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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-10-01
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BANK KI-MOON
Monday, October 1, 2007
CONDEMNS ATTACK ON PEACEKEEPERS IN DARFUR
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a
issued Sunday, condemns in the strongest possible terms the recent attack
on African Union peacekeepers in Haskanita, South Darfur, and calls for the
perpetrators to be held fully accountable for this outrageous act.
The African Union (AU) reports that 10 personnel from the
AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) have been killed, several more have been wounded
and many more are missing following the shocking and brutal assault on the
The Secretary-General offered his condolences to the
families of those killed.
He called on all parties to immediately end the violence
and recommit as a matter of the highest priority to a peaceful resolution to
the conflict as the Government and rebel movements prepare for peace talks in
Libya on 27 October and as the African Union and United Nations prepare to
deploy a joint peace operation in Darfur.
Regarding further details of the attack, the UN Mission
in Sudan (UNMIS) reports that the AMIS Group Site in Haskanita came under
heavy attack by armed elements on 29 September at 7:30 p.m.and again on 30
September at 4:00 a.m.
Joint AU-UN Special Representative Rodolphe Adada is in
Haskinita, where an investigation into the attack is underway.
The AU and UN Special Envoys to Darfur, Salim Ahmed Salim
and Jan Eliasson, expressed shock and dismay at the attack and urged all
parties to the conflict to demonstrate a serious commitment to the peace
process and to halt hostilities.
The UN Mission in Sudan also deplored the fact that the
vicious attack on AMIS was carried out at a time when the international
community, including the African Union, is exerting maximum effort to resume
peace talks Darfur in Libya on 27 October and to deploy the UN-AU Mission in
Darfur (UNAMID) to help put an end to the Darfur conflict. UNMIS urged all
concerned to assist in identifying the perpetrators so they could be held
accountable without delay.
The Chairman of the Ceasefire Commission, and UNAMID
Force Commander designate General Martin Luther Agwai said that it was
regrettable that such actions are taking place weeks before the convening of
the Tripoli Peace Talks. Despite the casualties and loss of life, we will
persevere in our efforts to keep the fragile peace on the ground while all
eyes are set on the negotiation table to ensure the peace is a lasting and
sustainable one, Agwai said.
Asked about the casualties
from the attack, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations had received
information from the African Union that 10 peacekeepers had died, and six to
eight had been wounded, with six of them being taken to a hospital in
Khartoum. AMIS also reported that some personnel were missing, although some
had been found since the weekend.
Asked about the effect the
attack would have on the deployment of an AU-UN hybrid force, the Spokeswoman
said that, as General Agwai had noted, the events of the past weekend
confirmed that the hybrid operation must be sufficiently robust to defend
itself from spoilers and to protect civilians. The African Union and the
United Nations are working with a range of troop contributing countries so
that the troops who make up UNAMID have the capabilities required to do so.
The United Nations, she said,
was working to make sure that the hybrid operation would have the capacity to
do that, and was also working to ensure that the AU Mission is sufficiently
The United Nations, she added
in response to a further question about its response to the attack, was
working closely with the African Union, which is carrying out an investigation.
also offered to help transport casualties.
In response to further questions, she said no UN personnel had witnessed the incident
and that the AMIS investigation is ongoing.
Okabe added, in response to
questions about details of the attack, that it took place in a small team site
of fewer than 100 people, in a remote outpost that was not a fortified
SUDAN: U.N. MISSION CITES INCREASING ATTACKS ON RELIEF WORKERS
Acting Special Representative of the Secretarial-General Tayé-Brook Zerihoun met yesterday with the so-called Elders delegation, headed by South African Nobel peace prize laureate Desmond Tutu, and including ex-US president Jimmy Carter, former UN Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, and Graca Machel, former wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela.
Meanwhile, UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) reports there were attacks on a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and on humanitarian convoys in South Darfur.
The past month has witnessed violence in virtually every Darfur locality that is hosting IDPs. And attacks against the relief community increased 150% from June 2006 to June 2007, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Since the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement in May 2006, more than half a million civilians have been displaced, of which nearly 250,000 people have been displaced in 2007. In July and August alone, violence forced approximately 55,000 civilians from their homes.
BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES UPCOMING INTER-KOREAN SUMMIT
The Secretary-General welcomes the upcoming Summit between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, scheduled to take place in Pyongyang from 2-4 October 2007. He wishes the two leaders success in using this historic occasion to lay a solid foundation for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
The Secretary-General hopes the summit will lead to increased inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation, as well as promoting co-prosperity. He further hopes that it will contribute to the progress of the six-party talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and advance security cooperation in Northeast Asia. The United Nations stands ready to provide assistance as may be required.
In that context, the Secretary-General on Sunday evening telephoned President Roh Moo-hyun of the Republic of Korea, and conveyed his best wishes on the eve of the historic Summit. The Secretary-General also expressed hopes that the two leaders would use this occasion to increase reconciliation and strengthen cooperation between the Koreas.
The Secretary-General is scheduled this afternoon to meet with the Permanent Representative of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea to convey a similar message as delivered to the President of the Republic of Korea.
U.N. ENVOY LOOKS FORWARD TO MEETING SENIOR GENERAL THAN SHWE
The Secretary-General's Special Advisor, Ibrahim Gambari, arrived in Myanmar on Saturday afternoon, and then spent that evening in the new capital, Naypitaw.
Gambari was received on Sunday by the Acting Prime Minister, Lieutenant-General Thein Sein, along with the Cabinet Ministers for Information and Culture and the Deputy Foreign Minister. He conveyed a message from the Secretary-General.
