HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON
BY MARIE OKABE
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, July 18, 2005
ENVOY REPORT TO BE MADE PUBLIC
Secretary-General Kofi Annan is increasingly
concerned by the human rights and humanitarian impact of the recent
demolitions of what the Government of Zimbabwe has called illegal
appointed on 20th of June Anna Tibaijuka, the Executive
Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), as his
Special Envoy and asked her to visit the country and investigate the
Tibaijuka visited the country and, with the cooperation
of the Government of Zimbabwe, conducted an exhaustive examination.
The Secretary-General will receive her report in the
coming days and will study its contents to determine the next steps for the
The report will be made public after the Government of
Zimbabwe has received an advance copy.
Asked when Tibaijuka’s report
would be ready, the Spokeswoman said she expected it to be submitted in the
next couple of days. Then, she said, the final report would be sent to the
Government of Zimbabwe, which would have 48 hours to comment on the report,
after which the report would be made public, possibly this Friday or next
Monday. The text of the report given to the Government of Zimbabwe would not
be changed, she added.
She said, in response to
questions, that Zimbabwe’s comments were also expected to be made public.
Asked whether Tibaijuka would
be in New York and hand over the report to the Secretary-General, Okabe said
that she was expected at UN Headquarters early this week. She noted that the
Secretary-General was working from his home following shoulder surgery last
Asked when the
Secretary-General spoke last with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, the
Spokeswoman noted that they had met on 4 July at the African Union Summit in
Sirte, Libya, and discussions on Zimbabwe took place in a tête-à-tête
ANNAN WELCOMES PEACE AGREEMENT FOR
INDONESIA’S ACEH PROVINCE
The Secretary-General warmly
welcomes the agreement in principle reached yesterday between the
Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement, intended to bring peace
after nearly thirty years of conflict in the province.
He looks forward to the signing of the Memorandum of
Understanding on 15 August 2005 and hopes this breakthrough heralds a new and
brighter future for the people of Aceh."
The Secretary-General commends both sides for their
determination to reach a lasting and sustainable peace in Aceh and strongly
urges them to demonstrate continued resolve and commitment throughout the
implementation of the agreed terms. He also applauds the crucial role played
by Martti Ahtsaari as the mediator in these negotiations.
The Secretary-General is
encouraged to learn of the readiness of the European Union, and possibly, the
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to
provide a monitoring team in Aceh once the Memorandum of Understanding is
CONDEMNS SUICIDE BOMBINGS IN IRAQ
emphatically condemns these heinous attacks, perpetrated in an apparent effort
to undermine Iraq’s political transition, and extends his deepest sympathies
to the families of the victims.
The Secretary-General urges all
Iraqis to set violence aside and to join together, through peaceful means, in
building a united, democratic and prosperous Iraq.
U.N.’S RETURN MUST BE CAUTIOUS & STEP-BY-STEP, GIVEN RISKS
Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General’s Deputy
Special Representative for Iraq, today told a reconstruction conference in
Amman, Jordan, that the international community must be more responsive to
Iraq’s needs as the Iraqis see them. There has to be more flexibility in the
use of funds to tackle emerging priorities.
He said that the UN’s commitment to the Iraqi people
remains unchanged, although its path back to Iraq must be calculated, cautious
and incremental, given the risks.
Meanwhile, the United Nations is playing a key role in
ensuring that both the electoral and constitutional processes are legitimate
UNITED NATIONS WORKING TO PROTECT
FROM AIDS, SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD
This morning, Jean-Marie Guéhenno,
Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and Peter Piot,
Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS),
briefed the Security Council on progress made in implementing Security
That resolution, which was adopted five years ago, called
on the United Nations and Member States to develop effective AIDS education,
prevention, testing and treatment strategies for peacekeepers and national
In his remarks to the Council, Guéhenno said that, five
years ago, the peacekeeping department barely crossed paths with agencies like
UNAIDS. Now, however, the two groups had undertaken joint missions to Haiti
and Sudan to establish AIDS programmes in advance of major troop deployments.
And in the last two years, the number of AIDS advisers in major peacekeeping
operations had risen from 4 to 10, with smaller missions now all having AIDS
Speaking after Guéhenno, Piot
told the Council that AIDS-focused actions for each and every mission
included the promotion and provision of condoms, voluntary
counselling and testing services and the provision of post-exposure
prophylaxis kits. In addition, some one million AIDS awareness cards,
in 13 languages, had been distributed among peacekeepers and national security
However, Piot also said that, despite achievements, there
was still a long way to go, a fact made evident by recent reports of sexual
exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers. He also highlighted
key challenges, saying that troops and civilians must have unrestricted
access to HIV testing and counseling during deployment, and that the
consistent implementation of programmes must be ensured, especially during
conflicts, when vulnerability increased.
