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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-12-11

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

OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY

MANOEL DE ALMEIDA E SILVA

DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday , December 11, 2001

ANNAN OPENS EAST TIMOR DONOR MEETING IN OSLO

Today in Oslo, Norway, Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his wife, Nane Annan, attended the opening of the fifth Donors Conference for East Timor, called for by Norwegian Development Minister Hilda Frafjord Johnsen, and he told participants that Helping the East Timorese people has been one of the most formidable responsibilities ever given to the United Nations. He urged donors to continue to support sustainable development in East Timor for the long haul, beyond its independence, scheduled for next May 20.

Earlier this morning, the Secretary-General and Nane Annan met with representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Oslo, who presented the two of them jointly with the Torstein Dale Norwegian Red Cross prize, for their humanitarian work. The Secretary-General also took questions from the NGOs.

He was then joined by representatives of some of the other principal UN organs for separate meetings with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Norway, in connection with the award Monday of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Secretary-General and the United Nations.

First, in the meeting with Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, the discussion focused on Afghanistan, the Middle East and the UNs Millennium agenda. At a brief conference after the meeting, the Secretary-General stressed the importance of the International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held next March in Monterrey, Mexico, and the World Summit on Sustainable Development, in Johannesburg next September.

He then met with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen, and the discussions again focused on Afghanistan and the Middle East, and also touched on Iraq. Afghanistan and the Middle East were also the topics later in the day, when the Secretary-General went to the Norwegian Parliament, where he met with members of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

In the afternoon, the Secretary-General and Nane Annan attended a performance by Oslo school children on war and peace. He thanked the children, and told them. The work for peace begins with every one of us. I hope that every day, you will keep picturing the world as you would wish it to be, and work to make that dream a reality.

Tonight, they will attend a Nobel Peace Prize concert with performances by Paul McCartney and other popular singers. On Wednesday, he will depart for Stockholm, Sweden, where he is to meet with the Prime Minister and Members of Parliament.

UN ENVOY BEGINS TALKS ON TRANSFER OF POWER IN KABUL

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, reached Kabul this morning. He is spending the day and night in the Afghan capital to discuss the transfer of power scheduled to take place on December 22.

Among the Afghan leaders he met with were Abdullah Abdullah, the foreign minister-designate, and Gen. Mohammad Qasim Fahim, one of the five vice chairs and defense minister-designate. He also met with Burhanuddin Rabbani, who pledged to hand over power to Hamid Karzai, the designated head of the new Interim Authority.

During a stopover in Islamabad, Pakistan on Monday night, Brahimi received a message from Abdul Rashid Dostum, a Northern Alliance leader in northern Afghanistan, saying that he would not support any efforts to derail the power-sharing deal reached in Bonn.

In Kabul today, Brahimi was to share with the UN staff in Kabul the sundown meal of Iftar that breaks the daylong fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, before holding a press conference.

On Wednesday, Brahimi is expected to be back in Islamabad, where he is expected to meet with Pakistans President, Pervez Musharraf.

He is expected to return late Thursday to New York, where he will stay until the middle of next week before returning to Kabul for the formal transfer of power.

In Oslo earlier today, the Secretary-General said he was hopeful that the Afghans will cooperate with the international community to help create a secure environment that will allow aid workers to operate, and will allow the new administration to establish itself and eventually lead to a stable environment that could lead to elections and reconstruction.

A two-day meeting of Afghan women closed in Brussels today. During the meeting, which was co-sponsored by the UN Development Fund for Women ( UNIFEM) and the Government of Belgium, the participants adopted the Brussels Action Plan that calls for the establishment of a Commission of Afghan Women to work directly with the interim authority to provide names of Afghan women who could be considered for leadership positions in the new government.

UN FLIGHT TO LEAVE FOR MAZAR-I-SHARIF WEDNESDAY

The first UN flight is expected to leave for Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan from Islamabad on Wednesday.

The World Health Organization ( WHO) says over 100 health workers are in the midst of completing a major measles vaccination campaign in the Panjsher Valley just on time to ensure that there will be no measles outbreaks during the critical winter months.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has been stepping up food deliveries into Afghanistan to provide some one million poor people who live in mountainous areas in central and northeast Afghanistan with enough food to sustain them through the winter months.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees ( UNHCR) says that the prospects of a massive influx of Afghan refugees into Pakistan are receding with the ongoing peace settlement in Afghanistan. Nearly 200,000 new Afghan refugees are estimated to have entered Pakistan, mainly through illegal crossing points since September 11.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS CYPRUS, DR-CONGO WEDNESDAY

There are no Security Council meetings scheduled today.

