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United Nations Daily Highlights, 02-06-18

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 FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

ANNAN CONDEMNS SUICIDE BOMBING IN JERUSALEM

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, at the start of his speech to the assembled UN Goodwill Ambassadors and Messengers of Peace, condemned the latest suicide bombing in Jerusalem today.

This morning we learned there had been another desperate act of terror that took innocent lives in Israel, among them, schoolchildren," he said. "My sorrow could not be deeper for all the families touched by this tragedy. I must, once again, in the strongest possible terms, repeat my condemnation of all such acts of violence. No cause can justify the taking of innocent lives and this should give us one more reason to work harder to bring peace to that tragic region. And I know you are all with me as we search for peace in the Middle East.

Also on this subject, Terje Roed-Larsen, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, issued a statement saying that such attacks can not be endured, must stop.

ANNAN WELCOMES CELEBRITY ADVOCATES' EFFORTS TO BETTER MANKIND

The Secretary-General this morning opened the two-day meeting of Messengers of Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors, greeting those who had attended the meeting two years ago and welcoming those who where attending for the first time.

The Secretary-General said he was filled with awe by so much talent and fame that was being used for the betterment of mankind. He said that in particular, the Messengers of Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors could capture the attention and imagination of young people and help them understand that without a global outlook we limit not only ourselves, but the progress of humankind.

He reminded the gathering that governments alone cannot do it all and that they need to hear the voices of the people insist that they put their pledges into action. That is where you come in, he said. Whenever you put your name to a message, you raise awareness far and wide, among policy makers and among the millions of people who elect them.

He ended by urging them all to use their talent to help the United Nations make the world a better place.

ANNAN WELCOMES G-8 DECISION TO FOCUS ON AFRICA

The Secretary-General welcomes the decision of the Group of Eight known as the G-8 to focus on solutions to Africas problems at their annual meeting 26-27 June in Kananaskis, Canada.

He calls on them also to act decisively on worldwide concerns that are encapsulated in the Millennium Development Goals, especially the fight against poverty.

His message to the G-8 was made in an open letter to the leaders of the worlds eight richest and most powerful countries released today.

He calls on the G-8 countries to stand by commitments made in Doha last November to conduct trade negotiations that would open markets to exports from poor and developing countries; follow-up on commitments made in March in Monterrey, Mexico, with further increases in development assistance; support international efforts to stem the spread of killer diseases and to make primary education available to all children; and commit to ensuring a productive outcome for the upcoming World Summit for Sustainable Development (beginning 31 August in Johannesburg).

The Secretary-General tells the G-8 that the peoples of the developing world would . . . be bitterly disappointed if your meeting confined itself to offering them good advice and solemn exhortations, rather than firm pledges of action in areas where your own contributions can be decisive.

The Secretary-General is scheduled to attend the G-8 summit in Kananaskis to participate in the working session on 27 June, which will feature presentations from five African Heads of State who have initiated a New Partnership for Africas Development (NEPAD).

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN SOMALIA

The Security Council is meeting in closed consultations on Somalia today.

Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Carolyn McAskie briefed Council members on the humanitarian situation in Somalia.

McAskie highlighted the link between the generally slow progress on the political front and a continued deterioration in the humanitarian situation.

She also said that access to vulnerable groups reached a low point during the past months due to renewed fighting and targeting of UN staff.

Finally, she also drew attention to the fact that the donor response to the UN humanitarian appeal remains critically low with only 28 percent of the estimated $84 million in needs met.

Following the meeting, the President of the Council, Ambassador Wehbe of Syria, read a press statement. He said the members of the Council expressed deep concern over the situation and called on all parties to fulfill their obligations to guarantee safe access to all humanitarian agencies and their staff.

KARZAI TO PRESENT LIST OF KEY MINISTERS WEDNESDAY

At the afternoon session of the Loya Jirga today, the President-elect of Afghanistan Hamid Kaizai announced that he would present a list of key ministers Wednesday for the approval of the tribal council, which has gone into its eighth day today.

If you make a decision about the National Assembly by tomorrow, he said, I will also present the cabinet positions and the personnel tomorrow. The remarks brought laughter and applause from the delegates. He also told the delegates that he would have fewer numbers of ministers but still representing all the Afghans. He said that he had had talks with the Former King as well as all groups. The list was almost ready, but he needed more consultations, he said.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) says that it has received allegations of intimidations with at least one case being very serious. UNAMA says that all the cases, regardless of complexity or seriousness, have been verified by UNAMA and brought to the attention of those concerned, including the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, who has raised the matter with the Afghan government at the highest level.

ANNAN CONDEMNS INTIMIDATION OF UN PERSONNEL IN DR CONGO

The Secretary-General, in a statement issued through his Spokesman, said a RCD-Goma commander, accompanied by a team of armed elements, on Monday forcibly entered facilities of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC ) at the Onatra port in Kisangani. They manhandled the MONUC guard on duty, and abducted two MONUC staff members, who were taken to an RCD facility at the far end of the compound. They were released after about twenty minutes during which time they were assaulted and sustained injuries to the face. This incident was followed by two subsequent forcible entries into MONUC facilities by RCD-Goma, later yesterday afternoon and again this morning.

