The SG’s travels in South-East Europe; Camp Ashraf Roadmap; Iraqi refugees in Syria; Lebanon- Syria border; Somalia;

The SG’s travels in South- East Europe: Continuing his visit to South-East Europe, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the importance of dialogue and engagement across the region, highlighting the importance of the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

“One overriding theme of my visit is the importance of dialogue and mutual respect across the region,” Mr. Ban told reporters upon his arrival in Kosovo’s capital, Pristina. “I have emphasized to all the leaders I am meeting the crucial importance of taking further steps for greater understanding.”

Over the past week Mr. Ban has visited Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Serbia, promoting the partnership between United Nations and the region, as well as discussing common challenges and future opportunities.

Camp Ashraf Roadmap: The United Nations mission in Iraq today presented a roadmap to the Government suggesting a series of steps to complete the peaceful relocation of Iranian exiles from Camp Ashraf to Camp Hurriya.

The roadmap has been designed to address the concerns of both the residents and the Government of Iraq, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) said in a news release, adding that its roadmap outlines preparations to be made and a “step-by-step approach for the relocation,” which addresses issues such as water and power supply and other humanitarian needs.

Iraqi refugees in Syria: Violence and threats have forced more than 10,000 Iraqi refugees in Syria to flee the country over the past week, the United Nations refugee agency said today, with the majority returning to their home country in spite of security concerns.

Thousands of Iraqi refugees have had to relocate from the Damascus suburb of Seida Zeinab to other suburbs. Some cited direct threats to their safety, while others expressed a fear of being caught up in the violence,” the spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Melissa Fleming, told reporters in Geneva.

Lebanon- Syria border: In a meeting with Lebanon’s Prime Minister, a senior UN official today expressed concern over the over recent incidents along the country’s borders with Syria, and emphasized that the Security Council and the international community are committed to preserving security and stability in the area.

“I told the Prime Minister that Council members were concerned by the incidents along Lebanon’s borders with Syria and that they had stressed the importance of respect for Lebanon’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, said in a statement following his meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), some 18,000 Syrians crossed into Lebanon last week, with many refugees telling UNHCR that they planned to stay for three or four weeks until calm returned to the cities of Damascus and Homs.

Somalia:  The United Nations envoy for Somalia has welcomed the progress made in the selection of the 825 members of the national body that will convene this week to discuss, vote on and adopt a new provisional constitution for the Horn of Africa nation.

The members of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA), drawn from all Somali clans, will meet for nine days beginning tomorrow on the new provisional constitution, which will provide the legal framework governing the workings of the new Somali Federal Institutions after August 2012, when the current transition period is due to end.