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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-10-16
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
WELCOMES HUMANITARIAN GESTURES
BY ISRAEL AND HEZBOLLAH
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
exchange of humanitarian gestures by Israel and Hezbollah mediated by his
He sincerely hopes that this move will create the
necessary dynamics on both sides to comply with the central humanitarian
Security Council resolution 1701.
The Secretary-General calls again on all sides concerned
to move ahead decisively in releasing the two abducted Israeli soldiers
without any further delay and to find the necessary solutions for the
remaining Lebanese citizens that are still in Israeli detention. No effort
should be spared to comply urgently with the basic humanitarian demands of
compassion with the victims.
Asked whether the
Secretary-General is also asking for the release of Palestinian prisoners by
Israel, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General has raised that issue
in the past.
U.N. ENVOY IN MALAYSIA FOR DISCUSSIONS
Ibrahim Gambari, the Special
Advisor of the Secretary-General, met today in Kuala Lumpur with the Foreign
Minister of Malaysia, Syed Hamid Albar. They discussed the UN's efforts in
Myanmar and the region's support in this regard.
Gambari told journalists
afterwards that he will deliver a special message from the Secretary-General
to the Malaysian Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, when they meet on
Wednesday. He said that the message would concern the support that the United
Nations needs from ASEAN and neighbouring countries to address the crisis in
Myanmar, and the longer-term issues of peace, stability, democratization and
human rights in the country.
Gambari traveled to Kuala
Lumpur from Bangkok this morning. After meeting the Prime Minister tomorrow,
he will go to Jakarta. The regional tour will also take him to New Delhi,
Tokyo and Beijing.
Asked why Myanmar was not
included as a stop on Gambaris current itinerary, the Spokeswoman said that
he is not scheduled to visit that country during this trip. He still intends
to visit Myanmar as soon as possible, she said.
Asked whether Gambari was
conveying a message to ASEAN, the Spokeswoman said he was conveying messages
from the Secretary-General to the leaders he is meeting.
U.N. TRIBUNAL FINDS FORMER BOSNIAN
COMMANDER NOT GUILTY
This morning in The Hague, the Appeals Chamber of the
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
acquittal of Sefer Halilović, a former Deputy Commander of the Army of
He was found not guilty in November 2005 of charges
pressed against him for alleged command responsibility in murders committed by
troops from Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Jablanica and Prozor areas of
Herzegovina in September 1993.
And yesterday, the Tribunals Chief Prosecutor, Carla del
Ponte, addressed the General Affairs and External Relations Council of the
European Union. Assessing Serbia's cooperation with her Office, the prosecutor
said that although Serbia has disclosed some required documents and archives,
the overall cooperation does not appear to match Serbias stated political
Del Ponte also criticized Serbias efforts to secure the
arrest and extradition of Ratko Mladić, Radovan Karadić, Goran Hadić and
DR CONGO: DISSIDENT TROOPS SHOULD REJOIN
WITHOUT DELAY OR CONDITIONS
A joint statement was adopted yesterday in Goma, in the
eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC),
at the conclusion of a key meeting on the situation in North Kivu.
Attending the meeting were Congolese President Joseph
Kabila; the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the DRC,
William Lacy Swing; the UN Force Commander there, General Boubacar Gueye; and
the Ambassadors of Belgium, France, South Africa, the United States, and the
Swing read the joint statement, in which the parties
noted that the meeting had also focused on the planned roundtable on security
sector reform, disarmament and on the question of the armed Forces
Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), whose fighters were urged to
return home to Rwanda immediately.
The parties at the meeting also reaffirmed their full
support for the Congolese Government. They appealed to all dissident troops to
rejoin the Congolese Army without delay and without conditions. Expressing
concern over the humanitarian situation in North Kivu, they called on all
belligerents to ensure total and unrestricted humanitarian access to the
Meanwhile, the UNs humanitarian branch reports that
although the situation in Masisi and Rutshuru districts has been calm in
recent days, clashes continue to be reported south of Rutshuru. The fighting
pits the Congolese Army against dissident soldiers led by General Laurent
The World Food Programme and Caritas distributed aid
yesterday to some 3,500 displaced families while UNICEF set up a therapeutic
nutritional centre near Masisi, and the UN Population Fund is probing 38 cases
of sexual violence in internally displaced persons camps near Goma.
SUDAN: PARTIES SHOULD SETTLE PENDING
ISSUES THROUGH DIRECT TALKS
The Acting Special Representative of the
Secretary-General for Sudan,
Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, met today with Sudans State Minister for Foreign
Affairs, Ali Karti. Zerihoun was briefed on the reaction of the National
Congress Party (NCP) on the decision of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement
(SPLM) to freeze participation of its Ministers and Advisors in the Government
of National Unity.
