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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-05-30

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 HUA JIANG

DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, May 30, 2003

SECURITY COUNCIL APPROVES FORCE TO REINFORCE UN TROOPS IN BUNIA, DRC

The Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1484 (2003), authorizing, under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, the deployment until September 1 of an Interim Emergency Multinational Force in Bunia. The resolution stresses that this force is to be deployed on a strictly temporary basis to allow the Secretary-General to reinforce the UN Missions presence in Bunia.

The resolution demands that all parties to the conflict in Ituri cease hostilities immediately. It also calls on all Member States and in particular those in the Great Lakes region to provide all necessary support to facilitate the swift deployment of the force.

No fighting has been reported today in Bunia today. The UN Mission is continuing its efforts to re-start negotiations between the militia groups.

In the meantime, war-wounded patients at the UN clinic in Bunia town have been transferred to the medical facility at the airport.There have been no new war-wounded patients since Tuesday.

The number of dead bodies collected so far by the local Red Cross working together with the UN Mission now stands at 415.

UN MISSION IN WESTERN SAHARA EXTENDED BY TWO MONTHS

The Security Council this morning also approved a resolution to extend the mandate of the mission in Western Sahara by two months.

[The Secretary-General, in his latest report to the Security Council on the UN Mission in Western Sahara, had proposed a new option, which he recommends that the Council approve. The peace plan developed by his Personal Envoy James Baker is attached to the report as an annex, as are the responses of the parties and the neighboring countries.]

SECURITY COUNCIL HOLDS MEETING ON CONFLICTS IN AFRICA

The Security Council began an open meeting to wrap up the Council Presidency of Pakistan during the month of May, in which speakers focused on conflicts in Africa.

Ibrahim Gambari, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Africa, was among the speakers.

Gambari noted that upcoming Security Council missions to both Central Africa and West Africa are particularly timely, because they would provide the Council an opportunity to learn first hand and thus make informed judgement on a host of issues.

He also said Security Council Missions to Africa are a clear demonstration of continuing interest in and engagement with, crises and conflicts on the continent. Beyond that, however, they need to be effective instruments for conflict prevention, management and resolution.

In addition, he flagged that the failure of the international community to engage in serious efforts to consolidate peace in Central African Republic, Liberia and Guinea Bissau after the end of the earlier peace-keeping operations in these countries can largely be attributed to the relapse to conflict there. Hence, greater and more creative efforts by the international community are essential for successful peace-building, he said.

Russia will take over from Pakistan as Security Council President for June. Ambassador Sergey Lavrov of Russia is expected to brief you on the June program of work for the Security Council following consultations on Tuesday, June 3.

MEETING ON IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION TO BE HELD ON JUNE 24

On June 24, a planning meeting on reconstruction and recovery in Iraq will be held at the United Nations. UN agencies, international financial institutions and Iraqi technical experts will participate in the meeting, which will focus on information sharing about reconstruction efforts, needs assessment and resources.

In Baghdad today, a delegation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) met with over 200 athletes, coaches and sports administrator and told them that the IOC was committed to having Iraqi athletes participate in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. With the active support of the UN Development Programme, the IOC said it would work with local sports federations on training programmes to prepare athletes for the games. The IOC and UNDP encouraged the members of the Iraqi sports community to organize elections for a national Olympic committee. They also stressed the need for women to participate at all levels of sports.

ANNAN WELCOMES AGREEMENT BETWEEN VENEZUELA GOVERNMENT, OPPOSITION

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a statement, welcomes the agreement signed yesterday (29 May) between the Government of Venezuela and the opposition Coordinadora Democrática. He urges all Venezuelans to take advantage of the opportunity that this agreement provides to advance in the search for a peaceful, constitutional and electoral solution to the problems of their country.

He would also like to commend the international facilitators, in particular Mr. César Gaviria, Secretary General of the Organization of American States.

The Secretary-General emphasizes that the United Nations will continue to be engaged in supporting Venezuelans as they seek peaceful solutions to resolving their differences.

UNICEF AND WFP APPEAL TO G8 LEADERS TO TACKLE AIDS, HUNGER

Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund, Carol Bellamy, today challenged the leaders of the Group of Eight (G8), to turn the tide in the global AIDS crisis or risk being held accountable for the deaths of millions of people, increasingly children and young people.

She said that for about 95 percent of people living with HIV/AIDS today, the disease is a death sentence, as they have no access to treatment or care. The bill signed into law this week in the United States will provide funds that will have a huge impact on the 14 African and Caribbean nations it targets, but she noted that in three nations not covered by the plan - Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe one third of the young women were HIV positive.

