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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-02-10

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

DAILY HIGHLIGHTS

Monday, 10 February 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

  • Attempts to introduce conditions for moving Angolan peace- process forward will not be supported by international community, UN Secretary- General says in report to Security Council.
  • Office of High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina condemns killing of innocent civilians in Mostar.
  • Economic and Social Council suspends organisational session.
  • Disarmament Committee in Geneva continues to discuss issues to be considered during its 1997 session.
  • Preparatory Committee on Establishment of International Criminal Court meets at UN Headquarters.
  • Czech astronomer and Indian astrophysicist receive 1996 UNESCO Kalinga Prize.


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says attempts to introduce linkages or conditions for moving the Angolan peace process forward would not be supported by the international community and must be abandoned immediately.

In his report to the Security Council on the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III), the Secretary-General said the expeditious and unequivocal implementation of all remaining aspects of the Lusaka Protocol involved such crucial tasks as the incorporation of the Uniao Nacional para a Independencia Total de Angola (UNITA) troops into the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) and Angolan National Police, demobilisation and the extension of State administration throughout Angola.

He said there was also a pressing need to resolve quickly the status of the President of UNITA, while taking other political steps towards genuine national reconciliation and urged the President of Angola and the leader of UNITA to meet inside the country at the earliest opportunity.

The Secretary-General states in the report that although there were some encouraging developments during the last months of 1996, new delays and difficulties arose, especially in connection with the future status of Dr. Jonas Savimbi.

"The pace of implementation of the remaining military and political tasks, owing mainly to the lack of cooperation of UNITA, has, once again, been painfully slow and disappointing", the report said. The Secretary- General said the earliest assumption by UNITA deputies of their seats in the National Assembly, followed by the formation of the Government of National Unity and Reconciliation was of paramount importance.

Mr Annan stated that the UN had done much over the past two years to stabilise the security situation in Angola, which, however, remained unsettled. "For this reason, the pace of the planned withdrawal of United Nations-formed military units should take into account the situation on the ground, including in the formation of FAA, demobilisation, closure of quartering areas and extension of State Administration.

He said that if the new Government was not formed before the end of February, he would recommend that the Security Council extend the mandate of UNAVEM for a period of one month until 31 March 1997. If by that time the Government of National Unity and Reconciliation had not been formed, the Security Council may wish to consider appropriate steps to address the situation, he noted.


The Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina has condemned, in the strongest possible terms, the indiscriminate killings of innocent civilians in Mostar, Monday. "This is murder, and must be treated as such. We will demand that those responsible for these brutal acts are identified, arrested and brought to trial", the High Representative Carl Bildt said.

He appealed to all citizens of Mostar -Bosniacs, Croats, Serbs or others- for calm and dignity in a very difficult situation. "Do not let the extremists destroy the peace that you can build together", he said.


The Economic and Social Council Friday suspended its organisational session by adopting 13 decisions in a brief formal meeting. It adopted its provisional agenda for the 1997 substantive session, to be held in Geneva from 30 June to 25 July.

Among other decisions, the Council granted consultative status to the non- governmental organisation National Society for Human Rights of Namibia, and decided that the thirteenth meeting of the Group of Experts on the United Nations Programme on Public Administration and Finance would be held at Headquarters from 27 May to 4 June.

The Council agreed to include a new item on the provisional agenda of its substantive session entitled "Proclamation of International Years." The Council had before it proposals calling for the proclamation of years dedicated to mountains, volunteers and thanksgiving.


Members of the Disarmament Committee continued a debate in Geneva, last week, over exactly what issues the sole multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations should consider during its 1997 session.

Opening the exchange of views, the representative of Spain argued in favour of beginning negotiations to ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and anti-personnel mines. He was followed by the representative of Syria, who said advances made so far in the field of disarmament would not lead to progress unless they were put in the framework of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

The remarks by the members came as the Conference continued to look for consensus on its agenda and work programme. The President of the Conference, Joun Yung Sun (Republic of Korea) proposed holding three open-ended informal meetings, each devoted to one of the following subjects, without excluding other matters: a ban on the production of fissile materials for weapons; nuclear disarmament; and a ban on anti- personnel land mines.

Responding to the President's proposal, the representatives of Pakistan, Egypt and India indicated that the Conference should find consensus on fundamental issues before starting discussions on the questions proposed by the President.

They said the individual groups should have time for the examination of those proposals. The proposals put forward by the Group of 21 non- aligned counties should be taken into account, in particular with respect to nuclear disarmament, the Groups overall priority, they said. Pakistan underlined that nuclear disarmament, security assurances for non-nuclear powers and regional conventional arms reduction were its priorities.

Egypt expressed reservations against the separation of the fissile material issue from that of nuclear disarmament. The ban on fissile material for military purposes should become a sub-item of the nuclear disarmament issue, like the questions of security assurances and the prevention of an arms race in outer space, Egypt's representative said.


The search for a balance between the authority of an international criminal court and the powers of sovereign national courts is expected to be among the topics of discussion as the Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court begins its third session at Headquarters on Tuesday.

Also high on the agenda during the two-week session will be types of crimes over which the court would have jurisdiction and the relationship between the legal authority of the proposed court and the political authority of the Security Council.

The Preparatory Committee is expected to continue its consideration of several issues associated with the draft statute, including the following: the principles of criminal law and penalties; the organisation of the court; the principle of complimentarity; a "trigger" mechanism for initiating prosecutions; the composition, administration and financing of the court; general principles of international law; procedural questions; judicial cooperation and enforcement.


Czech astronomer Jiri Grygar and Indian astrophysicist Jayant V. Narlikar are the laureates of the 1996 UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Kalinga Prize for the popularisation of Science.

UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor decided to award the prize to the two scientists on the recommendation of a four-man jury. They will receive the award on 31 March in New Delhi. The Czech astronomer Jiri Grygar has published a number of books popularising science, of which two, "The Universe" and "The Windows to the Universe Open Wide", have each sold more than 100,000 copies.

The Indian astrophysicist Jayant V. Narlikar has written many articles popularising science in English, in his native Marathi and Hindi. He has been a regular contributor to radio and television programmes in these three languages.

The Kalinga Prize for the Popularisation of Science, worth one thousand pounds sterling, has been awarded every year since 1951 to scientists, writers, editors, lecturers, radio and television programme directors, film producers and others whose work has promoted the popularisation of science, research and technology among the general public.


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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