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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-08-22
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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 22, 2003
ANNAN NOTES POSSIBILITY FOR U.N.-MANDATED FORCE IN IRAQ
Secretary-General Kofi Annan this morning met with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw at U.N. headquarters, with whom he discussed the way forward in Iraq, and also touched on Liberia and the upcoming General Assembly session.
The two spoke to reporters afterward, and the Secretary-General, in response to questions, said he did not exclude the possibility that the Security Council may decide to transform the current operation in Iraq into a U.N.-mandated multinational force, with other Governments coming in.
He added that such a shift would also imply not just burden sharing, but also sharing decision and responsibility with the others. If that doesnt happen, I think it is going to be very difficult to get a second resolution that will satisfy everybody.
The Secretary-General added that he would be talking to all Security Council members, following the suggestions he gave to the British Foreign Secretary and, on Thursday, to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. He has recommended to Security Council members that these discussions take place behind closed doors.
Asked about the protection of U.N. staff in Baghdad, the Secretary-General said that a U.N. team is on its way to Baghdad now to assess the situation, and added, There is no doubt that we will have to strengthen our security.
He has since met with Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio, and then with the UN ambassadors of Cuba, Malaysia and South Africa, who were representing the Non-Aligned Movement.
Following that meeting, Malaysian Ambassador Rastam Mohammmed Isa read a statement of support on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement to the United Nations following the Baghdad attack. The Secretary-General thanked him and said, This support, coming from your 116 members, is a source of strength to me personally and to the Organization. He said the United Nations would continue its mission to ensure that an Iraqi Government is set up as soon as possible one established by the people and for the people.
BODY OF SERGIO VIEIRA DE MELLO FLOWN FROM BAGHDAD
Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights Bertrand Ramcharan flew to Baghdad and is now accompanying the body of Sergio Vieira de Mello from Baghdad to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, via Geneva where Vieira de Mellos widow and children were to board the Brazilian plane. A memorial service is expected to be held in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.
Funeral and burial arrangements are still being worked out.
In remarks at the airport in Baghdad, from where the plane took off earlier today, Benon Sevan, Executive Director of the Iraq Programme who was in the building at the time of the blast, said Vieira de Mello was so committed to the United Nations until his last breath that even when he was pinned down under the rubble of his office, under the most extreme pain, he told the officer who was trying to rescue him, Dont let them pull the mission out.
Asked where Vieira de Mellos body will be buried, the Spokesman said that those arrangements are still being determined. As for the other bodies, he said that they would be placed under the procedures laid out by the Coalition Provisional Authority for the issuance of death certificates, including the provision of dental records.
Asked whether a service would be held in New York, the Spokesman said there was talk of holding one, but first we want to identify all the bodies and allow the funerals to taken place.
IDENTIFICATION OF BODIES CONTINUES IN BAGHDAD
On the ground, the grim task of identifying the bodies of the victims of Tuesdays bombing continues.
The number of dead remains unchanged. The UN Security Coordinators Office has released 10 names.
The UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) said a 100-meter security cordon had been set up around the UNICEF offices in Baghdad. UNICEFs estimated 300 staff members were staying in Iraq, including half of them in the capital.
The World Food Programme said its food distribution operations would continue through the 44,000 distribution agents of the Ministry of Trade.
Asked to comment on allegations in the New York Times that Iraqi security guards at the compound could have provided intelligence for those who planned the bombing, the Spokesman noted that the Secretary-General said today that the investigation is at an early stage, and a preliminary report has not even been received, so he would not comment.
U.N. DOCTOR RECALLS EXPERIENCE AS BLAST HIT
Dr. David Nabarro, a World Health Organization representative who had been in Baghdad at the time of the explosion, described in Geneva today how he had been in the UN compound, just one floor below the office of Sergio Vieira de Mello, when the blast hit. (He had come to see his friend, Nadia Younes.)
I was about to go, he said, but I had not gotten up, and suddenly, there was this extraordinary thud. I felt like I had been hit in the back of the neck. The people around him, including Ramiro Lopes da Silva, had suffered glass wounds. As he tried to leave, the corridors were blocked by fallen masonry, and people who were wounded lay scattered all around.
