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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-08-04

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


Monday, 4 August 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.


  • General Assembly decides to include an item on United Nations reform on the agenda of it's fifty-second session.
  • UN Secretary-General congratulates the newly elected President of Liberia.
  • United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina expresses dismay at the evacuation of Bosniaks in the Muslim Croat Federation.
  • A United Nations inter-agency group warns of severe drought in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
  • A meeting of the preparatory committee on the establishment of an international criminal court opens in New York.
  • Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Somalia is set to travel to the country to assess the situation.
  • UN Secretary-General appoints senior UN official as new United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator of the oil for food programme in Iraq.

The General Assembly on Monday decided to include the item on United Nations reform measures and proposals on its agenda of it's fifty-second session. The extensive reform measures, which were announced last month by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, call for bold institutional, cultural and managerial changes within the world body.

The measures include, among other things, the merger of three UN Departments in economic and social affairs, and a budget for 1998 - 1999 that implements the cutting of 1,000 Secretariat posts. In another vital area of UN activities --promoting development and addressing the root causes of poverty and conflict-- the Secretary-General proposed to group United Nations funds and programmes in a United Nations Development Group.

Congratulating the people of Liberia on the peaceful elections recently held in the country, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a statement on the occasion of the inauguration of the new Government that the country had embarked on a new struggle for national unity and reconciliation, democracy, human rights, and for reconstruction and development. Mr. Annan said the international community was ready to assist the country, but that success could only be achieved if Liberians were determined to advance as one nation.

Meanwhile, the new Liberian President in his inaugural statement on Monday assured the nation that there would be no witch-hunting under his administration. According to a UN Radio report from Monrovia, President Taylor announced that he would soon set up public commissions on national reconciliation and on human rights. "The domestic policy of our government will be to pursue objectives to restore the full national confidence of the Liberian public and the international community. We shall also seek to decentralize the national economy, to intensify rural development, stratify resources allocation and to eliminate corruption in the public sector", President Taylor stated.

The UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) has expressed its dismay at the campaign of intimidation during which Bosnian Croats forced the evacuation of five hundred Bosniaks. The Mission said that authorities in the region had failed to prevent the latest campaign of intimidation. UNMIBH said it made numerous appeals to the authorities in the region to allow the return of refugees.

The Mission reported that Bosnian Croats staged demonstrations over the weekend in the area of Jajce, in the Muslim Croat Federation. The local Croats were protesting the return of Bosniaks to Jajce and forced through intimidation the evacuation of around 500 Bosniaks, most of whom had recently returned to their former homes in Jajce. According to the Mission, the International Police Task Force (IPTF) began an investigation on Saturday to look into the role of the local police in the events.

A United Nations inter-agency group has warned that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) was suffering from a severe drought that had caused the loss of 70 percent of the maize crop.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and several relief aid agencies said on Monday that the loss of 1.5 million tons of maize had worsened an already bleak situation and would cause a severe food shortage.

The inter-agency group said the drought situation would dramatically reduce the availability of cereals for the period November 1997 to October 1998. They noted that the food situation in August and September would also seriously worsen since part of the crop had been earmarked for consumption as green corn.

A preliminary inter-agency drought assessment report stated that the drought exacerbated the fragility of the agricultural production system, already weakened by two consecutive years of losses due to floods. According to the inter-agency group, a drought similar to this years magnitude, occurred more than 61 years ago.

The Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court convened on Monday for the fourth time at United Nations Headquarters to continue its work on the court's draft statute. During the two-week meeting, the Preparatory Committee will focus on the issue of complementarity, which involves the relationship between the international criminal court and national jurisdiction. The Committee, which is charged with preparing a widely acceptable convention for an international criminal court, will also deal with the issue of the "trigger" mechanism which refers to the question of what, or which actors could initiate court proceedings. It will also consider various procedural matters.
The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Somalia is set to travel to the region this week to hold consultations with those directly concerned with the situation in Somalia, according to a UN spokesman.

UN Spokesman Fred Eckhard said the Special Envoy, Under-Secretary- General Ismat Kittani would also ascertain the positions of the Somali factions and the regional governments and organizations concerned on matters related to national reconciliation and the establishment of a broad-based government. He would assess the situation on the ground and review and explore the role of the United Nations in support of regional peacemaking efforts. Mr. Kittani was expected to make recommendations on any further peacemaking role of the United Nations.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday announced the appointment of Denis Halliday as Humanitarian Coordinator of the Oil for Food Programme in Iraq.

Mr. Halliday who has served as Assistant-Secretary-General for Human Resources Management in the UN Department of Administration and Management, will work under a programme of the Security Council resolution which allows Iraq to sell its oil in order to pay for food and other essential civilian needs.

Iraq is facing sanctions imposed by the United Nations following its invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

For information purposes only - - not an official record

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

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