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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-10-12

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

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL KOFI ANNANS

NEWS CONFERENCE

UPON RECEIPT OF THE

2001 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, October 12, 2001

The following item substitutes for the daily noon briefing.

The next briefing is scheduled for Monday, October 15, 2001.

OPENING REMARKS BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

This is truly an honour for the whole United Nations - its Member States, the General Assembly and the Security Council, and especially its dedicated staff around the world. They work hard every day to make the world a more just, more peaceful, and happier place. Many of them risk their lives. They richly deserve this award.

A year ago world leaders at the Millennium Summit reaffirmed the indispensable role of the United Nations as the common house of the entire humankind. In a world which is growing ever closer and more interconnected, and is yet still torn by brutal conflict and cruel injustice, this role is ever more important.

All of us who work for the United Nations should be proud today - but also be humbled, humbled because even more will be expected of us in the future.

This award is a tribute, above all, to our colleagues who have made the supreme sacrifice in the service of humanity. The only true prize, for them and for us, will be peace itself.

SUMMARY OF ANNANS ANSWERS TO REPORTERS QUESTIONS

On the Nobel Peace Prize

Asked about winning the Nobel Peace Prize, It was a wonderful way to wake up, given the sort of business we are in; usually when you get a call that early in the morning, its something disastrous. And I also see it as a great encouragement for me personally and also for the Organization.

Referring to his wife, he said, Nane and I were very pleased."

Asked how it felt to receive a peace prize in times of war, he observed, It is in times of difficulties that you need to work harder to make peace."

On the fight against terrorism

Commenting on the war against terrorism, he said he viewed it as a long-term struggle in terms of making sure that terrorists are not given shelter, that their financial mechanisms are broken up, that they dont have the logistical support, and its going to take quite a while to ensure that all governments are working on that basis. The military aspect, which for the moment we are all focused, on is going to be a very small part of the fight in the long run.

Asked whether the U.S. coalition and its relationship with the UN in the fight against terrorism can hold, the Secretary-General said the United Nations was working very well with the U.S. Government now. He noted that newly-confirmed U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Negroponte has arrived, that a major arrears payment has been approved, and he added, "I suspect as we move forward payments will be made in time, in full and on a regular basis.

Referring to a sentence in a U.S. letter to the Security Council on reserving Washingtons right to go after other organizations and other States, Annan said, From the discussions I have had, Ive been told this does not mean an intention of the coalition or the U.S. Government going around the world attacking governments and States.

He said the fight against terrorism should be approached methodically and pragmatically. I wouldnt want us here to have the impression that this is a war that is going to embrace the whole world and there will be military actions all over the place," he added. "That is not my understanding, and I hope time will prove me right.

The fight against terrorism could only be won if each Member State played its part, he noted. The Security Council has given us a very good basis for moving forward and has given us a foundation for the coalition that we are trying to build." He said that the United Nations was ready to provide technical assistance to Member States that needed help in implementing the Security Council resolutions on terrorism.

In addition, he emphasized that Member States must sign, ratify and implement the General Assemblys anti-terrorism treaties. Our agenda is full, but we need to press ahead, he said.

Asked to comment on New York Mayor Rudolph Giulianis decision to refuse a Saudi Arabian donation to repair damage done by the September 11 attack, the Secretary-General said, I was surprised that that happened, because I think we are all entitled to our freedom of expression and the Prince gave his opinion. I'm surprised that the Mayor reacted that strongly and returned the check.

On Afghanistan

In response to questions on Afghanistan and the Middle East, the Secretary-General said the UN has been involved in both conflicts and we will continue our efforts. He recalled that he had just re-appointed Lakhdar Brahimi as his Special Representative for Afghanistan. The United Nations, he said, had been involved over a period of time in trying to work with the Afghan parties in promoting a broad-based government, and today we are very actively engaged on the humanitarian front.