At the open meeting, Piot also released the agency’s new
progress report, entitled “On the Front Line.”
The Security Council adopted a Presidential Statement at
the end of today’s meeting.
BY RENEWED VIOLENCE BETWEEN ISRAEL & PALESTINIANS
The recent suicide bombing in Netanya and rockets fired
from Gaza killing innocent Israeli civilians are shocking and condemnable, the
statement added. There is a pressing need to put a stop to such actions. The
recent move by the Palestinian Authority security forces to act to prevent
them was a welcome development.
Israel has resumed forceful action in the face of the
serious deterioration that has shattered the lull in violence of the past few
months. There should be no doubt about Israel’s legitimate right to
self-defense, but it must be exercised proportionately and in conformity with
international law, the statement noted.
The Secretary-General strongly believes that at this
critical moment a glimmer of a better future with two States living
side-by-side in peace still exists. It is therefore essential that all
committed to a negotiated settlement remain focused on this goal.
U.N. ENVOY APPEALS FOR WISDOM AND
SENSIBILITY IN LEBANON
At the invitation of the Presidency of the European
Union, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, Terje Roed-Larsen, briefed
today the Foreign Ministers of the European Union in Brussels at the General
Affairs Council, on the implementation of Security Council
resolution 1559. The meeting was chaired by British Foreign Secretary,
Roed-Larsen discussed with the Foreign Ministers the
following issues: the withdrawal of Syrian military and intelligence apparatus
from Lebanon; the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political
independence of Lebanon, in particular the results of the recent parliamentary
elections and the ongoing conflict-ridden efforts to form a new government;
and the disarming and disbanding of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias, in
the context of the extension of the control of the Government of Lebanon over
all its territory, as called for by Security Council resolution 1559 and the
In spite of significant progress on some of the
provisions of the resolution, Roed-Larsen underlined the necessity for the
full implementation of all the requirements of resolution 1559. He expressed
his concern over the rising tensions in the Syrian Lebanese relations on
economic and security related issues.
After the discussions, Roed-Larsen called upon all
parties concerned to continue to use dialogue and he made an appeal to wisdom
and sensibility, based on the Lebanese people's right to political
independence and economic well-being.
He said, “The meeting was constructive and forward
looking. It displayed a remarkable international similarity and consensus in
policy related to 1559. This is reflected in the conclusions of the meeting
released by the British presidency of the European Union.”
On the behalf of the Secretary-General, Roed-Larsen stays
in close contact with the key players and has over the last few days spoken
extensively with Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, Prime Minister Najib Mikati,
Prime Minister designate Fuad Siniora and others.
NEPAL FACING SERIOUS CRISIS AND MUST
RETURN TO DEMOCRACY
Lakhdar Brahimi, the Special Adviser to the
Secretary-General, and his team have completed a
six-day visit to Nepal, and he issued a statement last Friday before
leaving the country. The visit is part of the Secretary-General’s continuing
effort to help find a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Nepal.
Brahimi said Nepal is facing a very serious crisis, but
added that a solution is not beyond reach. That solution, he said, rests on
three critical elements: a return to constitutional order and multiparty
democracy, an end to hostilities, and an inclusive national dialogue towards a
negotiated solution to the underlying causes of conflict.
Brahimi said he will now report to the Secretary-General
on his findings. The United Nations will continue to take a keen interest in
the situation in Nepal and stay closely engaged. It will remain available to
provide its assistance in whatever form it may be needed.
Asked how the United Nations
would help Nepal, the Spokeswoman noted that the Secretary-General had met
with King Gyanendra of Nepal in April, at the Asia-Africa Summit in Jakarta,
and said afterward
that the United Nations was open to assisting Nepal in any way it could. For
now, she added, the United Nations would await Brahimi’s report.
Asked about Brahimi’s work for
the United Nations, the Spokeswoman said he is a Special Adviser, without a
specific geographic portfolio.
SUDAN: U.N. ENVOY TO DISCUSS DARFUR W/
INTL. CRIMINAL COURT PROSECUTOR
The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for
Sudan, Jan Pronk, is on his way to The Hague, where he will meet the
International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, to
discuss the situation on the ground in Darfur. He will then travel to New York
to brief the Security Council on Darfur and the state of the Comprehensive
Peace Agreement’s implementation.
Late last week, Pronk traveled to Asmara, Eritrea and
returned convinced that the Eastern Front is prepared to start serious
negotiations with the Government with the aim of finding a lasting solution to
the problems of Eastern Sudan.
