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United Nations Daily Highlights, 00-01-06

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





Thursday, January 6, 2000


Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced today the appointment of Danilo Turk, Permanent Representative of Slovenia, as Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs.

Turk will replace Alvaro de Soto, who has been appointed by the Secretary-General as his Special Adviser on Cyprus and who will be taking up an appointment as Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Cyprus this spring. Turk is expected to begin work at the beginning of February.


The Security Council met late Wednesday and adopted its program of work for January. As previously announced, that program will have a strong focus on Africa.

The Security Council will hold an Open Meeting on Monday at 10:30 a.m. entitled "The Situation in Africa: The Impact of AIDS on Peace and Security."

The Secretary-General will deliver a speech at the meeting, which will be chaired by United States Vice President Al Gore.

The Secretary-General will welcome the emphasis given to African problems by the Security Council at the start of the new millennium, and particularly the fact that its first meeting is devoted to the problem of AIDS in Africa. That problem was already the subject of a high-level meeting in December between African governments, UN agencies, donor governments, private corporations and non-governmental organizations.

In the December meeting, Annan called for "a response commensurate with the scale of the crisis", to be formulated by next May, and elaborated the specific responsibility of each partner in the struggle. On Monday he will welcome the Security Council as an additional partner, and suggest that its role must be to prevent conflict from contributing to the spread of AIDS, and from impeding the efforts that other partners are making to control it.

Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and United Nations Development Programme Administrator Mark Malloch Brown are expected to be among the speakers at Monday's session.

Other Council highlights for January include an open meeting on January 13 in which United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata will brief the Council on refugees in Africa.

Then, on January 18, there will be an open briefing on Angola by Ambassador Robert Fowler of Canada, chairman of the sanctions committee for Angola, who will have just returned from a trip to Angola.

On January 19, Former South African President Nelson Mandela, facilitator of the Arusha Process, will brief the Council on Burundi.

From January 24 onwards, there will be meetings on the situation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The meetings are expected to include a number of Heads of States and Governments involved in the Lusaka Agreement.


Hans Corell, the United Nations Legal Counsel, met Thursday with the Permanent Representative of Cambodia, Ambassador Borith Ouch, to hand over the United Nations' comments on the second draft of a Cambodian law concerning the trial of members of the Khmer Rouge.

The meeting, which had been scheduled the day before, was timed to permit these comments to be forwarded to the Cambodian Cabinet, which was to meet approximately eight hours later.

The thrust of those comments was that the United Nations still had concerns about the draft law.

At the same meeting, Corell transmitted a letter to the Permanent Representative inviting the Government of Cambodia to send as early as possible its representatives to New York to resume discussion of the outstanding issues. The intention is to agree on a text that would meet international standards of justice, fairness and the due process of law.

In response to a question about reports that the Cambodian Government had already approved the draft law, the Spokesman said that the United Nations only knew from press accounts that the Government had sent the draft law for Parliamentary approval. From similar press accounts, he noted, Government members said that the issue is not yet closed.

"We hope that discussions can continue, and eventually we can agree on a draft that meets international standards," he said.


The Spokesman, in a statement, said that the Secretary-General had conversed with President Eduard Schevardnadze of Georgia by telephone on Wednesday, and that they had discussed events in the region, "including the Abkhaz situation and the tragic conflict in the Northern Caucasus." In particular, he said, they discussed the refugee situation and the humanitarian consequences for the civilian population as a whole.


In Freetown, the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) issued a press release today on the current status of troops deployment in Sierra Leone, saying that the peacekeepers are now "stationed at strategic locations across Sierra Leone", from Lungi in the West, to Daru in the East.

The Kenyan battalion has arrived safely in the Northern city of Makeni and are now patrolling in the area. They will move next to Magburaka, while additional troops will follow the first deployment to Makeni.


The United Nations Population Division issued an information sheet today about a forthcoming study on declining and aging populations.

The study examined aging and population decline in eight countries -- France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States -- and a preliminary report on the study's findings is expected by the end of March.

In the information sheet provided today, the Population Division noted that the countries of Europe, as well as Japan, are expected to decline in population size over the next 50 years. Italy, with a current population of 57 million, is projected to reach 41 million by 2050, while Russia is projected to decrease from 147 million people to 121 million over the next 50 years. Similarly, Japan, which now has 127 million people, is expected to have a population of 105 million by 2050.


Monday, January 10

The Security Council will hold an open briefing at 10:30 a.m. on "The Impact of AIDS on Peace and Security in Africa." The Secretary-General will deliver a speech on AIDS for that briefing, which will be chaired by United States Vice President Al Gore. UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot and UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown are expected to be among the other speakers.

At 9:30 a.m. in The Hague, the proceedings of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) will begin in full swing with the resumption of the case of "The Prosecutor v. Dario Kadic and Mario Cerkez." That trial began last April 12, and has lasted so far for 103 hearing days. The ICTY has issued a press release that provides details of all the week's cases.

At 6:30 p.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, the UN Staff Union and Universal Studios are hosting a special screening of "The Hurricane," a film based on the life of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. Actor Denzel Washington and director Norman Jewison are expected to attend the screening, and Universal Studios will provide a donation to the Scholarship Fund for the children of UN personnel who have died in the line of duty. Anyone interested in attending should call 963-7075 for further information.

In Geneva, the sixth session of the Open-ended Working Group on a draft optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which deals with children in armed conflict, opens. The Working Group's session will last until January 21.

At the same time, the 23rd session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child also begins in Geneva, and is scheduled to last until January 28. Country reports are to be delivered from Armenia, Costa Rica, Grenada, India, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Peru, Sierra Leone and South Africa.

Tuesday, January 11

The Security Council will hold informal consultations on the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP), the current mandate of which is scheduled to expire on Saturday. It has also scheduled consultations on Kosovo.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia will hold a further initial appearance hearing for Radoslav Brdjanin and Momir Talic. They are charged with two counts of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity, two counts of violations of the laws or customs of war and three counts of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

Wednesday, January 12

The Security Council has scheduled consultations on the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) and on Sierra Leone.

Thursday, January 13

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata will brief the Security Council in an open meeting on refugees in Africa. After that open briefing, the Council is also expected to hold a formal meeting on the renewal of UNMOP.

Friday, January 14

The Secretary-General is expected to announce his appointment of the Executive Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) by this date, although he has until Sunday, January 16, to make that announcement. Also on Friday, the Security Council has scheduled consultations on the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC.

The Secretary-General is expected to speak to the Women's International Forum on the challenges the United Nations faces in the 21st century.

In The Hague, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia will render its judgment in the case of "The Prosecutor v. Zoran Kupreskic, Mirjan Kupreskic, Vlatko Kupreskic, Drago Josipovic, Dragan Papic and Vladimir Santic," which had begun on August 17, 1998. Also, the Appeals Chamber will begin its hearings on an appeal against the sentencing of Dusko Tadic, who has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

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