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United Nations Daily Highlights, 99-04-09

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

DAILY HIGHLIGHTS

Friday, 9 April, 1999


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.

Latest Developments


HEADLINES

  • Urging Belgrade to withdraw forces from Kosovo, Secretary-General unveils proposal to end crisis.
  • Two UN agencies launch programme linking human rights and development.


"Deeply distressed" by the unfolding humanitarian tragedy in Kosovo and the region, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Friday unveiled a proposal aimed at breaking the cycle of hostilities and serving as a prelude to a lasting political solution to the Kosovo crisis.

In a statement released today in Geneva, where he is attending a session of the UN's main inter-agency coordinating body, Mr. Annan urged the Yugoslav authorities to commit themselves to a set of specific conditions whose acceptance by Belgrade could lead to the suspension of air attacks by NATO.

In his five-point proposal, the Secretary-General urged the Yugoslav authorities to end immediately the campaign of intimidation and expulsion of the civilian population, to cease all activities of military and paramilitary forces in Kosovo and to withdraw these forces.

The other terms included Belgrade's unconditional acceptance of the return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes and the deployment of an international military force to ensure a secure environment for the return of refugees. According to the proposal, the Yugoslav authorities would permit the international community to verify compliance with these undertakings.

Once the Yugoslav authorities accepted those conditions, the Secretary- General urged the leaders of the North Atlantic Alliance to suspend immediately the air bombardments on the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Ultimately, Mr. Annan said, the proposed cessation of hostilities would serve as a prelude to a lasting political solution to the crisis which could only be achieved through diplomacy. "In this context," the Secretary- General stressed, "I would urge the resumption of talks on Kosovo among all parties concerned at the earliest possible moment."

Meanwhile in New York, Secretary-General's Spokesman Fred Echkard told a news conference that Mr. Annan's statement contained his thoughts on the minimum conditions that should be met, the need for a diplomatic process to get resumed and the need for a political solution and an end to the suffering.

The Spokesman said that the Secretary-General would not have made this statement without thorough consultations. "It is his initiative, but that does not imply that he is getting personally involved beyond that," Mr. Eckhard said.


Two United Nations agencies on Friday launched a programme aimed at integrating human rights concerns into sustainable human development work.

Entitled Human Rights Strengthening (HURIST), the programme is a joint effort of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The project will help build the institutional capacity of developing countries and countries in transition to better promote human rights and to integrate human rights into development. Country level activities will focus on strengthening public institutions such as parliaments, judiciaries and human rights commissions and will involve civil society, the private sector, NGOs, the mass media, and the academic community.

The project document was signed in Geneva by UNDP Associate Administrator, Sephirin Diabre, and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson.

"In the ongoing reform of the United Nations, the UN Secretary-General expects all agencies and programmes to contribute to the promotion of human rights," Mr. Diabre said at the occasion. "Through this partnership with OHCHR, UNDP will help developing countries integrate human rights concerns into nations development activities."

An announcement is expected soon concerning ten pilot countries, two from each region, where the project will first get underway.


For information purposes only - - not an official record

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


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