The Secretary-General strongly condemns these acts of intimidation against MONUC.

The Secretary-General reminds the RCD-Goma leadership that MONUC is deployed in the DRC to assist in the peace process. It can only do so with the full cooperation of the parties, who are responsible for ensuring the security of United Nations staff. The Secretary-General wishes to remind the RCD-Goma of its obligations in this regard, and calls on it to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions

ANNAN SENDS ENVOY FOR ELECTIONS IN CAMEROON

The Secretary-General has dispatched Mr. Seydou Diarra, former Prime Minister of Cote dIvoire, to Cameroon as his Special Envoy for the legislative and municipal elections scheduled for June 23, 2002.

Diarra, who will stay in Cameroon from June 17-25, will convey the Secretary-Generals personal and the UN's continued support for Cameroons efforts towards democratization and appeal to all political parties to carry out the elections in a smooth and transparent manner. Diarra will also invite political parties and other national stakeholders to address the countrys complex problems peacefully.

ANNAN APPROVES PHASE 12 OF OIL-FOR-FOOD PROGRAMME

The Secretary-General has advised the President of the Security Council of his approval of the distribution plan for phase 12 of the oil-for-food programme, as submitted by the Government of Iraq.

The plan is based on a foreseen budget of over $5.08 billion for the purchase of humanitarian supplies and equipment in 25 sectors, ten of which are new. It constitutes the basis for the contracting of goods by the Government of Iraq with suppliers of its own choosing. Phase 12 runs from May 30 to November 25.

In terms of Iraqi oil exports during the past week, the volume remained sluggish.

A total of 3.1 million barrels of oil were loaded, netting an estimated $67 million in revenue.

In response to a question on the effect of the volume of oil remaining sluggish, the Spokesman said that as long as the volume of oil sales remains low there is less money going into the humanitarian efforts. This oil-for-food programme would be hurt when the oil revenue is below target, he added.

The Spokesman was also asked if the dates for the meeting with Iraqi officials had been changes and he replied that the dates were set for July 4 and 5.

ANNAN SENDS MESSAGE TO ECONOMIC FORUM IN EASTERN EUROPE

The Secretary-General sent a message to the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, a gathering of the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). He said the region had one of the most rapidly expanding economies but that poverty had also increased dramatically in some.

We face common vulnerabilities that transcend borders, he said, but we also have unprecedented opportunities for common progress

NUMBER OF EXTREMELY POOR PEOPLE WILL REACH 420 MILLION BY 2015

The number of people living in extreme poverty in the worlds least developed countries will reach at least 420 million by 2015, according to a report from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released today.

The report, entitled Least Developed Countries Report 2002 says that the number of people living on less than $1 a day has doubled over the past 30 years, to 307 million. However, such poverty can be dramatically slashed by doubling average household living standards, the says.

Over a billion people, including at least two thirds of those in the 49 least developed countries (LDCs), are currently taking part in a massive social experiment. Their governments are preparing and implementing Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) as a condition for aid and debt relief, the reports says.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

Tomorrow, in Geneva, the Governing Council of the UN Compensation Commission (UNCC) will start its 44th session. The session will run through June 20th and will be presided over by Ambassador Sverre Bergh Johansen of Norway.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says that sporadic clashes in parts of Liberia are hampering the agencys efforts to resume repatriation of Sierra Leonean refugees from Liberia. In Guinea, meanwhile, UNHCR is working to transfer from the border 6,500 refugees who arrived last week.

UNHCR also released its 2001 refugee statistics today. The report shows the number of refugees worldwide remained unchanged at 12 million with about half a million fleeing their homes and a similar number returning.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said that it had so far distributed emergency food supplies to 70,000 new beneficiaries in the regions in Angola which had not been accessible for a long time, but noted that the number of people in need of emergency food was increasing daily. At present, WFP is helping 1 million persons in Angola, but that figure is expected to increase dramatically in the next few months.

The United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) said its police today arrested four Kosovo Albanian men who are suspected of having committed serious crimes against other Kosovo Albanians in June 1999, after the war. The crimes occurred in various areas of Kosovo and involved unlawful detention and serious assault. All victims were Kosovo Albanians and most of the victims remain missing.

UNICEF announced today, together with its partners in the global fight against polio, the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International and the U.S. Centres for Disease Control, that it is likely that Europe will be certified polio-free on Friday.

  • The guest at the Noon Briefing was Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union will discuss the World Summit on Information Technology, Digital Divide and Present and Future of Telecommunication and Information Technologies.

    Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General United Nations, S-378 New York, NY 10017 Tel. 212-963-7162 - press/media only Fax. 212-963-7055

    All other inquiries to be addressed to (212) 963-4475 or by e-mail to: inquiries@un.org


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