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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-05-20

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 STEPHANE DUJARRIC

ASSOCIATE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

SECURITY COUNCIL TO HOLD CONSULTATIONS ON IRAQ RESOLUTION

At 3:30 today, the Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations on a draft resolution on Iraq, which was presented on Monday afternoon by the United States, United Kingdom and Spain.

For the record, the Security Council on Monday afternoon voted unanimously to approve changes in the statute for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, to allow judges who are leaving the Tribunal to finish work on ongoing cases before they depart.

Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sablière of France is scheduled to brief the press on June 4, after the noon briefing, on the upcoming Security Council mission, which he will lead, to Central Africa from June 7 to June 16. The mission intends to visit South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.

Asked about the appointment of a UN Special Representative for Iraq, as envisioned in the draft resolution, the Spokesman noted, as Secretary-General Kofi Annan did earlier today, that the United Nations would move quickly to appoint a Representative once the resolution was passed.

UN HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR MEETS WITH CIVIL SOCIETY IN IRAQ

This morning, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Ramiro Lopes da Silva, met with representatives of the NGO community in Baghdad as part of the UNs continued efforts to coordinate activity in the humanitarian field.

Today, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that up to 1,000 Iranians who had left their long-time refugee settlements in eastern Iraq because of security problems and incidents of looting in late April, remained encamped in makeshift border sites, waiting for the green light from the Iranian Government to cross home. UNHCR has asked Iran to permit those refugees to cross homewards as soon as possible.

The Office of the Iraq Programme, in its weekly update, says that the total value of priority items from the oil-for-food programs humanitarian pipeline that can be shipped to Iraq by June 3 has reached $949 million. Most of these supplies are in the food ($463 million), electricity ($239 million), agriculture ($119 million) and health ($88 million) sectors.

The UN agencies and programs actively involved in the review of the oil-for-food pipeline are currently looking at additional shippable contracts worth about $330 million.

UN MISSION CONDUCTING PATROLS IN BUNIA, DR CONGO, AMID TENSIONS

The overall situation in the north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) remains calm, but tense. The UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) has been conducting patrols in Bunia, in order to reduce tensions and reassure the local population, much of which resides in town during the day and returns to the area around MONUC headquarters at night for safety.

The remains of the two Military Observers killed last week in Mangbwalu have been transported back to Kinshasa. MONUC has begun a detailed investigation, in order to establish the facts, from among the many conflicting accounts, of what took place. The United Nations is also taking very seriously reports of threats made against other Military Observers as well as civilian staff.

Meanwhile, in Kinshasa, discussions by the parties on the distribution of military and ministerial posts for the transitional government remain deadlocked. MONUC and the International Commission for the Support of the Transition are working with those concerned to break the deadlock.

Humanitarian officers continued to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the internally displaced persons in town and at the airport in Bunia. UN officials plan on Wednesday to undertake a humanitarian assessment mission outside of Bunia, to determine the situation of displaced persons outside of the town.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that nearly 20,000 people have fled to Uganda following ethnic clashes in the Ituri region. There are growing fears that more refugees could be on their way to Uganda, trying to tag on to Uganda forces as they pull out of the region.

Asked about UN troop presence in Bunia, he said there were more than 700 military personnel in Bunia, a small increase over the past week. He also noted the Secretary-Generals appeal to countries to send troops to participate in a more robust force. The Secretary-General was in talks with a number of countries on that force.

UNHCR: MORE THAN 10,000 PEOPLE LEAVING LIBERIA FOR COTE DIVOIRE

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported today that more than 10,000 people, primarily Liberians, have crossed from southern Liberia into neighboring Côte d'Ivoire over the past 72 hours.

According to sketchy reports from non-governmental organizations, refugees and UNHCR staff on the border, Harper, the main town in Liberia's south-eastern Maryland County, was seized on Monday morning by members of the recently formed Liberian rebel movement, MODEL (Movement for Democracy in Liberia).

UNHCR is appealing to the rebels to protect the civilian population, including the large number of refugees and third country nationals who had previously found refuge in Harper after fleeing the crisis in Côte d'Ivoire.