To corner the virus, she said, all countries rich and poor must step up to the plate. And the global response must focus on children and young people because theyre hardest hit, and because their choices will determine the course of the epidemic.

The World Food Programme has also prepared for the G8 summit in Evian, by putting together a white paper on preventing and mitigating food crises in sub-Saharan Africa for G-8 leaders to consider.

The white paper says that some 196 million Africans are undernourished, and 40 million now suffer from severe food shortages, and WFP suggests specific steps that G-8 nations can take to make emergency responses to food crises more effective.

ON STAFF DAY, DEPUTY SG HONORS FALLEN UN WORKERS

Today is UN Staff Day. In her remarks at Memorial Ceremony held at the UN Headquarters to mark UN Staff Day, Deputy Secretary-General Louis Frechette paid respect to colleagues who have lost their lives, and the unsung heroes those who continue to work in the most difficult of conditions.

She said that tremendous progress had been made over the past year in the area of staff security: Most of the recommendations made by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly in 2001 to enhance security of staff in the field have been implemented, or are in the process of being implemented, she said.

PAHO TO LAUNCH FIRST EVER MASS VACCINATION CAMPAIGN

The first-ever Vaccination Week in the Americas will be launched this Sunday, with 19 countries, in Central and South America mobilizing to immunize more than 15 million children under 5 years of age and 2.7 million women of childbearing age. The ultimate goal is to achieve a vaccination rate of 95 percent throughout the continent.

The public health initiative, organized by the Pan American Health Association (PAHO), the arm of the World Health Organization operating in the Americas, has three mains objectives: to maintain measles interruption, to give impetus to efforts to end rubella, and to maintain polio eradication. In the case of women, the campaign seeks to prevent neonatal tetanus.

PAHO, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF are supporting the campaign.

UNHCR CONCERNED AT FATE OF TIBETANS HELD IN NEPAL

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is extremely concerned about the fate of 18 Tibetans detained by Nepalese authorities since April 17 amid indications that Chinese authorities are demanding that they be returned to China.

UNHCRs mandate is to protect asylum seekers until such time as their claim and their status have been determined. Returning people before their status is determined would amount to refoulement and would be in clear contravention of international law, says UNHCR.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

INT'L TRIBUNAL FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA: Franko Simatovic, a former official in Yugoslavias State Security Service, was transferred today to the Detention Unit of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, where he has been indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity for participating in the forcible removal of the majority of non-Serbs from large areas of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

DROUGHT IN ERITREA: The Food and Agriculture Organization has launched a $400,000 project to help drought affected farmers in Eritrea through the distribution of cereal and legume seeds and through providing technical assistance for the 2003 cropping season. The impact of the border war with Ethiopia and last years drought, the worst in 10 years, severely weakened the productive capacity of farmers and affected all regions. The situation is alarming, as nearly two-thirds of the country's population of 3.4 million people face severe food shortages. Of these, an estimated 1.4 million need emergency food assistance.

UNITED NATIONS AND CIVIL SOCIETY: Next Monday and Tuesday, the Secretary-Generals Panel of Eminent Persons on United Nations Relations with Civil Society will hold closed-door meetings at UN Headquarters, chaired by former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette will open the panel session on Monday morning.

UNITED NATIONS AND SPORTS: A new sports page has come to the UN web site, which focuses on the UNs work with sports-related organizations to support humanitarian and development efforts, as well as initiatives to promote peace and respect for human rights. The page was developed through the efforts of the Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Adolf Ogi. (It can be found at www.un.org/partners/civil society/home.htm.)

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Sunday, June 1

In Evian, France, the Secretary-General has been invited to attend a summit meeting of the leaders of the Group of Eight nations with select leaders from developing nations.

Monday, June 2

Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov, President of the Security Council for the month of June, is expected to hold bilateral discussions with other Council members on the program of work for the month.

The Secretary-Generals Panel of Eminent Persons on UN Relations with Civil Society, led by former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, will begin a two-day meeting at UN Headquarters.

Tuesday, June 3

The Security Council is expected to hold consultations on its program of work for June. Ambassador Sergey Lavrov of Russia is expected to brief reporters on the June program of work for the Security Council following consultations

The guest at the noon briefing will be Gianfranco Rotigliano, the UN Childrens Fund representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who will discuss the situation in Bunia.

Wednesday, June 4

At 12:45 p.m., French Ambassador Jean Marc de la Sabliere will brief the press on the Security Council mission to Central Africa.

Thursday, June 5

Today is World Environment Day, with this years theme being Water: Two Million People are Dying for It! The Secretary-General will issue a message to mark the occasion.

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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