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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-02-22

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

FARHAN HAQ

ASSOCIATE SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, February 22, 2008

BAN KI-MOON CONCERNED BY TENSION ON TURKEY-IRAQ BORDER

The Secretary-General is concerned by the latest escalation of tension along the Turkish-Iraqi border. While conscious of Turkeys concerns, he reiterates his appeal for utmost restraint, and for respect of the international borders between Iraq and Turkey.

He also repeats his previous calls for an immediate end to continued incursions by PKK elements carrying out terrorist attacks in Turkey from Northern Iraq. The protection of civilian life on both sides of the border remains the paramount concern.

The Secretary-General appeals to the Governments of Iraq and Turkey to work together to promote peace and stability along their border.

SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS BELGRADE EMBASSY ATTACKS, ERITREAN VIOLATIONS OF COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS

The Security Council, following yesterday afternoons consultations, issued a press statement in which Council members condemned in the strongest terms the mob attacks against embassies in Belgrade, which have resulted in damage to embassy premises and have endangered diplomatic personnel. Council members welcomed the steps taken by the Serbian authorities to restore order and protect diplomatic property and personnel.

The Council had received a briefing yesterday afternoon by Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet about the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE). Afterwards, the Council President told the press that Council members condemned Eritreas systematic violations of successive Security Council resolutions.

U.N. PEACEKEEPERS CONTINUE MOVING TROOPS AWAY FROM ETHIOPIA/ERITREA BORDER

UNMEE says that UN peacekeepers in Eritrea are continuing to regroup in the capital Asmara. The Mission says there were no attempted or perceived obstructions of this effort yesterday. UN convoys en route to Asmara are moving troops, equipment and supplies from all sectors of the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Asked whether UNMEE is capable of performing its mandated tasks in the Eritrean part of the Temporary Security Zone, the Spokesperson said that, because of the fuel restrictions imposed by Eritrea, that work has been hindered. The Mission continues to try to fulfill its mandate as much as it can, but it is largely unable to do so on the Eritrean side of the TSZ.

At the same time, he added, the Secretary-General has urged the Parties to respect the Temporary Security Zone.

Asked what the United Nations is doing to inform Member States on options for UNMEE, Haq said that today, the Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) was providing a briefing for troop contributors about the situation on the ground.

U.N. AGENCY SHOCKED BY DESTRUCTION IN WEST DARFUR TOWN

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says it was shocked at the level of destruction in the West Darfur town of Sirba, which came under a Sudanese Army attack earlier this month. The attack also affected the nearby villages of Silea and Abou Sourouj, leading to the displacement of a large number of civilians.

The UNHCR statement comes at the conclusion of a humanitarian mission in the affected area. Residents there told the UN team that fleeing into neighbouring Chad was too dangerous because of the ongoing conflict along the border, as well as banditry.

Continued insecurity in Darfur is also hampering the work of the World Food Programme (WFP). The agency said it has lost 28 trucks to thieves and bandits in January and February alone, and 14 WFP truck drivers remain missing. While the agency has kept up its operations, it is now concerned that the increasing risks might restrict its ability to feed the up to 3.2 million people of Darfur who rely on the 40,000 tons of food it hands out every month. WFP appealed to the local warring parties to improve security and road conditions.

Meanwhile, in eastern Chad, a humanitarian convoy trying to reach the border from the Chadian town of Guereda was turned back earlier today because of military activity on the Darfur side of the border.

U.N. CONCERNED ABOUT REPORTED ABDUCTIONS IN CHAD

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights says it is

concerned by the reported abduction and detention of several Chadian opposition leaders and members of civil society organizations in the wake of recent fighting in NDjamena.

While appreciating that the Chadian Government has faced a major crisis, the Office has called for fundamental human rights and freedoms to be respected during the state of emergency.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) reports that it is distributing food aid to 20,000 Chadian refugees in northern Cameroon, who are being transferred by the UN Refugee Agency from a transit site near the border to a camp.

In related news, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that nearly US$5 million from the Central Emergency Response

Fund has been set aside to meet the humanitarian needs of Chadian refugees in Cameroon.

PROGRESS REPORTED IN NORTHERN UGANDA PEACE TALKS

President Chissano, the special envoy for Northern Uganda and the Lords Resistance Army-affected areas, remains in Juba, where he reports progress is continuing in the peace talks. Weve been informed that the parties have signed another agreement today a protocol on Agenda Item 2 (concerning Comprehensive Solutions).