He added that when he arrived at the Canal Hotel that afternoon, security had been meticulous, and had in fact been stepped up because of security worries in general, not necessarily related to the UN.
NEARLY $4.5 BILLION OF OIL-FOR-FOOD GOODS PRIORITIZED
With some 13 weeks until the closure of the United Nations Iraq Programme on November 21, almost half the goods and supplies in the oil-for-food pipeline have been prioritized for delivery, as required under Security Council resolution 1483.
Consultations between the Coalition Provisional Authority, Iraqi experts and the United Nations have so far resulted in the prioritization of 2,422 contracts valued at more than $4.45 billion, including $606.7 million worth of food items.
Other sectors covered by prioritizations so far include: oil industry spare parts and supplies ($1 billion); electricity ($844.5 million); agriculture ($530.4 million); water and sanitation ($481.4 million); medicine and health ($271.2 million); transport and telecommunications ($212.1 million).
ANNAN NOTES DISCOVERY OF MASS GRAVES IN IRAQ
The discovery in Iraq of mass graves and the subsequent identification of remains, including those of Kuwaiti missing persons, have brought a sense of closure for family members, the Secretary-General says in his latest report to the Security Council on missing Kuwaiti or third-country nationals in Iraq. But it has also brought to light the atrocities perpetrated by the previous regime.
In the report, the Secretary-General notes that the High-level Coordinator for Iraq, Yuli Vorontsov, expressed his view in April that the situation in Iraq is now favorable for intensifying efforts to search in earnest for such missing persons.
The Secretary-General strongly encourages continuing collaboration between Iraq and Kuwait within the framework of the Tripartite Commission and the Red Cross. In light of the ongoing progress on the issue, the Security Council may wish to consider bringing Vorontsovs mandate to an end by the time his next report is submitted in December.
UNDP SAYS CONFERENCE FOR IRAQ EXPECTED IN OCTOBER
The UN Development Programme says that it is expected that a reconstruction conference on Iraq will be hosted by the Spanish Government in Madrid on October 24. A preparatory meeting to that conference is to take place in Brussels on September 3.
The work on the needs assessment, which will form the basis for the conference, has almost been completed, in consultation with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and consultations with the Iraqi people, including the Governing Council, are to be completed before the conference takes place.
UN ASSESSMENT TEAM SAYS SECURITY IN MONROVIA IMPROVING
As more relief supplies arrive in the Liberian capital today, the assessment of humanitarian needs by the UN team in Liberia continues. Agencies reported that the security situation in the capital Monrovia showed signs of improvement, but access to the rest of the country was limited.
The World Health Organization reports that cholera remains the most pressing problem confronting its workers.
Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said the first airlift of much-needed relief supplies for desperate populations in Liberia, among them refugees, is expected to land in Monrovia from nearby Ghana this weekend. A cargo plane carrying six trucks and basic household supplies for an estimated 10,000 people is scheduled to arrive in Monrovia on Saturday. Additional supplies for an estimated 7,000 people are also expected aboard the MV Overbeck, the rescue ship chartered by UNHCR in July to evacuate Sierra Leonean refugees from Liberia.
A UN humanitarian mission that travelled Thursday to Tubmanburg, a town about 50 kilometers north of Monrovia, says health and education were the top areas of concern. All schools were reported destroyed.
Today, another UN mission went to Buchanan, where the humanitarian situation is reported to be serious.
NO SECURITY COUNCIL MEETINGS: There are no meetings or consultations of the Security Council planned for today.
UN AGENCIES PRESENT RECOMMENDATIONS IN CHINA ON SARS: In China, a joint team of specialists from the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Chinese Government has issued a series of recommendations and actions necessary to identify a possible animal reservoir that causes SARS and to contain any future outbreaks. Among the measures recommended by the joint team of specialists include the strengthening of regulations in the farming, trading and consumption of wildlife.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS Monday, August 25
The Security Council will hold a formal meeting to vote on a resolution on the protection of humanitarian workers.
Tuesday, August 26
The Security Council has scheduled consultations on Iraq and Liberia.
Wednesday, August 27
The Security Council has scheduled a public meeting, followed by a private meeting, with foreign ministers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Thursday, August 28
The Security Council has scheduled a public meeting to wrap up its work for August.
The International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries will begin in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
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