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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-06-06

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

DAILY HIGHLIGHTS

Friday, 6 June 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

  • UN Secretary-General recommends a follow-on mission for Angola.
  • UNHCR warns that lack of funding may force it to suspend the repatriation of Angolan refugees.
  • International Organization for Migration reports progress in its bid to raise funds for demobilization exercise in Angola.
  • UN is the "unparalleled nerve centre of the global village", UN Secretary- General tells graduate students in Boston.
  • UN Secretary-General voices concern over the recent violent incidents in East Timor.
  • Belgium tells Conference on Disarmament it favours all initiatives aimed at a complete ban on anti-personnel landmines.
  • An international media conference in the Republic of Korea urges new directions for environmental journalism.


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has recommended a follow-on mission for Angola after the expiry, at the end of June, of the mandate of the current United Nations Angola Verification Mission, UNAVEM III. In his report to the Security Council released on Friday, the Secretary-General recommended the establishment of the new mission as of 1 July for a period of seven months. The operation would be known as the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola, or MONUA, for its Portuguese acronym, and would have headquarters in Luanda.

The overall mandate of the follow-on mission "would be to assist the Angolan parties in consolidating peace and national reconciliation, enhancing confidence-building and creating an environment conducive to long- term stability, democratic development and rehabilitation of the country". Structurally, the mission would have the Political Division, the civilian, police, human rights, military, and administrative components, as well as the information and interpretation sections.

While noting the progress achieved so far in the peace process, the Secretary-General drew attention to the recent tensions in northern Angola. He suggested the holding of the "long-overdue" meeting between President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and Dr. Jonas Savimbi inside Angola as soon as possible, to accelerate national reconciliation and the peace process in Angola.


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Friday said that lack of funding may force it to suspend or reduce the repatriation of more than 300,000 Angolan refugees.

UNHCR said that donor response to its February appeal for $38.2 million has been slow: as of 3 June, it had only received $4.6 million from donors. The UN refugee agency had to draw $3 million from its voluntary repatriation fund to finance its activities.

Nicolas Bwakira, UNHCR's Regional Director for southern Africa warned that because of the slow donor response, the agency "will now have to consider closing down field offices in Angola."

UNHCR is operating in nine locations in Angola and has supported seven non- governmental agencies. It has constructed or repaired roads, hospitals, health clinics, water points, schools and sanitation facilities.


The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has announced that it would be able to continue, until the end of June, its activities related to the demobilization of ex-combatants in Angola. Earlier, the agency had considered suspending its work because of the lack of funds.

IOM said that an intensive fund-raising campaign carried out in Luanda and a number of donor-country capitals had yielded some results, with the donors committing themselves to contribute $3.6 million. Firm contributions were announced by Denmark, Italy, Portugal and the UN Volunteers, according to IOM.

The International Organization for Migration estimates that it would need $25 million to demobilize approximately 73,000 soldiers of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), and the Angolan Government.


The United Nations is the unparalleled nerve centre of the global village, exploring and negotiating emerging issues, setting priorities, and creating norms of conduct, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the graduates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Friday. The Secretary-General, who was in Boston to deliver the commencement address at MIT, noted that since the 1970's, the United Nations had been at the forefront of instituting concern with the human environment, world population, world hunger, the extension of fundamental human rights to encompass the status of women and of children, as well as sustainable development in its many facets.

Later on Friday, the Secretary-General travelled to Washington, D.C., to address the National Convention of the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA).


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has been following with concern the reports of the recent violent incidents in East Timor which resulted in the loss of life and considerable human suffering, UN Spokesman Fred Eckhard said on Friday.

The Secretary-General called on all parties concerned to exercise restraint. The UN leader is scheduled to meet with the Foreign Ministers of Indonesia and Portugal on 19 and 20 June 1997 in New York to discuss the question of East Timor.


Belgium says it's in favour of all initiatives aimed at reaching a complete ban on anti-personnel landmines and it favoured pursuit of that goal by the Conference on Disarmament. Belgium's representative, Andre Mernier, told the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Thursday that his country would hold a meeting in Brussels, later this month, of countries interested in a complete ban. He said the urgent necessity of achieving a solution to the humanitarian crisis posed by landmines was the sole motivation of his Government, adding that the meeting would focus on making practical progress.
The daunting task facing the news media in covering complex issues of environment and development was the subject of an international conference held in Seoul, the Republic of Korea -- the host of this year's observance of World Environment Day on 5 June. The three-day conference brought together journalists, communications experts, government officials and representatives of various United Nations agencies. The participants examined the role of the media in shaping public attitudes towards human survival and agreed on a series of recommendations for the improvement of environmental news coverage.

Addressing the conference, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Ms. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, recalled that at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro the media had been able to provide an impressive effort for the environmental cause. Meanwhile Executive Coordinator of UN Reform Maurice Strong stressed that journalists had "an enormous responsibility to increase awareness with a social and environmental objective".

The conference was hosted by the Korea News Editors Association and Korea Press Centre. Among its co-sponsors were several UN agencies: UNEP, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). On the media side, participants included journalists from CNN, BBC, The Boston Globe, Inter Press Service and Deutsche Press-Agentur.


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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