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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-10-08
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
Monday, October 8, 2007
ENVOYS PREPARING FOR DARFUR PEACE TALKS IN LIBYA
Over the weekend, a UN humanitarian assessment team went to Haskanita in
Darfur, and reported that the town, which is currently under the control
of the Government, was completely burned down, except for a few buildings. The
market area had been looted. Few civilians had returned in search of food and
water. The civilian population had reportedly fled to neighboring areas of
Haskanita when the first attack on the African Union peacekeepers took place
on 29 September."
The United Nations and African Union Special Envoys for
Darfur, Jan Eliasson and Salim Ahmed Salim, are finalizing preparations
for the upcoming political negotiations scheduled to start in Libya later this
month. Today they are in Addis Ababa, where they are meeting with the Joint
Mediation Support Team.
Jan Eliasson is scheduled to proceed to Khartoum tomorrow to meet with
Government officials, regional countries, and members of civil society -- the
concerned stakeholders on Libya negotiations.
Over the weekend, he met in Khartoum with Sudans Foreign Affairs
Minister, Lam Akol, and briefed him on the preparations for the negotiations.
Looking ahead, Jan Eliasson is scheduled to be in New York two weeks from
now and will brief the Security Council prior to the onset of the
Asked whether Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is planning to travel to
Sudan, the Spokeswoman said that he is not planning to go there at this point.
She said that currently, the process with troop contributing countries was
moving ahead, while political meetings among the Darfur parties were scheduled
to take place. The Secretary-General would intercede when he feels that his
intervention is needed.
MYANMAR: NO AUTHORITIES ENTERED U.N. PREMISES
The Spokeswoman responded to questions about a media report that said that
UN offices in Yangon had been raided by asserting that, contrary to the
report, no authorities entered any UN premises, and no written request to do
so or to present any permits have been received by the UN offices in Yangon.
She said that security forces, accompanied by representatives of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, came to the Traders Hotel, which houses several
UN offices and other international agencies, as well as businesses. Montas
noted that UNDP and the Resident Coordinator are not located in that hotel.
She added that a United Nations official asked the authorities for the
purpose of the visits. They responded verbally that they were there to see the
permits issued to the United Nations to use satellite equipment. However, this
was never pursued by any letter nor any request, which would be the
appropriate channel to deal with the issue.
She could not confirm reports that UN staff in Myanmar had tried to delete
information from their computers.
Asked whether Special Advisor Ibrahim Gambari should move up his next
visit to Myanmar, the Spokeswoman said that, if an earlier visit would move
matters in Myanmar forward, then the Secretary-General would support it. The
timing of a visit, Montas said, was being assessed by Gambari.
U.N. MISSION IN GEORGIA CONTRIBUTES TO SECURITY
report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, is
available today. In it, he notes that despite relative calm in recent months,
the deadly clash that occurred on 20 September is the most serious incident
involving the Georgian and Abkhaz sides in many years.
He noted that the incident took place outside the area of responsibility
of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) and the Commonwealth of
Independent States (CIS) peacekeeping force. He recommended that areas
between the zone of conflict and the Kodori Valley be put under international
monitoring, with the deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles and artillery
Noting that UNOMIGs presence continues to contribute to security in the
conflict zone, he recommended that its mandate be extended for six months.
SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON D.P.R.K. SANCTIONS
The Security Council this morning held consultations on the work of its
operating under resolution 1718, which concerns the Democratic Peoples
Republic of Korea.
The chair of the sanctions committee, Ambassador Marcello Spatafora of
Italy, briefed the Council on the implementation of the sanctions, which
include an arms embargo, as well as an assets freeze and travel ban on certain
Last Friday afternoon, the Security Council, in a
Statement, condemned the 3 October attack in Baghdad against the Polish
Ambassador to Iraq, which resulted in the wounding of the Ambassador and the
killing of two other people. The Council called on the international community
to support the Government of Iraq in exercising its responsibility in
providing protection to the diplomatic community in Iraq, United Nations staff
and other foreign civilian personnel working in Iraq.
BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES WORLD COURTS JUDGMENT
IN CENTRAL AMERICAN LAND DISPUTE
The International Court of Justice (ICJ)
has delivered its
judgment in the territorial and maritime dispute between Nicaragua and
Honduras in the Caribbean Sea. In the judgment, which is final, binding and
without appeal, the Court found unanimously that Honduras has sovereignty over
Bobel Cay, Savanna Cay, Port Royal Cay and South Cay.
A majority of ICJ judges also voted to delineate the starting point of the
single maritime boundary that divides the territorial sea, continental shelf
and exclusive economic zones of Nicaragua and Honduras.
