United Nations Daily Highlights, 00-06-30
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NOON BRIEFINGBY THE DEPUTY SPOKESMAN OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
MANOEL DE ALMEIDA E SILVA
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Friday, June 30, 2000
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SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCLUDES VISIT TO HUNGARY
- Secretary-General Kofi Annan began the final day of his visit to Hungary with a visit to Wallenberg Park, established as a tribute to Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from Nazi persecution during the Second World War.
- "Raoul highlighted the vital role of the bystander, of the third party amid conflict and suffering," the Secretary-General said. "It was here in the face of despair that his intervention gave hope to victims and encouraged them to fight and resist, hang on and bear witness."
- Nane Annan, the Secretary-General's wife and Wallenberg's niece, described her uncle as a man who did what he could to save innocent lives.
- The Secretary-General then returned to the Parliament building to meet with members of the Parliament's Foreign Relations Committee. He wished Hungary well in its bid for membership in the European Union but also urged the lawmakers also to remember those left behind. It would sad, he said, if European unity would lead to a new division in Europe between a prosperous west and central region and a war-torn and impoverished east and south-east.
- At mid-day, he met with Prime Minister Viktor Orban, in a discussion that was interrupted by a press encounter and then continued over lunch.
- In the afternoon, the Secretary-General went to the Club of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, where he met with Ferenc Madl, Hungary's President-elect, who will begin his term on August 4.
- He later met with representatives of Hungary's Roma community, who were accompanied by Justice Minister Ibolya David, and then gave a press conference.
- This evening, Annan will conclude his official visit with a dinner hosted by Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi.
RELEASED TROOPS RETURN TO SIERRA LEONE AS JORDANIANS ATTACKED
- Today, the 21 Indian peacekeepers who were released yesterday to Liberia from detention in Sierra Leone were transported back by plane from Monrovia this afternoon to Freetown, the Sierra Leonean capital. Medical facilities will be provided to them in Freetown, although all 21 are described as being in reasonable health.
- In a statement issued Thursday afternoon, the Secretary-General welcomed their release, with the assistance of President Charles Taylor of Liberia, and hoped that it would be followed by the "immediate and unconditional freedom of movement" for the 222 Indian peacekeepers and 11 UN military observers who are surrounded at Kailahun.
- At approximately 1330 hours local time in Sierra Leone today, an escort group of five vehicles from the Jordanian contingent was ambushed by forces which have yet to be identified, about 20 kilometers west of Mile 91. After an exchange of firing, one Jordanian was killed and four others injured, two of them seriously. The wounded have all been evacuated to Freetown, where they are receiving medical care.
- Troops from the Jordanian battalion are currently patrolling the region where the incident took place, and the UN Mission is investigating further.
- Also in Sierra Leone, Nigerian troops from the UN Mission are moving to reinforce Mile 91, where humanitarian workers estimate that some 49,000 internally displaced Sierra Leoneans have gathered. The Revolutionary United Front (RUF) has been reported to have burned and looted villages in the Mile 91 area, and the UN Mission has been reinforcing the area to protect the displaced persons from RUF combatants, who seem to be searching for food.
- The Security Council is discussing Sierra Leone, on which it was briefed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Oluyemi Adeniji, who spoke to the press after the Council consultations have adjourned.
- The Council also held further consultations on a draft resolution, which was discussed Thursday afternoon, concerning steps to ban trade in rough diamonds from Sierra Leone. The Council will resume consultations at 3:15 p.m. and may put the draft resolution to a vote once consultations end.
ANNAN DISTRESSED BY BOAT SINKING IN INDONESIA
- The Secretary-General, in a statement, voiced distress at the news of the sinking of an overcrowded boat, carrying people fleeing the fighting in North Malaku Province, during a storm in Indonesia on Thursday. He expressed condolences to the Government of Indonesia and the families of the victims.
- The Secretary-General is concerned at reports of the escalation of violence in the Malaku and North Malaku provinces, in which large numbers of people have been reported killed and widespread population displacement has taken place.
- He appealed to those perpetrating the violence to respect humanitarian law and allow safe and unimpeded access to enable humanitarian workers to provide assistance to the population in need.
SPECIAL SESSION ON SOCIAL SUMMIT TO CONCLUDE
- Today is the fifth and final day of the General Assembly Special Session on Social Development held in Geneva, and discussions on an outcome document are expected to continue into the night.
- By the sessionís end, the delegations should adopt an outcome document designed to strengthen and further the commitments agreed upon at the 1995 Copenhagen World Summit on Social Development.
- By midday, 75 percent of the document has been agreed upon and fewer than 20 paragraphs remain to be discussed. Agreements have already been reached on numerous subjects, including targets for poverty reduction and the need to strengthen the participation of developing countries in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
RECONNAISSANCE MISSION TO VISIT ETHIOPIA, ERITREA NEXT WEEK
- The Secretary-General is dispatching a reconnaissance mission next week to Ethiopia and Eritrea, to assess the UN role in helping to implement the agreement signed by the Governments earlier this month under the auspices of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in Algiers.
