HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON
BY MARIE OKABE
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
ANNAN INTERRUPTS VACATION TO
RETURN TO FOCUS ON UN REFORM SUMMIT
The Secretary-General will be returning to New York
today, Tuesday, 30 August. He has decided to interrupt his vacation to take
stock of progress towards the
2005 World Summit, and to support the President of the General Assembly in
his efforts to ensure a successful Summit.
Asked about the early return of
the Secretary-General, the Spokeswoman said it will be the third time he has
interrupted his current vacation. She reiterated that he wants to take stock
of what has been done in the lead-up to the World Summit and to support the
General Assembly President.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY “CORE GROUP” MEETS ON SUMMIT
General Assembly Core Group on the draft outcome document for next month’s
summit will continue to meet throughout the week.
Following a schedule set out by General Assembly President Jean Ping, the
group will tackle seven priority issues identified by Ping: development, UN
Secretariat reform, the establishment of a Human Rights Council, the creation
of a Peace Building Commission, disarmament and non-proliferation, terrorism
and the responsibility to protect. |
The Group took up terrorism and the Peace Building Commission yesterday, and
appointed a smaller group for each of the two subjects to conduct negotiations
and hammer out details on those sections. A similar approach will be followed
for the other priority items as well.
REMOVAL OF MDGs FROM SUMMIT OUTCOME WOULD
BE A SETBACK
Asked if the Secretary-General would urge Member States
to resist calls to remove mention of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
from the World Summit’s outcome document, the Spokeswoman said the
Secretary-General and the United Nations stand behind the MDGs which are
internationally accepted and which have the broad support of member states an
The Spokeswoman added that any effort to eliminate the
MDGs from the Summit’s outcome document would be a setback to the global fight
COUNCIL TO HEAR LATEST ON LEBANON INQUIRY
With regard to the latest developments in the investigation into the
assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the
Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari, will be
briefing the Security Council this afternoon in closed session at 3 p.m.
What we can confirm at this point, based on information received from the
Detlev Mehlis, who heads the independent investigative commission, is that
in the course of the ongoing investigation, the Commission identified three
former heads of Lebanese intelligence and security agencies (Brig Gen Raymond
Azar, Maj. Gen Jameel al-Sayeed and Ali al-Hajj), as well as former member of
parliament Nasser Kandil, as suspects in the assassination of Hariri and
This morning, on the orders
of Commissioner Mehlis and with the full cooperation of the Lebanese police
forces, the homes and premises of the suspects were searched for evidence. The
suspects, with the exception of Mr. Kandil who is in Syria, are being
interviewed. Gen. Mustafa Hamdan, who was previously declared a suspect, was
summoned for a second interview. (The Spokeswoman later said that Kandil
returned to Lebanon and was interviewed.)
Asked if Mehlis would be
presenting the findings of the investigation to the Secretary-General in New
York next week, the Spokeswoman noted that Mehlhi was due in New York for
consultations and there has been no word on whether Mehlis is seeking an
extension to the deadline for submission of the report. The Spokeswoman later
said that no written report was expected at that time of his planned visit
Asked if Gambari would present
a written document to the Security Council Tuesday, the Spokeswoman said there
was to be no written presentation and Gambari would not comment publicly.
COUNCIL TAKES UP BURUNDI, SUDAN
Secretary-General’s Principal Deputy Special for Burundi,
Nureldin Satti, briefed on activities in that country.
Regarding Sudan, the
Peacekeeping Operations, Hedi Annabi, briefed on the
Abuja talks, the peace talks between
the Sudanese government and rebel groups from the Darfur region.
The consultations were followed
by a formal meeting during which a
Statement on Burundi was read by Security Council President, Japanese
Ambassador Kenzo Oshima. In the statement, the Council acknowledged the
election of Pierre Nkurunziza as President and called on all parties to
respect the will of the Burundian people the elected Government and the
commitments agreed during the transitional process.
press statement on Sudan, the Security Council strongly urged the parties
to return to the talks in Abuja, Nigeria, on September 15th as
requested by the African Union and to negotiate constructively and urgently to
secure an early agreement.
