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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-08-26

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


Tuesday, 26 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 Security Council considers the situation in Angola and possible sanctions against UNITA.
  • UN refugee agency concerned about resurgence of hate radio broadcasts against Rwandan refugees in Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Security Council President calls on States to support Inter-African Mission in Central African Republic.
  • Iraq's humanitarian situation has improved under "oil-for-food" formula.
  • Parties to Biological Weapons Convention hear separate presentations by United States and Cuba on allegations of biological warfare.

The Security Council is discussing the situation in Angola and the possibility of imposing sanctions on the Uniao para a Independencia Total de Angola (UNITA), according to a UN spokesman. Juan-Carlos Brandt told reporters that a possible draft resolution could include "some elements regarding sanctions unless UNITA complies fully with the Council demands."

Following consultations on Angola, the Council President, Sir John Weston of the United Kingdom, said negotiations would continue towards the adoption of a draft.

The Council was considering a report of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in which he expresses his intention to further postpone the withdrawal of the military units of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) from the country. The report provides for retaining up to 2,650 military personnel until the end of October.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has expressed concern about "hate radio" broadcasts against Rwandan refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A spokeswoman for UNHCR told the press in Geneva today that Rwandan refugees in the former Zaire are under severe pressure to return to their country. Radio broadcasts are claiming that the refugees "are murderers and they should go back to Rwanda and Burundi," she said.

Expressing deep concern about the situation, the spokeswoman recalled that radio broadcasts against refugees had preceded attacks on encampments south of Kisangani in April. "We continue to hear reports of violence against refugees and we continue to be in contact with the authorities in Kinshasa on this issue," she said.

Security Council President Sir John Weston of the United Kingdom today expressed support for the Inter-African Mission to Monitor Implementation of the Bangui Agreements in the Central African Republic.

Addressing reporters following the Council's consultations on the matter, he said States should consider providing, "logistical and financial support to the African countries who make up the force in the Central African Republic."

According to a report of the Mission's Chairman which was before the Council, the Central African Republic began a "resolute march towards peace" following meetings between President Ange-F‚lix Patass‚ and the opposition earlier this month.

The report says troops from the Inter-African Mission have helped create a climate of security by containing organized crime, hold-ups and other armed robberies which had sown terror in the city of Bangui.

Gabon, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Senegal and Togo are all contributing troops to the Mission.

The outgoing Humanitarian Relief Coordinator of the Oil-for-Food Programme in Iraq says the situation there is improving, thanks to UN efforts to distribute food and medicine. Staffan de Mistura told reporters in New York that the UN has succeeded in making the Security Council's "oil-for-food" formula work in a politically tense environment. De Mistura said that in the past, critics have called it "oil-for- nothing", but the Council's renewal of the programme proves it is working. "What was called oil-for-nothing has become 1.3 million tonnes of food and medicines which have arrived inside Iraq and have, according to all indications we have, reached the ordinary Iraqis affected by sanctions," he said.

Earlier this month, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Dennis Halliday as the new Humanitarian Coordinator for the programme. Halliday said the path is clear for the second phase of operations. "I'm fortunate in going in with a lot of the issues having been resolved, and we can build from that point into the second distribution plan," he said, noting that the plan was unanimously agreed by all concerned.

States parties to the Convention on Biological Weapons are meeting in Geneva to discuss allegations of biological warfare against Cuba, according to a UN spokeswoman. In an effort to achieve consensus on the matter, the Bureau of the Conference of States parties scheduled separate closed meetings with representatives of the United States and Cuba to hear their proposals.

Consultations are being held in accordance with Article 5 of the Convention and a procedure elaborated at the Third Review Conference in 1991. Under the rules of procedure, if the matter is not resolved by consensus, it will require a two-thirds majority to pass.

The meeting is being chaired by the United Kingdom. Other members of the Bureau are Brazil, Nigeria, Iran, Netherlands, Canada and the Russian Federation.

In June, Cuba submitted a report to the General Assembly concerning a plague of Thrips palmi on its territory. The report states that the findings of an investigation "relate, with a high degree of certainty, the appearance of Thrips palmi in Cuba with the discharge of unknown substances over Cuban territory by United States aircraft." In the report, Cuba reiterates its concern "at the use of this authorized overflight of Cuban national territory by a United States aircraft for activities that run counter to and violate... the provisions of the Convention on Biological Weapons."

Correction: In the Daily Highlights of 20 August (DH/2459), the first sentence of the first paragraph on page one should have read, "The proposed treaty banning all anti-personnel landmines, which is being negotiated through the "Ottawa process" negotiations involving interested States, envisages a central role for the UN Secretary-General, according to the Director of the UN Centre for Disarmament Affairs."

For information purposes only - - not an official record

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

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