ANNAN NOTES CHALLENGES TO GUINEA-BISSAU
- The Secretary-Generalís report to the Security Council on developments in Guinea-Bissau, available today, notes that many challenges remain as Guinea-Bissau seeks to restore peace, stability and sustainable development and to improve the critically low living standards of its people. Among the main challenges are the consolidation of democratic institutions and the restructuring of the armed forces, which remains one of the Governmentís post-electoral priorities.
- The Secretary-General states that given the serious shortage of national resources and infrastructure, the sustained help of the international community is crucial for the consolidation of the progress achieved so far.
ICJ TO RULE SATURDAY ON DRC-UGANDA DISPUTE
- The International Court of Justice will give its decision Saturday on a request by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for provisional measures in its case against Uganda. The Court will deliver its decision at 11 a.m. in the Peace Palace at The Hague, following hearings held this Monday and Wednesday involving the parties to the dispute.
- In those hearings, the DRC Government asked the court for provisional measures that the Government of Uganda must order its army to withdraw immediately and completely from Kisangani and cease forthwith all military activity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, among other measures.
- The Ugandan Government responded that the circumstances of the case should not require the exercise of the Court's powers.
- In response to a question, the Spokesman noted that the Court and the Security Council have different responsibilities, and that both could be approached by Member States on different aspects of this dispute.
PROSECUTORS SWORN IN FOR EAST TIMOR CRIMES
- Two international prosecutors were sworn in on Wednesday for the Special Panel handling serious crimes in East Timor, and Timorese prosecutors will be sworn in next week. Michael Keegan, a former trial attorney and legal adviser of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, was appointed as the Deputy General Prosecutor for Serious Crimes.
- Today, East Timor's National Consultative Council adopted a draft regulation that will lay the foundations for a new tax system in East Timor. The regulation creates the East Timor Revenue Service as the new collection agency for taxes and introduces a comprehensive set of taxation procedures for the support of the new tax system.
- The Investment Promotion Unit of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) has in recent weeks received several multimillion-dollar investment proposals, including projects to set up prefabricated housing plants.
- The Office of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has issued an appeal to donors for $21 million for the remaining six months of this year.
- The new funding will be used to promote the continuing voluntary repatriation of East Timorese refugees; assistance to refugees; and resettlement and reintegration projects in the two territories.
- Asked about restrictions on UN peacekeepers in northern Cyprus, the Spokesman voiced concern and noted that the UN Mission there was evaluating the impact of those measures.
- The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that some of the 170,000 internally displaced Chechens hosted by Ingushetia have come under direct pressure to leave. There are also reports of the displaced being under pressure to leave privately-owned abandoned buildings, factories and farms. UNHCR has informed Russian authorities that despite various constraints, all efforts should be made to maintain Ingushetia as a safe haven.
- On Monday, the blue United Nations flag will be raised in Cambridge, United Kingdom, at a public ceremony to celebrate the opening of the first new UN institute in Great Britain in 50 years. The World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) joins the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as its global biodiversity information and assessment center.
- The United Nations' overview of world economic prospects for the year 2000 and beyond will be issued on Monday, July 3, and embargoed copies are available at the Department of Public Information.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
SATURDAY, JULY 1
The Secretary-General will leave Hungary for Hanover, Germany.
Today is the International Day of Cooperatives, which marks the founding in 1895 of the International Cooperative Alliance.
SUNDAY, JULY 2
The Secretary-General will attend EXPO 2000 in Hanover, Germany, before traveling to Hamburg, where he is to meet with First Mayor Ortwin Runde.
MONDAY, JULY 3
The Secretary-General will attend the official opening of the headquarters of the Law of the Sea Tribunal in Hamburg, Germany, before traveling to Berlin to meet with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and other senior German officials.
The President of the Security Council for the month of July, Ambassador Patricia Durrant of Jamaica, will hold bilateral talks with Council members on the program of work for July.
The pre-sessional working group of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women will last through Friday.
In Geneva, the Human Rights Committee's Working Group on Communications will meet through Friday.
In Kingston, Jamaica, the Assembly of the International Seabed Authority will begin its resumed sixth session.
TUESDAY, JULY 4
Today is a national holiday in the United States; UN Headquarters in New York will be closed.
The Secretary-General will deliver the inaugural address at the "Urban 21" Global Conference in Berlin, Germany, before leaving for Geneva.
In Geneva, the Investments Committee will meet at the Headquarters of the World Meteorological Organization today and Wednesday.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 5
The Secretary-General will attend the resumption of proximity talks on Cyprus in Geneva, along with his Special Adviser, Alvaro de Soto. He is scheduled to meet with Glafcos Clerides and Rauf Denktash.
The Economic and Social Council will begin its substantive session.
At the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, the UN Joint Staff Pension Board will begin its 50th session.
At 11 a.m., Marjorie Newman-Williams, Director of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Division of Communication, will hold a press conference on the key issues covered in UNICEF's "Progress of Nations Report 2000", which will be launched on July 12.
In Geneva, the Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Disarmament Affairs will meet through Friday to discuss the results of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, as well as issues concerning nuclear disarmament and high-technology military capabilities.
FRIDAY, JULY 7
The UN Postal Administration will issue a set of six commemorative stamps and three souvenir sheets to mark the 55th anniversary of the United Nations, which will depict the photographic history of the UN Headquarters building in New York.
* The guest at today's briefing was Ambassador Philip Kirsch of Canada, Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court, which concluded its latest session today.
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