protected by Ugandan peacekeepers during his recent visit to Somalia. He added that he had been impressed by their professionalism.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that Monday nights armed assault on the WHO Mogadishu office, in which one guard was wounded, was not aimed at the WHO or the UN presence in the Somali capital, says the health agencys country representative, Dr. Fouad Mojallid, adding that guards managed to prevent the gunmen from entering the premises.

WHO says that the Transitional Federal Government police commander suspects criminal gangs were behind the attack, as investigations did not reveal any political motives and there was gang activity in the area. The agency notes that the incident underscores how security in Mogadishu remains a serious problem, impeding many of the humanitarian agencies still present there from doing their normal work.

HUMANITARIAN CHIEF IS CONCERNED

BY UNDER-FUNDING OF UGANDA APPEAL

Today in Kampala, Emergency Relief Coordinator Holmes met with Ugandas Foreign Minister, donors and representatives of UN agencies and non-governmental organizations. Holmes expressed his concern that the humanitarian appeal for Uganda is still only half funded. He also noted that continued UN support for the Juba process is already paying off, with a better humanitarian situation in both Northern Uganda and South Sudan.

Holmes will return to New York tomorrow and is scheduled to brief the Security Council on his mission to Somalia and Uganda on Monday.

TIME FOR SECURITY COUNCIL TO TAKE NECESSARY ACTION

ON LEBANON TRIBUNAL

Following yesterdays luncheon with the members of the Security Council, the Secretary-General told reporters that he is of the view that, after having exhausted all diplomatic efforts by the United Nations, and having received an official request from the Prime Minister of Lebanon, he thinks it is time for the Security Council to take necessary action concerning the Special Tribunal to try the suspected killers of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

At the same time, he emphasized, The most desirable situation would have been for the Lebanese Government and people to agree on their national consensus. The Secretary-General expressed hope that the Lebanese parties would continue to try to take action on establishing the Special Tribunal.

The Secretary-General and his senior officials, notably including Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Nicolas Michel, have been in contact with leaders in Lebanon and the region to seek agreement on the tribunal. Mr. Michel recently informed the Security Council that, despite extensive consultations, there had been no progress among the Lebanese parties on reaching such an agreement.

Asked whether the Secretary-General had received a letter from President Emile Lahoud, the Spokeswoman said that the letter has been received, and is being studied by the Department for Political Affairs.

COTE DIVOIRE: BAN KI-MOON URGES PARTIES

TO FULLY IMPLEMENT PEACE AGREEMENT

Available today is the Secretary-Generals latest report on Cote dIvoire, in which he describes efforts undertaken by the Ivorian authorities to realize key provisions of the Ouagadougou Agreement.

The Secretary-General recommends that the UN adjust its role in Cote dIvoire to boost support for the peace process, including rationalizing and redistributing the UN military presence in light of the dismantling of the Zone of Confidence between the north and south of the country.

While congratulating the Ivorian parties for assuming full responsibility for resolving the crisis, the Secretary-General urges them to implement the peace agreement fully and in good faith.

WESTERN SAHARA MEETING TO TAKE PLACE NEXT MONTH

The Department of Political Affairs has announced a change in plans regarding the travels of Peter van Walsum, the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara. He had been scheduled to be visiting the region this week, making stops in Rabat, Tindouf, Algiers and Nouakchott.

Instead of the visit, it has been decided that efforts will now focus on planning for a meeting of the parties, hosted by the UN, to take place in the first half of June 2007. That is in order to respond to the Security Councils request for the setting up of negotiations under the auspices of the Secretary-General and for a report on those talks status and progress by 30 June.

Asked whether the United Nations had changed its policy on which parties would be invited to talks on Western Sahara, the Spokeswoman said there had been no change.

Asked about a venue for the June meeting, she said it had yet to be determined.

In response to a further question, she noted that van Walsum had contact with the parties and those contacts would continue.

TIMOR-LESTE: VIOLENCE JUSTIFIED AS POLITICAL ACT IS UNACCEPTABLE

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Timor-Leste Atul Khare, expressed concern over the resurgence of gang fighting and mob violence in capital Dili over the past 24 hours.

After visiting the area this morning where violence broke out, Khare said he has told all political leaders in Timor-Leste including President-elect, Jose Ramos-Horta, that violence justified as political act is unacceptable and that those who commit criminal acts will be treated as criminals by the police.

The fighting which occurred yesterday between two groups of some 100 people in Dili, continued until this morning. Malaysian, Portuguese along with UN police and the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) attended and quickly brought the situation under control. No one was injured and 17 people have been arrested.

