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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-02-27
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.comARCHIVES
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
BAN KI-MOON URGES KENYAN PARTIES TO RESOLVE CRISIS
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly urges the parties to the National Dialogue and Reconciliation to take the necessary steps without delay to reach a solution to the ongoing crisis.
It is critical that the two sides maintain the positive momentum.
It is also critical that the two leaders exercise their responsibility to the people of Kenya who continue to suffer amid this volatile situation.
The Secretary-General is grateful for the continuing and tireless facilitation efforts of the Panel led by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which have his full support.
Asked about the Secretary-Generals efforts to support Kofi Annan, the Spokeswoman noted that on Tuesday, they were in communication about the current impasse and on ways to deal with it. The Secretary-General, Montas said, will do whatever he can to support Annans efforts.
BAN KI-MOON WILL ADDRESS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ON MONDAY
The Secretary-General plans to be in Geneva on Monday to address the High-Level Segment of the 7th session of the
Human Rights Council.
The Secretary-General is putting particular emphasis this year on human rights issues, as we mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. He looks to the Human Rights Council to make every effort to meet the expectations of the international community, and to strengthen and make effective the Universal Periodic review to the fullest extent possible.
The Secretary-General is also expected to address the executive session of the
Trade and Development Board in Geneva.
He should be back in New York on Tuesday afternoon.
Before leaving for Geneva, the Secretary-General will visit this Friday afternoon the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas, where he has been invited by former President George Herbert Walker Bush to give a lecture on U.S.-U.N. relations.
U.N. ENVOY FOR IRAQ STRONGLY CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON PILGRIMS
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, Staffan de Mistura, strongly
condemned the targeted criminal suicide attacks on pilgrims heading to the holy city of Karbala this past Sunday and Monday.
De Mistura said that the horrific attacks, which left dozens of civilians dead and wounded, deserve universal condemnation. He expressed his solidarity with the people of Iraq and extended his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims.
NEXT ROUND OF WESTERN SAHARA TALKS TO TAKE PLACE IN MID-MARCH
The fourth round of talks on Western Sahara will take place next month in Manhasset, from March 16th to 18th. Thats a change from the originally planned dates of March 11th through 13th.
As before, the talks will be facilitated by the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General, Mr. Peter van Walsum. The meeting is in implementation of Security Council resolutions 1754 (of 30 April 2007) and 1783 (of 31 October 2007).
Asked how the Secretary-General feels this round of talks will differ from previous ones, the Spokeswoman said that van Walsum would do all he could for the talks to move forward. Although progress depends on the parties, Montas said, the very fact that the parties are meeting again is important.
U.N. DARFUR FORCE CONDUCTS TEST PATROLS
The United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfurs (UNAMID) Formed Police Unit (FPU) from Bangladesh has
conducted its first long distance patrol aimed at testing their operational capacity and enhancing the visibility of the UN Police in Darfur.
The patrol, which covered approximately 200 kilometers, went from their base in Nyala in South Darfur to El-Fasher, the capital in North Darfur.
Police Commissioner Michael Fryer of UNAMID said that the patrol was also an opportunity to assess public response to UN Police presence in the area.
Commenting on the operations of UNAMID Police in Darfur since January 2008, Commissioner Fryer said we have a long way to go, but the officers are prepared to do their work and to make a difference.
The FPUs are police officers who have received specialized training in high-risk operations. The Bangladeshi unit is the only formed police contingent currently in Darfur out of the recommended 19 contingents for UNAMID.
U.N. RELOCATION MOVEMENTS IN ERITREA PROCEED TODAY
There have been no reported restrictions on relocation movements in Eritrea today of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).
The eight UNMEE vehicles that were stopped by soldiers of the Eritrean Defence Force at a checkpoint yesterday were unable to load supplies as they had planned and returned to Asmara empty.
The majority of peacekeepers from the Jordanian, Indian and Kenyan battalions, and most of UNMEE's military observers, have now relocated to Asmara.
