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United Nations Daily Highlights, 98-08-11

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

DAILY HIGHLIGHTS

Tuesday, 11 August, 1998


This daily news round-up is prepared by the Central News Section of the Department of Public Information. The latest update is posted at approximately 6:00 PM New York time.

HEADLINES

  • Security Council says bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were despicable and barbarous terrorist attacks.
  • Security Council calls for immediate ceasefire to enhance dialogue to end conflict in Kosovo.
  • UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan reiterates call on parties to conflict in Kosovo to begin dialogue.
  • Secretary-General says he is disturbed at reported violations of territorial integrity of Congo-Kinshasa.
  • Congo-Kinshasa calls on United Nations and Organization of African Unity to help end conflict in the country.
  • Teams from United Nations food and children's agencies deliver relief food and medical assistance in Sudan.
  • Disarmament Commission decides to establish a committee to negotiate treaty to ban fissile material for nuclear weapons.
  • Decolonization Committee reaffirms right to self-determination for Puerto Rico.


The Security Council has said that the bombings of American embassies in Nairobi and Kenya last Friday, were despicable terrorist acts which have resulted in casualties among numerous civilians.

This was said by the President of the Security Council, Ambassador Danilo Turk of Slovenia following consultations among Council members on Tuesday. He said that such "outrageous and cowardly" acts of terrorism were intolerable and called for the strongest condemnation.

The Council expressed its deepest condolences to the governments of the Republic of Kenya, the United Republic of Tanzania and the United States, as well as the families of those who tragically lost their lives in the bomb explosions.

The Security Council also learned that several United Nations staff members were injured in the explosions, Ambassador Turk added.

He concluded by saying that the Council will consider adopting a resolution on this "act of terrorism."


Members of the Security Council have called for an immediate ceasefire to enhance prospects for a meaningful dialogue between the Kosovar Albanian leadership and the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to end the violence in Kosovo.

The members of the Council made the call at a meeting held on Tuesday to discuss the latest report of the Secretary-General on Kosovo and to hear a briefing by Kieran Prendergast, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs.

Speaking to the press following the meeting, the President of the Security Council, Ambassador Danilo Turk of Slovenia said that the members of the Council urged the parties to start negotiations as soon as possible. He said that the issue of Kosovo can have no military solution and all violence and acts of terrorism from whatever quarters are unacceptable.

Council members expressed grave concern over the intensified fighting in Kosovo, especially over the ongoing offensive by Belgrade security forces, he said. "The ongoing fighting has had a devastating impact on the civilian population of Kosovo and has increased the numbers of refugees and displaced persons," he added.

They expressed the importance of the implementation of the prohibitions imposed by resolution 1160 and expressed concern over infiltration from outside the borders of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of weapons and fighting men, Ambassador Turk told reporters.

The members of the Security Council deplored the excessive use of force by Belgrade security forces and of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and expressed concern about the appalling humanitarian situation in Kosovo.

They called on all the parties to provide all necessary assistance and cooperation to the activities of international humanitarian organizations and international monitors in Kosovo and underlined the need to ensure their full and continuous access.

They also underlined the need to create conditions to allow safe and permanent return of all refugees and internally displaced persons and recalled the commitment made by President Slobodan Milosevic to the international community.

The members of the Council affirmed the commitment of all member states to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.


United Nations Secretary-General has reiterated his call on the parties to the conflict in Kosovo to immediately begin a dialogue to end the current hostilities.

In a statement issued by his spokesman on Tuesday, the Secretary- General said that he remained convinced such a dialogue is "the only path to the solution to the Kosovo crisis."

As the Security Council began to review his fourth report on the Kosovo crisis, Mr. Kofi Annan reiterated his dismay at the steadily worsening situation in this province of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). He said that the conflict has wider implications for the region.

"He is particularly concerned about the reports that FRY security forces may be adopting a 'scotched earth policy' in some areas of Kosovo," the statement said. Condemning such practices and urging the FRY security forces to avoid such "acts of wanton destruction", the Secretary General said that he equally abhorred the resort to violence and any suffering which might be caused by Kosovars.

Mr. Annan expressed his full support for the efforts of the Contact Group to end the conflict through dialogue. He said that he also believed that a concerted international effort will be needed if a peaceful solution is to be found, given the lack of political will of the parties within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.


United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Tuesday said he was disturbed at reported violations of the territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In a statement issued by his spokesman on Tuesday, the Secretary- General said he was also disturbed at reported acts of intimidation and violence against humanitarian workers and other international personnel as well as reports of recruitment of child soldiers.

Expressing concern about instances of ethnically-motivated persecution, Mr. Kofi Annan reiterated his call to all parties to respect the human rights and dignity of all civilians regardless of their origin.

The Secretary-General also urged the Congolese parties to uphold the standards and principles of international humanitarian law, ensure the safety of United Nations personnel and all humanitarian workers operating in the country and guarantee them free access to people in need of assistance.

