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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-03-16

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

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

ANNAN CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AGAINST TERRORISM

Secretary-General Kofi Annan

spoke to reporters at a UN headquarters press encounter today, and in his comments he addressed some of the issues that have been raised in recent days.

Asked if he was concerned by the way in which the Security Council adopted the resolution on the Madrid bomb attacks which specifically singled out ETA, the Secretary-General said he thought the Council members themselves have felt uneasy about that. He added that the Spanish government had given the members a letter explaining that it acted in good faith, and at the time it informed the Council that ETA was responsible they genuinely thought so.

In regard to whether he was concerned about the effects that terrorism could have on future elections, the Secretary-General said whats important here is that we need international cooperation working across borders to defeat and contain terrorism.

He said the international community needs to work together, share information, intelligence, and work diplomatically and politically to contain terrorism.

Regarding the disagreement by some member states over his ruling on same-sex benefits for UN staff members, the Secretary-General said hes tried to interpret UN rules and regulations fairly.

He added that the UN is guided by national laws and he thinks it was a fair interpretation, and will wait to see what the General Assembly decides.

Regarding various allegations concerning the Oil for Food programme, the Secretary-General said the Office for Internal Oversight Services has already begun its investigations, and its in touch with the Iraqi Governing Council and the CPA for additional information.

And lastly, on the return of Lakhdar Brahimi to

Iraq, the Secretary-General said the United Nations is ready to go back and is currently waiting for the signal to do so.

U.N. ENVOY STARTS CONSULTATIONS IN HAITI;

AGENCIES SCALE UP OPERATIONS TO MEET EMERGENCY NEEDS

The Secretary-Generals Special Adviser on

Haiti,

John Reginald Dumas, was warmly received by Interim President Boniface Alexandre this morning as he began consultations with Haitian officials following his arrival yesterday.

Dumas then went on to meet with the new Haitian Prime Minister, Gerard Latortue. Mr. Dumas is expected to remain in Haiti until the middle of next week.

A UN assessment mission working under the auspices of Dumas continued its consultations with Haitian and other interlocutors.

Meanwhile, UN humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners are

scaling up their operations to meet the emergency health needs of Haitians affected by the recent crisis.

According to the UNs Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the situation in Haiti is calm, but still volatile, with sporadic shooting and looting still taking place. There are also sporadic demonstrations in the streets, particularly in Port-au-Prince.

Although security remains precarious, movement of goods and people along the main roads from Port-au-Prince to Gonaives and Cape Haïtien, to the border with the Dominican Republic and to Hinche, has resumed. In many places, public transport is functioning, schools are open, and economic activities have resumed.

SECURITY COUNCIL PUBLISHES LETTER FROM SPAIN ON MADRID BOMBINGS

There are no meetings or consultations of the

Security Council scheduled for today.

Issued as a document today is a letter from Spanish Ambassador Inocencio Arias to the Security Council President that says that when the Security Council adopted

Resolution 1530 last week, his Government was firmly convinced that the terrorist group ETA was behind the Madrid bombings.

The letter goes on to say that since then, as a result of the active efforts of the Spanish security forces, new elements have been discovered that suggest other lines of investigation and point to the involvement of citizens of other countries in the attacks.

It says investigations are continuing and that no definitive conclusions can be reached at the moment. The Spanish Government will inform the Council of the result of the investigations, according to the letter.

ANNAN NAMES PANEL TO ASSIST AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS COMMITTEE

In a letter from the Secretary-General to the Security Council President, he names an eight-member New York-based Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team to assist the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee in the fulfillment of its mandate. He was requested to so by the Security Council.

The individuals are experts in the following areas: counter-terrorism and related legislation; financing of terrorism and international financial transactions, including technical banking expertise; alternative remittance systems, charities, and use of couriers; border enforcement, including port security; arms embargoes and export controls and drug trafficking.

ANNAN SEEKS MORE FUNDING FOR SIERRA LEONE COURT

In a recent exchange of letters, the Secretary-General drew attention to the Security Council of the difficulties faced by the Sierra Leone Special Court with regard to its third year budget. He had proposed that the matter be brought to the attention of the General Assembly to seek the appropriation of funds for the Court.

