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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-02-13

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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

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

BAN KI-MOON TRAVELS TOMORROW TO WASHINGTON, D.C.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to be in Washington, D.C. tomorrow and Friday.

Tomorrow morning he will attend the memorial ceremony at the U.S. Capitol for Congressman Tom Lantos.

Later in the day, the Secretary-General plans to meet with representatives of UN agencies in Washington, D.C., and address the North American International Model UN, organized by Georgetown University.

He also plans to meet tomorrow with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

His meeting with President Bush is scheduled for Friday, where they will discuss, among other subjects: climate change, the Millennium Development Goals, human rights, counterterrorism, and important regional issues such as Darfur, Kenya, the Middle East, Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET TOMORROW ON KOSOVO

The Security Council held consultations this morning on sanctions on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other matters.

Among items under other matters, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet briefed on Chad.

Meanwhile, yesterday evening, the Security Council adopted a Presidential Statement on children and armed conflict. The Council called for full implementation of its monitoring and reporting mechanism on children and armed conflict, and invited its Working Group dealing with the subject to continue proposing effective recommendations for the Councils consideration and implementation.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals reaction to reported plans by Kosovo to declare independence, the Spokesperson said the Security Council was dealing with Kosovo and the Security Council President had announced that they would have a meeting on that topic tomorrow afternoon. The Secretary-General had not expressed his views on the matter, but was following the situation and would react to events on the ground as they happened.

UP TO TWO MILLION SOMALIS ARE IN DIRE NEED OF HUMANITARIAN AID

There are now up to 2 million vulnerable people in Somalia, who remain in need of humanitarian assistance. That is according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Whats also worrying is the exodus from Mogadishu. In the last six months, the number of people fleeing the capital to the poorest and worst off areas of Somalia have doubled to more than 700,000.

Troubling to the humanitarian community is also the constrained movement of aid workers.

Roadblocks, taxation, banditry, etc. not only hinder the movement and transport of assistance items, predominantly food, but are also responsible for the increase in the number of affected and vulnerable populations in need of assistance.

So far, the violence in neighbouring Kenya has had a minimal impact on humanitarian operations in Somalia, says OCHA.

ASSESSMENT OF ARMED ATTACKS IN SOUTHERN SUDAN IS UNDERWAY

In response to a question at the noon briefing yesterday about reports of fighting in southern Sudan, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) says a series of armed attacks have taken place across three counties in Central Equatoria since mid-January by an unidentified armed group, which members of the affected population claimed to be the Lords Resistance Army (LRA).

All attacks have been characterized by violence, looting and abductions. Some of those abducted were released subsequently. There is no confirmed number of people killed, injured or abducted.

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and UNICEF and other agencies have committed to distribute basic supplies and the World Food Programme has undertaken to supply food to the affected populations as soon as they have a clear picture of the security situation in the area. An assessment is still ongoing.

Also on southern Sudan, the UN refugee agency has launched an appeal for $63 million to fund its 2008 operations in Southern Sudan, including organizing the voluntary return and reintegration of 80,000 Sudanese refugees now in neighbouring countries.

HUMANITARIAN CHIEF TO VISIT

OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY AND ISRAEL

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, John Holmes, is scheduled to arrive in Jerusalem tomorrow, Thursday, to begin his first official UN visit to the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel.

During the five-day trip, Holmes will make field visits to Gaza, the West Bank and Sderot to assess the humanitarian situation in those areas. He will also meet with senior officials and representatives of the UN and aid agencies, as well as members of the donor and diplomatic community.

Asked if Holmes would meet with Hamas leaders in Gaza, the Spokesperson later responded that Holmes will not have any meetings with Hamas officials during his mission. However, the United Nations regularly has technical-level contact with Hamas on the implementation of humanitarian programmes and for security, she added.

Also on Gaza, Montas said that the Secretary-General had spoken by phone today with Quartet Envoy Tony Blair. Blair briefed the Secretary-General on his recent travel to the Middle East, and the two discussed the situation in Gaza and the way forward.

Asked for the Secretary-Generals reaction to reported plans by Israel to build new homes in East Jerusalem, the Spokesperson reiterated the UNs position on the illegality of such settlements.

SECRETARY-GENERAL ENGAGES ASIAN LEADERS ON MYANMAR

Asked about latest developments on Myanmar, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General was following the situation closely.

The Secretary-General today had a phone conversation with Indonesias President, Susilo Bambang Yodhoyono, about Myanmar. The two exchanged views on the announcement by the Myanmar Government of its political roadmap.

The Secretary-General also spoke about Myanmar with the Foreign Minister of China today and the Foreign Minister of India yesterday.

Montas noted that the Secretary-General would this afternoon chair an informal meeting of the Group of Friends on Myanmar, which would take stock of the current situation.

MORE THAN 500,000 TAJIKS NEED AID AMID HARSHEST WINTER IN 25 YEARS

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports growing concern about the humanitarian situation in Tajikistan, which is facing its harshest winter in some 25 years.

More than half a million Tajiks are estimated to be food-insecure, while at least 260,000 need immediate food aid.

The effects of the severe weather are compounded by an energy shortage which has left schools with little or no power, according to UNICEF.

The agency is sending emergency supplies to Tajikistan, including generators for hospitals and child care centers.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

BAN KI-MOON MEETS BONO: Asked about the Secretary-Generals meeting today with Bono, the Spokesperson said Bono had requested the meeting. The two had spoken about the Millennium Development Goals, climate change and global health issues. She reminded the correspondent that the Secretary-General and Bono had met recently in Davos, Switzerland.

POLICY MAKERS AND CELEBRITIES LAUNCH GLOBAL APPEAL ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING: At the opening session of the first-ever global forum to fight human trafficking, held in Vienna, pop star Ricky Martin and Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, received a petition from the group Stop the Traffik signed by 1.5 million persons calling for action on the issue.

WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME STARTS NEW PARTNERSHIPS TO IMPROVE EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS: The World Food Programme (WFP) today announced a new partnership with the Vodafone Group Foundation and the UN Foundation on improving the use of information and communications technology in emergency situations. WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said telecommunications are essential to food aid convoys, aircraft and medical teams delivering relief assistance.

SECRETARY-GENERAL DISCUSSES AFRICA STEERING GROUP MEETING: In response to questions, the Spokesperson said the Secretary-General had spoken today by phone with Alpha Oumar Konaré, the African Union Commission Chairperson, and Dominique Strauss Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, about the 10 March meeting of the Africa Steering Group on the Millennium Development Goals, which the Secretary-General will chair.

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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