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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-08-01
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: firstname.lastname@example.orgHIGHLIGHTS
OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FRED ECKHARD
SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Friday, August 1, 2003
SECRETARY-GENERAL ENCOURAGED ABOUT KOREAN TALKS
A statement, issued by the Spokesman, said that Secretary-General Kofi Annan is very encouraged by reports indicating a good prospect of early talks with the participation of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, the United States, as well as China, Japan, Republic of Korea and Russian Federation. This format should enable its participants to address multilateral and bilateral issues of concern to them.
The Secretary-General commends the recent efforts by the Government of China, as well as other countries, in overcoming the current impasse. He will continue to support this diplomatic approach.
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN LIBERIA DIRE AS FIGHTING RESUMES
As fighting resumed today in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the humanitarian situation remains dire, with food stocks running out and disease spreading. Cholera continues to be rampant, due to overcrowding and the increasingly poor sanitary conditions in settlements for internally displaced persons.
The shortage of potable water is compounding the health crisis, with humanitarian organizations having to rely on bringing water from deep wells, which need chlorination, to settlements for displaced persons.
Fuel shortages are also hampering relief efforts, with Monrovias main hospitals reporting that, within two weeks, they will run out of fuel for their generators as well as medical supplies.
UN TO PROVIDE $8-10 MILLION IN ASSISTANCE TO ECOWAS TROOPS
In response to previous questions about the costs the United Nations will face in trying to support the deployment of some Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) forces in Liberia, the Spokesman noted that it is hard to calculate those costs precisely at this stage, while the United Nations is still trying to determine what ECOWAS will need.
However, he added, the United Nations will pay for the transport of one Nigerian battalion that had been deployed as part of the UN peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone, and will also provide a sustainability package to both Nigerian battalions for 30 days, including food, water, fuel, communications, computers and medical evacuation capacity. The estimated cost for those tasks is roughly $8 million to $10 million.
The United Nations may ask for voluntary contributions to offset these costs.
SECURITY COUNCIL MAY TAKE UP LIBERIA LATER TODAY
There are no Security Council consultations scheduled so far today, since, as the new month begins, the new Council President, Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe, will hold bilateral meetings with other Council members on the program of work for August.
The Security Council is expected to hold consultations on its program of work for August on Monday. After those consultations adjourn, Ambassador Wehbe intends to brief the press about the Councils work over the coming month.
There are some indications that the Security Council may take up the draft resolution on Liberia in consultations, and possibly a formal meeting, later this afternoon, but there is no confirmation that those consultations have been scheduled.
Asked further about those consultations, the Spokesman said that it was in the Councils hands whether anything would be scheduled, and there was even the possibility that it may schedule consultations on Saturday.
Asked about comments attributed to Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi about an October 1 deadline for deploying UN troops to Liberia, the Spokesman said he would not comment on what was said in a closed Security Council meeting. He added that there was concern at the United Nations about the tight deadline.
Asked about a more realistic deadline, he noted that UN peacekeeping missions often take four to six months to be put together, although it could take less time if the United Nations could incorporate existing forces already on the ground.
Asked about whether an August 15 deadline for UN planning on Liberia, being considered by the Security Council, is realistic, the Spokesman said that the United Nations made its views known during closed consultations, and it had some reservations about that deadline also being a tight one.
ANNAN GRATEFUL FOR SECURITY COUNCIL VOTE ON WESTERN SAHARA
Following the Security Councils unanimous vote in favor of a resolution on Western Sahara on Thursday, the Secretary-General, in a statement, expressed gratitude that the Council adopted a resolution expressing its clear and strong support for his efforts and those of his Personal Envoy, James Baker, and for the peace plan.
Given the unanimous nature of this resolution, the Secretary-General invites the parties to act constructively and to work with each other and with him and his Personal Envoy towards acceptance and implementation of the peace plan.
UN ELECTORAL ASSISTANCE TEAM TRAVELS TO IRAQI CAPITAL
This coming weekend, a team from the UNs electoral assistance division will be traveling to Baghdad. In his recent report, the Secretary-General said he would be sending such a mission to Iraq.
These electoral specialists will discuss with their relevant Iraqi and Coalition Authority counterparts the various possible modalities for electoral registration and the electoral process, including electoral laws, rules and regulations, the registration of political parties, and options for UN electoral support in those areas.
The fourmember team will be Iraq for two weeks.
As for the Secretary-Generals Special Representative, Sergio Vieira de Mello, he will travel to Kuwait City Saturday to meet senior Kuwaiti officials as part of his continuing consultations with Iraqs neighbors.
UN ENVOY NOTES DIFFERENCES ABOUT ETHIOPIA-ERITREA BORDER
On Thursday, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Ethiopia and Eritrea, Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, noted that both those countries have on the whole remained loyal to their peace agreements, but added that Ethiopia has expressed some problems with the decision of the independent Boundary Commission that deals with the border between the two countries. He said it is clear that Ethiopia will pursue its disagreement with the Boundary Commission through the established legal process.
If disagreements persist on the demarcation of the border, Legwaila added, that would be a matter for the Security Council to consider, since, as he put it, Its not the intention of the Security Council to watch and see this become another Cyprus.
ANNAN APPOINTS DIRECTOR OF OFFICE FOR PROJECT SERVICES: The Secretary-General today announced the appointment of Nigel Fisher of Canada, the current Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, as the Executive Director of the UN Office for Project Services, replacing Reinhardt Helmke.
UNESCO MEETS ON IRAQI CULTURAL HERITAGE: The third expert meeting of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on the safeguarding of Iraqs cultural heritage took place earlier today in Tokyo. At the meeting, which mainly focused on short- and long-term action to preserve the Baghdad Museum, UNESCO officials urged donor nations to start immediate work on restoring and preserving the remainder of Iraqs cultural heritage.
BOSNIAN SERB SENTENCED TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT: On Thursday in The Hague, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia found Bosnian Serb doctor Milomir Stankic guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, holding him responsible for more than 1,500 killings of Bosnian Muslims and Croats in Prijedor. The Court accordingly sentenced Stankic to life imprisonment. He was acquitted of charges of genocide and complicity in genocide.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
Monday, August 4
The Security Council will hold consultations on its program of work for August. Afterward, the Council President, Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe, will brief the press on the Councils work during the month ahead.
Tuesday, August 5
Wednesday, August 6
The guest at the noon briefing will be Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Carolyn McAskie, who will present the UN humanitarian appeal for Liberia.
Thursday, August 7
The guest at the noon briefing will be the police commissioner for the UN Mission in Timor-Leste, Sandra Peisley.
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