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United Nations Daily Highlights, 00-06-20

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NOON BRIEFING

BY THE DEPUTY SPOKESMAN OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MANOEL DE ALMEIDA E SILVA

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, June 20, 2000

ANNAN CONCLUDES LEBANON TRIP, VISITS JORDAN

Secretary-General Kofi Annan this morning met with Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, which is in the process of transforming itself into a political party.

They discussed Lebanon's complaints about Israeli border encroachments in Southern Lebanon. Sheikh Nasrallah emphasised Hezbollah's concern over the continued detention by Israel of Lebanese prisoners of war. They also discussed cooperation with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The Secretary-General thanked Nasrallah for the restraint shown by Hezbollah during Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon. Annan spoke briefly to the press before going to the airport, where he gave a formal press conference.

The Secretary-General then flew to Amman, where he met with Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul Ilah El-Khatib. He and the foreign minister took a few questions from the press.

Following that meeting, the Secretary-General had an audience with King Abdullah II, after which the king hosted a luncheon in his honour.

At a press encounter at his hotel, the Secretary-General praised Jordanian peacekeepers' performance in UN service around the world, and added that other UN member states could use Jordan as a model.

The Secretary-General then travelled by helicopter to Petra to tour an archaeological site.

In the evening he was to be the guest of the foreign minister at an official dinner.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO TRAVEL TO EUROPE

Following his trip to the Middle East the Secretary-General will travel on to Europe, where he will pay official visits to Switzerland, Poland, Hungary and Germany from June 23 to July 6.

On the first leg of his trip to Switzerland, he will visit Basel and Geneva, where, on June 26, he is to open the General Assembly Special Session on Social Development. He will launch a landmark report entitled "Better World for All" at a press conference that day.

The collaborative report, co-authored by the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, finds that by 2015 world poverty can be significantly decreased if developing and industrialized countries implement their commitments to attack the root causes of poverty

The Secretary-General will continue on to Warsaw where, among other activities, he will meet with top officials of the Polish Government, and will address the World Forum on Democracies.

Annan's program in Budapest, Hungary, will include meetings with President Arpad Goncz, Prime Minister Viktor Orban and President-elect Ferenc Madl.

In Germany the Secretary-General will visit Expo 2000 in Hannover, and will officially open the headquarters building of the International Tribunal for the Law of Sea in Hamburg. In Berlin he will deliver the inaugural address at the "Global Conference Urban 21."

From Berlin the Secretary-General will return to Geneva, where he will open the proximity talks on Cyprus on July 5.

UN MISSION SAYS BULK OF FORCES LEAVING KISANGANI

The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reports that, according to preliminary reports, the bulk of the Ugandan and Rwandan forces appear to have left Kisangani, and the UN military observers there are monitoring the situation to verify that those forces have withdrawn fully.

The UN Mission remains concerned at continuing tensions on the ground in Kisangani, however, and is continuing to monitor any activity by armed groups in the city in an effort to maintain order.

On Monday afternoon, the International Court of Justice received a request from the DRC Government, alleging that "Uganda and another foreign army" have caused considerable damage over the past month to the Congo and its people, particularly in Kisangani. It urged the Court to indicate several provisional measures, including the cessation of any military activity by Uganda within the DRC; those measures were then immediately transmitted to the Ugandan Government.

TWO SOLDIERS DEPART SURROUNDED FORCE IN SIERRA LEONE

Today in Sierra Leone, two sick Indian soldiers who had been among the military personnel surrounded by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Kailahun were allowed to travel by road to Daru, where they were evacuated by helicopter to the capital, Freetown. They are receiving medical care there.

The departure of the two soldiers reduces the number of Indian soldiers surrounded at Kailahun to 222. There are also 11 military observers there.

There has been no change in the situation of the 21 Indian soldiers detained by the RUF at Pendembu.

The situation on the ground is reported as calm, with no incidents reported over the last 24 hours.

On Wednesday, the committee of the Mediation and Security Council of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will hold a private meeting with the Security Council in New York. That committee, including members from six West African countries, left Sierra Leone today after meeting Monday with President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah to inform him of their work there during the past week.

Asked about a request from President Kabbah to the Secretary-General regarding the establishment of a tribunal to try RUF leader Foday Sankoh, the Spokesman said that the UN Legal Counsel is studying a letter from the Government of Sierra Leone but has no immediate response.

UNHCR SUSPENDS WORK IN WEST TIMOR CAMPS FOLLOWING HARASSMENT

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has suspended its activities in three West Timor camps following three security incidents on Friday and Saturday. Activities were halted in Noelbaki and the Tuapukan and Naibonat camps, near Kupang, following consultations among humanitarian agencies.

Local authorities have been notified of the halt and the Government has been informed that UNHCR cannot resume its activities in the camps which have a total population of more than 24,000 without security guarantees. These include a separation of the armed elements inside the camps and a clarification of the status of those camp residents who are former employees of the Indonesian government and military.

UNHCR and Indonesian Government officials met all day today and will continue to meet Wednesday to discuss the situation in the camps.

UNHCR MARKS AFRICA REFUGEE DAY

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Sadako Ogata, today marked Africa Refugee Day, the anniversary of the 1974 Organization of African Unity African Refugee Convention, at a settlement for Sudanese refugees in Mungula, near Adjumani in northern Uganda.

The High Commissioner, in a statement issued on the occasion of Africa Refugee Day, drew attention to an increase in xenophobia "in areas where refugees were once generously welcomed as brothers and sisters in distress." To reverse that trend, UNHCR has launched a public awareness campaign across Africa called "Roll Back Xenophobia."

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Security Council held an open meeting today in which it was briefed by Judge Claude Jorda, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, who talked to reporters following the Council meeting.

Seventy-five percent of the 150 million people unemployed around the world lack any unemployment insurance protection, according to a new report, embargoed until 0001 GMT on Wednesday, by the International Labour Organization (ILO), titled "The World Labour Report 2000: Income Security and Social Protection in a Changing World." The report states that even the worlds richest countries in Europe and North America reduced protection provided by unemployment insurance in the 1990s.

The World Food Programme (WFP) announced that it will airlift today, from its new inter-agency warehouse in Brindisi, some 36 metric tons of emergency aid to Eritrea on behalf of several Italian-based relief agencies. This is the first emergency airlift to be organized by WFP since it began operating a new rapid response facility, called the UN Humanitarian Response Depot, in Brindisi on June 1.

The Office of the Iraq Programme reported that, in the week ending June 16, Iraq exported 13.9 million barrels of oil for an estimated revenue of around $342 million.

&nbsp;

  • The guest at today's briefing was Nicolas Bwakira, Director of the New York Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, who discussed Africa Refugee Day.

    &nbsp;


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