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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-09-11

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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


Thursday, 11 September 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 calls for General Assembly to focus on reform when its session opens next week.
  • Sierra Leone's Ambassador wants Security Council to endorse regional sanctions against junta in his country.
  • Security Council President says agreement is close on Iraq oil sales draft resolution.
  • Tajik opposition arrives in Dushanbe to begin implementing UN- monitored peace process.
  • UN survey finds opium poppy production in Afghanistan up by 25 per cent over last year.
  • UNICEF credits NGOs with progress in implementing Convention on Rights of Child.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan today expressed hope that world leaders convening in New York next week for the fifty-second session of the General Assembly will focus their attention on reforming the Organization. "I would hope that the leaders would come to the Assembly convinced that the most important issue before them is reform, and begin to deal with package of reforms that I have proposed," the Secretary- General told reporters at a press conference at Headquarters.

The Secretary-General's reform package has been on the table since 16 July. It contains a series of measures designed to give the United Nations greater unity of purpose, coherence of efforts, and flexibility in response. "I think that it is important for us that we move ahead with reform, that we demonstrate to ourselves and the world that the UN is not only capable of reform, but is determined to reform and render this Organization the effective organization it ought to be," the Secretary- General said today.

Ambassador James Jonah of Sierra Leone today called on the Security Council to endorse the sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against the junta which seized power on 25 May from the legitimate government of Tejan Kabbah.

Addressing reporters at UN Headquarters today, Ambassador Jonah said the Security Council's failure to act decisively on behalf of Sierra Leone reflected a larger problem. "This is one of the weakness of the United Nations: the Security Council only acts to defend those interests of those who have the wherewithal. If you happen to be very weak militarily or weak economically then you are condemned. We share these qualities and that's why today we seem to be abandoned." The Security Council must make it "very clear that the military junta will not be tolerated," he added.

The Security Council is close to agreement on a draft resolution concerning implementation of the "oil-for-food" formula in Iraq, according to Council President Bill Richardson of the United States.

Addressing reporters following consultations of the Council, he said that the draft was expected to be adopted tomorrow, although some revision in the language might be required.

The draft, which is sponsored by France, the United Kingdom and the United States, deals with arrangements that would allow Iraq to meet its shortfall in oil sales during the first 90 days of the "oil-for-food" programme under Council resolution 1111 (1997).

The Secretary-General's Special Representative for Tajikistan, Gerd Merrem, was on hand today as Sayed Abdullo Nuri and other members of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) arrived in Dushanbe to begin implementing the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord and the Moscow Declaration. Also present were representatives of the UN Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT).

Mr. Nuri is the Chairman of the Commission on National Reconciliation, and his arrival allows the Commission to convene in Dushanbe, as stipulated in the General Peace Agreement, which was signed by the parties in June.

Meanwhile in New York, the Security Council held consultations today on the Secretary-General's report on the situation in Tajikistan, which recommends expanding the UNMOT mandate and raising the number of UN military observers from 45 to 120.

Afghanistan's opium poppy production rose to 2,800 metric tons in 1997 -- an estimated 25 per cent increase over last year, according to a UN survey released today.

The survey, which was conducted by the UN International Drug Control Programme, found that 96.4 per cent of Afghanistan's total opium production originates in provinces currently under control of the Taliban.

An estimated 58,400 hectares of Afghanistan are under opium cultivation, according to the survey. Dry opium production in Afghanistan was estimated to be greater than the combined production in the socalled "Golden Triangle", which comprises the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Thailand.

The Executive Director of the UN Drug Control Programme, Pino Arlacchi, said that the problem was enormous, "considering the immense turnover in the heroin trade in Europe and the United States".

The survey was carried out in 18 provinces in Afghanistan. Poppy cultivation was reported in Baglan, Herat and Jawzjan. In Kunduz, Paktia, Paktitka, Sari Pul and Takhar, poppy was not found, but significant amounts of cannabis were.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are largely responsible for progress in implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a representative of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) told the annual Department for Public Information/NGO Conference today.

UNICEF Senior Programme Officer Rebecca Rios-Kohn said religious bodies and parliamentarians had been working with UNICEF to promote children's rights. She said UNICEF would continue its partnerships with NGOs and political leaders to promote and protect of the rights of children worldwide.

The potential and power of NGOs were also highlighted by Reinhart Helmke, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). He said that $100 million of the UNOPS budget was now concentrated in local NGOs, who had been transformed from contractors to partners as they took a more active role in designing, financing and executing programmes.

For information purposes only - - not an official record

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

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