That request, in response to that exchange of letters, is out today as a General Assembly document. The approval of up to $40 million is sought from the General Assembly.

REFUGEE AGENCY CALLS FOR BAN ON FORCED RETURN OF IRAQI ASYLUM SEEKERS

The

UN High Commissioner for Refugees has issued new guidance to governments on the treatment of Iraqi asylum seekers, requesting a continued ban on forced returns including rejected cases to all parts of Iraq until further notice.

UNHCR is also recommending that all Iraqi asylum seekers continue to be granted some form of temporary protection. The advice follows similar recommendations issued in March, June, July, August and November 2003.

WEST AFRICA - REGIONAL PROBLEMS INCREASE POVERTY AND INSECURITY

In a

report on ways to combat subregional and cross-border problems in West Africa, which was issued today, the Secretary-General says that the regional issues identified by the Council namely child soldiers, mercenaries and small arms have greatly exacerbated poverty and insecurity within West Africa and that addressing those problems in a comprehensive manner will require a fundamental change in the political approach.

That approach, which has promoted authoritarianism and resulted in a culture of impunity, violence, exclusion and extortion, should be replaced with one that promotes democracy, accountability, peace, tolerance, gender equality and transparency. The report outlines a number of recommendations.

UN DRUG OFFICE AND EUROPOL STRENGTHEN COOPERATION

The

UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the European Police Office today

signed an agreement to expand cooperation between them.

The agreement calls for enhanced cooperation in areas of common interests such as: the collection of accurate data and statistics on crime and trafficking offences; the early identification of current and emerging trends; the strategic analysis of such information and its fast and effective circulation.

The signing of the agreement took place during the 47th Session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, currently underway in Vienna.

DRUG-RESISTANT TUBERCULOSIS ON THE RISE

Tuberculosis patients in parts of Eastern Europe and Central Asia are 10 times more likely to have multidrug-resistant TB than in the rest of the world,

according to a new report from the

World Health Organization.

The report confirms geographical concentrations of TB drug resistance across the Commonwealth of Independent States with six out of the top ten global hotspots being: Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, parts of the Russian Federation and Uzbekistan.

WHO says TB drug resistance is an urgent public health issue for these countries, and its in the interest of every country to support rapid scale-up of TB control in order to overcome multi-drug resistant TB. WHO estimates that there are 300.000 new cases per year of multi-drug resistant TB worldwide.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

WORLD HEALTH EXPERTS FOCUS ON FLU PANDEMICS: The

World Health Organization is

convening a meeting of more than 100 health experts in Geneva today with the aim of analyzing possible public health interventions before and during an

influenza pandemic. Poultry culling and other measures may have reduced the likelihood of a human pandemic influenza strain emerging soon from Asia as a consequence of avian influenza or bird flu. However, experts believe that because these outbreaks come in cycles, a human influenza pandemic must still be expected at some time in the future.

COLOMBIAN DISPLACED PEOPLE LACK FOOD: The

World Food Programme has

expressed concern today over the plight of 2 million Colombians displaced by armed conflict with 80% of them lacking access to food. WFPs Senior Deputy Executive Director, Jean Jacques Graisse, voiced this concern at the end of a five-day official visit, during which he met government officials and a visit to a reception area for internally displaced people. Colombia has the largest internally displaced persons population in the western hemisphere, and the WFP currently provides food to some 350,000 internally displaced people there.

"BLACK BOX" TO BE ANALYZED BY NTSB: Asked whether the black box from Rwanda had left UN premises yet to be analysed by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in Washington, D.C., the Spokesman said that as soon as he heard the box had arrived safely in Washington, D.C., he would announce this. Regarding how long it would take to analyze the remains of the box, he said it could take hours, days or even longer depending on the quality of the tape and what was found when the instrument was opened.

ARCHBISHOP TUTU TO SPEAK ON GODS WORD AND WORLD POLITICS: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, will be the guest speaker at the Secretary-General's Lecture Series on Wednesday. Hell be speaking on the topic: "God's Word and World Politics" from 1:10 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at UN headquarters.

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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