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United Nations Daily Highlights, 98-08-25

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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


Tuesday, 25 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.


  • Members of Security Council say UNITA is primarily responsible for lack of progress in Angolan peace process.
  • Members of the Security Council express concern that conflict in Congo- Kinshasa could become regional.
  • Refugees from conflict-torn Congo-Kinshasa continue to arrive in Tanzania and other countries.
  • United Nations refugee agency condemns continuing violence in Kosovo, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
  • Head of United Nations office for drug control and crime prevention meets officials in Republic of Korea.
  • UNICEF says incidence of malnourished children appears to be declining in Democratic Republic of Korea.
  • United Nations Secretary-General authorizes partial relocation of "non- essential" personnel from Tajikistan.
  • United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus protests use of force by Turkish military against fishing boats.
  • Prosecutor in tribunal for former Yugoslavia amends indictment against rape suspect.

Members of the Security Council have said that the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) was primarily responsible for the lack of progress in the Angolan peace process, according to Council President, Ambassador Danilo Turk of Slovenia.

Speaking to the press after a briefing by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Angola, Ambassador Turk said that the members of the Security Council expressed grave concern over the situation in Angola due to the lack of progress for a peaceful settlement and due to outbreaks of renewed fighting.

He said that members of the Security Council no longer found acceptable further setbacks or procrastination in the peace process under any pretext.

They reiterated their strong belief that the desired peace and national reconciliation could only be achieved by political means, the Council President said.

The members of the Council reconfirmed the validity of the 1994 Lusaka Protocol and other agreements between the Angolan Government and UNITA as well as various relevant Security Council resolutions on Angola, Ambassador Turk added. They demanded that UNITA stop its delaying tactics and fulfil its commitment under the Lusaka Protocol, he said.

The Council members called on the Angolan Government and UNITA to take advantage of the reaffirmed interest of the international community to assist in the rebuilding of Angola, Mr Turk told reporters.

They also called on all concerned to cooperate with the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) and to facilitate the work of humanitarian organizations in the country, he pointed out.

The members of the Council also called on all states to implement the resolutions of the Security Council which imposed sanctions on UNITA.

They appealed to the Secretary-General for his personal engagement in the Angolan peace process. They also expressed support for Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, the Secretary-General's newly appointed Special Representative in his mission to help the Angolan Government and UNITA to fulfil their Lusaka Protocol commitment, Ambassador Turk concluded.

There is grave concern in the Security Council that the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was gaining a regional character, according to the President of the Security.

Ambassador Danilo Turk of Slovenia said on Tuesday that the Security Council was clearly in support of regional initiatives to resolve the crisis in the country. He told reporters that the members of the Council were informed about regional efforts to end the conflict in Congo- Kinshasa including a proposal to establish a mechanism for the implementation of various initiatives of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Ambassador Turk said that there was a strong feeling in the Council that the various initiatives converge. The element of competitiveness, if it existed, should be overcome by the effort to develop a coordinated approach, the Council President added. That approach, he said, should be based on the principles outlined by the Security Council taking into account the effort for an implementation mechanism to be established.

Ambassador Turk reiterated the position of the Security Council that a solution to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo should be based on the principle of respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country.

Ambassador Turk said that the Council was also informed of the current efforts of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan who was in close contact with the leaders in the region and the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity.

The President of the Security Council said that Mr. Kofi Annan will continue his efforts during the 12th Summit of the Non-Aligned Countries which is scheduled to held in South Africa next week.

Refugees fleeing the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continued to arrive in Tanzania, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Tuesday that by Monday, it had registered 927 Congolese refugees in western Tanzania. The agency added that the refugees were taken to camps. On Sunday alone, UNHCR said, 286 people who had first found safety on an island in Lake Tanganyika arrived in Kigoma.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Tuesday that other refugees were crossing in smaller numbers to Congo- Brazzaville. The agency said that although thousands of refugees from Kinshasa had ben observed crossing the river to Congo-Brazzaville in the past days, a small minority were actually residents of Congo-Kinshasa who left the country because of the war.

UNHCR, the International Federation of the Red Cross, and local authorities were present at four disembarkation points around Brazzaville, the agency said.

UNHCR said that the flow from the eastern Kivu area into Burundi appeared to have levelled off at 2,700 now sheltered in reception centres. The United Nations agency said that it would be transferring approximately 700 Burundi nationals who returned to their homes this week after receiving plastic sheeting, blankets and other aid.

The United Nations refugee agency has condemned the continuing violence in the Kosovo province of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Tuesday that the latest round of violence southwest of Pristina was forcing hundreds of villagers to flee. On Sunday, according to UNHCR, there were sounds of exploding shells and houses were set ablaze in a string of villages stretching 25 kilometres south of Pristina down to Magura.

UNHCR said that the violence was making it difficult for people to return to their homes in safety before the arrival of winter, which is only a month away.

