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United Nations Daily Highlights, 98-08-18

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, 18 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 encourages weapons inspectors to continue disarmament work in Iraq.
  • Security Council urges armed elements of former junta and rebels to lay down their arms in Sierra Leone.
  • Official of United Nations refugee agency to assess situation of displacement in conflict-torn Yugoslavia.
  • United Nations Children's Fund says police in Kosovo obstructed team supplying medical supplies.
  • United Nations Children's Fund urges authorities to facilitate provision of relief aid to famine victims in Sudan.
  • More than 3,000 Congolese and former Burundi refugees from Congo-Kinshasa cross into Burundi.
  • Joint trial of two Rwandans charged with genocide resumes with witness saying one suspect never indulged in politics.
  • Bodyguard of United Nations Special Representative in Tajikistan is found shot dead in his apartment.


The Security Council has encouraged weapons inspectors to continue their disarmament activities in Iraq, including inspections in the wake of the Iraqi decision to stop cooperation with the inspectors.

In two letters sent to the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Tuesday, the Council recalled that the two entities have mandates to oversee the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The mandates are in accordance with Council resolutions adopted after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

The President of the Security Council, Ambassador Danilo Turk of Slovenia told reporters that the general position, expressed in the two letters, "is that Iraq must cooperate with UNSCOM and IAEA."

Asked if the Council was divided on reacting to Iraq's decision to stop cooperation with UNSCOM, Ambassador Turk said that on the issue of Iraq there was always a discussion and expression of different opinions. "But the important thing is that these two letters were adopted by consensus, so all the members of the Security Council subscribe" to the letter and spirit of these letters.


Members of the Security Council on Tuesday urged the armed elements of the former junta and the rebels in Sierra Leone to lay down their arms.

Following a briefing to the Council by Hédi Annabi, the Assistant Secretary- General for Peace-keeping Operations on Tuesday, the President of the Security Council said that Council members urged the Sierra Leoneans to fully restore peace in the country.

Ambassador Danilo Turk of Slovenia, said that the members of the Council welcomed the rapid deployment of United Nations military observers in Sierra Leone and stressed the importance that this deployment takes place under conditions of security.

Members reaffirmed the determination of the Security Council to help the Government of Sierra Leone to fully restore the peace in the country, Ambassador Turk said. They called on the international community to help the Government of Sierra Leone in disarming former combatants, he added.

They emphasized that important achievements have been made in Sierra Leone over the past few months and urged all Sierra Leoneans to accelerate the process of national reconciliation and reconstruction.


A top official of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has gone to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to assess the situation of displacement and level of destruction in the province of Kosovo.

The United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday that UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner, Soren Jessen-Petersen will spend five days in Belgrade, Pristina and Podgorica (Montenegro). He plans to visit affected areas throughout Kosovo, especially around Pec, where intense fighting took place in the past week, UNHCR said.

During the visit, Mr. Jessen-Petersen will meet Yugoslav officials and urge them to restore stability and security so that UNHCR could better assist those who have fled their homes.

The UNHCR team in Pristina continued to track down an estimated 20,000 people displaced in Pec, the refugee agency said. On Monday, UNHCR field team delivered a small quantity of food packs to some 6,000 to 7,000 displaced people along a river at Broliq village in the Pec municipality, the agency added.

The displaced people are worried about the health of their children, particularly after heavy rains on Sunday, with no adequate shelter but plastic sheeting to cover themselves.


The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday that a mobile team transporting medical supplies to mountain areas in southwest Kosovo has been obstructed by police in the conflict-torn province.

UNICEF Spokesman, Patrick McCormick said that the team was stopped thirteen times by police over a distance of 250 kilometres. "The same team was detained by the police after distributing medicines to the paediatric wing of the hospital in Djakovica," Mr. McCormick said.

According to Mr. McCormick, the aid workers were accused of distributing medicine to terrorists. They were allowed to leave the town after an hour and went back to Pristina, he said.

Mr. McCormick said that aid workers in Kosovo have to use a round about route to deliver the supplies in the war-stricken province of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.


The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday said that efforts to increase food assistance to the victims of famine in southern Sudan were being frustrated by the government.

Patrick McCormick, the Spokesman for the Geneva-based agency said that the Government was not granting travel permits to foreign aid workers. "We are urging them to do this as quickly as possible," Mr. MacCormick said.

"The situation in Wau remains critical with nearly 80 per cent of children registered as malnourished," Mr. MacCormick warned. He said that during the first week of August, UNICEF recorded 453 deaths at the reception centres in the region. He added that UNICEF believed that the toll was much higher.


As the fighting continued in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, more than 3,000 Congolese and former Burundi refugees have crossed into northwestern Burundi.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Tuesday that the refugees came from the Uvira area of South Kivu and reached 300 a day at the end of last week.

About half of the refugees are nationals of Burundi who were part of an estimated 20,000 refugees that remained in South Kivu. The refugees say that fighting between rebel forces and troops loyal to President Laurent Kabila and rumours of counter-attacks have forced them out of the area.

The United Nations refugee agency said that it was sheltering all of the arrivals in reception centres and was working with authorities in Burundi to take the refugees back to their home villages.

UNHCR said there were also reports that large numbers of Congolese might try to cross Lake Tanganyika into Tanzania. As of Monday, UNHCR added, 180 Congolese refugees had arrived in Kigoma by boat. The refugees told UNHCR staff that many more people were trying to find boats to cross the lake as they were worried about the security situation in towns south of Uvira.


The joint trial of two Rwandans charged with genocide resumed on Tuesday with a defence witness telling the court that one of the suspects never indulged in politics.

Clement Kayishema, a former Prefect of Kibuye, and Obed Ruzindana, a former businessman in Kibuye appeared before the Trial Chamber 2 of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda which is based in Arusha, Tanzania.

The defence witness only known as DAA, said that Mr. Ruzindana was a businessman whom he never saw in the company of members of the army. The witness added that he never saw the suspect carrying any weapon during the 1994 massacres in Rwanda.

DDA, who was the 18th defence witness to testify in the trial, told the court that he was a civil servant who engaged in some business activity.

Kayishema and Ruzindana who have pleaded not guilty to six joint counts, are charged with Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and Violations of the Geneva Conventions. Kayishema is separately charged with 18 other counts.

The Prosecution is expected to cross examine the witness when the trial continues on Wednesday.


The personal bodyguard of the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Representative in Tajikistan, Jan Kubich has been found shot dead in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe.

A United Nations spokesman said on Tuesday that 37-year Jori Anthony De Marco was found in his apartment at around 9:30 p.m. on Monday night with a gunshot wound to his head.

Mr. De Marco was a citizen of the United States who had served as a New York-based security guard, Spokesman Fred Eckhard said. "He was a former marine who had served with distinction in Beirut," Mr. Eckhard added.

There will be an investigation into the death of the bodyguard who had been assigned to the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan since April 1998, the Spokesman said.


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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