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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-06-03

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, June 3, 2004

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: ANTI-U.N. PROTESTS ERUPT

FOLLOWING TAKE OVER OF BUKAVU IN EAST

The situation in the

Democratic Republic of the Congo remains highly volatile.

Following the taking of the town of Bukavu by dissident forces under the command of Gen. Laurent Nkunda and Col. Jules Mutebutsi. Bukavu is now reported to be relatively calm and the dissident leaders met today with UN representatives to discuss the withdrawal of their forces from the city.

However, violent anti-UN demonstrations took place today in Kinshasa, Kisangani, Lubumbashi and Kindu.

In Kinshasa, the

UN Mission headquarters, compounds and vehicles were attacked and it is reported that three demonstrators, who entered premises despite warning shots, were killed. In the three other cities, UN buildings and property were looted and torched.

In Kando, southwest of Goma, Mayi-Mayi elements kidnapped four UN military observers and three non-governmental organization workers but released them within hours.

Asked if the United Nations could explain the reasoning behind the attacks, the Spokesman said it seems there was an exaggerated sense of the UNs capacity to prevent an attack on Bukavu.

As I think I said yesterday, we were never there to intervene in a civil war, the Spokesman said. We were in there to assist the parties carry out a peace agreement and support a national unity government.

The Spokesman added that the United Nations is doing what it can to protect civilians in the area and is working with the parties to try to put back together the peace agreement as it applies to the eastern part of the country.

Asked if these attacks would lead to a boost in security levels of UN offices elsewhere, the Spokesman said the process is already underway, but not because of these attacks.

We have already been reviewing security at every single installation we have worldwide not in connection with these attacks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo but as a result of the international terror threat, the Spokesman said.

ANNAN DEEPLY CONCERNED OVER REPORTS OF VIOLENCE IN DR CONGO

Secretary-General Kofi Annan is

dismayed and deeply concerned at the news of violent demonstrations against the United Nations in the

Democratic Republic of the Congo, today and yesterday.

The Secretary-General spoke to President Joseph Kabila this morning and the President assured him that both he personally and the Transitional Government fully support the United Nations in the DR Congo and, in particular, the

United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC).

The Secretary-General strongly urges the military elements in Bukavu to respect the ceasefire. He calls on the DR Congos neighbors to support the peace process and to use their influence to defuse the situation in the eastern DR Congo.

The Secretary-General is relieved that the United Nations and NGO personnel kidnapped this morning have been released. He calls on all parties and individuals to show respect for and ensure the safety of all United Nations and NGO personnel and to engage in a process of reconciliation.

LIBERIA PEACE PROCESS NOW FIRMLY ON TRACK

At 10:00 a.m., the

Security Council began an open meeting on

Liberia, at which the

Secretary-Generals Special Representative

Jacques Klein and Charles Gyude Bryant, Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia spoke.

Jacques Klein said the peace process is now firmly on track and irreversible. UN peacekeepers, he says, have significantly stabilized the country and the disarmament of combatants is making steady progress. But he also warned of the numerous challenges ahead.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO HOLD OPEN MEETING ON IRAQ

At 3:00 p.m., the

Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations of the whole on

Iraq, at which the Secretary-General will brief.

This is to be followed at 4:00 p.m. by an open meeting on the same topic, which Iraq's Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, is expected to attend.

Asked about the nature of the Secretary-Generals briefing, the Spokesman declined to try to characterize it except to say that the Security Councils intent is to get the Secretary-Generals assessment of Special Envoy Lakhdar

Brahimis mission to Iraq.

The Spokesman noted that Brahimi will be arriving in New York in time to join the Security Council on its retreat this weekend, where Iraq would be discussed.

The Spokesman added that Brahimi may be requested to appear before the Security Council next week, possibly on Monday, and it is hoped that he will brief the press Tuesday.

Asked if there were any plans for Iraqs new prime minister to meet the Secretary-General, the Spokesman said no such request had been made of the Secretary-General.

ANNAN: NO BASIS FOR RESUMING GOOD OFFICES EFFORTS IN CYPRUS

The

Secretary-General's

report on his mission of good offices in

Cyprus is out today.

In it, the Secretary-General gives an overview of the process that resumed on 13 February and came to an end with the referenda on 24 April.

