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United Nations Daily Highlights, 00-06-14

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

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, June 14, 2000

LEBANON: SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS REPORTED IN VERIFICATION WORK

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), accompanied by Lebanese army experts, resumed verification activity along the border with Israel today, and made significant progress.

They expect to go back to work Thursday, and theres hope that the process could then be completed.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES CYPRUS AND BOUGAINVILLE

The Security Council held consultations this morning on Cyprus and the status of peace negotiations in Bougainville.

Council members were briefed by the Secretariat on Cyprus and discussions, which were interrupted for a briefing on the Bougainville, resumed afterwards. Council members are expected to resume discussions on Cyprus this afternoon at 3:30 p.m. They intend to vote on the extension of the mandate of the UN Mission in Cyprus.

The briefing on the status of the peace negotiations in Bougainville was by Noel Sinclair, Director of the UN Political Office in Bougainville.

French Ambassador to the United Nations, Jean-David Levitte, in his capacity as Security Council president for the month of June, hosted the monthly Council lunch with the Secretary-General.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO HOLD CONSULTATIONS ON CONGO

At 4 p.m. today, the Security Council will hold consultations on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A draft resolution, following the report of the Secretary-General on the situation in that country, is expected to be introduced.

The Political Committee established by the Lusaka Agreement on the Democratic Republic of the Congo will hold two days of discussions here in New York with Security Council members starting Thursday.

Security Council consultations are scheduled for Thursday morning with a briefing by the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kamel Morjane, in the morning.. Then a private meeting on the inter-Congolese dialogue is planned.

There will be informal meetings between Council members and members of the Political Committee throughout the afternoon Thursday. Then on Friday, a public meeting of the Political Committee in the Council chamber in the morning will be followed by a private meeting of the Political Committee in the afternoon.

The Secretary-General in his report released Thursday on the Democratic Republic of the Congo said the meeting of the Political Committee is a welcome chance for all parties to undertake a serious re-evaluation of the deteriorating situation in that country. He also said that it was an opportunity for the Council to make it clear to the parties that their assurances of support for the peace process and guarantees of security and freedom of movement can no longer be take at face value, but must be reflected in their actions.

Annan repeated his views in remarks upon entering the building this morning.

ANNAN WELCOMES ELECTIONS IN HAITI, URGES FAIR TALLYING OF RESULTS

The Secretary-General, in a statement issued though his Spokesman after the briefing, said he is pleased to note that voting for parliamentary and local officials took place on May 21 and that delayed elections were held in the Grand Anse on June11. Electoral observers did not report major incidents of violence or irregularities on the days of voting.

According to the statement, the Secretary-General is encouraged that, despite serious security concerns in the lead-up to election day, some 50 percent of the countrys newly registered electors chose to vote, thereby endorsing a peaceful democratic process regulated by the Constitution and secondary law.

The Secretary-General is however disquieted by the series of arrests in the days following the elections, the statement said. He also wishes to express his concern over the continuing irregularities in the methodology used to calculate the vote percentages for Senate candidates, as pointed out by the OAS Electoral Observer Mission on June 2. He reiterated his expectation that in calculating the final results the Haitian electoral authorities will strictly adhere to the procedures stipulated in the electoral law of July 1999.

UNHCR INTENSIFIES AIRLIFT TO AID DISPLACED PERSONS IN ERITREA

A three-man planning team from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations continues to be on standby for departure to Algiers, Algeria, to discuss a possible UN role in a peace plan developed by the Organization of African Unity to deal with the Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict.

On the humanitarian side, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in its latest update that its Eritrea Emergency Team has now deployed to Ghirmayka, on the frontier with Sudan. The team is working to cover the vast western lowlands border area, where, according to the Eritrean Government, hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons have found refuge in the Gash-Barka zone.

UNHCR is very concerned about the situation facing some 50,000 internally displaced in the government-run Debat camp, which is one of the newest camps. The shelter situation there is extremely precarious due to the sun and wind, and ever more urgent with the approaching rains.

The UNHCR airlift continues to intensify and will continue next week, with additional heavy vehicles, blankets, water equipment and other supplies scheduled to arrive.

SIERRA LEONE: BRITISH TROOPS WITHDRAWAL NEARLY COMPLETE

British troops have nearly completed their withdrawal from Sierra Leone. They are expected to be out by tomorrow. UN peacekeepers are expected to takeover some positions vacated by the British such as the airport in Lungi.

Meanwhile, the number of internally displaced gathered at the town of Mile 91 has reached some 45,000. Humanitarian convoys were headed to area today with emergency assistance.

FIRST WOMEN'S NATIONAL CONGRESS OPENS IN EAST TIMOR

The UN Mission in East Timor reported that the bodies of two UNAMET staff were exhumed. This is the first exhumation in connection with investigations into the deaths of UNAMET staff. The bodies, both male, were in graves in the villages of Babolete in the Atsabe sub-district.

The first womens national congress in East Timor took place today. More than 500 women from all areas of the country gathered in Dili to promote equitable development in the national reconstruction process.

Also today in the Timorese capital, during a meeting of the National Consultative Council, the UN Mission reported that between September 1999 and May 2000, more than 162,000 refugees returned to East Timor; 36,000 metric tons of food and 10,000 shelter kits have been distributed; 5,000 houses built; 734 primary schools opened and 70,000 vaccinations provided.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

This evening, the Secretary-General will receive the 2000 Path to Peace Award, which recognizes an individuals outstanding leadership in the international community. The designation of the Secretary-General as this years honoree, by the Path to Peace Foundation, acknowledges his leadership at the United Nations, particularly his dedicated efforts to build peace throughout the world. The Foundation provides support for the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations.

In Cartagena, Columbia, this morning, Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette is participating in a ministerial meeting of the Rio Group, which is a political grouping of several Latin American countries. Following that meeting, she will hold a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister of Colombia, Guillermo Fernandez de Soto.

The convergence between television, digital technology and the Internet will be the focus of the fifth United Nations World Television Forum, to be held at UN Headquarters from 16-17 November.

Today Costa Rica became the 19th state to sign the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.

Thailand became the 43rd state to sign the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.


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