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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-06-02

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

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

BRAHIMI: IRAQI PEOPLE TO DECIDE ON NEW GOVERNMENT

Speaking to the press this morning in Baghdad, the Secretary-Generals Special Advisor,

Lakhdar Brahimi, said that now the Government has been announced, it will be up to the

Iraqi people to judge how good a government it is. They will make up their mind, he said, based on what the government does and says in the critical months ahead.

Brahimi said he believes that this government includes within it people who represent many trends in Iraqi society.

He added that it responds to a large extent, though not 100%, to what he has heard from the Iraqi people a government composed of experienced and honest people that are not related in a narrow meaning to their political parties.

The overall makeup is reflective of a sometimes extremely difficult negotiation process, with hard but realistic compromises having to be made, Brahimi explained.

Asked when Brahimis mission ends, the Spokesman said it ended today as he had just left Baghdad today. Eckhard added Brahimi would be making his way back to New York where he would be expected to brief the

Secretary-General as well as the

Security Council, possibly even during its upcoming retreat.

Asked if Brahimi would return to Iraq, the Spokesman said he could not answer one or way or another but stressed that he was unaware of any plans for him to return at this time.

Asked about preparations being made by the United Nations in light of the leading role that is being envisaged for the organization in Iraq, the Spokesman answered that for several months the United Nations has been preparing for an eventual return of international staff to Iraq. He added that contingency planning was being made regarding facilities in Baghdad that could be used for the United Nations after a return, circumstances permitting.

He went on to say that the Secretariat had been approached by a number of countries regarding the possibility of providing troops to protect UN premises in Iraq. The contingents, he clarified, would be a specific unit tasked with protecting the United Nations, as part of the planned Multi National Force.

SELECTION COMPLETED FOR IRAQS ELECTORAL COMMISSION

After a country-wide process of nomination, the selection for the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq has now been completed and the establishment of the Commission was established yesterday by the Coalition Provisional Authority.

The Electoral Commission, which will be the exclusive electoral authority throughout Iraq during the transitional period, will be autonomous and non-partisan and fully independent of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.

By the end of the week, its expected that the UN electoral assistance team currently in Baghdad will have more information on this issue.

BUKAVU IN EASTERN DR CONGO UNDER CONTROL OF REBEL FORCES

According to the

UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this morning the town of Bukavu, in the east of the country, was taken by dissident forces from the former Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie-Goma (known by its acronym RCD-Goma).

The national Congolese army forces have either fled the city or sought refuge with the 1,300 UN troops still stationed in Bukavu.

While there is no fighting at present, massive looting is taking place. The

World Food Programmes warehouse has been sacked and the

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), premises have been attacked.

UNHCR is also reporting that some 50 more people crossed the border from Bukavu into Rwanda this morning, joining some 2,000 who fled late last week after the fighting began.

Today, demonstrations have taken place around UN headquarters in Kisangani and in the capital Kinshasa with demonstrators expressing anger that a rebel group has been able to take control of Bukavu. In Kisangani, a UN building and a vehicle were torched.

No casualties have been reported, though the driver of the UN vehicle remains missing. In the capital, two UN vehicles were set on fire. Again, no casualties have been reported and calm has been restored with the assistance of the Congolese police.

In a press released issued in Kinshasa, the

UN Mission has

condemned the taking of Bukavu and the pillaging that has followed. It has called for an immediate cease-fire, the protection of civilians and a return to legality in South Kivu province. The United Nations also reaffirms its support of efforts by the Transitional Government to resolve this crisis and restore its authority throughout the country.

Jean Marie Guehenno, the

Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, briefed the Security Council on the situation in the DR Congo.

Asked why the UN peacekeeping force was unable to prevent the military situation of Bukavu, the Spokesman said the peacekeepers in the DR Congo were never intended to fight a war with the parties, and that their mandate was to support a peace process. In this instance, there was one party violating a peace agreement, taking over a town and carrying out widespread looting, Eckhard noted, adding that there were problems that would have to be sorted out among the parties with the assistance of the United Nations. He later added that the United Nations was also mandated to protect the civilian population, and that the peacekeepers in Bukavu had done so very effectively.

ANNAN, SECURITY COUNCIL URGES END TO HOSTILITIES IN BUKAVU

The

Secretary-General is deeply

concerned by the outbreak of fighting in the Bukavu area leading to an outflow of refugees and internally displaced persons. He calls on all parties concerned to put an immediate end to the hostilities and strictly abide by the ceasefire.

The Secretary-General encourages the Transitional Government to address the issue in a consensual manner and reaffirms MONUCs availability to assist in this regard.

The Secretary-General also calls on all concerned to ensure the safety and security of all United Nations and international personnel in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

[In a statement to the press read by Security Council President, Ambassador Lauro Baja of the Philippines, Council members condemned these acts of violence and the human rights violations that accompanied them, and called upon all parties involved to bring an end to these hostilities immediately. They also condemned the incitement of hatred, especially against members of the local community, in particular those aimed at the Banyamulengué.]

SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER TOMORROW

The

Security Council held consultations this morning on the programme of work and other matters. Afterwards, the

Council President for June, Ambassador Lauro Baja of the Philippines, briefed the press that programme.

