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United Nations Daily Highlights, 98-01-23
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.com
Friday, 23 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.
Following a briefing on Friday by the head of the United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq on his recent talks in Baghdad, members of the Security Council shared the overall view that the Government's proposed moratorium on inspections must be rejected.
In his report to the Council, Ambassador Richard Butler, Executive Chairman of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) overseeing the disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, says the country's Deputy Prime Minister proposed that inspections be halted until technical meetings on outstanding issues have been held.
"The general view was expressed that the idea of a moratorium is unacceptable," Council President Alain Dejammet told reporters. He added that Council members "will continue to consult with a view to adopting a unanimous reaction aimed at the implementation of the Security Council resolutions."
Ambassador Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation stressed the need to pursue diplomacy, saying the Council should "avoid any steps that would risk losing the UN-monitoring system in Iraq and would risk disruption of relations between Iraq and the UN". He added that this "proves the need to rely entirely on diplomatic efforts and to keep searching for diplomatic solutions for the full solution of problems of access."
Ambassador Bill Richardson of the United States said that Iraq was acting in defiance of the international community. "In the next few days, we will be consulting with our allies on the next step," he said, adding, "We want to resolve this situation diplomatically, but we are not ruling any option out."
Ambassador Butler, who was in Baghdad from 19 to 21 January, characterized Iraq's conduct during the talks as "disturbing and disappointing". He said that Iraq has a vastly different version of the history of UNSCOM's work, describing Baghdad's interpretation as "significantly flawed".
The report notes that in the view of Iraq, as expressed by its Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, the country has no weapons of mass destruction nor the means to produce them, and that the sole reason this remains unrecognized is because of UNSCOM's refusal to do so. "These declarations by Iraq are only that. Sadly, Iraq has been unprepared to allow UNSCOM to verify its claims by adequately documenting them, by cooperating in UNSCOM enquiries and by allowing full access, including for inspections, under the terms laid down by the Council."
Secretary-General Kofi Annan departs Monday for a week-long trip to Europe, where he will hold meetings in Paris and London before attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
According to his Spokesman, the Secretary-General will meet in Paris with President Jacques Chirac, Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine and the President of the Senate, Rene Monory.
In London, he will meet with the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the European Union, Robin Cook.
In Davos, the Secretary-General will attend the World Economic Forum, including various sessions dealing with global governance issues. He will also meet business leaders with a view to enhancing cooperation between the United Nations and the world business community. In addition, the Secretary- General will hold bilateral meetings and consultations with several heads of State and government who are also attending the Forum.
The United Nations refugee agency has evacuated more than 160 Tutsi refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo by air from Gisenyi to Kigali.
A Spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told the press on Friday that the evacuation followed several security incidents in northwest Rwanda earlier this week. Kris Janowski said that many of the refugees had been recuperating in the Gisenyi hospital from wounds inflicted during the December attack on the Mudenge refugee camp. At least 300 Congolese were killed in that attack.
The refugee group, which included family members of the patients, was then transported by truck from Kigali to Byumba in the northeast where the Mudenge population had been transferred to their safety, said Mr. Janowski.
The UNHCR Spokesman told reporters that six refugees were still unable to travel and would remain with caretakers in the hospital. The United Nations refugee agency was also seeking permission from the Ministry of Social Affairs to transfer 185 unaccompanied Hutu children from centres in Gisenyi.
The United Nations refugee agency organized the movements by air because of frequent ambushes on the main road linking Gisenyi and the rest of the country.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has expressed concern at the round-up of Iraqis and others in Turkey.
The United Nations refugee agency's Spokesman, Kris Janowski, said on Friday that the agency had requested the Turkish authorities not to arbitrarily detain nor forcibly return asylum-seekers and refugees who are in need of international protection. "We understand the government's need to deal with persons illegally staying on its territory", Mr. Janowski said, adding, however, that some of the "illegals" in Turkey might be asylum- seekers who were unable to apply for asylum within the period specified in the Turkish asylum law. The law allows asylum- seekers only five days to file their claims with the local police.
Pointing out that 65 per cent of Iraqi asylum-seekers received either refugee or humanitarian status, the UNHCR Spokesman said that this high figure signalled that many of the people leaving Iraq legally or illegally had well-founded fear of persecution.