Zerihoun recommended that the two parties settle pending
issues through direct discussions and consultations. He was encouraged by the
assurances given by the two parties that they will pursue high-level
consultations on these matters.
He brought to his interlocutors attention the recent
statement issued by the Secretary-General on Sudan in which he called on
the parties to urgently take the necessary steps to address the outstanding
issues related to the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and
expressed the readiness of the United Nations to assist them to accelerate
progress on these matters.
Asked about the contract
awarded to Pacific Architect Engineers, Inc. in Darfur for a period of
six months in support of the African Union-United Nations peacekeeping
operation, the Spokeswoman said that there had been
a transparent process in that case. She reiterated that there had been an
exigency in this case, and the company had shown its experience at building
camps in Sudan, and its ability to do so quickly.
She noted that, after the
Security Councils decision on the hybrid operation, the decision was taken to
use the company that was deemed best able to do the task and perform it most
U.N. AGENCIES ASSIST FLOOD SURVIVORS IN
UGANDA & HAITI
For the first time in Uganda, the World Food Programme
has launched a
food airdrop operation as part of its massive effort to reach tens of
thousands of flood survivors.
For its part, the International Telecommunication Union
25 satellite terminals to Uganda, to help restore vital communication links
that had been destroyed by the floods.
Meanwhile, regarding the floods in Haiti, UNICEF has
distributed hygiene kits, jerry cans and water purification tablets to
survivors. It has also been working to set up schools and health clinics in
U.N. AGENCY NEEDS FUNDS TO HELP REFUGEES
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) says it is
in urgent need of funding for two vital operations aimed at helping refugees
Earlier this year, UNHCR appealed for more than $3
million to help connect Sahrawi refugees living in the Tindouf camps in
Algeria with their relatives in Western Sahara through family visits,
telephone services and other measures. The appeal remains half funded, and
family visits may have to be suspended by next month, UNHCR says
Meanwhile, the agency also launched a $7 million appeal
in August to fund the voluntary repatriation of 24,000 Mauritanian refugees,
mainly from Mali and Senegal. Because less than 10 percent of that amount has
been received, the project which was supposed to start this month may now
face serious delays.
RISING RATES OF HUNGRY PEOPLE
Food Day. This years theme is The Right to Food.
In a message to mark the Day, the Secretary-General noted
that the number of people suffering from chronic hunger stands at 854 million
and continues to rise. In a world of plenty, this situation is
unacceptable, he said.
Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the Food and
Agriculture Organization, speaking at a ceremony in Rome, said that a right
is not a right if it cannot be claimed.
under-nutrition is still linked to nearly half of all deaths of children under
the age of five. Executive Director Ann Veneman stressed the difference that
simple solutions, such as early and exclusive breastfeeding and the timely
introduction of nutrient-fortified foods, can make.
U.N. SENDS MISSION TO TOKELAU TO OBSERVE
The United Nations is sending a five-member team to
Tokelau, a Non-Self-Governing Territory administered by New Zealand, to
observe a referendum on self-government there.
The referendum will take place from 20 to 24 October.
The first referendum to determine Tokelaus future status
took place in February 2006, when 60 percent of Tokelauan voters supported the
option for self-government in free association with New Zealand. However,
that percentage was not sufficient to meet the two-thirds majority required.
INTERNAL JUSTICE SYSTEM SHOULD PROCEED
Asked about the
status of Assistant Secretary-General Andrew Toh, the Spokeswoman said that
Toh's disciplinary case is still within the UN's own internal justice system.
It is very important for the integrity of this process that it be allowed to
proceed without interference, she emphasized.
reports that Toh was considering a suit against former Under-Secretary-General
for Management Christopher Burnham, the Spokeswoman declined to comment on
hypothetical questions, and she noted that no judicial proceedings have been
general UN rules considering such cases, Montas said that applicable
privileges and immunities of UN staff members, past and present, are regulated
by international treaties. The procedure for the consideration of requests for
waivers of immunity is well established within the United Nations.
Asked about Tohs comments to
the press, the Spokeswoman noted that there is no gag rule in this case, and
Toh was free to speak in his personal capacity.
BAN KI-MOON ATTENDS SECURITY COUNCIL LUNCHEON: The
Secretary-General is having his monthly luncheon with the members of the
Security Council today.
SMALL OZONE HOLE NOT A SIGN OF RECOVERY: The World
Meteorological Organization (WMO)
has said that even though the ozone hole above Antarctica is relatively small,
this should not be taken as a sign of ozone recovery. The small hole in the
ozone layer is due to the fact that the Antarctic atmosphere had been relatively
mild during the winter this year.
FLAG AT HALF-MAST FOR MYANMAR LEADER: The UN flag at
Headquarters is flying at half-mast today to mark the death of the Prime Minister of Myanmar. The UN flag is also flying at half-mast in Geneva and the UNs office in Myanmar.
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