The United Nations refugee agency said that its field team was barred from proceeding to Magura on Monday. Another team was stopped at a police checkpoint near Suva Reka, 40 kilometres southwest of Pristina where gunfire and shelling were heard since the weekend.

UNHCR said that its teams will on Tuesday try again to go to Magura and escort a 10-truck convoy to Barane, 12 kilometres southeast of Pec where an estimated 30,000 people live in 13 villages.

UNHCR said that following the visit by Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees, Soren Jensen-Petersen, it was greatly expanding its operation in Kosovo with additional staff and required aid items. UNHCR strongly appealed to the international community to support it politically and financially.

The head of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Kim Jong-Pil of the Republic of Korea on Tuesday.

Pino Arlacchi, the Executive Director of ODCCP is in the Republic of Korea for a two-day official visit. On Monday, Mr. Arlacchi attended the 12th International Congress on Criminology. In a closing address to the meeting, he said that the United Nations was going through a unique period in its history. "The Secretary-General, Kofi Annan is leading a 'quiet revolution' trying to make the organization more effective and relevant to today's world," Mr. Arlacchi told the delegates. He said that addressing the global problem of international organized crime had been singled out as one of the priority items of the new United Nations.

During his stay in the Republic of Korea, Mr. Arlacchi met the Minister of Justice, Park Sangcheon with whom he discussed matters of common interest.

He is scheduled to leave Seoul on Wednesday to return to Vienna.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has said that the incidence of malnourished children appeared to be declining in certain parts of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

In a press statement on Tuesday, UNICEF said that the situation had improved in accessible areas. According to the United Nations agency, its staff reported seeing declining numbers of malnourished children during field visits this year.

However, UNICEF cautioned that the improvement in the nutritional status of children had yet to be statistically verified.

The agency also reported improvement in the health sector. It said that hospital records made available to it generally indicated reductions in fatality and improvement in the rehabilitation of patients. UNICEF pointed out, however, that it had "no evidence whatsoever concerning the numbers of deaths due to hunger."

UNICEF said that it continued its activities to assist those affected by food shortages and to rebuild essential health, water, food security and education system in the country. It added that it was currently delivering drugs, medical equipment and water and sanitation supplies to an estimated 4.6 million people, including 500,000 children under the age of five years.

It said that these interventions were aimed at both immediate and long-term needs in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has authorized a partial relocation of "non-essential" United Nations personnel from Tajikistan to Uzbekistan.

A United Nations spokesman said on Tuesday that the temporary relocation was cautionary and was not a suspension of United Nations activities in the country.

Spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters in New York that the relocation began on 24 August and involved internationally recruited United Nations staff members. They included 33 military observers from the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT).

Mr. Eckhard added that 38 military observers remained in Dushanmbe, Tajikistan and the situation would be reviewed in the light of developments in the country.

Several international staff members serving with the mission in Tajikistan have been killed this year.

The United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has strongly protested the use of force by Turkish patrol boats against Greek Cypriot fishing boats.

A United Nations spokesman said on Tuesday that two Greek Cypriot fishing boats crossed the so-called maritime security line which is an extension of the island's buffer zone into the sea.

The boats were two kilometres out at sea off the eastern part of the island when they were approached by Turkish patrol boats which fired approximately ten warning shots, Spokesman Fred Eckhard said. Four bullets hit the vessels but there were no reports of casualties, he added.

Protesting the incident, the United Nations mission in Cyprus said that the use of force by the Turkish military could lead to tragic events.

UNFICYP also urged the Cypriot Government to do its utmost to discourage the crossings of the maritime security line by fishing and tourist boats, Spokesman Eckhard said.

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has amended the indictment against a suspect accused of sexual assaults and rape of Muslim women.

According to the original indictment, Dragoljub Kunarac was the commander of a special unit for reconnaissance of the Bosnian Serb Army which consisted of volunteers, mainly from Montenegro, some of whom were recruited by the accused himself.

The accused who had his headquarters in a house in a neighbourhood of Foca after its takeover, was allegedly personally involved in sexual assaults and rape of Muslim women. In his capacity as commander, the indictment added, the accused was also allegedly responsible for the acts of soldiers under his command and knew or had reason to know that his subordinates sexually assaulted Muslim women.

Dragoljub Kunarac was initially indicted on 26 June 1996 with seven other defendants in the first indictment dealing exclusively with sexual offenses. The indictment covers gang rape, torture and enslavement of Muslim women of Foca and elsewhere between 1992 and February 1993 by Bosnian soldiers, policemen and members of paramilitary groups.

The amended indictment severs the case of the accused from that of other defendants charged with him in the original indictment. It also alleges that the accused was involved in four more incidents of sexual offenses committed in three other locations. The new indictment also reformulates the initial counts faced by the accused.

Mr. Kunarac will make a further appearance on 28 August in order to enter a plea to the new charges in the amended indictment brought against him.

For information purposes only - - not an official record

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

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