That effort would continue, he said, adding, as we move forward, there may be additional tasks that the UN will have to get involved in, like rehabilitation.

Asked about nation-building in Afghanistan, he said, "it would not surprise me if the [Security] Council were to give us an expanded mandate for Afghanistan."

Still, he asserted that the United Nations was some ways away from nation-building tasks. He said, "First of all, the Afghan people have a role to play in rebuilding their nation. Weve been working with them over a long period, and I believe that as we move forward, their views and their desires must be respected, and I also believe that any regime or any arrangement which is not seen by the Afghans as home-grown and they do not accept as their own will be difficult. One cannot impose a government on the Afghan people.

The process, he added, may be accelerated, given what is happening. He said, "The people themselves may decide the time has come for a change, and I think we should be prepared to work with them and to help them through the difficult humanitarian phase, then through a transitional period if they come together and work to form a broad-based government.

On the Middle East

Asked about the UN response to developments in the Middle East, he pledged that the UN would continue its efforts, working with leaders around the world to try to end the violence in the region and bring the parties to the table. That has always been our objective and we will continue our efforts.

Concerning the Middle East, he added, Theres a lot that goes on behind the scenes which is not always in the media," but he said the information about the work that has gone on in various capitals will be disclosed in due course.

Asked to name a timetable for peace in the Middle East, he said, I hope we will not have to wait for long.

On the recommendations in the Brahimi report on peace operations:

The Secretary-General, in response to a question about follow-up to the report of the Panel on UN Peace Operations chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi, replied that discussions were going well, and he expected that a package of recommendations would be approved by December.

I think the membership also realizes that we need to strengthen peacekeeping if we are going to take on all these additional responsibilities, he said, noting that the United Nations was currently deployed in various parts of the world, from the Great Lakes region of Africa to the Balkans.

He added, We are heavily engaged in Afghanistan and could become even more involved," in which case it would need greater means and capacity.

On Angola

Asked about the UN role in Angola, the Secretary-General said the United Nations was pressing the parties to pursue peace, and said that his Special Adviser on Africa, Under-Secretary-General Ibrahim Gambari, had visited recently and was going back to Angola.

The Secretary-General added, We are getting signals that they may be ready to resume their discussions on implementation of the Lusaka accord, but it is not firm.

Until now, he said, the two parties have refused to engage in the peace process, adding, "I have made it clear that it is difficult to make peace without talking to the enemy; after all, you make peace with your enemy and not with your friends. And if one is going to make peace it ultimately boils down to coming to the table.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS TODAY

Speaking to a cheering crowd of staff as he entered UN Headquarters, the Secretary-General congratulated UN staff and said, I'm sure we will all rise up to the challenge. He asked his Deputy, Louise Fréchette, to read the Nobel Committee's citation, which states in part, "Today the Organization is at the forefront of efforts to achieve peace and security in the world and of the international mobilization aimed at meeting the world's economic, social and environmental challenges."

In Islamabad, Pakistan, the UN Coordinator for Afghanistan Mike Sackett told reporters that Afghanistan needed a broad-based government acceptable for all Afghans and the most needed thing was peace in their war-torn country. The time has come for the Afghan people to move ahead, Sackett said.The world will have to rally around these long suffering people to help them to begin, finally, live a life that is worth living.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said it spent its fifth day unable to resume crucial preparations in Pakistan for a possible influx of Afghans. Because of the ongoing fragile security situation and demonstrations in Pakistan, international staff in Peshawar and Quetta were once again unable to go to the field, proceed with work on identifying and preparing camp sites or monitor border crossings.

Six members of the Kosovo Police Service (KPS) were detained Thursday evening by Yugoslav security forces on the boundary between Kosovo and Montenegro and are currently being held somewhere inside Montenegro." The UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) is extremely concerned over the detention of the KPS officers (five Kosovo Albanian and one Bosnian). UNMIK officials say progress is being made and the six KPS officers are expected to be released by tomorrow morning.