UNHCR said that border controls within or around Europe were unlikely to solve the current problem of migration and urged European countries to look into the causes of flight and ways to promote stability so that people are not forced to flee their homes.
The Commission on National Reconciliation (CNR) in Tajikistan resumed its work on Friday, the Secretary-General's Special Representative in Tajikistan reported on Friday.
Gerd Merrem said that the resumption of the Commission's work followed a meeting between Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov and Abdullo Nuri, leader of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) and Chairman of the Commission. The two Tajik leaders had been brought together by Mr. Merrem in cooperation with members of the Contact Group on Tajikistan.
According to a United Nations Spokesman, the UTO had withdrawn from the Commission late last week in protest of the lack of progress in the implementation of the peace agreement. The General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan and the Moscow Declaration signed by the parties in June 1997 launched a transitional period in the country following the civil war which broke out in 1992.
The United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) supports the work of the CNR and coordinates the Contact Group which comprises guarantor States and organizations.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson on Friday concluded her visit to Cambodia.
According to a United Nations Spokesman, Ms. Robinson met Second Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday morning. The Cambodian official gave the Human Rights Commissioner assurances that the mandate of her office in Cambodia could continue beyond March when the Memorandum of Understanding with the Government expires.
Ms Robinson expressed to him her concern that there be a thorough investigation of the violence which erupted after the coup of last July. In that coup, First Prime Minister Norodom Ranarridh was overthrown and went into exile. The Human Rights Commissioner offered the services of international experts in the investigation, an offer which was accepted by the Second Prime Minister.
United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Myanmar has concluded his mission to the country.
Assistant Secretary-General Alvaro de Soto on Friday met with Senior General Than Shwe the Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council. He also visited the burial site of U Thant, who served as Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1961 to 1971.
Earlier, Mr. de Soto, who arrived in Myanmar on Tuesday, had met with the leader of the National League for Democracy, Daw Aung Suu Kyi, and Secretary-One of the State Peace and Development Council, Lieutenant- General Khin Nyunt.
The head of the Vienna-based United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) met with an Italian parliamentary committee discuss the United Nations strategy to deal with drugs.
The Executive Director of the UNDCP, Pino Arlacchi, himself a national of Italy, met with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Italian Parliament on Friday to exchange views on the new United Nations strategy which will be submitted to the United Nations General Assembly special session on drugs. The session is scheduled to be held in New York from 8 to 10 June 1998.
Mr. Arlacchi and the Italian Committee also discussed a global plan for the reduction of illicit crops and monitoring drug production as well money laundering.
A Geneva-based Committee monitoring the Convention on the Rights of the Child has noted that the Security Council sanctions against Libya are impeding the realization of the rights of its citizens, including children.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child, which concluded its three- week session on Friday, found that the sanctions had adversely affected the economy and many aspects of the daily life of Libyans, including children, thereby impeding the full enjoyment of their rights to health and education.
In its recommendations to Libya, Committee experts said the Government should further research the issue of domestic violence and child abuse, as well as the situation of child labour, including the involvement of children in hazardous work.
Also reviewed during the recent session was the report of Ireland. The Committee recommended a number of measures to improve its implementation of the Convention, including that the Government move immediately to tackle the problem of child poverty. The Government was also advised to work to eliminate the use of corporal punishment within the family environment.
The Committee also examined the report of the Federated States of Micronesia, finding that domestic legislation did not fully conform to the provisions and principles of the Convention. Committee members also expressed concern about the absence of laws regulating child labour and providing for a minimum age for employment in the country.
United Nations awards were presented on Friday to advertisers from Switzerland, South Africa and Australia in honour of their public services messages.
IMPULS Advertising AG of Switzerland won the Gold United Nations Award for its television campaign entitled "Campaign against Racism and Anti- Semitism: Thai/Refugee/Chinese". The Silver United Nations Award went to DDB South Africa for "Gutter/Body Bag/Girl", an innovative print campaign against drug use. The Bronze United Nations Award went to Ogilvy & Mather Pty Ltd. of Australia for "Domestic Violence", a radio public service advertisement.
Presented annually, the United Nations Awards are jointly sponsored by the United Nations Department of Public Information and The New York Festivals. Samir Sanbar, Assistant Secretary-General for Public Information, presented the awards at the New York Festivals International Television & Cinema Advertising Awards Show at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York.
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