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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-08-07

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


Thursday, 7 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.


  • UN Secretary-General appeals to Comoran leaders to settle their differences through peaceful means.
  • Representatives of Indonesia and Portugal conclude four-days of talks in New York on the question of East Timor.
  • Five UN peace-keepers are killed in helicopter crash in south Lebanon.
  • Palestinian Rights Committee calls for an end to retaliatory measures "which exacerbate Palestinian suffering".
  • A panel of experts on small arms presents its report to UN Secretary- General.
  • The Joint Commission on Angola expresses satisfaction at progress made in the demobilization process.
  • Climate talks enter final negotiation phase.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appealed to all Comoran leaders to settle their differences through peaceful means by entering into a dialogue to address the underlying causes of the current crisis, a UN spokesman said.

Spokesman Fred Eckhard said the UN leader reaffirmed his support for the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Comoros, and welcomed the appointment by the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) of a Special Envoy to the Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros.

According to the spokesman, the Secretary-General would despatch within the next two weeks a multi-disciplinary, humanitarian and technical mission in order to carry out a detailed assessment of the needs of the country.

Representatives of Indonesia and Portugal on Thursday concluded four-days of talks in New York on the question of East Timor. The parties agreed to resume the talks at a later date. The discussions which were held by senior level officials were chaired by Ambassador Jamsheed Marker, the Personal Representative of the Secretary-General for East Timor.

Speaking to the press at UN Headquarters in New York following the talks, Ambassador Marker said the discussions were held in a constructive and business like atmosphere in line with the agreement reached at the ninth round of talks held by the Secretary-General with the Foreign Ministers of the two sides in June 1997.

Five peace-keepers were killed on Thursday when a helicopter of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) crashed during a night training flight near the village of At Tiri in south Lebanon. Four of the peace- keepers were Italian and the other Irish. UNIFIL said it was investigating the cause of the crash. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed his condolences to the families of the victims.
The Bureau of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has called on the Israeli and Palestinian leaders and the international community to do everything in their power to save the peace process.

In a statement issued in New York, the Bureau said it believed that the blockade of the Palestinian territory by Israel and the harsh economic measures were a form of collective punishment. "These measures are in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention and are also contrary to the letter and spirit of the agreements reached between the parties", the statement said.

The Bureau said that retaliatory measures which exacerbated Palestinian suffering and lead to increasing despair were bound to be counterproductive. Such measures, it said, were also being taken against a background of continued construction of settlements, delayed withdrawal from the occupied territory, and the lack of implementation of essential provisions of the agreements reached.

At the same time, the Bureau said it was imperative to re-establish a spirit of mutual confidence and cooperation between the parties, in order to resume negotiations urgently for the full implementation of the agreements already reached. "Only through a process based on reciprocal trust will it be possible to achieve peace and security for all the peoples of the region".

The chairman of a panel of experts which was established to assist in preparing a report on small arms presented the panel's recommendations to the UN Secretary-General on Thursday.

Ambassador Misturo Donowaki of Japan, who chaired the 16-member Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms told the press at UN Headquarters in New York that the report, the first ever dealing with small arms, had been adopted by consensus by all members of the panel.

Among the recommendations were proposals to assist the negotiators of peace settlements in developing plans to disarm combatants; and to provide assistance to peace-keeping missions in implementing their mandates based on peace settlements.

The report concentrated on the armed conflicts dealt with by the United Nations where small arms and light weapons were the sole tools of violence. It also took note of the field work done by the panel through subregional workshops in Pretoria, San Salvador and Kathmandu.

During a press conference following the presentation of the report, Ambassador Donowaki said that the small arms were not only causing the deaths of tens of thousands of people daily, but were also causing crime in post-conflict regions. Citing El Salvador as an example, Ambassador Donowaki said that during the 12 year civil war which ended in 1992, 75,000 people were killed.

The Joint Commission set up to monitor the implementation of the Angola Peace Accords and the Lusaka Protocol has expressed its satisfaction at the progress made in the demobilisation process in the country.

The Joint Commission urged both parties, especially the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), to make all efforts to advance the process before the arrival of the rainy season. It also deplored a statement made by the UNITA representative in Lisbon and reported on UNITA's radio station, VORGAN, which referred to the quartering areas and demobilization centres as "concentration camps". The Joint Commission reiterated its appeal to UNITA to ensure that its radio station contributed positively to the demobilisation process.

A week-long meeting on a common international strategy for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from developed countries concluded in Bonn, Germany on Thursday. The focus of the session was a text of over 100 pages compiled by the Chairman of the Ad hoc Group on the Berlin Mandate (AGBM), Ambassador Raul Estrada-Oyuela of Argentina.

Negotiators refined the text containing some possible targets including a proposal by the European Union that developed countries cut their emissions by 15 per cent by the year 2000. After a final negotiating session at the end of October in Bonn, Ministers will gather in Kyoto, Japan in early December to finalize the resulting amendment or protocol to the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

For information purposes only - - not an official record

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

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