UN MISSION PARTICIPATES IN TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENCE DAY

Timor-Leste celebrated its first anniversary of independence today. To mark the occasion, the UN Mission in the country (UNMISET) opened a Photo Exhibition with some 80 photos, slide shows and videos highlighting the partnership between the United Nations and the Timorese people.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, President Xanana Gusmao said that as UNMISET entered its final year, to know that the commitment and support of the UN to Timor-Leste will continue (beyond UNMISET) makes us confident in the future.

The Timor-Leste Government decided to commemorate the first anniversary in a decentralized manner in all the thirteen districts, with football matches and cultural activities, assisted by UNMISET and other UN agencies. A match was held between President Gusmao and Government officials on one hand, and UNMISET senior management on the other; the Timorese team won, 2-0.

UN OFFICE TO WORK ON PRISON REFORM IN AFGHANISTAN

The Office on Drugs and Crime has launched a project, in cooperation with the Afghan Ministry of Justice, to reform Afghanistans prison system.

The project, which was launched with the signing of a document on prison reform last Saturday in Kabul, will include the setting up of a special detention center for women, special attention to the needs of women with young children, and the rehabilitation of prisons and improvement of prison conditions in Kabul. The two-year project has a total budget of $2 million, funded largely by the Italian Government.

Meanwhile, Afghan President Hamid Karzai designated today as the National Day of Unity for Children, which is being marked with the start of a campaign to vaccinate six million Afghan children against polio between today and Thursday.

Carol Bellamy, the Executive Director of the UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF), welcomed the declaration of the Day of Unity for Children, adding that childrens rights must be kept at the top of the agenda today and every day.

UN BODIES URGE SUPPORT FOR $84 MILLION APPEAL FOR HAITI

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) are requesting urgent support for an emergency program to help Haitis poorest communities, in an $84 million appeal that encompasses 21 projects to improve public administration, provide small loans and curb the spread of small arms and community violence.

Adama Guindo, the UN Resident Coordinator in Haiti, says, The appeal constitutes an urgent effort by the UN system to focus attention on a silent, chronic and forgotten crisis in Haiti. Two-thirds of Haitians live below the poverty line, only half of adults are literate, and, in a labor force of 4.1 million people, only 110,000 people have regular salaried positions.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

UNICEF HEAD VISITS PAKISTAN: The Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund, Carol Bellamy, is scheduled to be in Pakistan, starting Wednesday, for a three-day visit. She will launch a national initiative on girls education Wednesday and, on Thursday she will deliver the keynote address at the Ministerial Meeting of the South Asia Education For All Forum. There are some 43 million children out of school in South Asia and over half of these are girls.

PROSECUTION WINS MORE TIME FOR MILOSEVIC TRIAL: Today in The Hague, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia decided to grant an additional 100 days for prosecutors to complete the presentation of evidence in the trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. The prosecution initially had until May 16 to present evidence, and had complained that the fixed amount of time to present its case limited the number of witnesses it could call. The Trial Chamber agreed that it would be in the interests of justice to allow the prosecution time to call further witnesses, but also said there was a need to strike a balance to prevent the prosecutions case from being excessively long.

SUSPECT TO APPEAR BEFORE YUGOSLAVIA TRIBUNAL: The initial appearance before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia of Miroslav Radic, a former Yugoslav Army officer who was transferred to the detention unit at The Hague last Saturday, is scheduled to take place on Wednesday.

WHO ANALYSES RISKS OF SARS TRANSMISSION BY AIR TRAVEL: The World Health Organization has analyzed information concerning the risks of transmission of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) by air travel. Out of 35 flights in which there were suspected SARS cases among the passengers or crew, only four flights have been associated with the possible transmission to fellow travelers. The last probable transmission through air travel occurred on March 23, during a flight from Bangkok to Beijing, four days before WHO started issuing recommendations for the screening of air passengers departing from SARS-related areas. The latest statistics indicate a total of 7,864 probable SARS cases with 643 deaths, reported from 28 countries.

FACT SHEET ON MENINGITIS: WHO also put out an updated fact sheet on meningitis, a bacterial disease which affects more than 200,000 people annually worldwide. Most cases occur in sub-Saharan Africa and can be prevented by vaccination.

  • The guest at the noon briefing was UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Terje Roed-Larsen.

    style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: 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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