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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-09-17

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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


Wednesday, 17 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 "shocked and saddened" by news of UN helicopter crash in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Security Council calls on Iraq to cooperate with Special Commission in light of its attempts to block inspections.
  • Welcoming yesterday's agreements on Western Sahara, UN Secretary-General looks forward parties' cooperation.
  • UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Human Rights in Cambodia says Government will probe violations.
  • Cambodia's First Prime Minister and present Government wrangle over who will occupy General Assembly seat.
  • International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda extends detention period for six persons suspected of genocide.
  • UN Trade and Development Conference says globalization's benefits may result in domination by few corporations.
  • UN AIDS Programme says two thirds of companies surveyed work to protect employees from the pandemic.
  • UN joins network of schools using Internet to raise awareness about landmines.

Reacting with shock and deep sadness to the news about the crash of a United Nations helicopter in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Secretary-General Kofi Annan this morning expressed his heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed. In a statement issued through his spokesman, the Secretary- General also expressed his hope for the speedy recovery of the survivors.

The helicopter was carrying 12 members of the United Nations International Police Task Force and the Office of the High Representative, as well as four crew members. According to initial reports, 11 people were killed and five survived the crash.

The UN spokesman said the causes of the crash would be investigated, adding that an air safety specialist from the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations would leave today for Sarajevo. He said that the Secretary-General was following developments closely. "At this time, we have no reason to suspect foul play, but there will be a full investigation."

The President of the General Assembly, Henaddiy Udovenko of Ukraine, also conveyed his sincere condolences to the families of those who had lost their lives, and expressed hope that the survivors would receive immediate help.

Members of the Security Council today said they viewed "in the gravest terms" Iraq's failure to cooperate with inspections teams of the United Nations Special Commission for Iraqi disarmament.

Council President Bill Richardson of the United States, addressing reporters on behalf of the members, called on the Iraqi Government to fully cooperate with the Special Commission.

His remarks followed a briefing by Ambassador Richard Butler, the Executive Chairman of the Special Commission. According to Mr. Richardson, Ambassador Butler had described two incidents over the weekend involving Iraqi attempts to block the Special Commission's inspections. "In one of those cases, Iraqi actions endangered the safety of Special Commission personnel inside a helicopter," he said.

Council members noted that Ambassador Butler had contacted Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz about the incidents, and that Iraq's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Nizar Hamdoon, had characterized them as regrettable.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he is extremely pleased that, through the good offices of his Personal Envoy, James Baker III, the parties to the dispute in Western Sahara have reached agreement on issues that have held up the Settlement Plan for nearly two years.

Congratulating the parties in a statement issued through his spokesman, the Secretary-General said he looked forward to their cooperation with the United Nations in fulfilling the commitments they had made so that the Settlement Plan could be implemented.

The Settlement Plan aims to enable the people of Western Sahara to decide, through a referendum, between independence and incorporation into Morocco. The mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) expires on 30 September, and Mr. Baker is expected to report to the Council prior to that date on the recent agreements.

The Secretary-General's Special Representative for human rights in Cambodia, Thomas Hammarberg, told reporters today that the country's Government had accepted the UN's reported findings on extrajudicial killings following the July coup. "The Government responded positively when it came to a concrete discussion with me on this, in spite of previous statements that our information was exaggerated and distorted," he said.

The report, released 10 days ago, documents evidence of at least 41 -- and possibly as many as 60 -- politically motivated killings since the coup there from 2 to 7 July. It further states that a large number of corpses -- mostly soldiers brought by Government troops to various pagodas in the capital -- were cremated under "suspicious circumstances".

Mr. Hammarberg said today that the Second Prime Minister, expressing appreciation for the report, had indicated that a serious investigation would be initiated immediately. "We are now expecting prompt action by the Government."

Cambodia's climate of impunity for politically motivated crimes raised concern about the forthcoming elections, scheduled for May 1998, Mr. Hammarberg said. He called for guarantees protecting those who wanted to take part in the elections. "Prompt actions need to be taken by the Government to see to it that that atmosphere of terror and fear no longer reigns in the country."

Cambodia's First Prime Minister and representatives of the country's present Government wrangled today at United Nations Headquarters over who will occupy the Cambodian seat at the General Assembly.