Another majority of judges ordered that the parties negotiate in good
faith with a view to agreeing on the course of the delimitation of their 1906
land boundary and their maritime boundary determined this morning by the
judgment and expresses trust that the Parties will implement it in full. This
important judgment illustrates the essential role of the International Court
of Justice in peacefully resolving international disputes.
U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY HELPS AFGHAN REFUGEES RETURN HOME
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
says that more than 16,000 Afghans returned to their home country from
Pakistan last month, and it adds that the pace of returns is slowing down as
Right now, UNHCR says there are about 200 people returning to Afghanistan
from Pakistan a day, down from a peak of 12,000 people crossing the border
daily during April. So far this year, UNHCR has assisted more than 353,000
Afghans in returning to their homes nearly 350,000 of them from Pakistan and
more than 5,000 from Iran.
SOME ASIAN COUNTRIES LAGGING BEHIND AFRICA & LATIN AMERICA
While the Asia-Pacific region as a whole is moving ahead on reaching many
of the Millennium Development
Goals, some individual countries are still lagging behind.
That is the conclusion of a
released today by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the
Pacific, the Asian Development Bank, and the UN Development Programme.
The report finds uneven progress between and within countries, with some
areas falling behind sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America in reducing extreme
poverty, providing universal education and achieving gender parity.
It says the regions greatest challenges are child mortality,
malnutrition, maternal health, and the provision of safe drinking water and
GLOBALIZATION AIDS QUICK SPREAD OF ANIMAL DISEASES
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today
confirmed the recent arrival of the bluetongue virus in the United
Kingdom, which indicates again that animal diseases are advancing rapidly due
to globalization, movement of people and goods, tourism and climate change.
According to FAO, the virus, which is spread by insects, does not affect
humans. Nevertheless, the agency is urging countries to invest more in
surveillance, control measures and veterinary services.
Bluetongue was first discovered in South Africa but has spread to many
countries. It had crossed the Mediterranean by the end of the 1990s. Since
PEACE-BUILDING COMMISSION OFFICIAL HEADS TO SIERRA LEONE
Dutch Ambassador Frank Majoor, in his capacity as Chair of the
Sierra Leone configuration, is headed to Sierra Leone today to meet with
newly-elected President Ernest Bai Koroma and members of his cabinet.
Ambassador Majoor will also have meetings with members of Parliament and civil
society and with the UN Country Team.
The visit is expected to advance development of a peacebuilding
cooperation framework with the Sierra Leone Government. It will also
highlight efforts in areas including good governance, justice and security
sector reform, and youth employment.
Ambassador Majoor will brief members of the Peacebuilding Commission when
he returns to New York on 15 October.
PAKISTANI LIEUTENANT GENERAL APPOINTED AS MILITARY ADVISER
The Secretary-General has appointed Lieutenant General Ahmad
Shuja Pasha of Pakistan as the new Military Adviser, Department of
General Pasha succeeds acting-Military Adviser General Per
Arne Five of Norway.
For the last two years, General Pasha has served as the
Director General of Military Operations at the Pakistani Army Central
Headquarters, in overall command of all army operations inside Pakistans borders as well as all peacekeeping deployments.
CROATIA LETTERS NOT PUBLIC YET: Asked about a letter sent by the President of the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Fausto Pocar, the Spokeswoman said that Pocars office confirmed this morning that the President sent a letter on Friday to both the President of the Security Council and the President of the General Assembly. The ICTY Presidents letter relates to an earlier letter sent by the Government of Croatia about the Courts recent ruling in the case of the so-called Vukovar Three, Montas said. Both letters are expected to be issued as official documents, and until that is done, she said she would have no further comment.
HANDBOOK HELPS EXPLAIN DISABILITIES TREATY: The UNs Department of Economic and Social Affairs and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights -- together with the Inter-Parliamentary Union -- today
launched a handbook on the newly adopted Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The handbook aims to raise awareness of the new legal instrument among parliamentarians. It will also give legislators the tools to facilitate the treatys ratification and subsequent implementation.
SINGAPORE REJOINS UNESCO: Singapore has rejoined the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) after 22 years of absence. Singapore is now UNESCOs 193rd Member State and will participate in the 34th session of UNESCOs General Conference, which starts in Paris next week.
TRIBUNAL FOR EX-YUGOSLAVIA RAN SEVEN TRIALS SIMULTANEOUSLY: Available today is the progress report of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. In it, Tribunal officials say, among other things, that for the first time in the Tribunals history the three Trial Chambers ran seven trials simultaneously, three of which involved 18 accused persons. The reports also provides the latest on the Office of the Prosecutor's efforts to secure the arrests of remaining fugitives.
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