This agreement covers the issue of rehabilitation, recovery and development of Northern Uganda and also the question of fair representation of that region in national government and institutions including the army. The parties are currently discussing a cease-fire and have indicated they may come to an agreement on that later this week.

NEW HEAD OF U.N. OFFICE FOR WEST AFRICA TO BE NAMED

The Secretary-General has informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Mr. Said Djinnit of Algeria as his Special Representative and Head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA). Mr. Djinnit will replace General Lamine Cissť, who has been serving as Officer-in-Charge of UNOWA since September 2007, when the former Special Representative, Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah of Mauritania, was reassigned to Somalia.

Mr. Djinnit is currently serving as Commissioner for Peace and Security in the African Union (AU). He has worked for the AU in a number of senior positions, including as its Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs.

MYANMAR: U.N. ENVOY STRESSES SOUTHEAST ASIAS ROLE

The Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on

Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, completed today a new round of meetings in Jakarta with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda.

The discussions focused on ways by which the United Nations and Indonesia can work together more closely in support of the Secretary-Generals good offices role, including in the context of the Secretary-Generals Group of Friends on Myanmar.

Speaking to the press following the meeting, Gambari reiterated his strong belief that members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have an important role to play regarding Myanmar and have made their position very clear both in September last year at the U.N. and also in November at the ASEAN meeting in Singapore. The special envoy stressed that he will continue to engage ASEAN countries for consultations, as Myanmar itself is a member of ASEAN.

From Jakarta, Mr. Gambari will visit Singapore followed by Tokyo for further consultations.

NUCLEAR WATCHDOG ISSUES LATEST REPORT ON IRAN

The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, today circulated his latest report on nuclear safeguards in Iran to the Agencys Board of Governors, which will discuss the report when it next convenes in Vienna on 3 March.

After the report was circulated, ElBaradei told the press that, in the last four months, in particular, the IAEA has made quite good progress in clarifying the outstanding issues that had to do with Irans past nuclear activities, with the exception of the issue of alleged weaponization studies that may have been conducted in the past.

Otherwise, he said, the Agency and Iran have managed to clarify all the remaining outstanding issues, including on the scope and nature of Irans enrichment programme.

He called on Iran to implement the Additional Protocol, which gives the IAEA the additional authority to ensure that there are no undeclared nuclear activities.

He added his hope that Iran will continue to work closely with the Security Council to create the conditions that would lead to a durable solution.

Asked about the Secretary-Generals reaction to the report, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General welcomes the continued dialogue between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the IAEA, reflected in the report on Irans nuclear activities issued today by the IAEA.

He welcomes the progress achieved under the work plan agreed by both parties in August 2007. At the same time, Haq said, the Secretary-General stresses the utmost importance of the full compliance by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran with the relevant Security Council resolutions.

Asked whether the Security Council should adopt a sanctions resolution on Iran, the Spokesperson said that was a matter for the Council members to consider, adding that they could now consider the information contained in the IAEA report, as well.

IRAQ: U.N. ENVOY WELCOMES CONTINUED SUSPENSION OF JAYSH UL MEHDI ACTIVITIES

Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, welcomed the decision of Sayyed Muqtada al-Sadr to continue to suspend activities by the Jaysh ul Mehdi group. He hoped that this development would help sustain the reduction of violence and reinforce progress towards national dialogue and reconciliation.

De Mistura appealed to all Iraqi parties to engage in a constructive dialogue and take mutual confidence-building measures.

KOSOVO: ORDER RESTORED IN MITROVICA

Asked about reports that Serb demonstrators were crossing a key bridge in Mitrovica, the Spokesperson said that the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) says that its true that Serbs tried to cross the bridge. But the situation is calm and quiet now, he added, and order has been restored in Mitrovica.

It is not true that tear gas was used by UN Police, Haq clarified; this has already been corrected on the newswires.

Asked about comments made about the incidents in Kosovo, the Spokesperson reiterated the Secretary-Generals hope that all concerned parties would avoid any rhetoric that might add to tensions.

Asked about any precedent set by the treatment of Kosovo, he said what is happening there should not necessarily imply anything for other matters.

The Spokesperson confirmed that the Secretary-General had met today with Martti Ahtisaari, who has been his Special Envoy for the Future Status of Kosovo, but added that the meeting was one-on-one, with no readout.

