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United Nations Daily Highlights, 99-02-23

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <> - email:


Tuesday, 23 February, 1999

This daily news round-up is prepared by the Central News Section of the Department of Public Information. The latest update is posted at approximately 6:00 PM New York time.


  • Security Council urges intensified efforts to speed up peace process in Tajikistan.
  • More work ahead to assure peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Security Council members.
  • Security Council members say Rambouillet agreements have set up political framework for Kosovo's autonomy.
  • Renewed fighting displaces about 9,000 people in Kosovo.
  • Secretary-General says it is in US national interest to support international response to conflicts.
  • UN Deputy Secretary-General says global and local efforts needed to ensure sustainable development.

The Security Council on Tuesday called on the Tajik parties to intensify their efforts to speed up the peace process in Tajikistan.

In a presidential statement read out at an open meeting, the Security Council expressed regret over slow progress during the past three months and underlined the necessity for the parties to speed up the "full and sequential" implementation of the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan. The Council called on the Tajik parties to intensify their efforts to create conditions for the holding in 1999 of a constitutional referendum and presidential elections, as well as the timely holding of parliamentary elections.

While welcoming international efforts to address the humanitarian, rehabilitation and development needs of Tajikistan, the Security Council called for prompt and generous response to the consolidated appeal for Tajikistan for 1999 launched in Geneva in December last year.

The Council reiterated its concern at the precarious security situation in some parts of Tajikistan and underlined again the importance of a full investigation into the murder in July 1998 of the United Nations personnel in Tajikistan. It called on the United Tajik Opposition to contribute more effectively to the investigation in order to bring those responsible to justice.

The Security Council called on the parties to cooperate in ensuring the security and freedom of movement of the personnel of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Peacekeeping Forces and other international personnel.

While noting substantial progress in the past months in Bosnia and Herzegovina, members of the Security Council said on Tuesday that much more remained to be done to make peace self-sustaining in that country.

In a statement to the press, Council President, Ambassador Robert Fowler of Canada, said that Council members expressed concern that, despite achievements in the field of minority return, significant breakthroughs were still needed. They also expressed concern at the continuing difficulties to form a Government in Republika Srpska, which should be settled in accordance with the constitution of Republika Srpska and the Peace Agreement.

Ambassador Fowler issued the statement after the Council reviewed the latest report of Carlos Westendorp, High Representative for implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The President of the Security Council said that Council members welcomed the conclusions of the Peace Implementation Council meeting held in Madrid on 15-16 December 1998. They underlined that the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina had to assume greater responsibilities for the functions now undertaken or coordinated by the international community.

Members of the Security Council have voiced satisfaction that with the agreements reached in Rambouillet, France, a political framework for substantial autonomy for Kosovo has been set out.

The accords capped two weeks of intensive efforts aimed at reaching an agreement on substantial autonomy for Kosovo, which respects the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

In a press statement by the President of the Security Council, Ambassador Robert Fowler of Canada, members of the Security Council noted the commitment of the parties to attend a conference covering all aspects of the implementation of the Rambouillet agreements, scheduled to be held in France on 15 March. Council members encouraged the parties to work constructively to this end.

Council members underlined that it was essential for all the parties to refrain from any action which could jeopardize the achievements of the Rambouillet negotiations.

In a worst wave of displacement this year, renewed fighting in Kosovo has driven an estimated 9,000 people from their homes since last weekend, according to the UN refugee agency .

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in Geneva on Tuesday that over the weekend, about 5,000 people fled the Studencane area in Suva Reka municipality following an encounter between Serbian security forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

The UN agency added that on Monday, police and army units fired at several villages in the Vucitrn about 25 kilometres northwest of Pristina prompting some 4,000 people to flee their homes. UNHCR said that its staff saw at least five wounded ethnic Albanians.

Some of the fleeing people said that the police, who were searching for KLA fighters, were allowing only women and children to leave.

It was in America's national interest to support an international response to even seemingly remote conflicts because they seldom remained confined to one country or region, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Tuesday.

The Secretary-General was delivering an address at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., after receiving the Jit Trainor award for distinction in the conduct of diplomacy. He said that because of the international community's failure to respond effectively in Rwanda, seven countries were now fighting each other in a mineral-rich region which should have been a prime area for investment and development. "Is this something the US can afford to ignore?" Mr. Annan asked.

Speaking about the complex circumstances in which peacekeeping mandates were often determined, the Secretary-General said that the world "must be prepared to act while things are still unclear and uncertain, but in time to make a difference." There must be sufficient resources, including credible military strength when a deterrent was necessary. Once an operation was authorized, every Council member, especially those who voted for it, must pay their share of the cost, promptly and in full, he added.

While acknowledging the need for caution in taking on new mandates in countries with many different interests and ethnic animosities, the Secretary-General said regional or sub-regional bodies would not be able to handle such problems without UN help. It was therefore unfortunate, he said, that the Security Council had been reluctant to authorize new UN peacekeeping operations and had left regional or sub-regional organizations to struggle with local conflicts on their own.

Earlier on Tuesday afternoon, the Secretary-General, who is on a two-day official visit to Washington D.C., met with US Senate majority leader Trent Lott and Swedish Ambassador Rolf Ekeus, the former head of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM).

Because of political will and coalition-building between governments and civil society, economic development, environmental protection and social progress were now seen as part of a single, urgent mission, UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frech‚tte said on Tuesday.

In an address at the American University in Washington D.C., at the invitation of the Center for Global South, Ms. Frech‚tte spoke about the challenges and opportunities of advancing sustainable development.

The Deputy Secretary-General said global issues, such as climate change and marine pollution, cried out for an international response. However, the most creative and tangible problem-solving was done at the local level, which was closest to people's hearts.

The United Nations and non-governmental organizations must bridge the gap between the local and the global approach to ensure sustainable development, she said. If a link was not forged between climate change in the broad sense and an industry polluting a given community, the grass roots would not be mobilized. Without the grass roots, without the public on board, sustainable development would remain "a concept whose elegance we can admire but whose liberating power we will never experience," the Deputy Secretary-General concluded.

For information purposes only - - not an official record

From the United Nations home page at <> - email:

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