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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-08-27

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 SPOKESWOMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

ANNAN WELCOMES SIX-PARTY TALKS IN BEIJING

In a message to the participants of the six-party talks in Beijing, Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed the beginning of the talks, saying that "this is an encouraging development that offers testimony to the will of your respective governments to find a negotiated solution to the crucial problems of the region."

He says that there is much confidence in the diplomatic skills of the participants and he wishes them success in their deliberations.

"I also want to assure you of my active support for your work,"' he said.

"I am hopeful that this process, however challenging and complicated it may be, will lead to solutions to your mutual and bilateral concerns, reducing tensions, and strengthening peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the region," he said.

MORE VICTIMS OF BAGHDAD BOMBING FLOWN OUT OF IRAQ TO JORDAN

The bodies of three more victims of the Baghdad bombing of UN headquarters are being airlifted out to Amman, Jordan, from Iraq today.

Those are UN staff members Ramillo Buenaventura of the Philippines and Reza Hosseini of Iran, as well as Gillian Clark of Canada, who worked for the non-governmental organization, Christian Childrens Fund. They are to be met in Jordan, by UN Development Programme, Mark Malloch Brown.

Also today in Amman, Malloch Brown met with King Abdullah II to convey the Secretary-Generals gratitude for Jordans assistance to the United Nations in the aftermath of the bombing, especially in receiving wounded staff.

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON LIBERIA BY ECOWAS DELEGATION

The Security Council is holding two back-to-back meetings on Liberia. In the first open meeting, Council members heard briefings by the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS). The Foreign Minister of Ghana, Nana Akufo Addo, the current ECOWAS chairman, and Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the ECOWAS Executive Secretary were the briefers.

Security Council President Fayssal Mekdad of Syria then read a presidential statement welcoming the Comprehensive Peace Settlement reached by Liberias Government, rebel groups, political parties and civil society leaders in Accra, Ghana last week. The Council also urged all parties to respect fully the ceasefire and to implement fully all their commitments under the peace agreement.

The Council then went into a private meeting for a questions and answers session. In addition to the Ghanian Foreign Minister and Chambas, the Foreign Ministers of Cote DIvoire, Guinea and Nigeria attended todays meetings.

Tuesday afternoon, Council President Mekdad of Syria, in a statement to the press on the Liberian timber sanctions during which he said that in context of the rapidly evolving, yet fragile, situation in Liberia, the members of the Council considered that it was premature to draw definitive conclusions regarding the timber sanctions and their possible impact.

UN ENVOY FOR LIBERIA CONTINUES REGIONAL CONSULTATIONS

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Liberia, Jacques Klein, is in Freetown, Sierra Leone today, a day after he went to Guinea where he met Prime Minister Lamine Sidime, diplomatic representatives and the UN country team. While in Guinea, Klein, according to his spokeswoman, sent a message to the Liberian rebel movement LURD that all hostilities must cease.

As part of his series of talks with regional leaders on the situation in Liberia, Klein is scheduled to travel to Cote DIvoire Thursday.

This morning, Klein met with Maj. Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, Nigerias Chief of Army staff and thanked Nigeria for the important role it was playing in Liberia. Agwai told Klein that Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo was fully committed to the peace process in Liberia and that Nigeria was willing to rehat its battalions under the United Nations.

On the humanitarian front, the United Nations is working with its NGO partners to help Liberians on the move from an area known as Kakata outside of Monrovia, where the newly displaced said they fled in fear of skirmishes would break out. A nearby camp is being prepared for them.

The World Food Programme said it was reaching its target of feeding 150,000 people in Monrovia, including those in the Samuel K. Doe stadium. WFP said another ship carrying 2,000 tons has docked.

ANNAN WELCOMES RESOLUTION ON PROTECTION OF UN WORKERS

Tuesday afternoon, the Security Council unanimously passed the resolution (1502) on the protection of United Nations personnel and other workers serving in conflict zones.

Speaking at the outset of the Council's meeting on the issue, the Secretary-General noted that again and again, peacekeepers or unarmed civilians have been "deliberately targeted by armed factions seeking to make a political point or a military gain, or to intimidate the international community, adding that last weeks vicious attack on our headquarters in Baghdad, has brought this vital issue to the forefront of our priorities.

Urging Council members to adopt the timely draft resolution, he said: "If you succeed in strengthening the security of United Nations staff, you will not only do what, in all conscience, is your duty. You will also increase the authority and the effectiveness of this Council, by making clear that you are determined to protect those whom you send into the field to implement your decisions."

Speaking to the press afterward, the Secretary-General expressed his gratitude for the passage of the resolution, saying that the resolution will allow the UN to really press the governments themselves and work with the governments to take action against the perpetrators.

Asked how the resolution would apply to the current situation in Iraq since there is no government, the Spokeswoman said that the Occupying Powers were responsible for security as well as law and order in Iraq at this time.

UN EXPERTS WARN OF INCREASED DRUG SMUGGLING IN IRAQ

A team of experts from the UN Office of Drugs and Crime who just returned from two weeks in Iraq note in their report that much more remains to be done in rehabilitating the Iraqi police infrastructure.

The UN experts say that the evolving nature of organized crime in Iraq is based on sophisticated smuggling networks, many established under the previous regime to circumvent UN sanctions. In recent months, an upsurge in violent crime, including kidnapping and murder, has taken place, they say.

They also warn that Iraqs porous borders coupled with its geographical location near one of the major routes for smuggling opiates from Afghanistan, makes it a strong possibility that there will be an increase in drug trafficking.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL: The Secretary-General will take the rest of the week off, but he is not going to leave the country.

SOLOMON ISLANDS: The Security Council President also readout a statement to the press on the Solomon Islands, welcoming the collective action of the countries of the Pacific Islands Forum to support the people of the Solomon Islands in their quest for the restoration of law and order and stability.

UNESCO: The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today has welcomed the announcement by the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies (Shell) not to explore for, or develop, oil and gas resources within any of natural World Heritage sites.

UN TRIBUNAL FOR FORMER YUGOSLAVIA: During a hearing today of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Miodrag Jokic, former Commander of the Ninth Military Naval Sector in Serbia, pleaded guilty to six counts of violations of the laws or customs of war, among which murder, cruel treatment and attacks on civilians.

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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