Posted by: APO | 31 October 2007

UN – HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

 DARFUR PEACE PROCESS IS IRREVERSIBLE

  • The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Darfur Jan Eliasson is conducting talks with representatives of the Government of Sudan, the various movements and regional partners today in Sirte.
     

  • In a joint statement issued last night with his African Union (AU) counterpart, Salim Ahmed Salim, the envoys said the opening of the Sirte talks marked the first stage of a three-phased peace process, which they regard as irreversible.
     

  • They said that they regretted that leaders of some of the movements chose not to attend the opening session and reiterated their hope that they will soon join the process.
     

  • They welcomed the Government of Sudan’s unilateral declaration of a cessation of hostilities, and called on all parties to the conflict to make a similar commitment without delay.
     

  • “The parties cannot talk and fight at the same time without tragic consequences to the population of Darfur,” the joint statement said.
     

  • Over the next few weeks, preparations for the substantive negotiations will take place in Sirte and elsewhere as appropriate. Throughout the process, the envoys will be supported by their Chief Mediators, Ambassador Sam Ibok of the AU and the UN’s Taye-Brook Zerihoun.
     

  • Asked about follow-up activities, the Spokeswoman noted that a mission from the support team in Sirte is traveling to Sudan to talk to the rebel groups which did not attend the Sirte talks.

DARFUR: AFRICAN UNION-UNITED NATIONS FORCE HEADQUARTERS OPENS

  • Rodolphe Adada, the UN-AU Joint Special Representative for Darfur, today marked the official opening of the joint mission’s headquarters in El Fashir.
     

  • Adada inspected the communications systems and established contacts by phone and satellite with UN Headquarters, the AU Commission in Addis Ababa, the UN Mission in Khartoum, as well as the Nyala and El Geneina regions of Darfur.
     
  • In a statement, Adada said it was only three months ago, when the Security Council adopted Resolution 1769, which established an AU-UN Hybrid operation in Darfur, incorporating the African Union mission (AMIS) personnel and the UN Heavy and Light Support Packages.
     
  • He said the United Nations and the African Union are currently conducting pre-deployment visits to some of the Troop Contributing Countries to inspect the troops and their equipment.
     
  • But he also flagged the lack of pledges for specialized units in areas such as aviation and land transport.

 BAN KI-MOON DISPATCHES ENVOY TO EASTERN DR CONGO

  • The Secretary General is deeply concerned about the ongoing crisis in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and its impact on the region.
     
  • He has decided to dispatch Haile Menkerios, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on a special mission to the region. Menkerios previously served as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the DRC. Menkerios will leave for the region this evening.
     
  • Menkerios will consult with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and other leaders in the region, as well as the DRC’s bilateral and multilateral partners, to find ways to resolve the immediate crisis and to address its underlying causes.
     
  • In carrying out his mission, Menkerios will coordinate closely with the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and with international partners currently engaged in initiatives to help resolve the crisis.

HUNDREDS OF CHILD SOLDIERS SERVING IN D.R. CONGO ARMY

  • The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo estimates that some 200 children are currently serving among the Congolese Army troops deployed to fight dissident soldiers in the North Kivu province.
     
  • The Mission reminds the authorities that the use of child soldiers contravenes international agreements to which the DR Congo is a party and urges them to immediately cease the practice of recruiting children into their ranks.
     
  • The Mission, meanwhile, has praised the judicial and military leaders of the Bukavu region for their determined efforts to end the jailing of children by military jurisdictions. It is unclear how many underage detainees were released in Bukavu following the adoption of this decision. But the Mission cites it as an example which should be followed by other Congolese jurisdictions, in particular that of the North Kivu province where accused child soldiers are frequently jailed.
     
  • UNICEF, for its part, has begun a vast anti-measles immunization campaign that will benefit some 30,000 children in the town of Kalembe and another 3000 in Lukala.

 SECURITY COUNCIL TO VOTE ON SUDAN AND WESTERN SAHARA RESOLUTIONS

  • The Security Council has scheduled consultations at 3 p.m. on the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).
     
  • The Security Council is also scheduled to hold two formal meetings at 3:00 this afternoon, to vote on resolutions that would extend the mandates of the UN Mission in Sudan and the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara by six months each.
     
  • Today is the last day of Ghana’s Presidency of the Security Council.
     
  • Tomorrow, Ambassador Marty Natalegawa of Indonesia assumes the Council’s rotating presidency for November.

 THOUSANDS OF SOMALIS DISPLACED BY FIERCE FIGHTING IN MOGADISHU

  • In the wake of increased fighting around Mogadishu, the U.N. Refugee Agency now reports that some 88,000 Somalis fled the city between this past Saturday and Monday, or more than left the city in the past four months.
     
  • The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs notes that entire districts have been emptied of inhabitants.  There is widespread fear among the population, as daily attacks become better-organized, various authorities issue evacuation orders and conduct house-to-house searches, and large-scale detentions continue.  Deteriorating security has also hindered the work of aid agencies.

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