In Yangon, later Sunday afternoon, Mr. Gambari met for over an hour with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. He also consulted with the United Nations Country Team and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Gambari remains in Myanmar today. He looks forward to meeting Senior General Than Shwe, Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council, before the conclusion of his mission.
The Secretary-General spoke today with his special adviser, Ibrahim Gambari, to express full support for his continuing mission to Myanmar.
Okabe added later that, in his phone call to Gambari, the Secretary-General asked his Envoy to call on the Myanmar authorities to cease the repression of peaceful protest, release detainees and to move more credibly and inclusively in the direction of democratic reform, human rights and national reconciliation.
Asked further about what Gambari might ask of Than Shwe, the Spokeswoman said that such details would wait until after a meeting has taken place. She later added that Gambari has been told by authorities that he will be able to meet Than Shwe on Tuesday.
She said that Gambari was still in Myanmar this evening. She declined to say how long the Envoy would be in the country. He is accompanied by a desk officer.
Asked whether the goals of Gambaris mission had changed following the decrease in protests, the Spokeswoman said it had not, adding that in his statements, the Secretary-General had made clear that his good offices are intended to assist in the efforts to promote national reconciliation, restore of democracy and ensure the full respect for human rights in Myanmar.
Okabe added that over the past week, the topic of Myanmar had come up in the Secretary-Generals meetings with leaders on the margins of the plenary session of the General Assembly.
Asked about the views expressed by the special human rights rapporteur for Myanmar, the Spokeswoman said that the rapporteur was an independent expert who expressed his own views.
GHANA ASSUMES SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY
Ghana has replaced France as the Security Council President for the month of October, and Ambassador Leslie Kojo Christian of Ghana, the new Council President, is holding bilateral consultations with other Council members on the programme of work for the month.
This afternoon, the Council is scheduled to hold consultations at 3:00 p.m. to hear from Under-Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guéhenno on the attacks on the African Union Mission in Sudan.
The Council is expected to hold consultations tomorrow on the programme of work.
GUINEA-BISSAU STILL FACING ENORMOUS CHALLENGES
The Secretary-Generals latest report on Guinea-Bissau is now available. In it, he says progress has been made over the past few months, especially in the areas of public finance and cooperation with international financial institutions.
However, at the same time, Guinea-Bissau continues to face enormous challenges, including political partisanship, simmering social discontent and the alarming threat posed by drug trafficking and organized crime. Unless those issues are urgently addressed, the important achievements made towards consolidating democracy in the country could be jeopardized, the report adds.
UNITED NATIONS MARKS INTERNATIONAL DAY OF OLDER PERSONS
Today is the International Day of Older Persons. In a message to mark the occasion, the Secretary-General says that finding ways to provide economic support for a growing number of older persons is a daunting task -- particularly in developing countries. At the same time, however, because of considerably extended life expectancies in nearly all parts of the world, older persons now have many more opportunities to keep contributing to society beyond any set retirement age.
In honor of the day, the World Health Organization has
released the first guide for urban planners on how to make cities more age-friendly. And the UN Population Fund has entered into a new enhanced partnership with the global network, HelpAge International. The two bodies will encourage Governments to enact anti-discriminatory laws relating to older people.
SECOND WEEK OF TREATY EVENT STARTS AT U.N. HEADQUARTERS
Gabon and India have become the sixth and seventh State Party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities this morning.
The Disabilities Convention, which was adopted in December 2006, sets forth a number of general obligations to respect the rights of persons with disabilities and obliges the parties to take all appropriate measures to modify or abolish discriminatory laws and practices.
It requires only 20 parties for the Convention to enter into force. With Cambodia's signature of the Convention this morning, there are now 116 signatories to the Convention. Maldives will become the 117th signatory tomorrow.
U.N. ENVOY CONDEMNS AFGHANISTAN BUS ATTACK: Tom Koenigs, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Afghanistan, over the weekend
condemned the bus attack that took place in Kabul on Saturday morning. He said, An attack of this kind, on a busy city street, clearly aims at terrorizing large numbers of people. Those responsible, he added, must be made to know that they will not prevail.
BAN KI-MOON CONCERNED BY HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN GAZA: Asked about reports that Palestinians are dying because of the closure of the crossing points in Gaza, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General had repeatedly drawn attention to the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
SOMALI POLICE OFFICERS TRAINED BY U.N.-SUPPORTED PROGRAM: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) says that some 600 police recruits graduated last week in a UNDP-supported training programme. UNDP says that this is part of its wider strategy for Somalias police, an effort expected to help strengthen the rule of law and boost security in that country.
U.N. REMINDS WORLD OF SOUTH ASIA FLOOD SURVIVORS: The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and several humanitarian organizations are
appealing to the world not to forget the millions of flood survivors in South Asia. OCHA notes that flooding in recent few weeks in India and Bangladesh has submerged vast areas that were just beginning to recover from earlier floods. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, the waters have receded, but more than 40,000 people remain in crowded camps and temporary shelters.
DEMOCRACY PARTNERSHIP LAUNCHED AT UNITED NATIONS: UN Development Programme Administrator Kemal Dervis and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Secretary-General Angel Gurria today chaired the launch of the Partnership for Democratic Governance today at UN Headquarters. Also speaking were Minister Alejandro Foxley of Chile, Organization of American States Secretary-General José Miguel Insulza, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Deputy Minister In-kook Park from Korea and Under Secretary Andrzej Sadoś of Poland.
U.N. AGENCIES DISTRIBUTE FOOD AND SEEDS TO MOST VULNERABLE IN BURUNDI: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has distributed seeds to nearly 5,000 vulnerable families in Burundi. The World Food Programme has also distributed more than one thousand tons of food to more than 200,000 people, including vulnerable families identified for seed protection rations -- where there is a risk of people eating or selling their seeds rather than planting them.
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