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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-12-14

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

Friday , December 14, 2001

SECURITY COUNCIL TO TAKE UP MIDDLE EAST, AFGHANISTAN

This afternoon, at 3 p.m., Security Council members will meet in closed consultations to discuss a draft resolution on the situation in the Middle East. The resolution was introduced Thursday afternoon in closed consultations by the Tunisian delegation.

At 4 p.m., Lakhdar Brahimi, the Special Representative to Afghanistan, is scheduled to brief the Council. He has a series of internal discussions and a meeting with Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is returning to New York this afternoon from Sweden, prior to the Council briefing. The Secretary-General is expected to attend that briefing.

Brahimi is expected to stay in New York for consultations until the middle of next week and then return to Kabul in time for the transfer of power to the interim administration on Saturday, December 22.

UN FUND SET UP FOR AFGHAN INTERIM AUTHORITY

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) today established the UN Afghan Interim Authority Fund as a special window for donors to provide financial support to help the Interim Authority implement its responsibilities during the next six months.

Effective immediately, donors can contribute to the fund, which cover the following: administrative costs, essential rehabilitation of administrative facilities, support for the implementation of special responsibilities as outlined in the Bonn Agreement, and teachers salaries to ensure that schools can re-open in March 2002.

UZBEKISTAN, UNITED NATIONS AGREE ON AID DELIVERY TO AFGHANISTAN

Today, the government of Uzbekistan and the United Nations signed an agreement aimed at facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance to northern Afghanistan by UN agencies and international non-governmental organizations.

The agreement, signed in Tashkent, is expected to accelerate administrative procedures to ensure that aid gets to the under-supplied provinces of Afghanistan, including delivery across the recently opened Friendship Bridge.

Some signs of stability and normalcy are returning to parts of Afghanistan, UN agencies report, including the return of more than 14,000 people to various parts of the country over the past week.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is cautioning Afghans not to rush back. UNHCR also says that countries in the region should not rush any of the more than 3.5 million refugees home. The security situation in many parts of Afghanistan remains tense.

Refugees from the Kandahar area, mainly from the Pashtun ethnic group, meanwhile, continue to arrive in Pakistan.

The World Food Programme (WFP) reports that a private truck carrying WFP wheat tipped off an icy bridge in northeastern Afghanistan, killing the driver instantly.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, Mike Sackett, briefed the press in Islamabad today and outlined the humanitarian operations underway. He said 72 international staff are now working inside Afghanistan, almost the same number as before international staff were evacuated following the attacks of September 11. Today 35 international aid workers are in Kabul, 20 in Herat, nine in Mazar-i-Sharif and eight in Faizabad.

UN AGENCY AIDS PALESTINIANS WHOSE SHELTERS WERE DESTROYED

Concerning the situation the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the UN Relief Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reports that following the destruction of 35 refugee shelters in Khan Younis camp last night during an Israeli military operation, its staff distributed tents, food parcels, mattresses, mats, kitchen kits and cash to the 57 families affected, comprising of a total of 345 people.

During the incursion into the Khan Younis Camp, six families comprising 40 persons, most of them women and children, stayed at the UNRWA Khan Younis Health Centre for protection and left the premises this morning.

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS CYPRUS MISSION, DISCUSSES CONGO

This morning the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1385, extending the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a further six months, until June 15, 2002.

Council members then held an open meeting on the recent report of the Expert Panel on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and other forms of wealth from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the start of the meeting, the Chairman of the Panel, Ambassador Mahmoud Kassem, briefed the Council on the report.

UN ENVOY NOTES CONGOLESE REBELS COMMITMENT TO DISARM

This morning in Kinshasa, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Amos Ngongi, briefed journalists on his recent trip to Goma, Kindu and Kisangani, in the company of the ambassador of Belgium to Kinshasa as well as the ambassadors representing the five permanent member States of the UN Security Council.

The Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) informed the ambassadors during that trip that its commitment to the demilitarization of Kisangani was firm and irreversible, Ngongi said.

