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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-02-19

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 MARIE

OKABE

DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

BAN KI-MOON: BOMBINGS IN WEST DARFUR ARE UNACCEPTABLE

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is extremely concerned by the renewed violence in West Darfur, and notes in particular that the bombings of 18 and 19 February of Aro Sharow, a camp for internally displaced persons which was deserted during hostilities over the last several days, is unacceptable.

Additional reports from Darfur indicating that Government and militia forces are amassing in the Jebel Moon area of West Darfur are a worrying sign that there will be continued hostilities in the area.

In addition to putting the lives of innocent civilians at risk, the ongoing violence significantly reduces the humanitarian communitys access to those in need of life-saving assistance.

The Secretary-General calls on all parties to urgently cease hostilities and commit to the political process being led by the Special Envoys of the United Nations and African Union. A negotiated settlement to the Darfur conflict cannot take place amid continuing violence and the massive displacement of civilians.

BOMBINGS FORCE U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY TO SUSPEND OPERATIONS

ON CHAD/SUDAN BORDER

The Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that aerial bombing overnight and this morning in West Darfur, Sudan, has forced the agency to withdraw its team caring for newly arrived refugees in the Chad/Darfur border area from the insecure border.

UNHCR says the team will return immediately once the situation calms down.

According to UNHCR, last night seven refugees from West Darfur crossed the border into Chad carrying a 55-year-old woman who they said had lost both her legs during an alleged overnight bombing of Aro Sharow camp for internally displaced people, north of Jebel Moon in West Darfur. The woman later died.

Normally there are 4,000-5,000 displaced people at the camp, but there are unverified reports that most had fled after bombings around Abu Suruj, Siliea and Sirba in West Darfur earlier this month.

The refugees who carried the injured woman to the border area said more people would now be fleeing to Chad. This highlights the extremely vulnerable situation of the refugees and of the humanitarian workers helping them, says UNHCR.

Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes has

called on all parties to the conflict in western Darfur to refrain from further violence and help bring those responsible for the attacks against civilians to account under international law.

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED

ON COMPREHENSIVE PEACE AGREEMENT OF SUDAN

The Security Council this morning discussed Sudan in an open meeting, followed by consultations, which began with a briefing by the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for that country, Ashraf Qazi.

Qazi told the Council that the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South Sudan, although behind schedule, remains on track. The overall security in the ceasefire zone remains relatively stable, although tensions between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the SPLA increased along the current border line.

Qazi warned that, while the working relationship between the two parties is relatively cordial, it suffers from a significant lack of mutual trust and confidence.

He pointed to upcoming milestones for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, including the conduct of a national census and the holding of national elections in 2009.

KOSOVO: RESOLUTION 1244 REMAINS IN FORCE,

SECRETARY-GENERAL TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL

The Security Council held consultations on Sunday and an open debate yesterday on the topic of Kosovo. The Secretary-General attended both gatherings.

In concluding remarks to the formal meeting on Monday, the Secretary-General said the Secretariat continues to operate in Kosovo on the understanding that Security Council resolution 1244 remains in force, unless the Council decides otherwise. He said he expects everyone in Kosovo to act in a manner consistent with the operational framework for the international civil presence established in accordance with that resolution.

The Secretary-General added that the imperative need to ensure peace and security in Kosovo obliges him to address the reality on the ground as it develops and in light of the evolving circumstances.

He also said that the principal objectives are: to ensure the safety and security of the population in Kosovo, with particular attention to the minority communities; to uphold international peace and security, overall stability in Kosovo and regional stability; to ensure the safety of UN staff; and to safeguard the UNs achievements and legacy in Kosovo and the Balkans.

Meanwhile, the situation on the ground in Kosovo remains calm overall, according to the UN Mission there (UNMIK). Nevertheless, there were violent attacks today by Kosovo Serb fringe groups on boundary crossings in northern Mitrovica, which resulted in the destruction of property.|

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Kosovo, Joachim Ruecker, condemned those attacks, saying that any violence is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

He added that he expects all Kosovo citizens to exercise calm and respect the UN Mission in Kosovo and the NATO-led Kosovo Force, or KFOR, which will continue to diligently ensure a safe and secure environment throughout Kosovo.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals response to the question of whether Kosovos unilateral declaration of independence had been legal, the Spokeswoman noted that he had been quite clear that it was not for the UN Secretariat to decide on recognizing independence, but for Member States.

SECRETARY-GENERAL COMMENDS HOLDING

OF LARGELY PEACEFUL ELECTIONS IN PAKISTAN

The Secretary-General has been closely following developments in Pakistan.

He commends the people of Pakistan for the largely peaceful conduct of yesterdays parliamentary elections and is encouraged by the commitment of all concerned to respect the democratic process.

