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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-08-28

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


Thursday, 28 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.


  • Security Council decides to impose sanctions against UNITA unless it complies with Lusaka Protocol.
  • Democratic Republic of Congo places new restrictions on UN investigative team examining reports of gross human rights violations.
  • Violent mob in Brcko attacks UN International Police Task Force.
  • No agreement in Disarmament Conference on starting negotiations to ban anti-personnel landmines.
  • UN Special Rapporteur will travel to Cambodia to discuss UN human rights activities there.
  • UN Correspondents Association seeks to overturn Viet Nam's decision to bar Dag Hammarskjold Scholar from travelling to UN General Assembly.

The Security Council today decided to impose diplomatic sanctions against the Uniao Nacional para a Independencia Total de Angola (UNITA) and stood ready to consider additional measures, such as trade and financial restrictions, if UNITA failed to comply with its obligations under the 1994 Lusaka Protocol and applicable Council resolutions. The sanctions will take effect on 30 September unless the Secretary-General informs the Council that UNITA has taken "concrete and irreversible" steps to comply with those obligations.

The Council decided that States shall impose travel restrictions on UNITA personnel and adult members of their immediate families, and shall seal UNITA offices on their territories. States as well as international and regional organizations were urged to stop their officials from travelling to UNITA headquarters, except for the purpose of promoting the peace process and humanitarian assistance.

The measures were adopted unanimously under Chapter VII of the UN Charter as part of Council resolution 1127 (1997). Under that text, States would deny UNITA aircraft permission to take off from, land in or overfly their territories, except in cases of medical emergencies or for flights carrying food, medicine or other humanitarian supplies. They would also prohibit the supply of any aircraft to the territory of Angola without going through the country's Government.

Addressing the Council this morning, Angola's Ambassador, Afonso Van Dunem "Mbinda" warned that, "the return to war is imminent." He referred to UNITA military preparations such as the re-recruitment of thousands of previously demobilized soldiers. "Right now, UNITA has an army of 35,000 men deployed throughout the country, of which 4,000 belong to the personal security of its leader, Dr. Savimbi," he said.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has received a letter from two ministers of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo which places additional conditions on the work of his investigative team, according to a UN spokesman. The conditions "are inconsistent with understandings reached between the Secretary- General and President Kabila," said the spokesman.

In response, the Secretary-General has dispatched his Special Representative for the Great Lakes region, Mohamed Sahnoun, to Kinshasa to discuss the situation with the country's leaders. The spokesman expressed hope that the matter related only to internal communications within the Congolese Government which could be resolved. The team is mandated to investigate allegations of massacres and other human rights violations.

Addressing members of the press this afternoon, Security Council President Sir John Weston of the United Kingdom said, "The human rights team that the Secretary-General has sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo went on the basis of certain high- level assurances conveyed by President Kabila, and we assume that those represented the voice of the Government. In light of the somewhat confusing signals that have emerged, we will have to see what Mr. Sahnoun comes back with."

The United Nations International Police Task Force (UNIPTF) was this morning subject to "a totally unprovoked and violent assault by a mob," according to a UN spokesman in Sarajevo.

He said that several windows were smashed and more than 15 UN vehicles were damaged. "We have received reports that UNIPTF officers were slightly injured by crowds who attempted to pull them from their vehicles."

The attacks reportedly occurred following the blaring of sirens across the town and radio incitements for people to defend facilities from the international community. "I want to make it emphatically clear that the UN International Police Task Force was not, and is not, in any way involved in attempts to take over any police facilities," said the spokesman, Liam McDowall.

Warning that the incitement and recourse to violence was extremely dangerous because it heightened tension in an already charged situation, McDowall said, "It is especially serious that violence has been directed against unarmed international police monitors who have done nothing more than stick to their mandate under the Dayton Peace Agreement that the parties requested."

The Conference on Disarmament meeting in Geneva has been unable to agree on the venue, time and modality for negotiations to ban anti-personnel landmines.

UN Radio reported that the Disarmament Conference's Special Coordinator on Anti-personnel Land-mines, Ambassador John Campbell of Australia, said today that a majority of States represented in the Conference could agree to start negotiations to ban landmines but two delegations -- which he did not name -- remained opposed to the idea. His report confirmed the continuing stalemate in the Disarmament Conference, which can only take decisions by unanimous agreement among the members.

Meanwhile, over 100 States, including many members of the Conference on Disarmament, are expected to finalize negotiations outside the Conference on a draft treaty banning anti-personnel landmines at a meeting set to begin on 1 September in Oslo. The aim is to open the draft treaty for signature in Ottawa this December.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Cambodia will visit the country from 30 August to 5 September in response to reports that Cambodia's Second Prime Minister Hun Sen had demanded the replacement of United Nations human rights workers in the country, a UN spokesman said today. Thomas Hammarberg "hopes to take up this reported matter with the Second Prime Minister in a meeting before that time," the spokesman announced.
The Permanent Mission of Viet Nam this morning told the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) that it needed several hours to take a final decision on whether Nguyen Manh Hung will be allowed to leave that country on an UNCA-administered scholarship.

The Chairman of the Board of the Dag Hammarskjold Scholarship Fund, Sanaa Youssef, today contacted the Vietnamese Mission after hearing reports that Nguyen, a reporter from the weekly Vietnam Investment Review, would not be allowed to make use of the scholarship, which provides for a three-month stay in New York during the United Nations General Assembly's annual session. "We are still hoping that we will receive a positive reply within the next few hours," said Youssef, who is a correspondent for Al- Akhbar.

Each year, some 150 young journalists from developing countries apply directly to the Scholarship Fund. A group of UNCA journalists selects four winners each year based on merit.

For information purposes only - - not an official record

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

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