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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-02-23

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NOON BRIEFING

BY FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, February 23, 2001

ANNAN, SENIOR OFFICIALS BEGIN TALKS WITH IRAQ MONDAY

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's talks with an Iraqi delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, will begin on Monday.

The first session will take place Monday from 10 to 12 a.m. The Secretary-General will chair the UN delegation, which will also include UN Legal Counsel Hans Corell; Jayantha Dhanapala, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs; Benon Sevan, Director of the Office of the Iraq Programme; Danilo Turk, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs; Shashi Tharoor, acting head of Department of Public Information; Vladimir Grachev of the Secretary-General's Executive Office; and Iqbal Riza, Chief of Staff.

After the opening session, Riza will host a working lunch. There will be two sessions in the afternoon, one from 3 to 4:15 p.m. on disarmament issues and a second from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on humanitarian issues.

On Tuesday, the first session will again start at 10 a.m. and will deal with unfinished business from the first day, as well as other topics. The concluding session will be from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

The Secretary-General will head the UN delegation at the opening and the closing sessions and may meet privately with al-Sahaf.

Asked why Hans Blix, head of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), had not been included in the talks, the Spokesman pointed out that Blix does not report to the Secretary-General but to the Security Council. Dhanapala, the senior UN official dealing with disarmament, would be present, he noted.

In response to questions, Eckhard said that he assumed that Annan would report to the Council at some point on the meetings. He said the Secretary-General looked forward to the talks, adding, in response to questions, that the lack of a written agenda from Iraq was not a concern.

COUNCIL CONSIDERS EXTENSION OF UN WESTERN SAHARA MISSION

The Security Council held closed consultations today on Western Sahara, on which it will receive a briefing by William Eagleton, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Western Sahara, on the Secretary-General's latest report.

The Council considered a draft resolution to extend the mandate of the UN Mission in Western Sahara by two months, until April 30, while the work of the Secretary-General's Personal Envoy, James Baker, continues. In his report, the Secretary-General had called for a two-month extension of the UN Mission, the current mandate of which expires on February 28.

UN MISSION NOTES REDEPLOYMENT OF ETHIOPIAN TROOPS

The UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) has received notification from the Ethiopian government that it completed the redeployment of its troops on Thursday. The UN Mission will begin its task of verifying this information on February 26, in accordance with the agreement on establishing the Temporary Security Zone.

The Eritrean rearrangement is expected to be completed by March 3.

Meanwhile, the Eritrean Refugee and Relief Commission (ERREC) and the United Nations have launched an appeal of some $223 million to the international donor community to support humanitarian activities in 2001.

UN OBSERVERS IN CONGO TO OBSERVE RWANDAN PULLOUT

A team of four military observers belonging to the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) left Kinshasa today for Pweto as part of the preparation for the deployment of UN observers in the town to monitor the disengagement of Rwandan troops. That disengagement was confirmed this week by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.

The team of UN observers will become operational as of Sunday.

The UN Mission in Congo is expecting the arrival of 40 military observers on Monday, as Kamel Morjane, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative, noted on Thursday.

UN REPRESENTATIVE WELCOMES NEW BOSNIAN COUNCIL OF MINISTERS

In Bosnia and Herzegovina today, the Secretary-General's Special Representative, Jacques Klein, welcomed the formation of the new Council of Ministers, which was voted into office Thursday by the Bosnian House of Representatives.

In a statement from the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Klein said that "the future of Bosnia seems brighter with a Government made up for the first time of non-nationalistic political parties that are truly dedicated to moving Bosnia forward, instead of keeping it mired in the conflict of the past."

The UN Mission added that the democratic changes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, combined with those in neighboring Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, provide a real reason for optimism after the past decade of conflict and economic hardship.

UN REPRESENTATIVE DISCUSSES TRIBUNAL IN INDONESIA

Today in Jakarta, Sergio Vieira de Mello, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in East Timor, met with Indonesian Attorney General Marzuki Darusman. They discussed among other topics the establishment of a human rights tribunal in Indonesia.

Following the meeting, Vieira de Mello said that the UN Mission in East Timor hoped that the human rights court would materialize soon because there were cases which needed to be brought to a tribunal as soon as possible. "We are right now in a kind of legal limbo, and this limbo cannot last indefinitely," he said.

SPOKESMAN CLARIFIES PRECEDENT FOR YUGOSLAV RAPE CASE

Following incorrect media reports that the guilty verdicts handed down Thursday by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) against three Bosnian Serbs represented the first rape conviction by an international tribunal, the Spokesman noted a previous precedent. On September 2, 1998, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda convicted Jean-Paul Akayesu of rape as a crime against humanity.

Thursday's convictions did represent a first, however, since it was the first time that sexual enslavement was treated as a crime against humanity.

UN INSPECTORS SOUGHT OUTSIDE HELP FOR KENYA INVESTIGATION

In response to questions about charges of extortion made against some personnel of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Nairobi, the Spokesman noted that the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) had undertaken an investigation, at the request of UNHCR.

