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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-06-12

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

DAILY HIGHLIGHTS

Thursday, 12 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

  • Security Council extends mandate of the United Nations observer Mission in Tajikistan.
  • Security Council agrees to designation of Carlos Westendorp as High Representative for Bosnia peace agreement.
  • The Secretary-General welcomes indications that the U.S. might pay its arrears.
  • President of Ireland Mary Robinson slated to become next High Commissioner for Human Rights.
  • UNDP report says despite persistent poverty, some 3 to 4 billion people will see improvements in their lives.
  • Special conference on peace in Liberia opens in Geneva.
  • Thai Prime Minister calls on international community to help Africa sustain its positive trends.
  • A symposium of North American non-governmental organizations calls for an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.
  • UNICEF says influence of television continues to grow rapidly in developing countries.


The United Nations Security Council on Thursday extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) for three months until 15 September 1997, as recommended by the Secretary- General.

Expressing concern over the precarious security and humanitarian situation in Tajikistan, the Security Council called on the Tajik parties to implement fully the agreements reached during the inter-Tajik talks and encouraged them to sign the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan as a matter of priority.

The Council emphasized that the implementation of the agreements reached in the course of the inter-Tajik talks would require consistent good faith and constant effort of the parties, as well as the sustained and vigorous support of the UN and the international community. At the same time, the Security Council called upon the parties to ensure the safety and freedom of movement of UN and other international personnel.

The President of the Council, Ambassador Sergey Lavrov of Russia, told the press after the adoption of the resolution that the Tajik protocols already signed would be crowned by the signing of the General Agreement in Moscow on 27 June.


The Security Council on Thursday agreed to the designation of Carlos Westendorp, Permanent Representative of Spain to the UN, as High Representative for the Bosnian peace agreement, in succession of Carl Bildt.

Acting unanimously, the Council reaffirmed the importance it attached to the role of the High Representative in monitoring the implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina and giving guidance to and coordinating the activities of the civilian organizations and agencies assisting the parties to implement it.

The Council also reaffirmed that the High Representative was the final authority regarding the interpretation of an annex on civilian implementation of the agreement. In case of a dispute, the Council said, the High Representative might give his interpretation and make recommendations, including to the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina or its entities, and make those recommendations known publicly.


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday said that he was happy about the breakthrough in the deal between the U.S. Administration and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to settle the United States debt to the United Nations, but would have been happier if "the totality of what we believe is owed were paid". Noting that the Administration was in the midst of negotiating the payment of U.S. arrears, he added that under the circumstances, this might be the best deal.

The Secretary-General was speaking at a press conference at UN Headquarters in New York during which he addressed a broad range of issues.

On the question of the situation in Sierra Leone, he said that the unanimous condemnation by the Heads of State of the coup was remarkable. The Secretary-General noted that barely a year ago the African leaders had not reacted to the coup in the Gambia. This time the leaders seemed determined to discourage coups in Africa, he said.


Calling it one of the most important appointments of his term, Secretary- General Kofi Annan announced on Thursday that he had decided to name President Mary Robinson of Ireland as the next UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Secretary-General made the announcement at his press conference in New York. He said that Mrs. Robinson was "an extraordinary leader" who would bring "dynamism, credibility and leadership" to the Geneva-based Human Rights Centre.

The Secretary-General said he expected Mrs. Robinson to assume her post before the opening of the 52nd session of the General Assembly. The first High Commissioner for Human Rights was Jose Ayala Lasso of Ecuador who took office in April 1994.


By the end of the 20th century, some three to four billion of the world's people will have experienced substantial improvements in their standards of living, UNDP's Associate Administrator said on Thursday.

Launching the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report 1997 in New York, Rafeeuddin Ahmed said that about four to five billion people would have access to basic education and health care.

Mr. Ahmed pointed out, however, that a backlog of poverty persisted, unevenly spread across continents and within societies. New forces were affecting societies worldwide. Civil war, global pandemics, environmental degradation, and failures of economic growth, he added, were the four forces pushing people back into the poverty track.

Each year, the Human Development Report, using specific indexes such as the relationship between wealth, poverty, and social investment, employment and the role of women, ranks countries on the basis of life expectancy, education, and basic purchasing power.

Of 78 developing countries that had enough data for assessment, the report found that human poverty was lowest in Barbados, the Bahamas, Cuba, Chile, Singapore and Costa Rica. At the other end of the scale, the report found that human poverty was highest in Niger, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Mali, Cambodia and Mozambique.


The Special Conference to support the peace process in Liberia opened in Geneva on Thursday. In his message to the conference, the Secretary-General said the challenge now for Liberia was to see that peace took genuine root. The Secretary-General said that efforts in Liberia were central to making the process of the current wave of democracy, human rights and development in Africa a reality.

The UN leader noted that the Conference signalled the determination to restore lasting security and the rule of law to Liberia. Free, fair and credible elections the, Secretary-General added, were the next step in the process. He said Liberia could be a model of post conflict reconstruction involving national leaders, regional organizations and the United Nations.


The Prime Minister of Thailand has called on the international community to help African countries sustain the positive trends of the continent into the second half of the 1990's and beyond.

Inaugurating the Second Asia-Africa Forum which began in Bangkok, Thailand, on Wednesday, Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said that development was "not a matter of chance" but a "matter of choice."

He called on Asia and Africa to work closely together in facing common challenges such as sustainability of economic growth, distribution of income, land ownership, privatization of state enterprises, access to markets, prices of primary commodities, health care and educational standards.


Urging a large-scale international effort to end 30 years of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory, a symposium of non-governmental organizations from North America ended its work at UN Headquarters in New York.

Speaking at the closing of the three-day event on Wednesday, Ibra Deguene Ka, Chairman of the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People stressed that hundreds of non-governmental organizations dedicated to bringing peace and justice to the Middle East, had a vital role to play in that effort. Meanwhile Nasser Al-Kidwa, the Permanent Observer for Palestine at the United Nations, said that the Symposium would inspire a solid framework to govern relations between the Palestinian Authority and non-governmental organizations.

The Symposium is convened annually under the auspices of the Committee on the Rights of the Palestinian People to mobilize non- governmental organizations to support the rights of the Palestinians and meet their reconstruction and nation-building needs in the light of the 1993 Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements and subsequent agreements signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).


The influence of television continues to grow rapidly in developing world according to a survey commissioned by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The study called The Bigger Picture, released in London on Thursday looked at worldwide trends in broadcasting. It found, among other things, that Western television news agencies such as Reuters, WTN and APTV still set the agenda for international news and current affairs. According to the study, national television services also relied heavily on satellite broadcasters such as CNN, BBC World and Deutsche Welle for foreign reports.

Carol Bellamy, the Executive Director of UNICEF who spoke about the recommendations of the study, urged development assistance agencies to actively encourage global television coverage. "Seven out of ten households own a television set," Ms Bellamy said, adding that this was "an unparalleled opportunity to use the world's most powerful communication tool to help create a secure and healthy future for millions of children around the world."

The Bigger Picture, said the Executive Director of UNICEF, showed the possibilities of television to present in-depth factual programmes on seemingly remote countries to mass audiences around the world.


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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