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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-08-15
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.com
Friday, 15 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 Kofi Annan has informed the Security Council of his intention to further postpone the withdrawal of the United Nations military units of the UN Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) from the country and to retain up to 2,650 military personnel until the end of October.
In a just released report the Secretary-General notes that in taking that step, he had considered, among other issues, the incomplete nature of the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol; the need to give the parties additional chance to complete the peace process, as well as the need to ensure the security of United Nations and other international personnel in Angola.
The report states that the peace process in Angola was experiencing some of the most serious difficulties since the signing of the Lusaka Protocol. It said the progress achieved during the previous two and a half years was being severely undermined by persisting tensions throughout the country.
Noting that both parties bear a heavy responsibility for the future of the peace process and must refrain from any action that might lead to renewed fighting, the report states that the current state of affairs was mainly the result of delays by UNITA in implementing its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol.
The report stresses that the last minute half-hearted concessions by UNITA on the eve of Security Council deliberations were no longer permissible.
International observers of the Angolan peace process have once again deplored the "tardy and unacceptable reaction" of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) in providing information on the demilitarization of UNITA, the restoration of State administration throughout the country, and the transformation of the UNITA radio station into a non-partisan station.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Angola, Alioune Blondin Beye, and the three observer states, Portugal, Russia and the United States -- known as the Mediation and the Troika of Observer States -- said in a joint communique issued in Luanda on Thursday that the information supplied by UNITA did not meet the exigencies of Security Council resolution of June 1997.
The joint communique stressed that the data on UNITA's military strength remained incomplete and that the information on its armaments was "derisory". It called on UNITA to immediately provide further information, adding that United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) should establish a programme for the verification of data provided and the in-situ disarmament and demobilization of the soldiers enumerated.
With regard to the revised programme for the extension of administration, the joint communique called on UNITA to cooperate concretely with the Government to enable the normalization operations to resume on 18 August.
Noting the undertaking by UNITA to transform the status of its Radio station, the Mediation and the Troika of Observer States decided that pending such transformation, Radio Vorgan should cease broadcasting hostile propaganda and instead use the radio for furthering the cause of peace and national reconciliation.
The Mediation and the Troika underlined that UNITA should give concrete expression of political will and proof of its good faith by carrying out the remaining tasks as outlined in the Lusaka Protocol.
The Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) says the attitude towards the Stabilization Force (SFOR) throughout the Republika Srpska in the aftermath of the Prijedor incident has remained generally negative. During the incident on 10 July, one SFOR soldier was wounded and a indicted war criminal killed when fire was returned in self- defence.
In a just released report to the Security Council on SFOR operations, the Secretary-General of NATO, Javier Solana states that overall, the parties are substantially compliant with the military provisions of the Peace Agreement, despite continuing increased tension in the Republika Srpska.
The report notes that SFOR will continue to carry out its mission "firmly but fairly", without tolerating any recourse to force or violence, or the unauthorized deployment of military or paramilitary forces. Temporary force adjustments within each Multi-National Division for the election period are expected to be made in mid-August, according to the report.
SFOR is made up of approximately 35,000 troops with contributions from all members of NATO and from 20 non-NATO countries. The force continues to conduct reconnaissance and surveillance by means of ground and air patrols, and to make random inspections of weapons cantonment sites. It also continues to provide support to the UN Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) and the International Police Task Force.
The talks between the leaders of the Cypriot communities in Glion, Montreux, Switzerland ended on Friday. Special Adviser of the Secretary- General on Cyprus Diego Cordovez told correspondents that there were some useful discussions during which they examined the proposals of the Secretary- General concerning procedures to be followed in the negotiations and considered the idea of instituting a sustained process of negotiations.
The two leaders remained committed to achieving a settlement of the Cyprus problem, the Special Adviser said. He expressed concern at the leaking of secret documents and the publicity being given to the negotiations even before they were completed.
A United Nations committee charged with laying the groundwork for a global judicial body to try individuals for such gross offences as genocide and crimes against humanity, ended two weeks of deliberations at UN Headquarters in New York on Friday.
