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United Nations Daily Highlights, 00-06-29

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

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NOON BRIEFING
BY THE DEPUTY SPOKESMAN OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
MANOEL DE ALMEIDA E SILVA
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, June 29, 2000

(Press "Ctrl + R" or click on "reload" to ensure you have the latest summary)


SECRETARY-GENERAL BEGINS VISIT TO HUNGARY

  • Secretary-General Kofi Annan this morning began his official visit to Hungary with a stop at UN House, where he first met with the representatives of the five UN agencies active in Hungary and then addressed the staff.

  • He then went to Hero's Square, where he laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

  • Afterward, he met for almost an hour with Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi. The Secretary-General congratulated the Hungarian leadership for smoothly managing the political and economic transition in Hungary during the past decade. He told journalists after the meeting that Hungary's experience could inspire other nations who are trying to make the same transition. He also commented that he was relieved that Elian Gonz&aacute;lez was "finally returning home with his father," and added that the United States judicial process had worked successfully in that matter.

  • In the afternoon, he went to the Parliament building, where he met with President Arpad Goncz. They discussed the pollution of the Danube River and efforts being made to clean it up. The Secretary-General also briefed the President on his recent trip to the Middle East, and they discussed prospects for a comprehensive peace.

  • Annan then met with the Speaker of the Parliament, Janos Ader, who assured him that he would attend the Millennium Meeting of Parliamentarians in August in New York. Ader then described a revision of the Hungarian constitution, adopted just one week ago, that permits the Government to commit troops to UN peacekeeping missions after informing the Parliament, without requiring the permission of the Parliament.

  • In the late afternoon, the Secretary-General went to the offices of the UN Association of Hungary, where he addressed the members and took their questions.

  • In the evening, he was to be the guest of honor at a dinner hosted by the President.


SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES PEACE PROCESS FOR SOMALIA

  • The Security Council this morning began an open debate on Somalia by hearing a briefing from Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast on the latest developments there, particularly the opening of the second round of the Somali Peace Conference in Arta, Djibouti, on June 15.

  • He noted that 920 delegates have been allocated seats to the second phase of the conference, with every major clan, and Somali women represented; however, Prendergast added, some major Somali leaders continue to refuse to take part in the Conference or send observers. Deliberations on the Conference have been extended until July 15.

  • He thanked Djibouti for hosting and facilitating the conference, and added, "There have been so many false dawns in relation to Somalia that the international community, and in particular the Security Council, must not fall prey to cynicism or despair and give up on Somalia."

  • Also among the speakers in today's debate was Ambassador Roble Olhaye of Djibouti, who traveled from the Conference site to participate in today's debate and provided details on the Peace Conference. Once the debate concluded, the Council adopted a Presidential Statement on Somalia.

  • At 4 p.m. today, the Council will go into closed consultations to discuss the text of draft resolutions which Council members have been considering on Sierra Leone. The Council will also discuss Sierra Leone on Friday, when it is briefed by Special Representative Oluyemi Adeniji, who will talk to the press he finishes briefing the Council.


WORK PROCEEDING ON TEXT OF SOCIAL SUMMIT REVIEW

  • In Geneva, delegations to the General Assembly Special Session that is reviewing progress since the 1995 World Summit on Social Development, which was held in Copenhagen, are continuing to work on the text of a document on the Session's outcome.

  • That document is to offer review and appraisal of progress since Copenhagen and detail further initiatives on social development, and so far, delegates have reached agreement on roughly three-quarters of the outcome document's 161 paragraphs.

  • Christian Maquieira, the Chairman of the ad hoc Committee of the Whole, said the Conference is at "the beginning of the endgame."

  • Among other items, delegates have agreed on targets to reduce global poverty, plans for a global employment strategy, and language on equity for women. Working groups will continue to discuss the remaining bracketed paragraphs before going into a closing plenary, which is expected to take place Friday if agreement is reached on the text. (For further information, see the Special Session web site.)


RWANDA TRIBUNAL TO TRY FOUR MILITARY LEADERS JOINTLY

  • In Arusha, Tanzania, today, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda decided to join the cases of four former members of the military hierarchy in Rwanda in 1994, known as "the Military Group," for the purposes of a joint trial.

  • The four – Theoneste Bagosora, Gratien Kabiligi, Aloys Ntabakuze and Anatole Nsengiyumva – are charged with conspiracy to commit genocide and other offences.

  • Trial Chamber III ruled that the joint case would reduce the overall time required to try the four accused, allow for a more consistent and detailed presentation and help to protect victims’ and witnesses’ safety.


OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Myanmar, Razali Ismail, today began a three-day visit to Myanmar, his first to the country since being appointed by the Secretary-General on April 4. He is to discuss issues relating to General Assembly Resolution 54/186, which concerns the promotion of human right in Myanmar, and to report afterward to the Secretary-General on his visit.

  • On Wednesday afternoon, Belgium became the 13th State to deposit its instrument of ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Sixty ratifications are needed for the Court to become operational.

  • The guest at the noon briefing on Friday will be Ambassador Philip Kirsch of Canada, Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court.


  • The guest at today's briefing was Kate Raworth, co-author of the Human Development Report 2000, which was launched Thursday by the UN Development Programme.

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