THOUSANDS OF WOMEN AND GIRLS AFFECTED BY SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Thousands of women and girls have endured rape and other sexual violence in the conflict-torn north of the Central African

Republic, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In fact, sexual and gender-based violence strikes well over 15 percent of women and girls in the region, OCHA adds.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes has called for those responsible to be brought to justice.

Meanwhile, the UNs humanitarian partners in the region are providing rape victims with medical and psychological care, including HIV testing and counseling.

U.N. COMMITTEE ON PEACEFUL USES OF OUTER SPACE WRAPS UP SESSION

The newly established space-system-based disaster management programme (UN-SPIDER) was the focus of the 45th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the un Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, which took place in Vienna, Austria, from 11 to 22 February 2008. Possible dangers from near-Earth objects, space debris mitigation and a safety framework for nuclear power sources in outer space were also key agenda items.

Other topics of discussion included a review of the implementation of the recommendations of the Third UN Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, recent developments in Global Navigation Satellite Systems, the use of the geostationary orbit, the International Heliophysical Year and matters related to remote sensing of the Earth by satellites, including applications for developing countries and monitoring of the Earths environment.

GATES FOUNDATION PROVIDES $19 MILLION FOR U.N.-SUPPORTED ANTI-POVERTY PROGRAMME IN WEST AFRICA

A poverty reduction and womens empowerment project, supported by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in West Africa, has been awarded US$ 19 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. That project is designed to boost the productivity and income of women farmers using low-cost, mechanized power.

The four-year grant will help establish 600 new sustainable, rural agro-enterprises in Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal. Theyll use diesel-run engines, to which a variety of processing equipment can be attached, including cereal mills, huskers, battery chargers, and carpentry equipment. At least 24 of these engines will be biofuel-based.

U.N. MOURNS PASSING OF LONGTIME CORRESPONDENT

The Spokesperson said his office was saddened to announce that last night, one of the UNs correspondents, Hans Janitschek, a 73-year-old correspondent for Kronenzeitung, an Austrian daily paper, appeared to have had a massive heart attack shortly after 7 p.m., while he was working on the third floor.

Three UN security officers who are qualified Emergency Medical Technicians immediately performed CPR on Mr. Janitschek until the ambulance arrived. The ambulance attendants continued CPR for a short time and then removed Mr. Janitschek to the ambulance and to the hospital. He was pronounced dead at 8 p.m.

Mr Janitschek had covered the UN at different times since 1998. He had just returned a month ago as an accredited correspondent for Kronenzeitung. He was at the noon briefing yesterday.

The Spokesperson said his office will shortly announce funeral arrangements for Hans Janitschek, and the offices thoughts go out to him and his family.

Asked whether there had been any delays in providing medical service to Janitschek, the Spokesperson said that was not accurate.

He said that three UN Security Officers, who are qualified emergency medical technicians, performed CPR on the victim, but there was no sign of life. A defibrillator was used to try to start his heart, to no avail, and appropriate medical protocols were followed.

A reporter who was with Janitschek immediately called the UN operator, who then contacted UN Security, which called the emergency responders. UN Security also called New York Hospital directly.

A fire engine arrived first, Haq said, but these first responders were not allowed in, as they could not provide the level of care needed. When the ambulance arrived, he said, the ambulance and paramedics were let in directly, adding later that the ambulance was not stopped at the UN gate at all.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED ABOUT BOTH ISRAELI AIR RAIDS IN GAZA AND PALESTINIAN ROCKET ATTACKS ON ISRAEL: Asked about reported Israeli air raids in Gaza, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General has repeatedly voiced his concerns both about Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel and about Israeli actions that harm Palestinian civilians.

BAN KI-MOON TO LAUNCH CAMPAIGN TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: On Monday morning, the Secretary-General is launching his multi-year campaign to end violence against women. The event is taking place as part of the opening of the 52nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. The Commission is meeting here at Headquarters through March 7th to discuss Financing for gender equality and empowerment of women.

U.N. LOOKING INTO REPORTS THAT SUPPORTERS OF CONGOLESE GENERAL MIGHT SUSPEND INVOLVEMENT IN CEASEFIRE COMMISSION: Asked about reports that General Laurent Nkundas supporters in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) might suspend involvement in a cease-fire commission there, the Spokesperson said that the UN Mission in that country (MONUC) was looking into those reports. He noted the Secretary-Generals previous call on the parties to implement the Actes dEngagement regarding the eastern DRC.