The remaining troops in the Temporary Security Zone are actively engaged in the packing and transportation of equipment and supplies destined for Asmara.
UNMEE has been instructed to regroup all personnel and equipment in Eritrea into Asmara, due to the lack of cooperation by Eritrean Authorities in the Mission's efforts to temporarily relocate into Ethiopia.
INITIATIVE AIMS TO HALT PRACTICE OF FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION
If we can come together for a sustained push, female genital mutilation can vanish within a generation. That is what the Deputy Secretary-General plans to say at the launch this afternoon of a new
initiative by 10 UN agencies to support governments, communities, and women and girls to abandon the practice within a generation.
The agencies say female genital mutilation violates the rights of women and girls to health, protection and even life, as the procedure sometimes results in death.
Although decades of work by local communities, government, and national and international organizations have contributed to reducing the prevalence of female genital mutilation in many areas, the practice remains widespread.
Between 100 and 140 million women and girls in the world are estimated to have undergone female genital mutilation, and three million girls are estimated to be at risk of undergoing the procedures every year.
EX-BOSNIAN SERB SOLDIER WILL SERVE SENTENCE FOR RAPE AND TORTURE
According to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, former Bosnian Serb soldier Dragan Zelenović was transferred today to Belgium, to begin serving a 15-year sentence.
He pleaded guilty last year to raping and torturing women and girls in the town of Foča in Bosnia and Herzegovina after it was taken over by Serb forces in 1992.
FOOD AID REACHES MADAGASCAR CYCLONE VICTIMS
The World Food Programme (WFP) has begun providing emergency food assistance to tens of thousands of people in Madagascar affected by last weeks Cyclone Ivan.
In the capital, Antananarivo, WFP has already distributed three-day rations of High Energy Biscuits to 2,000 people now living in tents after their homes were destroyed.
WFP has also distributed 500 kilograms of rations along the countrys devastated east coast and on the island of St. Marie.
BIRD FLU UNDER CONTROL IN INDIA,
BUT U.N. WARNS OF POTENTIAL NEW OUTBREAKS
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today commended Indias success in controlling a recent bird flu outbreak, but warned that the possibility of new outbreaks remains high. Intensive surveillance should therefore continue, FAO stressed.
Given the recent bird flu outbreak in India and the ongoing spread of the disease in Bangladesh, FAO has invited India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar to participate in a regional meeting to better coordinate bird flu control campaigns.
NO POSTPONEMENT EXPECTED FOR LEBANON TRIBUNAL: Asked whether the work of the Lebanon tribunal would be delayed because of problems in obtaining funds, the Spokeswoman later added that the Secretary-General, in a recent interview, had said that sufficient funds were available for the establishment of the special tribunal and its operations for the coming 12 months but had appealed for additional funding for the operations of the subsequent two years.
SECRETARY-GENERAL TO DISCUSS WITH GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT WHETHER TO HOLD A SESSION ON SUICIDE BOMBING: Asked whether the Secretary-General supported the proposal by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre for the General Assembly to consider suicide bombing as a crime against humanity, the Spokeswoman noted that, in his meeting with Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder of the Centre, on Tuesday, the Secretary-General had indicated that he would discuss with the President of the General Assembly the idea of a session on the issue.
U.N. ENVOY WILL SOON VISIT MYANMAR: Asked about legislation in Myanmar penalizing criticism of the referendum, the Spokeswoman said that the UNs focus is on Special Advisor Ibrahim Gambaris upcoming visit to
Myanmar, when he is to raise such issues with the authorities and other parties.
CLIMATE CHANGE ENVOYS FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE WAS SATISFACTORY TO AUDITORS: Asked about Climate Change Envoy Han Seung-soo, the Spokeswoman reiterated that he had filed a financial disclosure at the United Nations which was satisfactory to auditors.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER'S MANDATE EXPIRES IN JUNE: Asked whether High
Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour would step down after her current term ends, the Spokeswoman said that the High Commissioner has not yet made her intentions public. Her mandate is up in June, so Arbour is expected to announce her intentions within the next few weeks.
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