PROGRESS REPORTED ON UGANDA PEACE TALKS

The Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for the Lords Resistance Army (LRA)-Affected Areas traveled to the region over the weekend, arriving in Uganda on Friday, 15 February, and then continuing to Juba, Southern Sudan, the site of peace talks between the Government and the LRA delegations, under the mediation of the Government of Southern Sudan.

Former President Chissano informs us that progress is being achieved in the ongoing negotiations. An agreement was signed early this morning on mechanisms to implement the principles for accountability and reconciliation that the parties agreed upon last June.

U.N. ENVOY HAILS SIGNIFICANT STEP FORWARD

IN PLANNING NEXT VISIT TO MYANMAR

The Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on

Myanmar, Mr. Ibrahim Gambari, is currently in Beijing as part of his regional consultations.

Mr. Gambari met with senior Chinese officials, including Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, and said his discussions had been open and constructive. He expressed the Secretary-Generals appreciation for Chinas continued active support to the United Nations good offices on Myanmar.

Speaking to reporters after the meetings, Gambari said it was a significant step that the Myanmar government has established a timeframe for the implementation of its political roadmap, while emphasizing that the process has to be inclusive, participatory and transparent in order to be credible.

To that end, Mr. Gambari stressed the urgency of a substantive and time-bound dialogue between the Government and Aung San Suu Kyi.

From Beijing, Mr. Gambari will now travel to Indonesia, Singapore and Japan.

Asked whether the Secretary-General would agree on the need for arms sanctions on Myanmar, the Spokeswoman clarified that the Secretary-General has been pursuing his good offices role, while sanctions are the purview of the Security Council. She said that the good offices role would continue as Gambari travels to countries in the region.

U.N. MIDDLE EAST PEACE COORDINATOR

CALLS FOR A PERMANENT POLITICAL SETTLEMENT

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, is in Amman, Jordan, today, where he delivered a statement on behalf of the Secretary-General to the UN Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People.

He said that only a permanent political settlement, which ends the occupation and gives Palestinians their independence, can fundamentally alter the economic and humanitarian problems of the Palestinian people and bring lasting security for Israel.

Meanwhile, Serrys office in Jerusalem (UNSCO) reports that all Gaza goods crossings were closed today with the exception of Nahal Oz, through which diesel, cooking gas and industrial gas were expected to pass today. However, no benzene was allowed in. The shortage of benzene at the local market is severely impeding private vehicular movement, UNSCO says.

In related news, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes yesterday ended his five-day

visit to the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel with a series of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials in Jerusalem and Ramallah.|

In comments to the press in Jerusalem yesterday, Holmes noted the eight months of serious restrictions on the movement of goods, and said the political and security crisis in and around Gaza has increasingly severe humanitarian consequences.

During his visit to the region, Holmes also traveled to the Israeli town of Sderot, where he saw firsthand the impact of rockets launched from Gaza. After meeting the citys mayor, he said the victims in Sderot are innocent civilians and there is no time to lose in putting an end to this vicious circle of violence.

U.N. PERSONNEL AND EQUIPMENT REGROUPING IN ASMARA, ERITREA

Due to the lack of cooperation by Eritrean Authorities in the Mission's efforts to temporarily relocate into Ethiopia, the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) has been instructed to regroup in Asmara all personnel and equipment in Eritrea. This move will facilitate further relocation out of the country.

The Security Council and the troop contributing countries were informed of this on 15 February.

As UNMEE's regrouping began this weekend, two flatbed trucks carrying Armored Personnel Carriers from the far western border post of Om Hajer were stopped inside the Temporary Security Zone by Eritrean militiamen on Sunday.

The flatbeds and personnel have remained in Om Hajer, where Eritrean authorities continue to prohibit their departure.

U.N. ENVOY IN NEPAL IS DEEPLY CONCERNED OVER RECENT VIOLENCE

Ian Martin, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Nepal, said in a

statement that he is deeply concerned at incidents in several towns and other locations in Nepals Terai region which have resulted in one death and many serious injuries.

Ian Martin appealed to the Home Minister to take all possible measures to avoid excessive use of force, and to the leaders of the United Democratic Madhesi Front to call on protesters to remain peaceful and to avoid the involvement of children in demonstrations.

U.N. POLITICAL OFFICIAL TO VISIT SRI LANKA

The Secretary-General has requested Ms. Angela Kane, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, to visit Sri Lanka from 20-26 February 2008.

The visit is part of her regular consultations in the areas of her responsibility. She previously visited Sri Lanka in February 2007. The primary purpose of her visit is to review the work of the United Nations Country Team in Sri Lanka in all key areas.

TALKS HELD ON GREECE/FYROM NAME ISSUE IN ATHENS

The Secretary-Generals Personal Envoy for Greece and The former Yugoslav Republic of Maceodnia, Matthew Nimetz, today chaired talks in Athens, Greece, between the two sides on the name issue. Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis kicked off the round of talks.