During its August session, the Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court took up a number of critical issues which would have a decisive impact on the effectiveness of the court. The subject of "complementarity" dealt with the relationship between the court and national jurisdictions. The issue of "trigger mechanisms" would deal with the preconditions for the exercise of jurisdiction and who could "trigger" the court's jurisdiction. The Committee also discussed principles of criminal procedure, including such questions as the rights of suspects, defendants and victims, as well as witness protection measures.
Briefing the press on the progress of negotiations, the Committee Chairman, Adriaan Bos of the Netherlands, said that at the present stage the Committee was doing its best to consolidate as many technical, less political issues as possible. He noted that the Committee's work had taken on "a more intense character", spurred on by the fact that the General Assembly had set a specific date for a diplomatic conference to finalize the court's statute. "We will be well prepared for the Rome conference in June 1998", Mr. Bos said.
The idea of creating a permanent international criminal court with global jurisdiction gained momentum following the Security Council's establishment of ad hoc criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has described the proposed judicial body as "the symbol of our highest hopes for the unity of peace and justice."
The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has warned against a forged letter being circulated in Eastern Slavonia and containing request for information on 178 individuals who are described as being the subject of criminal proceedings within the Tribunal. The letter had been circulated in the UN Transitional Administrator for Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES) region, purportedly issued by the Prosecutor and the Registrar to the UN Civilian Police Commissioner in Vukovar.
The Prosecutor, Justice Louise Arbour, stressed that the document did not originate from her office or from anyone within the Tribunal. "It is a complete fabrication, and absolutely no credence should be attributed to it", Justice Arbour stated.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has announced the establishment of a biomedical engineering centre for repair and maintenance of medical devices at the Kosevo hospital in Sarajevo. The three-year project at the Biomedical Engineering Centre (BMEC) at the Kosevo hospital is designed to develop medical equipment repair, service and calibration, and is financed by the Japanese Government in the amount of US$997,600.
Other hospitals from the region are also expected to take part in the project including some from the Republika Srspka. According to UNIDO, the health facilities frequently have very little functioning equipment, and although new equipment had been bought after the peace agreement, its handling represented additional problems due to the lack of knowledge of how to operate it.
The United Nations central coordinating body for industrial activities has launched a new programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina designed to train small and medium entrepreneurs in investment opportunity identification, project formulation and appraisal as well as accessing financing. United Nations Development Organization (UNIDO) said the Cantonal Business Development Centres will be set up in Bihac, Novi Travnik and Banja Luka.
The two-year programme is aimed at strengthening capacities at the community level to promote effective utilization of reconstruction efforts for development. According to UNIDO, international institutions have opened different credit lines in Bosnia and Herzegovina aimed at strengthening the private sector, especially the small and medium enterprises. However, the emerging private sector entrepreneurs in Bosnia and Herzegovina have little background and experience in operating in a market economy environment, especially in terms of appraising investment alternatives, preparing realistic business plans and securing financing.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Friday warned that tens of thousands of Burundians who are living in camps inside the country are not getting access to enough basic food sources to stave off malnutrition and life-threatening diseases. WFP teams assessing regroupment and displaced persons camps have reported that kwashiorkor, marasmus and oedema -- clinical signs of malnutrition -- have become prevalent over the last few months.
"In many camps, people have had restricted access to their land and crops, and are now becoming more reliant on WFP food aid hand-outs," said Benoit Thiry, WFP Head of programming in Burundi. "In some cases, the people have been in camps for so long they've missed two or three harvests. As a result, nutritional problems are on the rise". An estimated 600,000 Burundians live away from their homes in some 250 camp settlements throughout the country.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement on Friday that it was deeply concerned that the situation for refugees in the Great Lakes was steadily worsening, with the basic principles of asylum becoming increasingly difficult to uphold.
According to the statement, High Commissioner Sadako Ogata had been taking urgent steps to try to address "a crisis of protection" in Africa. The High Commissioner had been talking to the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the UN Secretary-General with a view to arranging a meeting to discuss the current refugee crisis in Africa, the statement said.
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