On Wednesday afternoon, Council members will meet in closed consultations to take up the Secretary-Generals latest report on UN operations in Cyprus. As part of that discussion, Council members will hear from the Secretary-Generals Special Advisor on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto.

Council members are also expected to discuss the

recent report of the panel of experts on the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (S/2001/1072).

MILOSEVIC HEARS GENOCIDE CHARGES AGAINST HIM

Today in The Hague, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic heard the indictment against him charging him with genocide and other crimes committed against ethnic Muslims and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995. Although the former President refused to enter a plea at todays hearing, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.

The Tribunal also announced the transfer of a Bosnian Serb convicted of crimes against humanity, Stevan Todorovic, to Spain, where he will serve out the remainder of his ten-year prison sentence.

EAST TIMOR COURT SENTENCES 10 MILITIA TO PRISON

In Dili today, the Special Panel for Serious Crimes delivered verdicts in East Timors first trial for crimes against humanity. All 10 pro-Indonesia militia members who were accused were convicted of committing crimes ranging from torture and murder to forced deportation and persecution of villagers in the Lautem district in 1999.

The sentences ranged from four to nineteen years for single acts. Four militia members who were convicted of participation in multiple acts will serve sentences of up to 33 years and four months, the maximum allowed under the Indonesian law being applied.

A local staff member of the UN Mission in East Timor is about to become the first East Timorese to join the UN Volunteers. Claudio Magno will join the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a vehicle inventory assistant.

IRAQ OIL EXPORTS START SLOW FOR ELEVENTH PHASE

According to the Office of the Iraq Programme, Iraqi oil exports, under the oil-for-food program, were off to a slow start in the new Phase XI, which started on December 1.

During the week ending December 7, some six million barrels of oil were lifted, at a value of $98 million.

According to UN oil overseers, Iraqi oil exports in Phase X of the program reached just over 300 million barrels, of which 27.5 percent were destined for European markets, with 69.4 per cent going to the United States and 3.1 percent to the Far East.

UN MISSION URGES DISARMAMENT IN EASTERN SIERRA LEONE

In Sierra Leones eastern district of Kailahun Monday, thousands of people gathered in the town of Tongo Fields to welcome UN Force Commander Lt. Gen. Daniel Opande and the interim leader of the Revolutionary United Front, Issa Sesay, who were in the area to urge RUF fighters to disarm.

The disarmament of RUF fighters is scheduled to resume tomorrow following a request from a local RUF commander for time to inform his combatants to turn in their weapons. So far, more than 380 RUF combatants have disarmed in Kailahun, but concerns over political issues had slowed the pace of disarmament there and in the nearby district of Kenema.

ANNAN URGES ACCESSION TO CONVENTION WEAPONS TREATY

Today in Geneva, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Jayantha Dhanapala attended the second review conference of States that are party to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons, and he delivered a message from the Secretary-General conveying his wishes for the meetings success.

The Secretary-General says that the Convention has saved lives and reduced suffering without imposing any large burdens, financial or otherwise, on its members. It is unfortunate, he adds, that there are not more than 88 States that are party to the Convention, and he urges more States to accede to it.

UN SPECIAL ADVISOR HOLDING TALKS IN ANGOLA

The Secretary-Generals Special Advisor for Africa, Ibrahim Gambari, is currently in Angola, having been sent there by the Secretary-General at the invitation of the Angolan Government.

Throughout this week, Gambari is holding consultations with Government leaders, politicians and representatives of civil society to see how the UN can best assist the Angolans to re-energize the peace process.

Gambari is expected to brief the Security Council on his trip on Friday, December 21.

The raging conflict in Angola continues to drive new flows of refugees into Zambia, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees ( UNHCR).

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

UNHCR also reports that refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are arriving in Zambia. The arrivals report isolated skirmishes and mobilisation of troops from both the Government and rebel forces in the area of Fizi, in the eastern DRC. The persistent instability in that part of the country has caused many civilians to flee to Zambia.

At 8:46 this morning, a solitary United Nations Security Officer lowered the United Nations flag to half-mast as part of an international day of remembrance for the victims of the terror attacks of September 11. The flag was raised at the normal time and then lowered to half-mast as part of the worldwide tribute. As is customary, when the United Nations flag was at half-mast, no national flags were flown.

The number of troops serving in the 15 UN peacekeeping operations worldwide, by the end of November, reached a total of 47,777 military and police personnel, coming from 87 countries.

In his message on the occasion of the International Year of Mountains next year, the Secretary-General said that mountain environments, which provide home to many different cultures and hold vast reserves of biodiversity, are facing increasing risks.

This morning, San Marino became the 83rd country to sign the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. A short time later, Lebanon became the 140th country to sign the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Finally, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants got its 111th signature when the United Kingdom signed.

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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