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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-05-06
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.comHIGHLIGHTS
OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FRED ECKHARD
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, May 6, 2003
IRAQ: UNITED NATIONS TO COORDINATE HUMANITARIAN WORK WITH NGOS
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq Ramiro Lopes da Silva had his first meeting with the international non-governmental organizations in Baghdad. Thirty organizations were present, from France, Malaysia, Japan, Italy, Germany and the United States.
They asked that the United Nations serve as coordinator for humanitarian work and also serve as the interface between themselves and the U.S.-run Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Affairs as well as the relevant Iraqi ministries. It was decided that the United Nations would host regular meetings sector by sector the first one taking place today on health issues with relevant NGOs and UN agencies in attendance.
In Basra, UN-HABITAT reports that it has opened a new office in that city to begin certifying the state of war-damaged housing. The team of one international expert and 54 national engineers, architects and database managers will conduct the survey. UN Habitat will also examine the state of the sewage disposal and solid waste management system in parts of the city.
At UN Headquarters, the Oil for Food Programme says that priority items in the programmes humanitarian pipeline continue to arrive at transit ports in countries neighbouring Iraq. In the past week, UN agencies have reported the delivery of goods ranging from water tanks to vitamins, to school supplies, at transshipment areas in Turkey, Kuwait, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. Truck convoys are hauling the goods across borders into Iraq once inspection and authentication of the supplies is completed.
AFGHAN SECURITY SITUATION DETERIORATING
The Security Council began its work today with an open meeting on Afghanistan, in which the Secretary-Generals Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, drew attention to the deterioration in that countrys security environment, including daily harassment and intimidation, factional and inter-ethnic strife, and increased activity by elements linked to the Taliban, al-Qaeda and faction leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
Throughout much of Afghanistan, Brahimi said, the security situation remains unstable and insufficient. There are now almost daily attacks by elements hostile to the central government and those who support it, as well as the continuing occurrence of factional clashes.
Brahimi told the Council, Clearly the ultimate solution to such problems lies in creating Afghan security forces capable of ensuring peace.
He said that senior Afghan military leaders must match their verbal support for a multi-ethnic army with actions to demobilize their own forces to ensure that the new army will be under civilian control.
He warned that, although the Bonn process could never be expected to be easy, there is a real but still avoidable risk that the Bonn process will stall if security is not extended to the regions, and that Afghans will lose confidence in the central government if it cannot protect them. We have copies of his briefing remarks upstairs.
After the open briefing, the Council went into consultations, to continue their discussion of Afghanistan.
SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS SANCTIONS ON LIBERIA
Following consultations on Afghanistan, the Security Council voted unanimously on a resolution extending sanctions on Liberia for another year.
Security Council President, Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan, in a press statement he read at the end of consultations on Liberia sanctions early yesterday evening said Council members regretted that the Government of Liberia had not fully complied with the Councils demands in resolution 1343 (2001) and expressed their intention to renew the sanctions imposed on Liberia and to extend them to include a ban on timber exports, with effect from 7 July, unless the Council decides otherwise.
The President went on to say that members hoped that the Council mission to West Africa later this month would offer new opportunities to make progress towards peace and stability in the sub-region, and that they look forward to the day when all the requirements in the resolutions are met and Liberia is no longer subject to sanctions.
SPANISH PRIME MINISTER TO ADDRESS COUNTER TERRORISM MEETING
Later today at 4:30, the Security Council will hold an open meeting on Threats to International Peace and Security caused by Terrorist Acts, which the Secretary-General is scheduled to attend.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar is the featured speaker.
SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS RECENT VIOLENCE IN NORTH EAST DRC
Also yesterday afternoon, the Security Council heard a briefing from Jean Marie Guehenno on the deteriorating situation in Ituri, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Council members urged all Congolese parties and all States in the region to support the process initiated by the Ituri Pacification Commission. They reiterated that Uganda must fulfill its commitment to withdraw its forces from the Ituri area. They also condemned the violence which took place recently in the Kivus and noted the need to address these urgent issues during the upcoming Security Council mission to the region.
