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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-06-11

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


Wednesday, 11 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.


  • UN Secretary-General expresses concern about the deteriorating situation in Congo/Brazzaville.
  • UN leader is encouraged by signs that the U.S. may pay its arrears.
  • Leaders of the two Cypriot communities are invited to talks in New York.
  • Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Western Sahara meets with concerned parties in London.
  • Winners of the 1997 UN Population Award are greeted at UN Headquarters.
  • Multinational force in Albania reports slowly improving situation.
  • FAO draws up a code to counter health threats to humans from contaminated meat.
  • The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Liberia completes his mission.

UN Secretary-General on Wednesday expressed concern about the deteriorating situation in Congo/Brazzaville and the rising human toll of this conflict.

In a statement issued in New York on Wednesday, the Secretary- General called on the parties in the country to cease hostilities and to promptly begin negotiations to settle their differences. He welcomed the readiness of President Omar Bongo of Gabon to mediate and appealed to other leaders in the region with influence on the Congolese parties to assist in anyway they can.

The UN leader said that Ambassador Mohamed Sahnoun, the Joint UN/Organization of African Unity OAU Special Representative for the Great Lakes Region, would support this peace effort.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Sahnoun, who was in Geneva on Wednesday, met with Ralph Zacklin, the Officer-in-Charge of the High Commissioner/Centre for Human Rights, Sadako Ogata, the High Commissioner for Refugees, and Cornelio Sommaruga, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross. They discussed the plight of refugees and displaced persons in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other neighbouring countries.

Ambassador Sahnoun underlined the importance of investigating allegations of human rights violations and said in the coming days he would hold meetings in Kinshasa as part of his efforts in support of such an investigation.

The UN Secretary-General is encouraged by what the US Administration sees as a major breakthrough with the Congress on the subject of payment of arrears to the United Nations, a UN Spokesman announced on Wednesday.

Spokesman Fred Eckhard noted, however, that the process was an ongoing one and the Secretary-General, as well as other Member States looked forward to a positive outcome.

The leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities have been officially invited to New York for face-to-face talks, UN Spokesman Fred Eckhard announced on Wednesday. He said that the Deputy Special Representative for Cyprus, Gus Feissel had delivered letters to the two community leaders inviting them to New York to hold talks from 9 - 13 July. The venue would be announced closer to the date of the talks, the Spokesman added.
The Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Western Sahara, James Baker III on Wednesday began meetings with the concerned parties in London.

The UN Spokesman told the press corps at Headquarters that Mr. Baker had met with representatives of the Government of Morocco and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia El-Hamra and Rio de Oro (POLISARIO). He would also hold consultations with representatives of Algeria and Mauritania.

Those discussions were in preparation for Mr. Baker's second visit to the region to revive the stalled United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, MINURSO.

MINURSO was established by the Security Council in 1991 to assist the people of Western Sahara to choose between independence and integration with Morocco.

Stressing the importance of population issues, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed the 1997 winners of the United Nations Population Award at UN headquarters in New York.

Speaking on Tuesday at the fifteenth anniversary of the award, created in 1981 to honour outstanding contributions to the world of population, the Secretary-General said the award was, in particular, intended to recognize new ideas and to highlight good practice.

The UN Population Award is given by the Intergovernmental Population Award Committee to promote population control and development.

The winners for this year's award, chosen in the individual category, are Elizabeth Aguirre de Calderon Sol from El Salvador, Professor Toshio Kuroda from Japan, and Senator Mechai Viravaidya from Thailand.

The Secretary-General congratulated the laureates for the 1997 United Nations Population Award and said that the people-centred message of the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development held in 1994, acquired fresh impetus at the hands of practitioners at the grass-roots level.

Although the situation in Albania remained tense, security is slowly improving, thanks to the presence of the multinational protection force, according to a bi-weekly report submitted by Italy to the Security Council.

The report noted that the Albanian police were not yet in a position to counter acts of violence and persisting illegal activities by armed gangs. In some cases, the report said, the fighting between these gangs had produced clashes that endangered normal life.

However, the report pointed out, public institutions such as customs, tribunals and prisons were slowly restarting their activities, and many schools and educational institutions, as well as some industries and commercial activities were also gradually reopening as an indirect result of the presence of the force.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has drawn up a draft code to control the spread of diseases caused by contaminated meat.

FAO announced on Wednesday that a Draft Code of Practice for Good Animal Feeding had been drawn up in response to health and food-trade problems related to cases in which humans became ill after eating meat and animal products contaminated by the food fed to the animals.

The code applies to feed manufacturing, and the use of all feeds other than those consumed while grazing free range. The code specifies means to controls certain toxins, veterinary drug residues, pesticide residues and heavy metals in animal feed.

According to the Rome-based UN food agency,the code's major aim is to encourage adherence to Good Manufacturing Practice during the procurement, handling, storage, processing and distribution of feed for food-producing animals.

The UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs announced on Wednesday that the Humanitarian Coordinator in Liberia, Tesema Negash of Ethiopia, had ended his mission.

Mr. Negash served as the Humanitarian Coordinator in Liberia since November 1995, coordinating the activities of the humanitarian community in the country, including UN agencies, national and international non- governmental organizations. He in part oversaw the regrouping and pooling of humanitarian resources and staff to maintain humanitarian assistance during the April-May 1996 hostilities in Monrovia, despite the dangerous situation.

For information purposes only - - not an official record

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

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