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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-08-11

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


Monday, 11 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.


  • Sixteen nations voice their support for the UN Secretary- General's reforms of the UN system.
  • On an official visit to Sweden, UN Secretary-General says that genocide is "a tragedy we should not see again".
  • The second round of talks between the leaders of the Cypriot communities start in Glion, Switzerland.
  • The Joint Commission appeals to the Angolan Government and UNITA to reduce tensions in the country.
  • Non-Aligned countries restate their proposal for the creation of a committee on nuclear disarmament.
  • Payments by Barbados and Hungary bring to 80 the number of Member States that paid in full their UN budget contributions.
  • Syria signs the Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Use of International Watercourses.
  • Mongolia becomes the sixth State to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test- Ban Treaty.

Sixteen nations from around the world have expressed their full support for the UN Secretary-General's efforts to reform the United Nations system.

In a statement issued in Stockholm on Monday, the sixteen Heads of State and Government from the developed and developing countries on all the continents urged their counterparts in other nations to give "due attention" to the proposals presented by the Secretary-General for deliberations during the coming session of the General Assembly.

"International problems and crises must be dealt with by the international community, and the United Nations system is the main forum for doing so", the Heads of State and Government of the sixteen nations said.

Emphasising the importance of making it possible for the United Nations to regain its central role, the Heads of State and Government of sixteen nations said the Organization needed both reform and commitment. "We believe that securing a sound and viable financial basis for the United Nations is an integral part of the reform efforts" said the statement.

The statement of the 16 nations was presented to UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan by the Swedish Prime Minister, Goran Persson, during a traditional boat ride on a lake in the Prime Minister's summer residence.

The Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday began his official visit to Sweden. He met with the former High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Carl Bildt, the Swedish Foreign Minister Ms. Hjelm-Wallen and with the Minister for International Development and Cooperation, Migration and Asylum Policy, Pierre Schori.

Following those meetings, the Secretary-General held a press conference in Stockholm. Asked about the problem of genocide, he called for resolute international action to prevent the scourge from ever happening again. "All of us are responsible for this," he said, adding that "the UN is you and me, and genocide is a tragedy we should not see again". On another issue of international concern, the Secretary-General called for the stepping up of efforts to supply food to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea which is threatened with famine.

The Secretary-General then left Stockholm for Uppsala where he participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the grave of former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, and visited Uppsala University. In his address at the University, the Secretary-General paid tribute to Sweden's support for international development assistance. Mr. Annan said it "is an extraordinary fact that Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark together provided 20 per cent of the funds in 1995 for UN system operational activities for development".

The second round of talks between the leaders of the Cypriot communities started on Monday in Glion, Switzerland.

The talks between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot negotiating teams were also attended by Diego Cordovez, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, Gustave Feissel, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, and Raymond Sommereyns, the Director of the West Asia Division of the Department of Political Affairs.

The talks, are aimed at finding a peaceful solution to one of the most intractable international problems which the United Nations has been trying to solve for over 33 years.

The Group of 21 non-aligned countries reiterated a proposal for the establishment of a negotiating committee on nuclear disarmament within the Conference on Disarmament.

During last week's deliberations at the Conference in Geneva, the representative of Nigeria said the Group placed the highest priority on the issue of nuclear disarmament. He said the Group of 21 regretted that its June 5 proposals for an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament had been rejected out of hand by certain delegations as inappropriate. In that context, he recalled the Group's further suggestions for the re- establishment of ad hoc committees on the prevention of an arms race in outer space and on effective international arrangements to assure non- nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.

The call for the establishment of an ad hoc committee on nuclear disarmament was echoed by representatives of Bangladesh and Cameroon.

The Joint Commission in Angola, which includes representatives of the Angolan Government and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), has appealed to both sides to make every effort to reduce the tensions in the country.

The Commission also urged the parties to remove the hindrances placed on the activities placed on the UN Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA). The Joint Commission said that UNITA had not met the demands made by the Security Council.

Barbados and Hungary have become the latest Member States to pay their 1997 UN regular budget dues in full. Barbados paid $106,508 and Hungary $1, 491, 111.

The payments brought to 80 the number of Member States which have paid in full their assessed contributions, compared to 84 which had done so at the same time last year.

Outstanding contributions to the United Nations now stand at more than $2.5 billion of which under $700 million is for the regular budget and over $1.8 billion for peace-keeping.

Syria on Monday became the first country to sign the Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Use of International Watercourses adopted by the General Assembly on 21 May 1997.

The Convention is open for signature for three years and would enter into force when it receives 35 ratifications.

The treaty deals with the responsibility of States for international watercourses, environmental uses, management of watercourses, protection and preservation of marine environment and management of installations in watercourses.

Mongolia became the sixth State to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear- Test- Ban Treaty (CTBT) a UN Spokesman announced on Monday.

The ratification, done on Friday, put Mongolia in the ranks of Fiji, Qatar, Uzbekistan, Japan, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

For information purposes only - - not an official record

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

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