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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-08-06

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

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

UN LAUNCHES $69 MILLION HUMANITARIAN APPEAL FOR LIBERIA

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Liberia, Jacques Klein, and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Carolyn McAskie today launched the revised humanitarian appeal for Liberia, briefing the press at the noon briefing on the details.

UN humanitarian agencies and their partners are asking donors to provide $69 million to assist one million Liberians in greatest need from August 1 to December 31, 2003.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a message delivered by his Special Representative, said that the logic of this emergency appeal is simple: without urgent action, more lives will be lost. He urged the international community to seize the opportunity to alleviate unnecessary suffering, to avert preventable deaths, and to let Liberians know that they are not alone in their quest for development and peace.

The World Food Programme (WFP) confirmed that a specially-chartered supply ship is on its way to Liberia.

On the peacekeeping front, the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) continued its airlift of Nigerian troops and equipment to Monrovia. Going into Liberia today were 112 soldiers, 3 armored personnel carriers, two land rovers, three tons of ammunition and one fuel tanker. A UNAMSIL officer in Monrovia reports that the situation at the airport is calm although the weather is bad.

The Secretary-General had told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the two Nigerian battalions that are being deployed in Liberia will have limited capacity and cannot be expected to hold the airport, the port, help calm the city, [and] create a corridor for humanitarian deliveries.

Liberia, meanwhile, filed an application this week to bring proceedings before the International Court of Justice against Sierra Leone, claiming that an arrest warrant against President Charles Taylor violates a fundamental principle granting immunity to Heads of State.

Asked about the possible departure of Charles Taylor, Klein told reporters at the briefing his advice was Go while the going is good. He added that the indictment of Taylor by the Special Court for Sierra Leone would stay in place.

UN CONGO MISSION JOINS ASSESSMENT MISSION TO NYANDA

The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Multinational Force have dispatched a joint assessment mission to Nyanda, 20 kilometers northeast of Bunia, following allegations of an attack in that area.

According to eyewitnesses, about 150 armed men, accompanied by civilians, attacked the village of Nyanda and its environs at about 5:30 in the morning. Nine people were killed in the attack, mostly women and children. Several houses were torched and some cattle were stolen. According to the eyewitnesses, the attack was carried out by Lendu from a nearby village.

Asked how many attacks have happened since the deployment of the multinational force to Bunia, the Spokesman later said that there have been a lot of allegations, which are difficult to verify since most of them allegedly happened outside Bunia. However, the UN Mission has so far sent out two or three investigation teams to look into allegations.

Asked whether the UN Mission intends to expand its role outside Bunia, the Spokesman said that it does. Resolution 1493 has increased the deployment of UN troops in Ituri to a brigade size, with a view to stabilizing the security conditions in Bunia and its environs first, and eventually, as situation permits, in other parts of Ituri.

SECURITY COUNCIL HOLDS MEETING ON BOUGAINVILLE

The Security Council held an open meeting on Bougainville this morning, in which Noel Sinclair, Director of the UN Political Office in Bougainville, informed the Council of the latest developments in the implementation of the UN mandate outlined by the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

Sinclair informed the Council that Stage II of weapons disposal has come to an end and the UN Office has made the verification and certification to the National Government. With this, he said, the stage will have been set for the next steps to be taken, including the holding of elections for a Bougainville Autonomous Government.

Sinclair said that as the UN Office withdraws at the end of this year, the UN Development Programme would provide continuing support for the peace effort there.

ANNAN DISCUSSES POSSIBLE STATEMENT ON IRAQ WITH SECURITY COUNCIL

The Secretary-General, at his monthly working lunch Tuesday with the members of the Security Council, discussed developments on Iraq, telling the Associated Press afterward that his sense was that the Security Council would look at the question of a statement on the Iraqi Governing Council and the mandate for the establishment of the UN Assistance Mission in that country. On the latter question, he underscored that we need a decision, and it usually comes in the form of a resolution.

He was asked whether a second resolution on expanding UN authorization in Iraq was possible, and responded that Council members know that there are discussions going on, but the membership are not ready to move on it yet.