The Secretary-General told the new government of Sudan
this month that the peace process between North and South must be made
irreversible – which it will not be, unless it takes root in the East and in
the West as well.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO DISCUSS AFRICAN
ON SECURITY COUNCIL REFORM TODAY
The General Assembly will hold
a plenary meeting this afternoon at 3:00 pm to discuss the draft resolution
submitted by the African Union on Security Council reform. The countries
inscribed on the speakers’ list so far are Nigeria, which is introducing the
draft resolution, Egypt and Algeria.
Later in the week, on Friday,
22 July, General Assembly (GA) President, Jean Ping, will submit to the GA a
revised draft out come document for the September summit. (Ping is traveling
tonight to Gabon and will be away through Thursday.)
Next week, on Wednesday, 27
July, and Thursday, 28 July, the General Assembly will hold closed informal
consultations on the revised draft outcome document.
The next planned item on the
General Assembly calendar is the submission by Ping of a further revised draft
outcome document on 5 August.
CULTURE OF FULL RESPECT OF HUMAN RIGHTS NEEDED
The foreign ministers of the so-called Group of Four
nations -- Brazil, Germany, India and Japan -- called on the Secretary-General
on Sunday to brief him on the state of play and to reassure him that they are
interested in broader UN reform, as well as Security Council reform.
Meanwhile, in a
message to a two-day International Conference on
UN Reform which began in Tehran yesterday, the Secretary-General said
he believes the World Summit of 2005 will be an occasion for states to embrace
the concept of the responsibility to protect, and to renew commitment to
disarmament and nonproliferation.
He also said that a culture of full respect for human
rights must be built. On terrorism, he opined that a definition must be agreed
on, and a comprehensive convention outlawing it must be adopted. He asserted
that his proposals must be seen in the broader reform context, in which
development has pride of place, and reiterated the need for an all-out global
effort to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
Asked whether Member States
would work on reforming the Commission on Human Rights, the Spokeswoman said
that the Secretary-General, in his “In
Larger Freedom” report, had spelled out plans for human rights reform
which Member States were looking at closely.
SOCIETY ACTIVISTS TO HOLD CONFERENCE AT U.N. HEADQUARTERS
Tomorrow morning at 9:30, hundreds of civil society
activists will begin a three-day conference at UN Headquarters, to launch a
new international movement to prevent armed conflict. This meeting is the
culmination of a process that began in 2002, when the Secretary-General urged
civil society to meet and define its position on conflict prevention.
Steve Stedman, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on
the Follow-up to the Report of the High-Level Panel, will deliver a statement
on the Secretary-General’s behalf, and Under-Secretaries-General Ibrahim
Gambari and Jan Egeland will also address the conference.
The meeting is being organized by the Global Partnership
for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, in partnership with the Department of
FORMER SENIOR OFFICIAL’S CONTRACT NOT RENEWED: In
response to a question about former senior UN official, Maurice Strong, the
Spokeswoman said that Strong’s contract had expired last week, on 14 July, and
had not been renewed.
U.N. WORKING WITH TAJIKISTAN TO HELP FLOOD VICTIMS:
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
reports that there is an urgent need for fuel, spare parts, food, medication,
tents, blankets and household supplies, following flooding in Tajikistan. In
response to the country’s request for international assistance in mitigating the
disaster, the United Nations has worked in close cooperation with the Government
to provide medication, equipment and information about the flooding.
NIGER NEEDS SEEDS IN WAKE OF FOOD CRISIS: The UN’s
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
reports that Niger is facing a food crisis. FAO says that some 2.5
million people, including 800,000 children are at risk. It also says that Niger
needs an immediate delivery of seeds.
RELIEF SUPPLIES SENT TO HURRICANE SURVIVORS IN GRENADA:
Over the weekend the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
sent supplies to Grenada to help prevent the spread of disease among people
hit by Hurricane Emily. UNICEF flew in water purification tablets, collapsible
water containers and rehydration tablets.
U.N. OFFICIAL CONDEMNS KILLING OF HAITIAN JOURNALIST:
Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO),
today condemned the killing of Haitian journalist Jacques Roche. Roche, the
cultural editor of the daily, Le Matin, was kidnapped for ransom on 10
July. His body was found on 14 July in the capital. Matsuura said, “the press
is one of the sectors most at risk in this climate of terror” in Haiti. “I trust
that the government of Haiti will play its part in restoring order and the rule
NEW GLOBAL CULTURAL SITES RECOGNIZED: The UN
Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has
designated 17 new cultural sites for its World Heritage List. The new
sites range from prehistoric mountains in Israel to the 20th century
works of Antoni Gaudi in Spain.
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