Mr. Nimetz submitted to the two parties a proposal which might serve as a basis for resolving the name issue and related matters. He requested the parties to study his suggested ideas. The two sides are expected to respond to Nimetz in the next few weeks.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL WRAPS UP VISIT TO U.N. OFFICES IN BANGKOK

The Deputy Secretary-General, Asha-Rose Migiro, today concluded a two-day visit to the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Bangkok, during which she discussed how UN partners have to deliver as one at the regional level.

She chaired the Regional Coordination Mechanism meeting, which brought together more than 30 regional UN offices and development partners. The Deputy Secretary-General told the participants that the cost of failing to deliver as one is borne by all of us, most notably the Member States.

During her visit, she also met with Thailands new foreign minister.

U.N. DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME ADMINISTRATOR

BEGINS THREE-COUNTRY VISIT TO AFRICA

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Kemal Dervis yesterday kicked off a three-country mission to West Africa.

He is currently in Benin, where his programme today includes a meeting with President Boni Yayi and a visit to the Songhaï agricultural centre in Porto Novo. Later in the week, Mr. Dervis will travel to Togo and Senegal.

RWANDAS FORMER MINISTER OF YOUTH AND SPORTS ARRESTED AND EXPECTED TO BE TURNED OVER TO TRIBUNAL

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda says that Callixte Nzabonimana, a former Rwandan minister of youth and sports, was arrested yesterday in Tanzania. Hes expected to be transferred today to the UN detention facility to Arusha, the seat of the Tribunal.

The 55-year-old suspect is facing charges of crimes against humanity for his alleged involvement in planning and executing the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES

JAPANS PAYMENT OF MORE THAN US$1 BILLION

The Secretary-General is very pleased to learn that the Japanese Diet approved a payment of Japans assessed contribution to the United Nations of $1.06 billion.

Of that, $285,384,208 will be an accelerated, one-time payment toward the Capital Master Plan (CMP) to support the renovation of the United Nations Headquarters.

The General Assembly decided to approve the CMP at a total project budget not to exceed $1.876 billion. The same resolution provided the option for Member States to pay five equal installments, or a one-time payment.

The remainder, $775,000,000 will go towards Japans assessed contribution towards the United Nations Peacekeeping budget.

The Secretary-General thanks the government of Japan for this payment which will greatly help the United Nations fulfill its obligations.

U.N. ADVISER ON INNOVATIVE FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT NAMED

The Secretary-General has today designated Philippe Douste-Blazy of France as Special Adviser on Innovative Financing for Development.

As Official Development Assistance (ODA) is still insufficient to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Secretary-General sees the urgency for innovative sources of funding to be developed and promoted worldwide to fill this critical gap.

Mr. Douste-Blazy currently serves as Chairman of the Executive Board of UNITAID, the International Drug Purchase Facility hosted by the World Health Organization. The Special adviser will promote UNITAID and other sources of innovative financing for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and ensure that they are coordinated with the global development agenda, in accordance with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.

He will advise the Secretary-General on the contribution of innovative financing solutions to the implementation of the Monterrey consensus, starting with the preparation of the Doha Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development scheduled in November 2008.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. RESPONDS TO SEVERE WINTER WEATHER IN AFGHANISTAN AND TAJIKISTAN: The UN Refugee Agency has begun distributing emergency supplies to more than 200,000 Afghan returnees, in response to the harsh winter weather that has killed hundreds of people in recent weeks. The UN is also

appealing for more than $25 million for those affected by the severe weather in Tajikistan, which is suffering severe disruptions of heating, water and basic social services. Meanwhile, in a statement over the weekend, the Secretary-General condemned the suicide bomb attack on Sunday in Kandahar, which showed the contrast between those who take innocent life so brutally and those working with Afghanistans government and people to build a better future.

WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME BEGINS FOOD DELIVERIES TO BOLIVIA FROM EMERGENCY HUB IN ECUADOR: The World Food Programme has begun airlifting emergency food assistance to Bolivian flood victims from a new emergency humanitarian hub in Ecuador. The airlift of 10 metric tons of ready-to-eat High Energy Biscuits to Trinidad in Bolivia, a city affected by the floods, was carried out by a military aircraft made available by the Government of Ecuador.

EXPERTS MEETING DISCUSSES HUMAN CONSUMPTION OF INSECTS: All this week in Chiang Mai, Thailand, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is holding a workshop on the commercial and nutritional possibilities of insect consumption by humans. FAO notes that more than 1,400 species of insects are consumed worldwide, and they are a regular part of the diet, or even considered delicacies. Many types of insects have as much protein as meat or fish, and some (especially in the larval stage) are high in vitamins and minerals.

  • *The guest at noon was Philippe Douste-Blazy, the Secretary-Generals newly-appointed Special Adviser on Innovative Financing for Development.

    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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