CLIMATE CHANGE THREATENS DWINDLING FISH STOCKS: In a report entitled In Dead Water, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) warns that climate change is emerging as the latest threat to the worlds dwindling fish stocks. At least three quarters of the worlds key fishing grounds may be seriously impacted by changes in circulation and the oceans natural pumping systems, which flush out wastes and pollution. Higher sea surface temperatures in coming decades threaten to bleach and kill up to 80 per cent of the globes coral reefs, which serve as nurseries for fish, and there is growing concern that carbon dioxide emissions will increase the acidity of seas and oceans, UNEP notes.

UNICEF ASSISTING ZAMBIAN FAMILIES AFFECTED BY FLOODS: UNICEF is providing more than US$1 million in emergency supplies to roughly 70,000 Zambian families whose homes have been washed away during recent floods.

U.N. REBUILDS THOUSANDS OF LEBANESE HOMES DESTROYED BY ISRAELI AIR RAIDS: UN-HABITAT reports that it has now

completed two operations in Lebanon, which involved the rebuilding and renovation of thousands of homes hit by Israeli air raids in July 2006. The projects, which were funded by the European Union, benefited more than 3,600 families in Beirut, southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley.

SIERRA LEONE TRIBUNAL UPHOLDS SENTENCES OF THREE FORMER LEADERS: The Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone today upheld the sentences of three former leaders of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council. Alex Tamba Brima, Brima Bazzy Kamara, and Santigie Borbor Kanu were convicted in June of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other violations of international humanitarian law. Brima and Kanu each received sentences of 50 years, while Kamara received a 45-year sentence.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

23 February 29 February 2008

Saturday, February 23

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Erika Feller, begins a five-day mission to Iran.

Monday, February 25

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution on the U.N. Mission in Timor-Leste.

At 10.30 a.m. in Conference Room 2, the Secretary-General launches his multi-year campaign to end violence against women, as part of the opening of the 52nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which is meeting through 7 March on Financing for gender equality and empowerment of women.

The guests at the noon briefing include Assistant Secretary-General Rachel Mayanja, Special Advisor on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, who will brief on the campaign to end violence against women; Captain Aimable Mushabe, a Rwandan military officer implementing measures to protect women against violence; Todd Minerson, Executive Director of the White Ribbon campaign; and a survivor/victim of violence.

From 1.15 to 2.45 p.m. in Conference Room 2, there will be a panel discussion on "The Role and Responsibility of Men in Preventing Violence against Women."

At 3 p.m. in the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber, the Deputy Secretary-General takes part in a special event on "How corporate philanthropy can contribute to advancing the Millennium Development Goals, particularly for sustainable development".

Through 28 February, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour visits Georgia.

Tuesday, February 26

This morning, Under-Secretary-General John Holmes is scheduled to brief the Security Council on his recent trip to the occupied Palestinian territory, as part of consultations on the Middle East.

At 11.15 a.m. in Room S-226, Hania Zlotnik, Director of the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, presents results of the 2007 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects (the official UN estimates and projections of the urban, rural and city populations of all countries in the world).

At 1.15 p.m. in Room S-226, Ambassador Olivier Belle of Belgium, Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women, briefs on the work of the Commission.

At 4.15 p.m. in Room S-226, Foreign Minister Ahmad Allam-Mi of Chad holds a press conference.

From today through 29 February, the 39th Session of the UN Statistical Commission meets in Conference Room 3.

In Geneva, the World Health Organization issues its report on Anti-Tuberculosis Drug Resistance in the World.

Wednesday, February 27

The guest at the noon briefing is Ms. Kaarina Immonen, UN Resident Coordinator in Moldova, who will discuss the UNs recovery response to a disastrous drought in that country.

Thursday, February 28

At 11.15 a.m. in Room S-226, Toby Lanzer, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the Central African Republic, will brief on the humanitarian situation in that country.

At 1 p.m. in Room S-226, Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque of Cuba will brief on the signing of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Friday, February 29

At 11 a.m. in Room S-226, Inter-Parliamentary Union Secretary General Anders Johnsson launches the 2008 Map on the Political Representation of Women.

Today is the last day of Panamas Security Council presidency.

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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