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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-08-14

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


Thursday, 14 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.


  • As multinational force ends a successful mission in Albania, Security Council says country's future depends on its people and leaders.
  • Security Council members urge parties in Burundi to attend up- coming Arusha peace talks in good faith.
  • UN Secretary-General concludes official visit to Finland after talks with top government officials.
  • Secretary-General says phased reduction of UN preventive force in former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia can begin in October.
  • United Nations children's agency voices concern over drop in aid to developing countries.

Welcoming the successful completion of a multinational operation in Albania, the Security Council on Thursday said that the Albanian people and their authorities bear the primary responsibility for the future of Albania and for restoring normal conditions in the country. The multinational protection force, which was led by Italy, was charged with facilitating the safe and prompt delivery of humanitarian assistance, protecting international relief workers, and helping create a secure environment in which elections could be held. During the operation, 11 countries contributed a total of 7,215 units to the force. The withdrawal of the force was completed on 11 August.

In a Presidential statement read out in a formal meeting by Council President Sir John Weston of the United Kingdom, the Council said the necessary international assistance would be conditional upon Albania's own efforts at achieving reconciliation, security, rehabilitation and economic reform.

The Security Council encouraged the international community to support the economic, social and institutional rehabilitation of Albania, and welcomed the steps that had already been taken in this direction, including the preparatory meetings for the Ministerial Conference to be held in Rome in autumn 1997.

Members of the Security Council on Thursday called on all parties in Burundi to attend in good faith the talks in Arusha, Tanzania, scheduled to be resumed later this month. Speaking to the press at UN Headquarters in New York, Council President Sir John Weston of the United Kingdom said the Council wished to give every support and encouragement to the talks which would be held under the aegis of the former President of Tanzania Julius Nyerere. Mr. Weston's comments came after the Security Council had received "a rather sobering briefing" from the UN Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast about the situation in Burundi.

The members of the Council were dismayed by the recent recurrence of violence in Burundi, particularly in the north of the country, and the quite heavy loss of life that had been there, the Council President stated.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday concluded his official visit to Finland. On the last day of his visit, he met with the Prime Minister of Finland, Paavo Lipponen, with whom he discussed, among other things, payments to the United Nations, Security Council reform and the scale of assessments. Prime Minister Lipponen pledged his country's support for the United Nations.

The Secretary-General also met with the Minister of Cooperation and Development/Minister of Environment, Pekka Haavisto. The discussions focused on how to make the Economic and Social Commission (ECOSOC) more effective in the environmental area; the reorganization of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs, and the United Nations role in coordinating humanitarian assistance, private sector financing and cooperation with the World Bank.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has recommended that a phased reduction of the UN preventive force in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia can begin in October, as decided earlier by the Security Council. In a just released report on the UN Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP), the Secretary-General says it seems advisable to pursue implementation of the Council decision to start a 2-month phased reduction of UNPREDEP's military component as of 1 October 1997. However, the report cautions that the conditions prevailing over the region at that time should be borne in mind.

The UN leader says it is evident that the situation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has been and still is intimately linked to the overall situation in the region, in particular at its borders.

The report notes that while the Government's relations with its neighbours have continued to strengthen, internal economic and social problems pose a significant threat to the country's integration and long term stability and further exacerbate inter-ethnic tensions.

The UN leader says that since the international community's involvement in the region would be necessary for some time to come, he has instructed his staff to begin intensive consultations immediately with the host Government and international organizations on the type of international presence that would be most appropriate for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia after 1 December 1997.

The United Nations children's agency has expressed deep concern over new figures showing that in 1996 aid to developing countries fell to an all- time low.

Carol Bellamy, the Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), said that according to UN estimates, 1.3 billion people were trapped in absolute poverty -- 650 million of them children-- and their numbers were growing in every region of the world, except South-East Asia and the Pacific.

Citing a report released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Bellamy stated that despite a steady rise in the number of people with incomes of less than $1 a day, overall aid to developing countries last year tumbled four per cent in real terms over 1995 -- from $58.9 billion to $55.1 billion.

According to Bellamy, if governments were to summon the will to earmark 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Product (GNP) for Official Development Assistance (ODA), the additional proceeds would more than cover some US$80 billion over 10 years that the UN estimated was required to eliminate the worst aspects of global poverty.

UNICEF Executive Director stressed that the tailspin in aid levels was a direct challenge to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, "which speaks to the plight of the world's poorest children".

For information purposes only - - not an official record

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

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