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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-02-21

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

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, February 21, 2008

BAN KI-MOON NAMES ADVISER ON RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Mr. Edward Luck of the United States as his Special Adviser, at the Assistant Secretary-General level, to focus on the responsibility to protect, as set out by the General Assembly in paragraphs 138 and 139 of the 2005 Summit Outcome Document.

Mr. Lucks primary role will be conceptual development and consensus building, to assist the General Assembly to continue consideration of this crucial issue. Towards this end, the Secretary-General has requested Mr. Luck to help him develop proposals, through a broad consultative process, to be considered by the UN membership.

Mr. Luck is currently Vice President and Director of Studies of the International Peace Academy and Director of Columbia Universitys Center on International Organizations.

TIMOR-LESTE: NO SERIOUS SECURITY INCIDENTS

SINCE RECENT ATTACK ON PRESIDENT

The Security Council this morning began an open debate on Timor-Leste, and Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno informed Council members that there have been no further significant security incidents in that country since the attacks on the President and Prime Minister on 11 February.

Guéhenno said that President José Ramos-Horta, although still hospitalized, is in stable condition, and doctors are hopeful that he will make a full recovery. Meanwhile, he said, the Government and Parliament have acted with restraint and with due respect for the Constitution and human rights in the measures it has taken since the attacks.

He stressed that the fact that Timor-Leste came so close to a real breakdown shows how important and urgent it is to address the issues of dealing with the supporters of the late fugitive Alfredo Reinado, with petitioners and with internally displaced persons. Those issues, he added, should be solvable with a concerted effort across the political spectrum.

Wednesday afternoon, the Security Council adopted two resolutions unanimously. The Council extended for six months the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and it also approved the appointment of additional short term, or ad litem, judges for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Asked whether Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes would talk to the press about his recent visit to Gaza and Sderot, the Spokeswoman said that he was expected to talk to reporters following his briefing to the Security Council next week on that matter.

ERITREAN MILITIAMEN BLOCK MOVEMENT OF U.N. PEACEKEEPERS

This afternoon at 3:00, the Security Council has scheduled consultations on Ethiopia and Eritrea. Council members will receive a briefing from Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet about the temporary relocation efforts concerning UN peacekeepers in Eritrea.

The UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) says that regrouping of peacekeepers and their equipment to Asmara continued yesterday and today.

Even so, Eritrean militiamen have prevented a vehicle carrying two soldiers to travel Asmara from the Temporary Security Zone. The Mission says the two peacekeepers could not proceed until the militiamen holding them had received instructions from Eritrean authorities in Asmara.

Meanwhile, the four Armoured Personnel Carriers held up by militiamen since 17 February in Om Hajer were allowed to proceed to Asmara today.

Asked about complaints from Eritrea that UN press offices had misreported the situation there, the Spokeswoman reiterated that, due to a lack of cooperation by the Eritrean authorities, UNMEE has been compelled to regroup in Asmara, in order to facilitate its temporary relocation from the country.

U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF HEADS TO JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA, RUSSIA

At the request of the Secretary-General, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, left New York last night en route to Japan, the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation, accompanied by Deputy Chef de Cabinet and Special Adviser, Kim Won-soo.

Arriving in Tokyo Friday morning, they are scheduled to hold high level consultations on a range of issues of interest to the United Nations and Japan. They will express the Secretary-Generals appreciation for Japans strong support for the activities of the UN, particularly in light of Japans recent financial contributions to the operations of the United Nations, which the Secretary-General has welcomed in a statement this week.

In the Republic of Korea, they will be representing the Secretary-General at the inauguration of President Lee Myung-bak on 25 February, and will convey the personal greetings of the Secretary-General and also discuss issues of mutual interest with the new leadership.

Pascoe will continue to Moscow for high-level consultations on a range of UN issues.

Asked whether Pascoe would bring up Security Council reform in his discussions in Japan, the Spokeswoman said that was not a subject that the Secretariat would raise, since it is a matter for the Member States of the Council and General Assembly to decide.

U.N. ENVOY HOPES TO RETURN TO MYANMAR IN FIRST WEEK OF MARCH

The Secretary-Generals Special Adviser for Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, in Jakarta today, expressed hopes to return to Myanmar in the first week of March, adding that the authorities there are currently in the process of inviting him.

Gambari arrived in Jakarta yesterday from Beijing as part of his regional consultations. There, he met with senior Indonesian officials, including Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda and said that they share very common objectives for a peaceful, united, stable, prosperous Myanmar, moving along the path of democracy with full respect for human rights.

The Special Envoy also said the authorities in Myanmar made some significant announcements in terms of timelines for the roadmap. He added that the most important part is that Myanmar works together with neighboring countries, ASEAN and the international community to enhance the credibility of this constitutional process and to make national reconciliation more inclusive.

Next week, Gambari is expected to travel on to Singapore and then to Tokyo.

Asked about arrangements for Gambaris visit to Myanmar, the Spokeswoman said that she was fairly sure that Gambari would visit the country soon, most probably in the first week of March.

IRAQ: APPLICATIONS RECEIVED FOR ELECTION DIRECTOR POSTS

The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) has provided an update on the selection of the eight remaining Directors of Iraqs governorate election offices, noting that to date, 224 applications have been submitted.

Special Representative Staffan de Mistura said that the number of applications received proves that Iraqis are ready to participate in the selection process and in determining their own future.

So far, 22 women are among the 224 applications that have been submitted, and the UN Mission encourages all qualified Iraqi candidates representing Iraqs diversified communities, including women, to submit their applications before the deadline of 28 February.