He also notes that the decision of the Greek Cypriots not to approve the

plan must be respected, while welcoming the decision of the Turkish Cypriots to approve it.

The Secretary-General states that he does not see a basis for resuming his good offices efforts given the current situation, but makes recommendations to both sides, and the

Security Council, on the way ahead in efforts to promote reconciliation and, ultimately, reunification.

Separately, the Secretary-General met earlier today with President Tassos Papadopoulos of the Republic of Cyprus.

At the meeting, the Secretary-General, after listening to his visitors views, expressed his regret that a unique opportunity to solve the Cyprus problem had been missed.

The Secretary-General said he fully respected the decision taken by the Greek Cypriot people. He also fully respected the decision of the Turkish Cypriots. He saw little if any scope for a renewed good offices effort as long as the stalemate continued.

The Secretary-General said that, after the decisive rejection of the plan by the Greek Cypriots, it would be for that side to explain clearly to the Turkish Cypriots, the United Nations and the rest of the world how they see the way forward. The Secretary-General pointed out that he has advised the Security Council to stand ready to address concerns regarding security and implementation.

The Secretary-General appealed to Papadopoulos to seize the initiative in responding positively to his appeal for States to cooperate to eliminate unnecessary restrictions and barriers to the development of the Turkish Cypriots.

This would signal that the Greek Cypriots wish to reach out to their Turkish Cypriot compatriots in the North and assist them and help facilitate the eventual goal of reunification.

ANNAN CONDEMNS MURDER OF FIVE AID WORKERS IN AFGHANISTAN

The

Secretary-General was

distressed and angered to learn of the cold-blooded killing yesterday of five staff of Médecins sans Frontières on the road between Khairkhana and Qala-I-Naw, Badghis province,

Afghanistan.

The Secretary-General strongly condemns the killing of these unarmed humanitarian aid workers. He calls on the Government of Afghanistan, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force for Afghanistan (ISAF), and Coalition forces to take the necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of aid workers who are assisting the people of Afghanistan and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The Secretary-General expresses his profound condolences to the bereaved families.

Their deaths raise to more than 30, the number of aid workers, who have been murdered while carrying out relief work in Afghanistan over the last year.

Statements on the same issued were also made today by the

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan,

Jean Arnault, and the

UN High Commissioner for Refugees,

Ruud Lubbers.

MORE THAN $200 MILLION SOUGHT FOR HUMANITARIAN NEEDS IN DARFUR, SUDAN

In Geneva today, the United Nations held a donors meeting on Darfur, Sudan, which

Jan Egeland,

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, described as the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world today.

Participants appealed for $236 million, which covered the outstanding requirements to meet the emergency needs for those in Darfur as well as for the refugees in Chad for the remainder of this year.

The meeting was attended by some 50 delegations, including donor countries, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the Government of Sudan, some neighbours of Sudan, and the African Union.

ANNAN URGES G8 LEADERS TO MAKE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS

AN EXPLICIT PRIORITY

Ahead of next weeks summit of the Group of Eight, the Secretary-General has called on the leaders of these countries to incorporate the Millennium Development Goals as an explicit priority in their respective government programmes and policies.

The Millennium Development Goals set out yardsticks for measuring development progress by 2015, in eight areas of global importance including hunger, poverty and health.

In the letter, the Secretary-General also draws attention to the need for global partnerships between developed and developing countries, and calls on the leaders to not let their interest in Africas wider problems wane.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

MENTAL DISORDER SUFFERERS NOT RECEIVING TREATMENT: Up to half of all people with serious mental disorders in the United States and several European countries arent receiving treatment, and the situation is even worse in some developing countries, according to the World Health Organization. The findings come from the first of a series of WHO World Mental Health Surveys. Data from 14 countries is included in the survey six less-developed countries and eight developed countries. WHO says the findings clearly show the high prevalence and burden of mental disorders globally which, despite available treatments, remain largely untreated.

U.N. INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS CLASS OF 2004 GRADUATES TOMORROW: The

United Nations International School class of 2004 graduation will take place in the General Assembly Hall tomorrow afternoon. Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International, will be the commencement speaker. This years graduates represent 41 nationalities and speak 32 languages.

  • * The guest at todays briefing was

    Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations,

    Jean Marie Guehenno. He spoke about the situation in the

    Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    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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