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United Nations Daily Highlights, 99-02-25

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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


Thursday, 25 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.


  • China vetoes extension of UN peacekeeping force in former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Secretary-General says "new approach" may be needed.
  • Secretary-General disturbed by reports of violence in East Timor.
  • Absence of functioning parliament in Haiti creates serious institutional vacuum, says Secretary-General.
  • Secretary-General encouraged by attention given to UN funding during two- day visit to Washington.
  • UNHCR reports alarming rates of malnutrition among Angolan refugees in Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • UN refugee agency contributes $50,000 to peace process in Burundi.
  • Head of UNICEF says adolescents hold key to 21st century.

China on Thursday used its veto in the Security Council to prevent a renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

By a vote of 13 in favour, to one against (China), with one abstention (Russian Federation), the Council failed to adopt a draft resolution that would have extended UNPREDEP's mandate for another six months. It was the first time since March 1997 that the Council failed to adopt a resolution due to the negative vote of one of its permanent members.

UNPREDEP troops monitor sensitive points along the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's borders with Albania and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. They also monitor and report on any illicit arms flows.

Speaking after the vote, the Chinese delegate, Ambassador Huasun Qin, said his government had always maintained that UN peacekeeping operations, including preventive deployment missions should not be open- ended. The situation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia had apparently stabilized in the past few years and its relations with neighbouring countries had improved. The UN's resources should be used in other areas, such as Africa, which were plagued by conflict and instability, he added.

Several United Nations member States addressed the Council expressing regret at China's veto. They argued that there could be a spillover of the tensions from Kosovo across the border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

In a statement issued by his spokesman after the Council vote, Secretary- General Kofi Annan said a new approach would have to be adopted by the government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and its neighbours, in consultation with regional organizations. In a recent report, the Secretary-General had recommended that the UN peacekeeping force be extended for another six-month period, that is until 31 August.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan is very disturbed by reports of violence in East Timor, a UN spokesman said on Thursday.

In a statement, the spokesman said the Secretary-General continues to urge peace and calm, especially at a time when the political process is advancing in a positive direction.

The Secretary-General believes that continued violence would be disruptive to that progress, the spokesman added.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says that the absence of a functioning Parliament has created a serious institutional vacuum in Haiti and continues to cause grave concern for the international community.

In his report to the Security Council on the United Nations Civilian Police Mission in Haiti (MIPONUH), Mr. Annan calls on all political actors to pursue constructive and meaningful negotiations to resolve the crisis.

The Secretary-General also reiterates the need for the formation of a credible Provisional Electoral Council as soon as possible in order to create the basis for early, free and fair elections in Haiti before the end of 1999. "There can be no expectation of international assistance, financial or otherwise, for elections which do not meet the necessary conditions of transparency and credibility," the Secretary-General stresses.

Mr. Annan warns that the current political crisis is having adverse effects on social and economic development. He says without a functioning government and legislature, it is becoming increasingly difficult to utilize international assistance or implement developmental projects.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan concluded two days of meetings in Washington with government and Congressional leaders on Thursday, encouraged by the attention given to the issue of United Nations funding, according to a UN spokesman.

UN spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva said on Thursday that the Secretary- General hopes that the funding issue could be settled this year.

During a "substantive and friendly" meeting on Wednesday, the Secretary- General and Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, touched on a wide range of global issues. They agreed to hold similar meetings more often in the future.

Later, the Secretary-General met at the White House with National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger who explained the Administration's strategy on the payment of US arrears.

At Capitol Hill, the Secretary-General met with House Minority leader, Richard Gephardt, who said he was a strong supporter of paying UN arrears. The two men primarily discussed UN reform and repayment of back dues.

The Secretary-General and Mrs. Annan were guests Wednesday night at a White House dinner hosted by President Clinton for Ghana's President Jerry Rawlings.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported on Thursday alarming rates of malnutrition among Angolan refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The UN agency said that a joint UNHCR/Medicins Sans Frontieres Belgium found that the overall malnutrition rate in the Kisenge camps was 24 per cent, while 12 per cent of the population was severely malnourished.

UNHCR has established three therapeutic feeding centres in the country. The agency intends to purchase supplementary food locally. In addition, the World Food Programme has provided 170 metric tonnes of maize meal.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Sadako Ogata, has made a symbolic contribution of $50,000 to the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation which supports the peace process in Burundi.

According to UNHCR, despite the Arusha talks to resolv

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

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