Tuesday evening, the Council held nearly three hours of consultations starting 5:00 p.m. on a new draft resolution on

Iraq.

Tomorrow, the Council is expected to meet with the Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari.

Asked for the

Secretary-Generals view on the latest draft resolution on Iraq being considered by the Security Council, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General would not express himself publicly while discussions on the draft continue.

ANNAN: U.N. PEACEKEEPERS STILL NECESSARY ON CYPRUS

In his

report to the

Security Council on the

UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, the

Secretary-General says he remains convinced that, in the absence of a comprehensive settlement, the presence of the UN peacekeeping force on the island continues to be necessary for the maintenance of the ceasefire.

He goes on to say that following the watershed referenda vote of 24 April, and as part of an overall reappraisal of the UN peace activities in

Cyprus, he intends to conduct a review of the peacekeeping missions mandate, force levels and concept of operations, in light of developments on the ground, the positions of the parties and any views the Security Council might have.

The Secretary-General will submit to the Council, within three months, recommendations on the adjustments or restructuring that may be required.

Meanwhile, he recommends that the Council extends the mission mandate for a further six months, until 15 December, 2004.

Separately, the

Secretary-Generals report on his Cyprus Good Offices will be released tomorrow.

UNITED NATIONS CONDEMNS SHOOTING AT GAZASCHOOL

The

United Nations Relief And Works Agency For Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has condemned a shooting at one its schools which wounded two boys one of them seriously.

UNRWA says the incident occurred yesterday when an Israeli tank opened fire on a district neighboring the Al-Umariye Elementary Boys School. Several shots hit the school, with one of them entering a classroom and wounding the boys.

UNRWA will protest this incident in the strongest possible terms to Israeli authorities.

SIERRA LEONE SPECIAL COURT TO HEAR FIRST TRIAL TOMORROW

The first trial of the

Special Court for Sierra Leone is scheduled to commence tomorrow.

In a statement, Justice Emmanuel Olayinka Ayoola, the Courts President, says he is determined to ensure that the Special Court fulfils its promise and strives to complete its judicial activities without delay.

The Special Court was set up jointly by the Government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations. It is mandated to try those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed in the territory of Sierra Leone since 30 November 1996. As of June 2004, 11 persons associated with all three of the country's former warring factions stand indicted by the Special Court.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. ENVOY ATTEMPTS TO MOVE COTE DIVOIRE PEACE PROCESS FORWARD: As part of a series of diplomatic consultations in order to get the peace process back on track and the government functioning, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Cote DIvoire,

Albert Tevoedjre, has been holding a series of meetings. He traveled to Bouake yesterday to meet with the leader of the rebel group Forces Nouvelles, Guillaume Soro. He has held a number of other meetings with the head of state, prime minister, diplomats and various political and civil society representatives.

OIL-FOR-FOOD EMAIL WAS OF A PERSONAL NATURE: Asked about the email from the former Executive Director of the

Office of the Iraq Programme, Benon Sevan, in which he criticizes the

Security Council and its handling of the Oil for Food Programme, the Spokesman said the email was of a personal nature sent to friends who had sent him notes of support. Eckhard added that he would not comment on the note

NEW COUNCIL MEMBERS APPOINTED TO U.N. UNIVERSITY: Fourteen new members have been appointed to the United Nations Universitys governing Council. The Council is the governing body of the University. The new appointees, who replace 14 retiring members of the 24-member Council, will serve for a term of six years, until 2010. The appointments were made by the

Secretary-General and

Koichiro Matsuura, the Director-General of

UNESCO, in consultation with various UN agencies.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROFILE OF OLYMPICS TO RECEIVE BOOST: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has signed an agreement with the organizers of this years summer Olympics to boost the environmental profile of the games. The agreement includes joint public awareness and educational campaigns, and a detailed compilation of the environmental challenges and achievements of all aspects of the Games. As well, UNEP will be establishing contact with the five cities short-listed for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games to discuss how the environment can feature high in their proposals.

CALL FOR GREATER USE OF BIOENERGY: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today called for the urgent integration of bioenergy into agricultural and forestry programmes. FAO says bioenergy is an environmentally friendly, cost-effective and locally available source of energy. It includes fuel-wood and charcoal, energy crops such as sugar cane, and agricultural and forestry residues, and is used to produce energy in forms including heat, ethanol, and bioelectricity. FAO says bioenergy is often neglected by policy-makers despite the fact that its production and use contributes to poverty alleviation and food security, and can help reduce land degradation and mitigate climate change.

NEW CHAIRS OF COUNTER-TERRORISM COMMITTEE ANNOUNCED: The

President of the Security Council has issued a note announcing the names of the chair and vice chairs of the

Counter-Terrorism Committee. The Chair is Russian Ambassador Alexander Konuzin.

NANE ANNAN TAKES PART IN ADOPT-A-MISSION PROGRAMME: This morning, Nane Annan spoke to some 250 students from six New York City middle schools who were visiting the UN Headquarters as part of a programme called Adopt-a-Mission. It aims to educate children about the work of the United Nations through classwork, guided tours of the United Nations, and visits to Permanent Missions to the United Nations. The programme was initiated by the United Nations Association of the USA. Mrs. Annan welcomed the students and showed slides from some of the UN projects she has visited while traveling with the

Secretary-General.

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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