Meeting under the chairmanship of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), the Government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) have re-affirmed their commitment to the peace process and agreed "to implement in good faith" all the decisions reached in prior meetings. In a meeting held yesterday in Freetown, the Joint Committee on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) also drew up a timetable for the completion of disarmament in the remaining districts of the country.

The Security Council and the General Assembly today voted to approve Nabil El-Araby of Egypt as a member to fill a vacancy on the International Court of Justice (ICJ), caused by the retirement of Judge Mohammed Bedjaoui of Algeria. Following the Council's public meeting, it will hold consultations to discuss the Nobel Peace Prize and receive a briefing on recent developments in Georgia.

The Secretary-General, in his latest report on the UN Office in Angola, said that, although there had been a glimmer of hope for dialogue in Angola at the beginning of the year, intensified guerrilla attacks by UNITA rebels, particularly on innocent civilians, have plunged the country into a political and military stalemate. He said that influence should be exerted on the parties to find a lasting peace within the framework of the Lusaka Protocol, and recommended an extension of the UN Office's mandate by six months, until April 15, 2002.

In a report to the General Assembly about Guatemala, the Secretary-General notes the systematic, across-the-board impunity for crimes and human rights violations and says that since 2000, there has been a significant increase in complaints of harassment and threats directed against human rights workers. He says it is essential to overcome the profound inequalities that jeopardize the achievements and sustainability of Guatemala's peace process.

This afternoon, Switzerland will become the 43rd country to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, bringing it closer to the 60 ratifications needed for its entry into force.

The Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO) announced today that it will nominate singers Magida Al Roumi of Lebanon, Gilberto Gil of Brazil, Mory Kanté of Guinea and Al Bano Carrisi of Italy as Ambassadors on World Food Day, October 16, in a ceremony in Rome.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Monday, October 15

The General Assembly will begin its debate of the Secretary-General's annual report on the work of the Organization.

The Secretary-General will address the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly to introduce the UN budget.

The Security Council has scheduled consultations on Burundi.

The guest at the noon briefing will be Joseph Connor, Under-Secretary-General of Management.

The Regional Preparatory Meeting for Africa for the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit for Sustainable Development will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, through Thursday.

The 13th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer will take place in Colombo, Sri Lanka, through Friday. See www.unep.org/ozone

In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the inter-Congolese dialogue is set to begin under the facilitation of former Botswanan President Ketumile Masire. The Secretary-General's Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Amos Namanga Ngongi, will deliver a message on the Secretary-General's behalf at the meeting.

Tuesday, October 16

The Security Council will hold consultations on Afghanistan, Angola and Guinea-Bissau.

Towards the beginning of the week, the Secretary-General's report to the Security Council on the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is expected, as is a report by the panel dealing with Liberia sanctions.

Starting at 1:15 p.m. in Conference Room 2, the World Health Organization is organizing a panel discussion on financing the new health agenda.

World Food Day will be observed worldwide, and the Secretary-General will issue a message.

Wednesday, October 17

The Security Council has scheduled consultations on Somalia and on its monitoring mechanism for Angola sanctions.

Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. At 11:15, there will be a press briefing to mark the occasion.

The Sub-Regional Preparatory Meeting for South-East Asia for the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit for Sustainable Development will be held in Manila, Philippines, through Friday.

Thursday, October 18

Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Nitin Desai and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General Jacques Diouf will be among the speakers at a ceremony, beginning at noon, to observe this year's World Food Day, which officially falls on October 16. The guest at the noon briefing will be World Food Programme (WFP) Goodwill Ambassador George McGovern.

The UN Postal Administration will issue a set of six commemorative stamps to commemorate its 50th anniversary.

Friday, October 19

The Secretary-General is to speak at a private meeting of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC).

The Security Council expects to hold public meetings on Somalia and on its monitoring mechanism for Angola sanctions.

Toward the end of the week, the Secretary-General's report to the Security Council on East Timor is expected.

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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