"Following the coup d'etat staged by Second Prime Minister Hun Sen, I think that the United Nations should continue to recognize the legal and democratically elected first Prime Minister, who is myself," Prince Norodom Ranariddh told reporters this morning.

Meanwhile, Cambodia's Deputy Permanent Representative, Ouch Borith, said "some Cambodian expatriates threatened to represent the Kingdom of Cambodia at the fifty-second session of the General Assembly. This group has no legal authority and represent only themselves." Those people, he told reporters, could not dispute the legitimacy of the Cambodian delegation, which had been endorsed by King Norodom Sihanouk.

Cambodia's Secretary of State, Uch Kim An, said that "First Prime Minister Ung Huot and Second Prime Minister Hun Sen" would head his country's delegation to the General Assembly.

Adamantly opposing the recognition of Hun Sen's delegation by the General Assembly, Mr. Ranariddh said that would constitute "a de facto recognition of their illegal Government, presently engaged in a bloody civil war against democratic forces who opposed the coup d'‚tat."

Prince Ranariddh also recalled that the United Nations had spent nearly $3 billion to organize Cambodia's 1993 elections, and said that recognition of the Hun Sen delegation would betray the will of the Cambodian people, as expressed in the vote.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has extended the provisional detention of six persons suspected of participating in the country's 1994 genocide.

Judge Navanethem Pillay yesterday ordered that the detention be extended to enable the Prosecution to finalize its investigations and prepare indictments.

The suspects concerned are Jean Kambanda, former Prime Minister of Rwanda; Hassan Ngeze, former Editor-in-Chief of the Kangura newspaper; Gratien Kabiligi, former General in the Army; Sylvian Nsabimana, former Prefect of Butare; Aloys Ntabakuze, former Commander of the Armed Forces; and Georges Ruggiu, former journalist on Radio Television Libres des Milles Collines.

This is the third and final extension that the Tribunal can grant under its rules of procedure, which set the limit for detention without indictment at 90 days.

A new report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says that the rapidly increasing globalization of business can yield enormous benefits for economic growth and development, but it may also lead to the domination of some markets by a few major corporations.

The World Investment Report 1997: Transnational Corporations, Market Structure and Competition Policy calls for policies to maintain the efficient functioning of markets while limiting the scope of restrictive business practices.

According to the report, the scale of some mergers and acquisitions and the possibility that some markets might be dominated by a few firms is raising important questions of competition policy. "This was recently highlighted, for example, in the European Union debate concerning the merger of Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, two of the world's largest aerospace companies," the report notes.

The liberalization of foreign direct investment regimes is fostering a boom in international investment, according to the report. In addition, the number of transnational corporations is growing fast and the stock of their assets and volumes of their sales across the globe are hitting record levels.

The UNCTAD report points out that because of the greater competitive strength of transnational corporations, foreign direct investment could increase market concentration and raise the scope for restrictive or anti- competitive practices by firms. But, the report adds, as those corporations become more efficient through integrating production internationally, they can also enhance competition by introducing new or better quality products.

A recent survey of 203 global companies in 14 countries has found that nearly two thirds of them have programmes to protect their employees from HIV/AIDS.

The survey, which was cosponsored by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the Conference Board, an organization of multinational corporations, found that companies in almost every industry now have AIDS-related programmes. The two most common corporate responses to the AIDS crisis were providing confidential help within the company for employees concerned about HIV/AIDS, and granting benefits for medical leave if necessary.

However, the survey also found areas where action is still lacking. Under half of the respondents said they had HIV/AIDS-specific education and training, while few attempted to measure the results of their programmes. There was little or no effort to ensure that HIV/AIDS programmes were communicated within companies, across industries and between countries. Only 13 per cent of respondents were involved in AIDS-specific partnerships with other organizations, "reflecting low levels of participation in tackling HIV/AIDS issues in the wider community".

UNAIDS estimates that 22.6 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, with 3 million new infections reported in 1996.

The "Cyber School Bus" on the United Nations web page is joining 3,000 schools in 35 countries to raise awareness about the dangers of landmines, a UN spokesman said today.

Working with the Mine Clearance Unit of the United Nations Department for Humanitarian Affairs, the Cyber School Bus will involve schools around the world in raising funds to clear schools which were mined, the spokesman said. Quoting the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), he said that an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 children are killed or maimed by landmines each year.

For information purposes only - - not an official record

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

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