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United Nations Daily Highlights, 98-01-08

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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

DAILY HIGHLIGHTS

Thursday, 8 January 1998


This document is prepared by the Central News Section of the Department of Public Information and is updated every week-day at approximately 6:00 PM.

HEADLINES

  • Security Council members deplore attacks on an airfield in Afghanistan during delivery of relief supplies.
  • Members of the Security Council express support for regional peacekeeping in Central African Republic.
  • Senior United Nations official meets Italian President to discuss drug control.
  • Floods claim dozens of lives in Peru, according to United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs.
  • Food shortages pose a threat to all children in Democratic People's Republic of Korea, says United Nations official.
  • Three more Member States pay in full their assessed contributions to the United Nations.


The members of the Security Council on Thursday deplored the recent aerial attacks on the Bamiyan airfield in Afghanistan during delivery of humanitarian relief supplies by the World Food Programme (WFP).

Following a briefing of the Security Council by Lakhdar Brahimi, the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Council President, Ambassador Alain Dejammet of France, said that such deliberate attacks were unacceptable.

He said that the members of the Council supported the Secretary- General's call to the Taliban authorities to allow unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance and to cease any action which endanger the safety of the UN and humanitarian personnel.

On a related matter, Ambassador Dejammet told reporters that members of the Security Council were deeply concerned about reports of mass killings of civilians and prisoners of war in Afghanistan, firmly condemning such action.

Finally, Ambassador Dejammet said, the members of the Council reiterated their support for the efforts of the United Nations and the activities of the Secretary-General's Special Envoy.


The members of the Security Council have expressed their support for the regional peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic.

The members of the Council met on Thursday to consider a report submitted by the Secretary-General on the activities of the Inter-African Mission to Monitor the Bangui Agreements (MISAB).

The President of the Security Council, Ambassador Alain Dejammet told reporters that the Council members noted that progress had been achieved in the implementation of the Bangui Agreements and in collecting weapons. Nevertheless, in their view, improvement of the situation in the Central African Republic required full implementation of all the provisions of the Bangui Agreements, revamping of the armed forces and settlement of the financial crisis. They called on the authorities of the Central African Republic, all political parties and social forces to actively work towards full implementation of the Agreements.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their support for MISAB and the International Monitoring Committee chaired by General Amadou Toumani Toure, the President of the Security Council added. They called on all Member States to contribute to the trust fund which has been set up to help support the troops participating in MISAB.

In a related development, a United Nations Spokesman said that Hedi Annabi, an Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations was currently visiting the Central African Republic. The visit is in connection with the preparation of the Secretary-General's next report on the implementation the Security Council decision of 6 November 1997 to approve the continued operation of MISAB for three more months.


The President of Italy has told the head of the Vienna-based United Nations Drug Control Programme that he supports measures to deal with drugs and criminals. President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro met with Under- Secretary-General Pino Arlacchi for one hour on Thursday to discuss matters of common interests.

Mr. Arlacchi briefed the President on the initiatives of a forthcoming special session of the United Nations General Assembly to discuss drug control. President Scalfaro expressed his wholehearted support for this gathering to assess the progress made in the fight against drugs and organized crime. He said he hoped to be able to attend.

The President of Italy expressed his appreciation of the "Global Plan for Eradication of Illicit Crops" proposed by Mr. Arlacchi and encouraged the United Nations official to continue his efforts. He endorsed a proposal to abolish bank secrecy laws for members of criminal organizations. The proposal is to be presented at the Special Session. The Italian leader recalled his support for the measure since the time he served as the Italian Minister of Interior.

President Luigi Scalfaro expressed his personal appreciation and Italy's support for the programmes and actions of the United Nations Office in Vienna to deal with many problems affecting the world community.


Unusual weather conditions caused by El Nino have claimed the lives of 28 people in Peru, according to the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA).

In its situation report on Peru, DHA says that 12 other inhabitants are missing, with close to seven thousand people affected so far by the floods.

The floods have destroyed or partially damaged 1,940 houses and destroyed 2, 239 hectares of farmland in the country. The damaged crops included bananas, rice soya, tobacco, corn and potatoes.

During the past week, heavy rains have continued to cause flooding and landslides in the northern and central parts of Peru. Quoting a report of the "Instituto del Mar del Peru", DHA says that sea surface temperatures continued to increase in November 1997. The temperature of the Pacific Ocean is reported to have reached an average anomaly of 4.2 degrees centigrade, an increase which has not been seen during the past fifty years. According to the report, the heating of the sea close to the coast of Peru and Ecuador will prevail throughout January, February and March 1998.

Through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/DHA Resident Representative, the Government of Peru has launched an appeal for international assistance. The appeal is for emergency relief supplies such as shelter, food and cooking equipment, tools, equipment for draining or supplying water, and equipment for supplying electricity.


All the children in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) are at a major risk as a result of severe food shortages, according to a United Nations official.

Briefing the press on Thursday, Douglas Coutts, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for DPRK, said that the World Food Programme (WFP) together with other United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations, will expand their operation in the country.

He said that they will provide food rations not only to the targeted children aged from six months to six years, but also to those who are from seven to twelve years of age. He said that they will re-introduce a custom of having a school lunch arrangement by providing a much broader ration scale to the children.

In addition to that, Mr. Coutts said, United Nations agencies and non- governmental organizations will continue to assist the hospitals and clinics. They will also supply food to institutions for the mentally and physically handicapped, as well as to pregnant and lactating women throughout the country.

Stressing that food aid alone was not the answer, the Humanitarian Coordinator said that the health sector aspects of the humanitarian operation should be coordinated very carefully. "We have many situations where food is supplied and the medicines are not available to the children to deal with the various medical problems", he said. He added that at times food was not available to the children when the medicines were there.

On Tuesday Catherine Bertini, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme launched an appeal in order to expand the emergency feeding operation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.


Three more Member States have paid in full their assessed contributions to the 1998 budget of the United Nations.

Marshall Islands paid $10,516, Mozambique $21,032 and Sweden $11.5 million. This brought to five the total number of Member States which have paid in full this year.

The outstanding contributions to the United Nations budget still stand at $3.1 billion. Of this amount, approximately $1.6 billion is for the regular budget and over $1.5 billion is for peacekeeping.


For information purposes only - - not an official record

From the United Nations home page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org


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