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United Nations Daily Highlights 96-08-14

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <> - email:


Wednesday, August 14, 1996

This document is prepared by the Central News Section of the Department of Public Information and is updated every week-day at approximately 6:00 PM.


  • UN Secretary-General deplores violent clashes in the UN buffer zone in Cyprus.
  • UN officials call on member States to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention.
  • UNHCR prepares for voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees.
  • Investigations carried out by the proposed international criminal court should be undertaken solely with the permission of States in which they are being conducted, Preparatory Committee told.
  • Substantial progress has been made on the establishment of a Finance Committee of the Assembly of the International Seabed Authority, Assembly President says.

UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has expressed concern at the excessive and indiscriminate use of force which has led to the killing of two persons and the wounding of many more, including United Nations peace- keepers, the Secretary-General's Spokesman Sylvana Foa announced today.

"The Secretary-General deplores the violent clashes that took place in the United Nations buffer zone in Cyprus last Sunday and again on Wednesday," the Spokesman said.

Appealing to the leaders of the two communities on the island to calm tempers and to resolve their differences through dialogue and negotiation, Dr. Boutros-Ghali said he would continue to assist the two sides in that endeavour.

UN officials have today appealed to Member States to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention so that it can come into force. The Convention, which comes into effect after being signed or ratified by sixty-five Member States, requires only four additional signatures.

Appealing to Member States to ratify the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and use of Chemical Weapons and their Destruction, the Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Sylvana Foa said sixty-one countries had already signed the Convention. "Once we get those four ratifications, the convention will enter into force 180 days later, but we've been waiting since January 1993 when the Secretary-General opened the Chemical Weapons Convention for signature. The Convention had been painstakingly negotiated in the Conference on Disarmament for a decade, " the Spokesman noted.

She added that the agreement, which had been open for signature for more than 3 years, was the first to be negotiated within a multilateral framework that would eliminate an entire category of weapons of mass destruction.

A group of 10 Somali refugee representatives was visiting northwest Somalia at the start of a UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) programme to promote the voluntary repatriation of some 275,000 Somali refugees in Ethiopia.

According to a UNHCR statement, the group crossed Ethiopia's border town of Teferi Ber on Saturday and entered Somalia through Togwajale, looking at 10 potential returnee areas which have enjoyed relative peace and stability over the past 19 months. "The visit is going very well and we are hopeful that the repatriation movement will go on as planned," said Kyaw Zin Hla, head of UNHCR's office in northwest Somalia.

Other similar refugee visits to Somalia are to be scheduled shortly. Before the end of the year, UNHCR is organising a pilot repatriation project involving 10,000 Somali refugees in Ethiopia.

A full programme to bring home 10,000 Somali refugees is being planned for next year. Since January 1995, peace and order had been restored in large parts of Somalia's northwest region, allowing UNHCR to continue modest rehabilitation projects with support from the international community.

Investigations carried out by the proposed international criminal court should be undertaken solely with the permission of States in which they were being conducted, several delegations stated as the Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court continued its discussion of procedural questions, fair trial and the rights of the accused.

The Committee heard that only States party to the statute of an international criminal court should be allowed to lodge complaints with that legal jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, several speakers expressed concern over elements of the court draft statute providing for the triggering of prosecutions by either the court prosecutor or the Security Council. According to the representative of Australia, complaints brought to the court should include the basis of jurisdiction; the facts required to place the prosecution within the purview of the court; the identity and whereabouts of the suspect, where possible; and information regarding witnesses and evidence.

Substantial progress had been made in negotiations on the selection of a Finance Committee of the Assembly of the International Seabed Authority, the Assembly President, Hasjim Djalal (Indonesia) said on Tuesday. The Finance Committee, though one of many subsidiary organs of the Assembly and the Council, will exercise great influence on the financial and administrative activities of the Authority.

The Assembly has been holding intensive consultations on the establishment of the Finance Committee since the beginning of the current session, which began on 5 August.

The Authority, set up by the Convention on the Law of the Sea consists of two major organs - - the Assembly and the Council. Membership of the Assembly includes all parties to the Convention, as well as those States which have agreed to the provisional application of the 1994 Agreement on the implementation of the deep seabed mining provisions of the Convention.

For information purposes only - - not an official record

From the United Nations home page at <> - email:

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