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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-05-23
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.comARCHIVES
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
BAN KI-MOON WILL ATTEND MIDDLE EAST QUARTET MEETING
Next Wednesday in Berlin, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be attending a meeting of the
Middle East Quartet.
The Quartet brings together the Secretary-General, along with the Foreign Minister of Russia, the Secretary of State of the United States, the External Relations Commissioner of the European Commission, the High Representative for Common Security and Foreign Policy of the European Union, as well as the representative of the rotating Presidency of the European Union in this case, the Foreign Minister of Germany.
The Secretary-General is expected to be back in the office in New York on Thursday.
SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS VIOLENCE IN LEBANON
[Following the briefing, Security Council President Zalmay Khalilzad of the United States read out a press statement expressing deep concern at the recent outbreak of violence in Lebanon.
Council members condemned in the strongest possible terms the attacks by the so called Fatah al Islam gunmen on Lebanese security and armed forces in Northern Lebanon, which constitute an unacceptable attack on Lebanons stability, security and sovereignty.
Members of the Council underlined the need to protect and give assistance to the civilian population, notably the Palestinian refugees. They also condemned the latest bomb attacks in Beirut.]
LEBANON: POTENTIAL PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY FEARED AT
PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMP
The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)
says the humanitarian situation inside the Nahr el-Bared camp in Northern Lebanon is serious.
UNRWA says there has been no running water or electricity inside the crowded camp since early Sunday. Many rooftop water tanks have been damaged in the crossfire. There are fears of a potential public health emergency unless access to water is secured and dead bodies and waste are removed.
Between 8,000 and 10,000 Palestinian refugees have fled the camp in the past 24 hours, UNRWA says. The agency is distributing food, water and emergency shelter kits to the displaced, many of whom are suffering from dehydration, diarrheoa and other stomach ailments.
REPORT ON IRANS NUCLEAR ACTIVITIES CIRCULATED
TO ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY BOARD
Director General Mohamed ElBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has
circulated his latest report to the upcoming meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors on the implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in Iran.
The report - submitted in parallel to the UN Security Council - covers developments since Dr. ElBaradei´s report of 22 February 2007.
The IAEA says the 35-member Board will consider the report at its next meeting, beginning in Vienna on 11 June.
SECURITY COUNCIL TAKES UP AFGHANISTAN, IRAQ AND TIMOR LESTE
The Security Council held three meetings this morning.
The first was a private meeting on Afghanistan, during which the Secretary-Generals Special Representative, Tom Koenigs, briefed Council members.
It then held an open meeting on Iraq, dealing with funds in the escrow account of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC).
After that, the Council issued a Presidential Statement on Timor-Leste.
U.N. INVOLVEMENT IN IRAQ LIMITED ONLY BY SECURITY CONSIDERATIONS
Asked about news reports that the United States is seeking greater UN involvement in
Iraq, the Spokeswoman recalled that, most recently in Sharm al-Sheik, Egypt, the United Nations co-chaired the Iraq Compact meeting and also took part in a security meeting between Iraq and its neighbors, at which a possible expanded role for the United Nations was discussed. The UN's current involvement, she explained, is limited only because of security considerations.
In response to a further question, Montas said that the Secretary-General was seriously considering ways to improve UN assistance to and cooperation with the Iraqi people.
INVESTIGATION IS UNDERWAY INTO ALLEGATIONS REGARDING U.N. PEACEKEEPERS IN DR CONGO
The Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) is currently conducting an investigation into allegations that in 2005-2006 a contingent of peacekeepers serving with the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) was involved in mineral resource exploitation and weapons trading in the town of Mongwalu, in the Ituri District of the Eastern DRC.
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative in the DRC, William Lacy Swing, requested an immediate OIOS investigation after an internal MONUC inquiry brought these allegations to light. That investigation began in early 2006.
OIOS says that the investigation is well advanced and is expected to be completed in about three weeks. Upon its completion, OIOS will transmit its findings to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the UN Mission in the DRC for action. As per normal procedures, once the OIOS report is released, Member States will be provided with the report upon request.
The Secretary-General looks forward to the early completion of the investigation. He will act upon its findings expeditiously and transparently. If wrongdoing is found to have occurred, he will hold those responsible accountable.
The Secretary-General calls upon any concerned Member States to do the same.
Asked if the investigation has been ongoing for the past 18 months because, as reported by the press, the OIOS was stifled in its ability to conduct it by decision-makers at the UN, the Spokeswoman said that a first draft of the OIOS report was produced in late March and is now going through the final stages of a rigorous quality-assurance process, as per usual OIOS practice.
In about three weeks, Montas said, the final report will be submitted to the leadership of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations for action. She explained that all OIOS reports are privileged and confidential documents and, as is customary, are distributed only to requesting Member States.
In order to complete the investigative report, Montas noted, "up to seven OIOS staff members operated in very difficult circumstances on what was a very complex investigation in an area where witnesses, for security reasons, have very limited transportation options." Their work in the field lasted up to six months, she noted, adding that security and other conditions were among the reasons why this investigation lasted this long.
DRUGS AND VIOLENT CRIME HINDER
DEVELOPMENT IN CENTRAL AMERICA
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) warns that violent crime and drug trafficking are posing a serious threat to economic development in Central America and plaguing the region as a whole.
In a report released today, UNODC highlights the need for greater international support for the region if development efforts are to have any long term impact.
UNODC chief Antonio Maria Costa says warning signs are evident that crimes and drugs are obstacles for Central America, but these problems are in no way inherent to the region and can be overcome.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER HEADS TO RWANDA
High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour is
heading today to Rwanda on the final leg of her 12-day mission to Africa's Great Lakes Region. That mission also took her to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi.
In Rwanda, Arbour will meet with President Paul Kagame, as well as representatives of human rights and other non-governmental organizations.
Her missions goal is to re-affirm the importance of protecting and promoting human rights in national reconciliation and reconstruction efforts.
SWAZILAND SUFFERS WORST MAIZE HARVEST ON RECORD
The Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Programme are calling for urgent assistance for Swaziland. The country had its worst maize harvest on record, following high temperatures and a prolonged dry spell.
Almost half a million people more than a third of the countrys population need food aid, the agencies say.
AGREEMENT REACHED ON SHARING BIRD FLU VIRUS SAMPLES
A last-minute agreement has been
reached at the World Health Assembly in Geneva for Member States to share samples of the bird flu virus.
A resolution adopted at the close of the Assembly asks the World Health Organization to establish an international stockpile of vaccines for this and other influenza viruses of pandemic potential.
The agency has also been asked to draw up guidelines to ensure fair distribution of such vaccines at affordable prices if a pandemic occurs.
GREECE-FYROM ENVOY NOT RESIGNING: Asked if Metthew Nimitz, the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Greece-Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia talks, would be resigning, Montas said to the best of her knowledge that he would not.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED OVER TURKEY BOMBING: In response to a question on the Secretary-General's reaction to yesterday's deadly bombing in Ankara, Turkey, the Spokeswoman said that Ban Ki-moon was very much concerned about this and other recent negative developments in the region as a whole and that he was discussing with regional leaders the best possible way to respond to the deterioration.
WESTERN SAHARA TALKS ONGOING: Asked if complaints raised by human rights groups about Morocco's reported extending the detention time and postponement of the trials of Western-Saharan activists were having any impact on the talks between Morocco and the Frente Polisario, the Spokeswoman said that the talks were proceeding and it was hard at this time to gauge how the situation was affecting the negotiations.
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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