Asked how many Chinese nationals had died in peacekeeping missions, the Spokesman later answered that six Chinese nationals had died in the line of duty, including, most recently on May 3rd in Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
ANNAN SAYS SISULU WAS LOVED BEYOND SOUTH AFRICAS BORDER
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a statement issued through his Spokesman, was saddened to learn of the death of Walter Sisulu, one of the heroes of South Africas anti-apartheid movement.
A former Secretary-General of the African National Congress and close friend and mentor of Nelson Mandela, Sisulu was engaged in the struggle for multi-racial democracy for all his adult life.
Imprisoned for more than 25 years by the white minority Government, he was known and loved by people far beyond South Africas borders for his humility, integrity, intellect and vision. The Secretary-General expresses his condolences to Mr. Sisulus wife and life-long partner in the struggle, Albertina Sisulu, as well as to the Government and people of South Africa.
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CYPRIOTS TRAVEL BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH
According to figures provided by the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), as of May 4th, approximately 170,000 Greek Cypriots had crossed from south to north while 75,000 Turkish Cypriots had done the reverse trip.
We are very pleased that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots are crossing the buffer zone, and that people are patiently enduring the practical inconveniences which have put a strain on both sides and on the UN mission.
In general, the flow of people across the buffer zone has proceeded without major political problems or serious incidents. Nevertheless, with several traffic accidents and arrests related mainly to crossing. The mission has been working around the clock to make the crossing facilities smoother and more efficient.
The Chief of the UN mission, Zbigniew Wlosowicz, met yesterday Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos and is meeting today with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to share information and exchange views on the current situation.
While freedom of movement would be a key element in any settlement, it must be lasting, and in any case all the other core issues remain.
UN HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF CONDEMNS COLOMBIA KILLINGS
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia today condemned the killings of the Governor of Antioquia, Guillermo Gaviria Correa, the former Defence Minister, Gilberto Echeverri Mejia and eight others, who had been held captive by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, rebel group for more than a year.
The Office expressed its condolences to the families and said they would follow up with the national authorities to see that those responsible for the deaths were brought to justice.
SARS: TOP UN HEALTH OFFICIAL WARNS EUROPEANS NOT TO LET DOWN GUARD
Today in Brussels, Director-General Gro Brundtland of the World Health Organization addressed European Health Ministers at their meeting to discuss Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
Brundtland congratulated the European Ministers on the success they have had with dealing with SARS. Despite the low number of SARS cases in Europe, she advised the Ministers not to let their guard down against the epidemic.
ANNAN CANCELS MAY SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS DUE TO LARYNGITIS
The Secretary-General's engagements involving extensive travel or major speaking commitments are being cancelled until the end of May. This is on the advise of his doctors who are treating his persistent laryngitis.
He will continue his normal activities at UN Headquarters with a lighter schedule of engagements.
KOSOVO: The UN Mission in Kosovo, in a statement issued today, noted the seizure by customs officers of 2.5 million Yugoslav dinars in cash that were found hidden under the seats of a Serb-registered car entering Kosovo from Serbia on April 30. The Mission was informed afterward by Serb officials that the money was intended for pensions in the Kamenica region, but it remains perplexed as to why money destined for legitimate purposes should be transported in such a clandestine manner and not declared to UNMIK Customs at the boundary.
TRIBUNAL FOR EX-YUGOSLAVIA: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has indicted two former Serbian State Security Service officials, Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic, for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the forced expulsion of non-Serbs from large areas of both Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, between 1991 and 1995. They are accused of directing, arming, financing and otherwise supporting State Security Service agents who participated in crimes in those countries.
FRESH WATER: Connecting People and Goals is the theme of a panel discussion that will take place tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. at UN headquarters. The discussion takes place as part of the commemorations of the International Year of Freshwater and in conjunction with the 11th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, which ends on Friday. The keynote speaker will be Prince Willem Alexander of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs will also address the gathering. The session will be chaired by Ronnie Kasrils South African Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry.
UN BUDGET: Austria today became the 77th Member State to pay its 2003 regular budget contribution in full with a payment of more than $12 million.
CORRECTION: Yesterday, we misidentified the U.S. Middle East Envoy. He is William Burns and not Nicholas Burns as we said in yesterdays briefing. We apologize for the error.
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