UNRWA WELCOMES PLEDGE OF $26 MILLION FROM UNITED STATES

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) today warmly welcomed the news that the United States will pledge up to $26 million for the Agencys current emergency appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory, the largest single donation by any Government to the Agencys emergency appeals since they were launched three years ago.

Commissioner-General Peter Hansen said, I am delighted by this strong vote of confidence in the Agency from the Bush administration. The U.S. Government has provided more than $107 million to UNRWA since October 2000, or 36 percent of the total amount the Agency has received since then.

UNRWA added that it remains concerned about under-funding of its appeals, with $102.9 million required for the current six-month period ending this December, and less than $3 million pledged prior to the new US announcement. Unless substantial new pledges are confirmed in the next two months, further cutbacks, resulting in layoffs and reductions in food distribution, remain a real likelihood.

The UN Development Programmes Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People on Tuesday issued a call for $18 million in emergency assistance to address the humanitarian needs of the communities most affected by the building of a barrier, known as the separation wall, in the West Bank. The walls impact is of particular concern in Jenin, Tulkarm and Qalqilya, where current construction could affect the movement of agricultural products.

SLAIN UN POLICE OFFICER MOURNED IN KOSOVO

The Secretary-Generals Deputy Special Representative for Kosovo, Jean-Christian Cady, today spoke at the memorial service of police officer Satish Menon, who was murdered in Kosovo on Sunday night, and he expressed his outrage at what he called a cold-blooded terrorist attack performed under the cover of darkness.

Although the murder is a setback for Kosovo, Cady said, the UN Mission and the international community will continue to work for the values that form the core of the UN mandate and the slain police officers commitment: peace, justice and tolerance.

The UN Mission in Kosovo announced Tuesday that it would give a reward of 50,000 euros for any information that would lead to finding Officer Menons killers.

Asked whether that reward is an unusual step, the Spokesman said that the United Nations has in the past offered rewards for information leading to the apprehension of murderers of UN personnel.

ANNAN CALLS FOR MORE ACTION ON NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT

The Secretary-General, in a message commemorating the 58th anniversary of the worlds first atomic bomb attack, calls on the international community to do more to demonstrate the seriousness of its commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

The message says that although some would say it is an achievement that no nuclear weapon has been used since 1945, tens of thousands of such weapons the exact number is unknown remain in arsenals around the world.

The message adds that other worrisome trends have emerged in recent years, such as the acquisition of nuclear weapons by non-nuclear States, and efforts to modernize existing arsenals and to create new types of nuclear weapons. The possibility that nuclear weapons or radiological bombs could fall into the hands of terrorists has also become a major concern.

In conclusion, the Secretary-General appeals the international community to reaffirm the pledge to bring closer the day when people everywhere will be free to live their lives in peace, without fear of annihilation by the worlds most horrible weapons.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

UNDP ASSISTS BULGARIA IN PROJECT FOR MINORITIES: Bulgaria is taking steps to improve the living conditions and job opportunities for its minority neighborhoods, where some 46,000 Roma (or Gypsies) and 5,000 ethnic Turks live, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) says. UNDP is providing support to a project to upgrade and extend water and sewer systems, electricity and lighting, and roads and paths in Bulgarias minority areas, as part of its preparations to join the European Union, which is scheduled for 2007.

PROTOCOL ON POLLUTANTS TO ENTER INTO FORCE: The Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants, which seeks to eliminate emissions of 16 polluting substances, including 11 pesticides, will enter into force on October 23, after France became the 16th country to ratify the Protocol. The 16 parties to the Protocol are now scheduled to meet in Geneva this December to discuss the Protocol, including reviewing whether its provisions need to be updated.

UNICEF URGES SUPPORT FOR BREASTFEEDING: The UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) called for continued commitment to protect, promote and support breastfeeding, as part of the celebration of World Breastfeeding Week 2003, which is taking place this week. The theme of this years celebration is Peace and Justice, with an emphasis on the enormous benefits of breastfeeding even in the most perilous settings. If every baby were exclusively breastfed from birth to six months, and continued for a few months thereafter, an estimated 1.5 millions lives would be saved each year, UNICEF said.

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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