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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-09-12

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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


Friday, 12 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.


  • Russian Federation abstains as Security Council votes new arrangements governing oil-for-food formula for Iraq.
  • Security Council extends mandate of UN Observer Mission in Tajikistan for two months.
  • UN team investigating alleged massacres in Democratic Republic of the Congo hears of new restrictions.
  • UN Secretary-General says despite power struggle in Republika Srpska, UN will continue its work there.
  • UN food agencies alarmed at conditions in Democratic Republic of Korea.
  • Cambodia's Ambassador wants to defer his country's accreditation to General Assembly's next session.
  • UN Secretary-General says reform must not eclipse Organization's substantive work.

The Russian Federation abstained today as the rest of the Security Council voted in favour of new arrangements governing the oil-for-food programme for Iraq which will allow the country to meet its shortfall in oil sales during the first 90 days of the "oil-for-food" programme elaborated under Council resolution 1111 (1997).

Resolution 1128 (1997) was adopted today under Chapter VII of the Charter. In explaining his vote, Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov said the text failed to reflect the reasons for the current humanitarian crisis in Iraq and the need to radically change the situation in the committee monitoring the sanctions, which had blocked the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian supplies for no valid reason. The Russian Federation called upon the members of the Security Council to strictly abide by the applicable procedures governing sanctions.

The resolution adopted today was a response to Iraq's decision to suspend oil sales pending the approval of a new distribution plan which resulted in a significant shortfall in reaching the target of $1 billion worth of oil sales within the first 90 days under resolution 1111 (1997). The distribution plan has since been approved and oil sales resumed; under the text adopted today, States are authorized to import Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products to meet the $1 billion allowance, with other provisions of 1111 (1997) remaining in force.

In today's resolution, the Council also expressed its intention to strictly enforce the time limits under any future resolutions authorizing States to permit the import of Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products.

The Security Council this morning decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan for two additional months. By unanimously adopting resolution 1128 (1997), the Council also called upon the parties to fully implement the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan and the Moscow Declaration, which were signed by the two parties in June.

In today's action, the Council also took note of the Secretary- General's recommendation that the Mission's mandate be extended for six months and expanded to enable it to monitor the peace process. The Council expressed its readiness to consider that recommendation, and asked the Secretary- General to provide further reports on all significant developments, especially those relating to Tajikistan's security problem.

Also today, a spokesman for the Secretary-General said he welcomed the return of Sayed Abdullo Nuri and other members of the United Tajik Opposition to Dushanbe. Mr. Nuri's return signals the start of the work of the Commission on National Reconciliation, which he chairs.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's investigative team probing allegations of massacres in the Democratic Republic of the Congo today heard of possible new restrictions on its work, according to a UN spokesman, who said today that "team members are impatient and anxious to get into the field".

The team members and Government representatives disagreed over the time and scope of the mission, according to the spokesman. The team wanted to be able to operate throughout the country, while the Government wanted to restrict it to the eastern part. Regarding the period to be covered by the investigation, the spokesman said the Government wanted a cut-off day of 17 May 1997, adding, "we are not comfortable with that restriction either".

A meeting is scheduled for Monday between team members and Government representatives to resolve the differences.

The power struggle in the Republika Srpska is a critical development for the role of the United Nations in the peace process, but the Organization must continue its work there, Secretary-General Kofi Annan states in a new report to the Security Council on the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH). As long as the security situation allows UNMIBH and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to function, they will continue to act on the ground.

"For almost two years, the authorities in the Republika Srpska have followed a policy of minimum implementation of the peace agreement," the Secretary-General writes. Specifically, he points to their failure to reverse the effects of ethnic cleansing and to return refugees to their homes, their obstruction of the apprehension of persons charged with war crimes, and their lack of a police restructuring agreement, among other factors.

But amid the difficulties, the Secretary-General finds "voices within the Republika Srpska urging implementation of at least some parts of the Dayton Agreement" and urges international support in that direction.

The report covers the activities of the United Nations International Police Task Force mandated to monitor and restructure the local police. The Secretary-General states that many politically inspired delays have required constant high-level attention. "Although important progress has been registered, it is not yet certain that hard-line nationalists have given up their efforts to stop the process."

The United Nations food agencies today expressed "very serious alarm" over food shortages in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, where drought and a destructive typhoon have aggravated the effects of two years of floods.

"These catastrophic events will undoubtedly have serious and long reaching repercussions in the country's already grave food supply situation", the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) warned in a report on a mission to that country. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea will now have to depend to an even greater extent on international assistance for food, agricultural rehabilitation and vital inputs of seed and fertilizers. "Without these interventions, the human consequences are likely to be dire", the report said.

The mission, which visited the country from 16 to 26 August, said drought has devastated crops throughout the country. Typhoon Winnie caused extensive damage last month to rice in coastal areas in the west where tidal waves destroyed dikes and seawater invaded cropland.

In preliminary estimates, pending the visit of another FAO/WFP mission in connection with next month's harvest, the report said the country could lose 1.25 million tons of maize even if there is adequate rainfall this month. With rain, the rice crop could be down by 342,000 tons, without rain by 630,000 tons.

Cambodia's Ambassador to the United Nations told reporters today that he had proposed deferring the question of which faction should be accredited to the next session of the General Assembly. A second option would be to leave the Cambodian seat vacant until pending the outcome of the elections scheduled for May, 1998.

Alternatively, Ambassador Sisowath Sirirath said that Prince Ranariddh had asked that King Norodom Sihanouk come to the General Assembly himself.

The matter will be decided by the General Assembly's Credentials Committee when it meets following the opening of the fifty-second session on Tuesday, 16 September.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today that although he welcomed and was an agent of United Nations reform, it must not eclipse the UN's substantive work in the service of humankind. "The mindset of reform should become an essential part of the way we do business, but no matter how vital reform is for our future, we should not allow the process to obscure the broader picture: our work for peace, development and human rights. We must keep these priorities firmly in view," he said.

The Secretary-General made his remarks to the UN staff, reassuring them that reform would strengthen the international civil service. Noting that self-obsessed individuals become uncaring, he said the same was true for organizations. "Our credibility and effectiveness depend heavily on connecting with the world's people -- on understanding the nature of their daily lives, and on being the embodiment of their needs and aspirations," he stated.

Secretary-General Annan also called on Member States to protect UN personnel working around the world from the growing problems of unjust detention, violence and terrorism. In that connection, he asked those that had not done so to ratify the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel.

For information purposes only - - not an official record

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

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