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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-08-26

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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

HIGHLIGHTS

OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY HUA JIANG

DEPUTY SPOKESWOMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

THOUSANDS OF UN STAFF MARCH TO HONOR THOSE KILLED IN BAGHDAD

At 11:30 a.m. in New York, some 2,000 staff members at UN Headquarters held a silent march to honor the memory of UN colleagues who were killed in Baghdad. Secretary-General Kofi Annan joined the marchers, as did a number of members of permanent missions.

Approximately 3,000 UN employees took part in a similar march in Geneva earlier today.

Earlier today in Baghdad, the bodies of five UN staff members killed in the bombing were flown out to Amman, Jordan: Reham al-Farra, Jean-Selim Kanaan, Chris Klein-Beekman, Fiona Watson and Nadia Younes.

Mark Malloch Brown, the UN Development Programme Administrator, received the bodies upon their arrival in Amman. He said, in honor of the five fallen staff, that their lives changed the people that they touched, while their deaths have, tragically, changed the United Nations. He added, "You leave us now the even harder task of finishing what you began, but your sacrifice must be our commitment."

The latest casualty toll is of 23 dead, of which 19 were UN staff 11 internationals and 8 nationals.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO ATTEND MEMORIAL SERVICES IN GENEVA

Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette will leave New York this evening to Geneva.

On Thursday afternoon, at 2:00, she will attend a religious memorial service for Sergio Vieira de Mello, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq.Then at 7:00 p.m., she will also attend a commemoration jointly organized by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and by the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights.

On Friday morning at 11:00, she will attend a memorial for all staff members who lost their lives in the Baghdad bombing last Tuesday.

SECURITY COUNCIL PASSES RESOLUTION ON DR CONGO FORCE

The Security Council this morning unanimously approved resolution 1501 (2003) authorizing the states that participate in the multinational force in Bunia, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, to provide assistance to the UN contingent that is to replace them on September 1, if the UN Mission in the DRC requests such assistance. The multinational forces disengagement is to last, at the latest, until September 15.

The vote on a draft resolution on the protection of UN, associated and humanitarian personnel, meanwhile, was postponed, and the subject will be discussed during todays consultations.

The Council then began consultations on missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals in Iraq, on which it received a report from the Secretary-General last week, noting progress in finding out the fate of such nationals in recent months and suggesting that the mandate of the High-Level Coordinator for Iraq, Yuli Vorontsov, might be ended by this December. Vorontsov briefed the Council on the report.

After that, the Council started consultations on Liberia, first by hearing from Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan, who chairs the Councils sanctions committee on Liberia, about that sanctions regime. The Council also was to hear an update on developments in Liberia, delivered by Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Hédi Annabi.

UN REPORTS RELATIVE CALM IN LIBERIAN CAPITAL

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance reports that Monrovia, the Liberian capital, is still relatively calm, despite heavy looting at Government buildings last week. Life is slowly returning to normal, with some businesses opening in the city.

Special Humanitarian Coordinator Ross Mountain is pursuing discussions with Government and rebel forces to promote safe and unhindered access to areas outside Monrovia.

The UN has sent assessment missions to several parts of Liberia, noting that an estimated 45,000 displaced people are present in the second-largest city, Buchanan, while the situation in Tubmanburg remains precarious.

Information on the situation in the rest of the country remains largely anecdotal, but some 3,000 to 4,000 people are reportedly on the road from Gbatala to displaced camps in central Liberia, amid reports of fresh fighting between Government and rebel forces.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Liberia, Jacques Klein, is scheduled to be travelling to Guinea today as part of his series of talks with regional leaders.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

HUMAN RIGHTS EXPERT ARRIVES IN SOMALIA: The independent expert on human rights in Somalia, Ghanim Alnajjar, arrived in the region this week for an 11-day mission, and he is to visit Somalia starting today, on a trip to last through September 1. Alnajjar said of Somalia, The situation right now is not promising, and added that the human rights picture in Somalia depends on the fate of the peace process.

WHO SAYS NO SARS THREAT IN CANADA: The World Health Organization (WHO), following extensive investigations, today dispelled fears that outbreaks of respiratory illness in Surrey and Vancouver, Canada might be linked to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. WHO said it has now gathered, together with Canadian health authorities, enough evidence to conclude that the outbreak is not SARS-related and that Canada continues to be a safe destination for travel.

UNEP SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH MONGOLIA: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Mongolian Government today signed an agreement to support sustainable development and environmental protection in Mongolia.

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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