In Sudan itself, the Principle
Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General Tayé Zerihoun met today
with Salim Ahmed Salim, the African Union mediator for the inter-Sudanese
talks on Darfur. Discussions focused on the ongoing preparations for the 6th
round of Abuja talks scheduled to take place on September 15, which will
tackle the issues of power-sharing, wealth sharing and security arrangements.
The Deputy Special
Representative of the Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and
Development Manuel Aranda Da Silva left yesterday to Juba for a two days visit
during which he will attend the meeting of the Technical Committee between the
Sudanese Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Government of Sudan on
humanitarian issues. He is also scheduled to meet with the UN Country Team to
discuss their move from Rumbek to Juba, following the decision of the SPLM to
have Juba as the capital of South Sudan.
U.N. LAUNCHES FLASH HUMANITARIAN APPEAL
The United Nations today launched a
flash appeal for nearly $88 million for Malawi, where at least 4.2 million
people – a third of the population -- are threatened by acute food
In the short term, the requested funds will be used to
provide emergency humanitarian aid for the most vulnerable. In the longer
term, the appeal strengthens a national plan to provide much-needed maize seed
Jan Egeland, the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator, says
the appeal is an investment in prevention, which will prove more cost
effective than providing emergency assistance year after year.
LETTER ON JOURNALISTS KILLED IN IRAQ HAS
Asked if the Secretary-General has received
a letter from the International Federation of Journalists requesting an
investigation into the deaths journalists in Iraq, the Spokeswoman said the
letter had been received at UN Headquarters yesterday.
She noted that the letter is being studied,
and that the Secretary-General has repeatedly urged all actors in conflict
situations around the world to protect the right of all citizens to reliable
information and the right of journalists to provide it without fearing for
U.N. BLUE HELMETS TIGHTEN SECURITY IN KOSOVO
UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) has tightened security in Kosovo, putting
extra police patrols on the streets of Serb enclaves, following last weekend’s
shooting incident, in which two Serbs were killed.
Kai Vittrup, UNMIK’s Police Commissioner, said in a press conference yesterday
that he considers the incident an isolated one that should not be seen as a
first step in future terror attacks against minorities.
this stage of the investigation, the ethnicity of the suspects was unknown, he
U.N. TSUNAMI CHIEF TO ASSESS RECOVERY
Eric Schwartz, the UN Deputy
Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, will travel to Sri Lanka and Indonesia
tomorrow for a 10-day assessment mission.
The purpose of his visit is to
see first-hand the impact the tsunami has had on people’s lives and to gauge
the current status of the recovery effort.
Schwartz will consult with a
wide range of partners, including government officials and representatives of
UN agencies, civil society and the business community. And he will focus on
the launch of the online financial tracking system, shelter, livelihoods and
sustainable timber sourcing.
On a related note, the
report on the UN’s International Strategy for Disaster Reduction is out on
the racks today. Among other things, the Secretary-General encourages
Governments to maintain their support for the development of a tsunami early
U.N. SAYS DELIBERATE FOREST FIRES ARE A
HEALTH HAZARD: The
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is
calling for a halt to the use of fire for land clearance. FAO
says large forest fires in South-East Asia, especially in Indonesia, have
caused serious health and environmental problems. FAO says most of the fires in
the region are intentional, and any clearance should be mechanized, which is
ROAD CRASH DEATHS CAN BE ALLEVIATED: The
Secretary-General has sent to the General Assembly a
report from the
World Health Organization (WHO) outlining steps that can be taken worldwide
to alleviate the problem of road accidents. The WHO report recommends, among
other things, that all nations develop road safety education programs and join
international organizations that standardize safety regulations and procedures.
WHO says that traffic accidents kill some 1.2 million people a year.
*** The guest at the noon briefing was Nureldin Satti the
Secretary-General’s Principle Deputy Special Representative for Burundi, who
briefed on developments in that country.
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