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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-02-20

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

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

BAN KI-MOON WELCOMES "BREAKTHOUGH" AGREEMENT BY

UGANDA AND LORD'S RESISTANCE ARMY

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomes yesterdays signing in Juba, by the Government of Uganda and the Lords Resistance Army, of the Annexure to the Agreement on Accountability and Reconciliation.

The Annexure establishes the legal framework for accountability and reconciliation mechanisms in the promotion of peace with justice in Uganda. The challenge ahead will be to ensure the credible implementation of this agreement.

The Secretary-General is encouraged by the commitment of the Parties to the talks and urges them to renew their efforts to expeditiously conclude a comprehensive peace agreement in order to bring lasting peace with justice to the people of Northern Uganda.

The Secretary-General expresses his deep thanks to all international and regional actors who have been assisting the peace process and calls on them to continue their crucial support to the Parties.

The Secretary-General expresses his particular appreciation to the Vice-President of the Government of Southern Sudan and Chief Mediator, Dr. Riek Machar Dhurgon Teny and his Special Envoy, Mr. Joaquim Chissano, for the important role they have played in facilitating this breakthrough.

KOSOVO IS REPORTED CALM

AS NORTHERN BORDER CROSSINGS RE-OPEN

The UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) reports that the situation on the ground is calm.

Regarding yesterdays attacks on boundary crossings in northern Mitrovica, the two gates that had been closed as a result of the attacks have now been opened.

Speaking to reporters today in Pristina, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Kosovo, Joachim Rücker, said that he saw yesterdays incident as a one-time incident and that it was responded to in an appropriate way.

BAN KI-MOON REPORTS SHARP DETERIORATION IN DARFUR

The Secretary-General, in a report to the Security Council on the deployment of the African Union-United Nations hybrid operations in Darfur, known as UNAMID, says that the situation in West Darfur has deteriorated sharply over the past two months.

In light of the security conditions on the ground, he says, the most urgent priority in Darfur is the establishment of a cessation of hostilities, with effective mechanisms for monitoring compliance and violations. To this end, he urges the Government and all parties to cooperate fully with the efforts of the Special Envoys of the AU and the UN to convene negotiations as soon as possible.

The Secretary-General also condemns cross-border attacks and urges Chad and Sudan to respect each others territorial sovereignty and implement existing non-aggression agreements.

The Secretary-General stresses the need to demonstrate that UNAMID can bring a material improvement to the lives of the people of Darfur or risk losing their confidence, and he appeals to all UNAMID troop and police contributors to expedite the deployment of units and assets pledged to the mission. He also urges Member States to provide the outstanding enabling units, including air assets.

On that subject, the report says the process of generating aviation and transportation units has not yet been successful. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations received pledges from Ethiopia for four attack helicopters, but other critical shortfalls remain.

One month after transfer of authority, the mission is still short of pledges for one heavy and one medium ground transport unit, three military utility aviation units (18 helicopters in total), and additional attack helicopters to meet the full operational requirements.

In response to a question about "firewood" patrols to protect women while collecting wood, the Spokeswoman said the report issued today made reference to these police patrols.

UNICEF CHIEF CALLS FOR CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES

AND UNRESTRICTED HUMANITARIAN ACCESS IN DARFUR

In the wake of recent fighting in West Darfur, UNICEF is delivering medical supplies, blankets, jerry cans and plastic sheeting. It is also treating and restoring water supplies, both to communities that have been attacked and to areas where displaced people are now gathering.

UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman is calling for a cessation of hostilities, and for unrestricted access by humanitarian agencies to affected areas.

DR CONGO: U.N RIGHTS OFFICE PROBES JANUARY KILLINGS

BY GOVERNMENT AND REBEL TROOPS

The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) is gravely concerned about continued human rights violations in that country. T

The Mission said today in Kinshasa that its Human Rights Office has positively identified eight victims, including three children, who were killed by Congolese Army soldiers on January 2 in a village near Goma in the east.

The Mission added that it had collected preliminary evidence indicating that troops belonging to the forces of dissident General Laurent Nkunda have killed at least 30 civilians between 16 and 20 January in the village of Kalonge. The killings are believed to have been committed in reprisal for the villagers seeking refuge in the sector controlled by perceived enemies of the Nkunda faction.

While its investigations into these killings continue, the Mission has called on Congolese parties to respect international human rights and humanitarian law.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO VOTE ON DRAFT RESOLUTIONS ON SOMALIA AND TRIBUNAL ON FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

At 3:00 this afternoon, the Security Council has scheduled two formal meetings to vote on draft resolutions.

The Council intends to vote on a resolution concerning the extension of the African Union Mission in Somalia, known as AMISOM. And it also intends to vote on a resolution to appoint short-term, or ad litem, judges for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

GEORGIAN PARTIES PLEDGE TO FOLLOW PEACE PROCESS

AT U.N.-SPONSORED MEETING

On February 18th and 19th, senior representatives of the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General for Georgia met in Geneva under the chairmanship of the Assistant-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet.

Participating in the meeting were representatives of the Georgian and Abkhaz sides and Jean Arnault, the Secretary-Generals Special-Representative for Georgia.

Both the Georgian and Abkhaz sides reaffirmed their commitment to the UN-led peace process and to a confidence-building approach to the settlement of the conflict.

The Friends expressed their concern over the lack of progress in the dialogue between the sides and reiterated their urgent call for the resumption of security meetings between the sides, the UN Mission and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) peacekeeping force.

INCLUSIVENESS SHOULD BE BENCHMARK

OF MYANMARS POLITICAL PROCESS

In response to questions about the UNs reaction to statements by the Government of Myanmar that the draft constitution is already completed and that Aung San Suu Kyi will not be allowed to run in the elections, the Spokeswoman said the constitutional process is going to be top on the agenda of Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari when he has the chance to visit Myanmar and have direct discussions with authorities and all of the relevant parties to the process, including Aung San Suu Kyi.

We hope that happens soon, she said.

That said, we believe that the credibility of the political process in Myanmar is going to depend on whether its inclusive enough so that all can participate, she said.

EDIBLE INSECTS OFFER INCOME POTENTIAL FOR RURAL COMMUNITIES

A Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) workshop, taking place this week in Thailand, is looking at insects, both as food for humans and as a potential source for rural livelihoods.

FAO notes that more than 1,400 species of insects are consumed worldwide. They are a regular part of the diet, and are often 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.

Insects offer considerable income potential for rural people who capture, rear, transport and market them. This could be enhanced through the adoption of modern food and hygiene standards for food insects that are sold live, dried, smoked, roasted or in other forms, FAO says.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETS WITH ISRAELI AMBASSADOR: Asked about the Secretary-Generals meeting with Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General and the Ambassador discussed the UN-Israel relationship, the Middle East peace process and the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

WORLD ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS DISCUSS CLIMATE CHANGE: World environment ministers are

meeting from today through Friday in Monaco, as part of the 10th Special Session of the UN Environment Programmes (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment. In a video message, the Secretary-General urges those gathered to help mobilize finance to meet the challenges posed by climate change, and to help build a decisive and deep regime for emissions reductions after 2012. Out today is UNEPs Year Book 2008, which notes that climate change is driving an emerging green economy and innovation on a scale perhaps not seen since the Industrial Revolution.

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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