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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-01-31

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

DAILY HIGHLIGHTS

Friday, 31 January 1997


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.

HEADLINES

  • Security Council underlines importance of holding elections in the region of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium; condemns killing of UN official in Eastern Slavonia.
  • Liberian peace process witnessed positive developments over past two months, UN Secretary-General says.
  • Prime Minister of Russian Federation reaffirms support to UN during meeting with UN Secretary-General.
  • UN Secretary-General informs Security Council of intention to appoint new Special Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina.


The Security Council Friday underlined the importance of holding elections in the region of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium. In a statement Friday, the Council emphasized that it was the responsibility of the UN Transitional Administration in Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) to organise and certify those elections, but that would only be possible if the Croatian authorities fulfil their obligation to issue citizenship and identity documents for all eligible voters.

In the statement read by its President Ambassador Hisashi Owada (Japan), the Council said it shared the views of the Transitional Administrator that the rights and guarantees outlined in a letter from the Government of Croatia on 13 January constituted a solid basis for the holding of elections in Croatia. And it called upon the Government of Croatia to implement fully the commitments contained in that letter and the oral guarantees made by Croatian officials to UNTAES, on the completion of the reintegration of the region under the control of the UNTAES administration.

The Council reiterated the importance of confidence-building measures which could benefit residents of the region beyond the expiration of the mandate of UNTAES. "In this regard, it encourages the Croatian authorities to maintain the present demilitarised status of the region," the statement said.

By that same statement, the Council condemned an incident in Vukovar that resulted in the death of a Belgian peacekeeper and injuries to other UNTAES personnel.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has also condemned the incident which took place near the Headquarters of the UN Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES), Friday, Associate Spokesman of the Secretary-General, Juan Carlos Brandt said. A soldier from Jordan and a Civic Affairs officer from the Ivory Coast were slightly injured during the shooting.

The Spokesman said the Secretary-General expressed his condolences to the family of the peacekeeper and also to the Belgian Government. The Transitional Police Force arrested the suspect who was now in custody. A detailed investigation was being carried out, the Spokesman said, adding that this was the first time a UN official was killed in Eastern Slavonia since the beginning of the UN operation in that region one year ago.


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said that the Liberian peace process had witnessed some positive developments over the past two and a half months.

In his report to the Security Council on the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL), Mr. Annan said the disarmament and demobilisation process began on schedule on 22 November 1996, and more than 12,500 fighters, including approximately 3,000 child fighters, had been disarmed and demobilised.

Noting that preparations for the elections continued, Mr. Annan welcomed the support expressed for this process by interested donor countries and by the Chairman of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Head of State of Nigeria. "It is also encouraging to note that the second ECOWAS verification and assessment meeting reaffirmed the determination of ECOWAS to ensure strict compliance with the revised schedule of implementation of the Abuja Agreement," he said.

The Secretary-General warned that despite the positive developments, the security situation in Liberia remained volatile. He added that those incidents cast doubt on the commitment of the factions to the peace process.

"I do not believe the international community will be prepared to support the holding of elections unless they can take place in a reasonably secure environment", he noted.

Mr. Annan stated that the aid of the international community was also essential in supporting bridging programmes to sustain demobilised combatants and to hasten the reintegration programmes planned by the United Nations and donor community.


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Friday met with the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Victor S. Chernomyrdin in Davos, Switzerland. The Prime Minister reaffirmed to the Secretary-General his support for the United Nations and reiterated his invitation to the Secretary-General to visit the Russian Federation. During discussions, the Prime Minister raised the question of the Russian minorities in the Baltic States and asked for the Secretary-General's assistance in that connection.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has sent a letter to the President of the Security Council informing the Council of his intention to appoint Ambassador Kai Eide of Norway as his Special Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Associate Spokesman for the Secretary-General, Juan Carlos Brandt said.

He said Ambassador Eide would succeed Mr. Iqbal Riza who had been appointed Chef de Cabinet in the Office of the Secretary-General. Ambassador Eide served with the International Conference on the former Yugoslavia from 1993 to 1995 with special responsibilities for negotiations in Croatia.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General has decided to appoint Mr. Manfred Seitner of Denmark as the Police Commissioner of the International Police Task Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Spokesman said. Mr. Seitner will be replacing Mr. Peter Fitzgerald of Ireland who is to complete his tour of duty at the end of January.


For information purposes only - - not an official record

From the United Nations home page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org


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