Because of the scope of the inquiry, he said, that Office, for the first time, had asked four outside assistance, requesting four Governments to make available two investigators apiece to help the probe.

Following the briefing, the Spokesman said that OIOS is likely to issue a report on the Kenya investigations once they are completed, although there is no timeframe for the report's issuance. If there is any criminal investigation, the release of the report may follow the conclusion of such an investigation.

The Spokesman added that anyone accused of crimes committed while in UN service, whether they are still with the Organization or not, can face criminal prosecution by the relevant national authorities. Current employees would first face disciplinary action; but both current and former employees could be pursued in the relevant national legal system.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

In response to a question on the Cambodian Government's decision to allow the Parliament to reconsider the text of a draft law on Khmer Rouge trials, the Spokesman said the United Nations was primarily concerned that additional time would be taken to deal with the legislation. He said the United Nations would wait and see what draft law was finally produced, and noted that the United Nations would eventually be expected to sign an understanding with Cambodia on the trials.

Kenzo Oshima, the Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, today expressed his concern about the poor response so far of the international donor community to the critical humanitarian situation developing in the Sudan, as a result of continuing conflict and the onset of severe drought. The $244 million Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for the Sudan, launched three months ago, has so far received just over one percent of that amount.

The official logo for the World Conference against Racism was launched. The logo, which was submitted by the South African government, is based on the traditional Chinese Yin/Yang symbol representing two opposing but complementing forces in life. Shades of grey have been added to symbolize a diverse human society.

In London, a consultation on the problems of internal displacement is taking place with main speakers including Francis Deng, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons; Dennis McNamara, Special Coordinator for Internal Displacement and Carolyn McAskie, Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator.

The World Food Programme (WFP) today urgently appealed for $2.6 million to continue feeding some 40,000 refugees in Zambia who have fled fighting in Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo since last June. Food shortages are expected to occur in six Zambian refugee camps by the end of March unless fresh cash pledges are made within the next ten days.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today appealed for international aid to help farmers and their families in El Salvador after two major earthquakes. The quakes caused many farmers to lose their houses and their jobs, leaving them without money to restart their agricultural activities, the FAO said.

The United Nations Coordinator for Afghanistan today signed an agreement with the European Union for 3.8 million euros (equivalent to $3.44 million) for the Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its partners are preparing to transport aid to tens of thousands of people caught in the Parrot's Beak area of southwest Guinea. The trucking operation is tentatively scheduled to start Sunday.

Jordan paid more than $82,000 to become the 52nd Member State to have fully paid its regular-budget dues for 2001.

The funeral of longtime UN civil servant F.T. Liu, who worked with both Ralph Bunche and Brian Urquhart during his distinguished career, will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday at Christ Church in Bronxville, New York.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Monday, February 26

The Secretary-General is to meet with Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, to begin two days of talks on UN-Iraqi relations bringing together Secretariat and Iraqi officials.

At 3:15 p.m., Swedish Defense Minister Bjorn von Sydow and Swedish Ambassador Pierre Schori will give a press briefing on the role of the European Union, which Sweden currently chairs, in crisis management and conflict prevention.

The first round of substantive negotiations for the General Assembly's Special Session on HIV/AIDS is set to take place in New York. The Special Session will itself be held in New York from June 25 to 27.

There will be a meeting of the States Parties to the Convention of the Rights of the Child in New York.

The Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court will begin a session that will last through March 9.

The UN Mission in Congo (MONUC) is expecting the arrival of 40 military observers on Monday.

The UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) is expected to begin the task of verifying the redeployment of Ethiopian troops, which was reported to have been completed by the Ethiopian government on February 22.

In Vienna, the ad hoc committee dealing with the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime will meet through Friday. The session will be devoted to the completion of a protocol on firearms.

In London, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Mark Malloch Brown and UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Carol Bellamy will discuss the targets set at the Millennium Assembly at a conference chaired by UK Chancellor Gordon Brown.

Tuesday, February 27

The Security Council has scheduled a formal meeting to adopt a resolution on the extension of the mandate of the UN Mission in Western Sahara, the current mandate of which expires on Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 28

At 11:30 a.m., Joseph Chamie, Director of the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, will give a press briefing to present the findings of the 2000 revision of the UN population estimates and projections. Those estimates include population projections up to the year 2050.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Terje Roed Larsen will meet British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook in London.

Thursday, March 1

Ukraine takes over the Presidency of the Security Council from Tunisia, and will hold bilateral consultations with other Council members on the Council's program of work for the month of March.

The UN International School (UNIS) will begin a two-day student conference to mark 25 years of UNIS and discuss "Problems and Progress over the Past Quarter Century."

The Secretary-General is to deliver a speech to the Association of American Geographers.

The fourth quarterly report to the Security Council of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) dealing with Iraq is due.

  • The guest at today's briefing was Hafiz Pasha, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, who discussed his recent trip to the region.

    Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

    United Nations, S-378

    New York, NY 10017

    Tel. 212-963-7162

    Fax. 212-963-7055


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