Meanwhile, the Special Representative formally congratulated Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta on his victory in the countrys first presidential election and also congratulated the people of Timor-Leste on holding two peaceful presidential votes.

Khare said he is confident that the new president will energetically tackle the problems facing the country on behalf of all Timorese people and that the United Nations is looking forward to working with him and all Timorese citizens to assist in emerging and exciting times.

President-elect Ramos-Horta will be sworn in as the countrys second president at a ceremony in the capital on Sunday.

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON BOSNIA

The Security Council held a formal meeting on Bosnia and Herzegovina, on which it heard a briefing by Christian Schwarz-Schilling, the High Representative for the implementation of that countrys peace agreement.

Nikola Spiric, the Chairman of Bosnias Council of Ministers, was also among the speakers addressing the meeting.

NO DATE SET FOR POSSIBLE CLIMATE CHANGE EVENT

To clarify what she said yesterday about a climate change event, the Spokesperson said it is the Secretary-General's intention to hold an informal, high-level event, if Member States are ready to participate and consider that it would help to advance the multilateral response to climate change.

The Special Envoys are consulting with Governments on these points and on the nature of the event and will make an initial report to the Secretary-General by the end of May. She said she still could not confirm any date at this point.

Asked about the nature of the informal meeting, the Spokeswoman said it was expected to be a high-level event, adding that envoys are contacting governments to determine their level of involvement at the meeting.

SPOKESWOMAN CORRECTS ALLEGATION ABOUT KOREAN STAFF MEMBER

The Spokeswoman corrected a correspondent who asked yesterday about a UN professional from the Republic of Korea who is working for the Office for Internal Oversight Services (OIOS). She said that the reporter, without verifying the facts, had incorrectly stated that the staff member had been assigned to the Executive Office of the Secretary-General.

This is flatly wrong, the Spokeswoman said. Daeyoung Park, who was mentioned by the correspondent, is employed in OIOS and will go on sabbatical in mid-July in order to pursue an advanced degree in Public Administration. He never had any plans to apply for a position in the Executive Office, she said.

Asked when an organigram of the Executive Office would be issued, Montas said that would happen once the appointments to that office had been completed.

DIAMOND SMUGGLING ALLEGATIONS BEING EXAMINED

Asked about allegations that UN Development Programme (UNDP) vehicles in Zimbabwe had been used for diamond smuggling, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations was aware of the allegations, and is following up on the issue.

She said that Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Larry Johnson had received a letter informing him of the allegations, and the allegations are now being examined, initially by UNDP.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. MISSION IN SUDAN NOTES MOVEMENTS OF DISPLACED PERSONS: The near-verbatim transcript of the weekly press briefing by the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), which took place in Khartoum earlier today, covers a wide-range of developments ranging from: the return of internally displaced persons from Khartoum to southern Sudan; the rise in newly displaced persons in Darfur as well as the inflow of Chadian refugees into West Darfur; and an account of incidents affecting the UNs humanitarian operations in Darfur.

YELLOW FEVER INITIATIVE IS LAUNCHED: A Yellow Fever Initiative

launched today at the World Health Assembly in Geneva will support immunization drives in 12 West African countries that are at high risk of an epidemic of the disease. The Initiative is supported by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and several other international organizations.

CEREAL PRODUCTION TO SET A RECORD: World cereal production will likely set a record this year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Its tentative forecast released today estimates an increase of nearly 5 percent over last year. It adds, however, that total supplies will be barely enough to meet increased demand, which has been boosted by fast growth in the biofuels industry. International prices for most cereals have risen significantly and are expected to remain high, FAO says.

ITALY DONATES TO UN EMERGENCY RESPONSE FUND: The Government of Italy has announced a pledge of $1.3 million for the UNs Central Emergency Response Fund, bringing the total number of Member States contributing to the Fund to 71. The Fund seeks to save lives by providing quick initial funding for life-saving assistance and rapid response in sudden onset, rapidly deteriorating and underfunded emergencies. It has provided more than $400 million in grants since its inception in 2005.

U.N. FLAG FLIES AT HALF-MAST FOR SAMOAN LEADER: The UN Flag is flying at half-mast today in observance of the official mourning for the Head of State of Samoa, His Highness Mr. Malietoa Tanumafili II. As usual, no other flags are flying today.

  • **The guest at the noon briefing today was Alicia Bárcena Ibarra, Under-Secretary-General for Management.

    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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