But the RCD also has two conditions to which the ambassadors reminded the rebel group that the Security Council resolution demanded a demilitarization without conditions, Ngongi added.

He said the visit was very positive for the future of the peace process in DRC, and added that it gave the ambassadors the opportunity to determine what will be needed to carry out Phase III of the UN Missions expanded deployment in terms of labor, equipment and money.

UN TO TRANSFER MINE ACTION IN KOSOVO TO LOCAL AUTHORITIES

On Saturday in Pristina, the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre in Kosovo will transfer the long-term responsibility for mine action to local authorities, following its evaluation that all known minefields and cluster bomb strike sites have been cleared to internationally acceptable standards.

The Centre coordinated the work of 16 mine clearance organizations, using personnel from a dozen countries working alongside 900 trained Kosovars, to destroy nearly 25,000 landmines and more than 8,300 cluster bombs, in just two and a half years.

Total clearance, however, can never be guaranteed, and Kosovos Department of Civil Security and Emergency Preparedness will now take on the responsibility for managing any residual threat.

BOSNIAN SERB INDICTED FOR GENOCIDE

Today in The Hague, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) unsealed the indictment against a former Bosnian Serb commander, Vinko Pandurevic, who is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, linked to the killings of thousands of Bosnian Muslims captured from the safe area of Srebrenica.

On Thursday, the Tribunal granted the provisional release of four Bosnian Muslims who had surrendered voluntarily to the Tribunal, who are to return in order to stand trial next year.

ARLACCHI TO STEP DOWN FROM DRUG CONTROL OFFICE

In Vienna, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs concluded a two-day meeting Thursday by approving the budget of the UN Drug Control Programme for the next two years and expressing support for the management reforms taking place within that agency.

Pino Arlacchi, the Executive Director of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, took the occasion of the meeting to inform the Commission that, in agreement with the Secretary-General, he is relinquishing his duties with effect from January 1, 2002.

His four-year tenure included two major events that strengthened the Offices role: the 1998 General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem and last years UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in Italy.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS SWITCH OFFERED FOR BRINDISI

This morning, Kenzo Oshima, Under-Secretary-General for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, signed an agreement with Ulf Persson, President of Public Affairs of the telecommunications company Ericsson. Ericsson will donate a telecommunications Switch which will enhance the mobile communications systems used by the United Nations in humanitarian relief. The system will be based at the UN logistics base in Brindisi, Italy.

The agreement is part of a partnership between the Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs and Ericsson known as First on the Ground, which is one of the Secretary-Generals millennium initiatives. The Switch will be operational by June 2002.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

Sierra Leone became the 133rd state to pay its regular budget dues in full for this year, with a payment of more than $10,000. The United States also made a payment of more than $99 million towards its regular budget arrears.

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued fact sheets on yellow fever, which affects 200,000 people a year and causes 30,000 deaths in mostly tropical countries; and on the impact of climate on health.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS Monday, December 17 UN Headquarters will be closed for Eid Holiday.

Tuesday, December 18 The Security Council has scheduled an open debate on West Africa.

The Secretary-General will issue a statement to mark International Migrants Day.

At 3:30 p.m., there will be a press conference sponsored by the Canadian Mission on the report by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty.

Wednesday, December 19 The Secretary-General, at noon, will hold his end-of-the-year press conference.

The Security Council has scheduled consultations on Guinea-Bissau. It also intends to hold its monthly luncheon with the Secretary-General.

In Santiago, Chile, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) will launch its preliminary overview of the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean during 2001. Thursday, December 20 The Security Council has scheduled consultations on Kuwaiti persons and property that have been missing since Iraqs invasion.

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, will travel to Kabul to attend the inauguration of that countrys new Interim Authority, on Saturday, December 22.

The guest at the noon briefing will be Catherine Bertini, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), who will talk about Afghanistan.

Friday, December 21 The Security Council has scheduled an open briefing on Angola, at which the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser for Africa, Ibrahim Gambari, is expected to speak.

  • The guest at todays briefing was Noel Sinclair, the head of the UN Political Office in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.

    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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