LEBANONS RECOGNITION OF IRAQI REFUGEES IS WELCOMED

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) praised Lebanons Government for its decision to recognize thousands of Iraqi refugees who had previously been considered as illegal immigrants liable to detention.

That decision, UNHCR says, will benefit thousands of Iraqi refugees in Lebanon, at a time when, as recently as last October, more than 500 Iraqis were being held in detention in Lebanon because of their irregular status.

High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said in Jordan earlier this week that Lebanons decision is a very important and positive development.

In other refugee-related news, UNHCR is seeking $34 million to resolve one of the most protracted refugee situations in Africa. More than 200,000 Burundian refugees have been in Tanzania since fleeing an internal conflict in 1972.

UNITED NATIONS IS NOTIFIED OF

SUCCESSFUL INTERCEPTION OF U.S. SATELLITE

The UN Office of Outer Space Affairs reports that it has received a notification from the United States on the successful interception of the disabled US satellite designated USA 193.

The UN Office says the US delegation has also communicated the information to Member States attending the 45th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, presently being held in Vienna, Austria.

This information is provided in accordance with the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, adopted in 1967.

U.N. FLAG TO TRAVEL TO OUTER SPACE

Come April, a United Nations flag will make yet another historic trip to the International Space Station, according to the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, which adds that upon its return to Earth the flag will be presented to the Secretary-General before being moved to Vienna later this year to take its place among the permanent exhibits at the Vienna International Centre.

This time around, the UN flag will be flown to outer space by astronaut Ko San from the Republic of Korea, who will be conducting scientific experiments at the International Space Station for eight days. The tradition of astronauts carrying UN flags into outer space began during the earliest manned space missions. To date, the UN flag has been taken into Earth orbit, aboard space stations and to the Moon.

MEMBER STATES SHOULD RESPECT EACH OTHER

Asked about the Secretary-Generals response to recent comments attributed to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about Israel, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General has condemned these types of comments in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

Montas said that he feels that such comments are unacceptable when used against another Member State. The Secretary-General believes it is in the interest of all Member States to pay due respect to each other even when addressing differences.

SOMALIA RECOMMENDATIONS BEING DEVELOPED

Asked whether the UN report on Somalia is completed, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations sent a Fact Finding Mission to Somalia from 7 to 25 January 2008 and a Strategic Assessment Mission to the region from 14 to 28 January 2008 to consult Somali and regional stakeholders, collect information required to develop options, and explore additional efforts the United Nations can undertake to help address the situation in Somalia.

A lot of information was collected and is now being synthesized and recommendations being developed, she said.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

MORE THAN HALF OF WORLDS LANGUAGES MAY DIE: Today is International Mother Language Day. It also marks the start of the

International Year of Languages, which the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched today in Paris. UNESCO notes that more than half of the worlds nearly seven thousand spoken languages are threatened with extinction, with one dying out every two weeks.

NO DATE SET YET FOR NEXT GREECE/F.Y.R. MACEDONIA TALKS: The Spokeswoman declined to comment on the leak of envoy Matthew Nimetzs proposals concerning the name of The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, saying that Nimetz had not been responsible for the leak. She added, in response to further questions, that Nimetz hasnt set the date for further talks yet but hopes to in the very near future. He will try to provide a background briefing later, she added.

NO CHANGE IN LEADERSHIP AT U.N. MISSION IN CYPRUS: Asked about a replacement for the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Cyprus, Michael Moller, the Spokeswoman said that at this point, Moller is still in charge of the UN Mission in Cyprus.

STAFF SECURITY PANEL BEING FINALIZED: Asked about the panel on safety and security that is to be headed by Lakhdar Brahimi, the Spokeswoman said that the names of panel members will be decided shortly. For now, she said, Brahimi is working on finalizing that panel.

INVESTIGATION INTO DECEASED U.N. STAFFER ONGOING: Asked about a UN staff member who died earlier this week, the Spokeswoman said that an investigation into the death is ongoing, and she recalled that the investigating authorities had said earlier that there was no reason to believe foul play.

U.N. HAS PROVIDED TECHNICAL SUPPORT TO KOFI ANNAN IN KENYA: Asked about UN support for former Secretary-General Kofi Annans efforts in Kenya, the Spokeswoman said that the United Nations has provided technical support and personnel for Annans team. She added that a voluntary fund has been set up to assist the negotiators.

U.N. AGENCY HELPS GAZAN FARMERS The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says it is helping Palestinian farmers, shepherds and fishermen in Gaza through a series of emergency projects despite restrictions that make it hard to import essential products. Specific initiatives include horticulture and greenhouse and irrigation rehabilitation. FAO is also working to help Gazans detect and respond to bird flu outbreaks.

U.N. LAUNCHES CLIMATE NEUTRAL NETWORK: At a meeting of global environment ministers in Monaco, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) today

launched the Climate Neutral Network. The project is designed to allow information exchange between nations, local authorities and companies that have pledged to eventually reduce their net emissions to zero. Four countries, four cities and five corporations are founding members of the network. They include Costa Rica, Iceland, New Zealand and Norway. Ultimately, intergovernmental bodies, civil societies and even individuals will be invited to take part.

U.N. IMMUNIZES CHILDREN IN CAMEROON: UN agencies have helped

immunize some 35,000 infants and children against measles and poliomyelitis in Cameroons north-eastern district of Kousséri. The public health initiative took place between 13 and 17 February and placed emphasis on refugee infants and children from Chad who are spread over two camps in Kousseri after fleeing the latest violence in NDjamena.

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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