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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-08-28

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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

Thursday, August 28, 2003

SERGIO VIEIRA DE MELLO LAID TO REST IN GENEVA

Earlier today, the body of Sergio Vieira de Mello was laid to rest at a cemetery in Geneva. The burial was attended only by family members and the Secretary-Generals wife, Nane Annan.

Prior to the burial, more than 1,000 friends and colleagues joined Vieira de Mellos family at a service at St. Pauls church in Geneva.

At the start of the ceremony 22 candles were lit for the 22 victims of the attack on the UN compound in Baghdad. Vieira de Mellos widow, Annie, and his children, Laurent and Adrien lit the 23rd candle.

The Deputy Secretary-General, Louise Fréchette, the Director-General of the United Nations in Geneva, Sergei Ordzhonikidze, many heads of UN agencies as well Geneva authorities were also present.

Friday, there will be an official memorial ceremony at the Geneva UN headquarters for all the victims of the attack.

MEMORIALS FOR UN VICTIMS OF BAGHDAD BOMBING HELD IN AMMAN, OSLO

Today in Amman, Mark Malloch Brown, the UN Development Programme administrator, addressed 400 UN staff members, Jordanian government officials, diplomats and relatives of those who were killed in last week's bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad at a memorial ceremony for the deceased at the Al-Hussein Sports City.

Malloch Brown said it was shocking to him, who had started his UN career in field-based emergency operations, to see coffins draped in blue flags emerging from the great white UN plane, instead of rice bags or refugees. "Terrorists attacked men and women who represented the soul of our organization," he said. He also reaffirmed the UNs determination not to be deterred by the attack.

During the ceremony, Limya Eltayeb, a UNDP staff member in Baghdad, handed Malloch Brown the damaged UN flag from the UN headquarters in Baghdad. It will be brought back to New York to be given to the Secretary-General.

Meanwhile in Oslo, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Terje Roed Larsen, delivered a message on behalf of the Secretary-General at an official ceremony honoring the victims of the Baghdad bombing. "Whether clerical worker, lawyer, driver or special representative, Iraqi or international, each of these men and women made a unique and invaluable contribution to our work," the Secretary-General said in his message. "Each was committed to the human rights, sovereignty and well-being of the Iraqi people."

SECURITY COUNCIL VOTES TO SPLIT PROSECUTOR POST FOR TRIBUNALS

The Security Council this morning unanimously adopted Resolution 1503 on the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR), which requests the Secretary-General to nominate a new prosecutor for the Rwanda tribunal.

The resolution also welcomes the intention expressed by the Secretary-General in his letter to the Security Council dated July 28, 2003 (S/2003/766) in which he conveys his intention to submit the name of Carla Del Ponte as the Prosecutor for the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia following the Councils action on splitting the positions of the prosecutors of the two tribunals so that they are occupied by different people. [Following the briefing, the Secretary-General sent two letters of appointment concerning ICTY and ICTR to the Security Council President.]

The Security Council then held a wrap-up discussion for the month of August on the theme of "The Contribution of Peacekeeping to International Peace and Security" chaired by Council President, Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe of Syria.

UN ENVOY SEEKS WAYS TO BOOST HUMANITARIAN AID TO LIBERIA

As part of his visit to countries neighboring Liberia, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative Jacques Klein, is in Cote DIvoire today to discuss the possibility of opening up humanitarian corridors to the war-torn nation.

Among his meetings in Abidjan are those with President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Seydou Diarra, as well as with the Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Cote DIvoire, Albert Tevoedjre, and humanitarian agencies.

In a humanitarian update from Monrovia, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that the atmosphere around Monrovia remains stable with a few reported incidents. ECOMIL troops continue to provide security support for humanitarian operations. They recently established permanent observation points and initiated patrols between camps for displaced persons in greater Monrovia.

A humanitarian mission that travelled to Kakata, which we reported on yesterday, found that the high tensions had influenced people to relocate but that they were now returning to their homes, as no attack had been forthcoming.

AFGHANISTAN: UN ENVOY OPENS WORKSHOP ON DEMOBILIZING CHILD SOLDIERS

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, this morning opened a workshop by the United Nations Childrens Fund on the Demobilization and Reintegration of Former Child Soldiers in Afghanistan.

In his brief remarks, Brahimi spoke about the processes of demobilization, disarmament and reconstruction (DDR), where he said there is a lot of misunderstanding in post conflict areas, particularly here in Afghanistan, about what DDR is.

Brahimi said that DDR is part of the effort to re-establish peace and security. In Afghanistan, in particular, it is part of the security sector reform. He went on to say that work was necessary to phase out existing factional armies so that one day there will only be the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan have agreed to the gradual consolidation and closure of Afghan refugee camps near Pakistan's border, and to help sustain returns by focusing aid in the refugees' communities back in Afghanistan.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

LANDLOCKED COUNTRIES:

Today, a two-day conference on Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries is beginning in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and the High Representative dealing with that issue, Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, delivered a message on the Secretary-Generals behalf, saying that the United Nations has long recognized the special needs of landlocked developing countries and remains strongly committed to helping them to overcome the formidable obstacles to their development.

KOSOVO:

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Kosovo, Harri Holkeri today made his first visit to Mitrovica.

He urged the residents to break the cycle of violence and seek reconciliation and he underlined his commitment to bring the communities closer, but added: "We cannot bring people together by force."

PAKISTANI OIL SPILL: The UN Environment Programme has sent an emergency response specialist to Pakistan to help authorities there assess damage from the break-up of an Iranian oil tanker two weeks ago. Pakistan requested assistance amid fears that stormy weather could spread spilled oil to ecologically fragile forests and beaches along the Arabian Sea coast.

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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