He welcomed the four-nation African fact-finding mission to Congo- Kinshasa and its neighbouring countries which the heads of state in the sub-region decided to send at their recent summit in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. He also welcomed the dispatch to the Great Lakes Region of a mediation team from the Organization of African Unity. He expressed the hope that these initiatives would encourage the parties concerned to settle their differences peacefully.


The Representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has called on the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity to help end the conflict in his country.

At a press conference at United Nations headquarters on Tuesday, Ambassador André Mwamba Kapanga accused neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda of involvement in the conflict in violation of the charters of the two organizations.

He said that the crisis in his country has been sparked off by the decision of Congolese authorities to end Rwandan military involvement in Congo- Kinshasa. He told reporters that Rwanda accepted the decision but as soon as the repatriation of its soldiers was over, the Democratic Republic of the Congo "was victim of armed aggression by Rwanda and its ally."

He charged Rwanda with sending "many columns" of army trucks on 2 and 3 August to the towns of Bukavu and Goma in the eastern part of the country. While those events were unfolding, he added, a group of Rwandan soldiers who had avoided repatriation attacked military camps in Kinshasa and another group opened fire on the Kisangani garrison.

Ambassador Kapanga also charged that last Sunday, two armed columns of tanks, armoured vehicles and trucks crossed to his country from Uganda.

The representative of Congo-Kinshasa dismissed the idea that the conflict in his country is an internal insurrection by the Banyamulenge ethnic group. He said the group, "whose numbers can hardly reach 50,000 people" has neither the human nor the financial resources to start a rebellion throughout the territory.


Teams from the United Nations food and children's agencies have begun to deliver relief food and medical assistance to more than 300,000 needy Sudanese along the Nile River.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said in Nairobi on Monday that the first convoy of seven barges which originated from Kosti in northern Sudan, arrived in Jikany, Upper Nile State carrying 2,125 metric tonnes of food.

The convoy will pass through both Government and rebel-controlled areas and will drop off food supplies to communities living along the riverway before reaching its final port-of-call in the southern town of Juba.

"It's always a risky exercise because insecurity is often a problem along Sudan's rivers," said Tesema Negash, WFP's Deputy Director for Africa currently in charge of the agency's northern operations. He pointed out, however, that this mode of transportation is one of the most cost-effective ways of reaching large numbers of people in isolated areas.

Accompanying the WFP teams are medical teams from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). They will be looking into the health and nutritional needs of the local populations at 34 different locations along the 1,500 kilometre Nile journey. The teams are expected to conduct vaccination programmes and set up temporary clinics to assist those requiring medical attention.

"For many of these communities living along the river, this barge is their only opportunity to get access to outside food and medical assistance, which for many Sudanese at this time of the year can be life- saving," stressed Mr. Negash.


The Conference on Disarmament has decided to establish an ad hoc committee to negotiate a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices.

The decision, announced in Geneva on Tuesday, would establish the committee under Agenda Item 1 entitled " Cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament." The Conference on Disarmament said that the treaty would be "non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable."

The President of the Conference on Disarmament, Ambassador Mykola Maimeskoul of Ukraine said that the adoption of the decision was without prejudice to any further decisions on the establishment of further subsidiary bodies under that agenda item.

Ambassador Maimeskoul added that the Presidency would continue to pursue intensive consultations and to seek the views of the members of the Conference on appropriate methods and approaches in dealing with the issue of nuclear disarmament.

The group of 21 Non-Aligned States in the Conference on Disarmament said that their agreement to start negotiations on the fissile material cut off treaty represented a compromise on their part. It said that their concession should now encourage other members of the Conference on Disarmament to agree to start work on a convention banning nuclear weapons. The group also said that the eventual fissile material cut off treaty must constitute a nuclear disarmament measure and not just an additional measure aimed at non-proliferation.

Other delegations stated that the fissile material cut-off treaty should also address future production as well as existing stockpiles of fissile materials.

Members of the Disarmament Conference predict that the fissile material treaty will take three to four years of hard negotiations.


The United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization on Tuesday approved a draft resolution which reaffirms the inalienable right of the people of Puerto Rico to self determination and independence. The Special Committee took the decision at the end of a two day hearing on the situation concerning Puerto Rico.

The Special Committee on the Situation with Regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples approved the resolution by a role call vote of 10 in favour to none against with 6 abstentions (Antigua and Barbuda, Chile, India, Indonesia, Russian Federation and Venezuela).

The resolution also expresses the hope that the Government of the United States will assume its responsibility of expediting a process that allows the Puerto Rican people to fully exercise their right to self- determination and independence.

The draft resolution also recalls that 25 July 1998 marked the 100th anniversary of the United State of America's intervention in Puerto Rico.

During the hearing, several speakers stressed the need to allow the people of Puerto Rico to exercise their inalienable right to self- determination and independence, in conformity with General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960 as well as other decisions on Puerto Rico.


For information purposes only - - not an official record

From the United Nations home page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org


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