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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-10-16

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

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

BAN KI-MOON

WELCOMES HUMANITARIAN GESTURES

BY ISRAEL AND HEZBOLLAH

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

welcomes the

exchange of humanitarian gestures by Israel and Hezbollah mediated by his

facilitator.

He sincerely hopes that this move will create the

necessary dynamics on both sides to comply with the central humanitarian

demands of

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

ON MYANMAR

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

affirmed the

acquittal of Sefer Halilovi&#263;, a former Deputy Commander of the Army of

Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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

commitment.

Del Ponte also criticized Serbias efforts to secure the

arrest and extradition of Ratko Mladi&#263;, Radovan Karadi&#263;, Goran Hadi&#263; and

Stojan upljanin.

DR CONGO: DISSIDENT TROOPS SHOULD REJOIN

ARMY

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

United Kingdom.

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

civilian population.

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

Nkunda.

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

quickly.

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

has deployed

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

hard-hit districts.

U.N. AGENCY NEEDS FUNDS TO HELP REFUGEES

IN AFRICA

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

in Africa.

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

UNACCEPTABLE

Today is

World

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.

UNICEF

notes that

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

REFERENDUM

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

WITHOUT INTERFERENCE

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.

Asked about

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

instituted.

Asked about

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.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

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.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055

to the Spokesperson's Page


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