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United Nations Daily Highlights, 00-12-08

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 FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, December 8, 2000

ANNAN ANNOUNCES NEW UN SPECIAL ENVOY FOR KOSOVO

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today informed the Security Council of his intention to name Hans Haekkerup, the current Defence Minister of Denmark, as his new Special Representative in Kosovo.Haekkerup will replace Bernard Kouchner, who has headed the UN Mission in Kosovo since July 1999.

Kouchner had indicated to the Secretary-General his wish to relinquish his responsibilities in Kosovo following the successful completion of the recent elections. The changeover is expected to take place in January.

The Secretary-General, in a statement, said he would like to take this occasion to pay tribute to Kouchner for the inspirational leadership and dynamism with which he led this extremely difficult and challenging mission and for the remarkable success he has achieved there in its first year and a half.

He is also very pleased to have recruited a man of Hans Haekkerup's stature and ability to take over from Kouchner the complex tasks of the UN Mission in Kosovo.

In response to a question on the future plans for Kouchner, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General has been talking to him about a number of possible assignments, but there was not yet anything to announce.

UN AND IRAQ REACH TENTATIVE ACCORD ON OIL PRICES

Late Thursday evening an agreement was reached between the Iraqi State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) and the UN oil overseers on a pricing mechanism for the export of Iraqi oil under the oil-for-food programme for the month of December.

SOMO submitted a new pricing mechanism. The oil overseers, taking into consideration a number of factors, including the present fair market value of oil, as the price of oil has dropped since Iraq's initial submission of prices for December, as well as a considerable erosion of confidence in Iraq as a reliable source of oil supply, have recommended the acceptance of SOMO's new prices to the Security Council's sanctions committee.

The recommendation has been submitted to the Chairman of the Committee for circulation with a deadline of 6 p.m. Friday, under no-objection procedures.

In response to a question on the exact prices, the Spokesman said no details could be given out until the Sanctions Committee had ruled on the December mechanism.

ANNAN URGES MEASURES TO CURB VIOLENCE INVOLVING GUINEA

The Secretary-General, in a statement issued through his Spokesman, said he has been following with growing concern the deteriorating situation along the Guinea/Liberia/Sierra Leone borders. He deplores the loss of innocent lives as a result of the vicious attacks perpetrated over the last several days by armed elements on Guinean towns and villages, the statement said. He is concerned at the displacement of large numbers of Guinean nationals and Sierra Leonean and Liberian refugees away from affected areas, which these attacks have caused.

He is also concerned that the situation will further impede the already difficult task of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its humanitarian partners.

The Secretary-General calls on all parties inside and outside the Mano River Basin sub-region to use whatever means necessary to curb this spiraling violence that is likely to have serious security and humanitarian consequences not only inside Guinea but also for the sub-region as a whole, the statement said.

The Secretary-General also called on the international community to actively support ongoing efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to expeditiously deploy a military observer mission to this troubled area.

UNHCR, meanwhile, said it remained extremely concerned about the situation in Guinea. The latest, unconfirmed reports, according to UNHCR, indicate the town of Gueckedou is under government control but many residents have fled maid fears of further rebel attacks. UNHCR is still trying to determine if all of its staff are accounted for. UNHCR appealed to the international community to help Guinea implement measures to secure its border area, where some 400,000 refugees reside.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES FUTURE OF UN MISSION IN CONGO

The Council met this morning in closed consultations to take up the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Specifically, Council members discussed the Secretary-Generals report on the UN Mission in the DRC known as MONUC and heard a briefing by Kamel Morjane the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

COUNCIL TO TAKE UP THE MIDDLE EAST

Later this afternoon at 4:45 p.m., the Council will resume its closed consultations on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question.

Council members will resume their discussion of a draft resolution, sponsored by the Non-Aligned Movement, on the creation of a UN Monitoring Force in the Occupied Territories.

ANNAN CONCLUDES VISIT TO ETHIOPIA, ARRIVES IN ERITREA

As the Secretary-General was leaving Ethiopia this morning, he gave a press conference, saying he hoped other leaders would follow the example of the African Heads of State who had spoken "so knowledgeably and passionately" about the issue of HIV/AIDS at the just concluded African Development Forum there. "We need more such commitment," he said, "and we need it fast."

Commenting on the peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea which is to be signed in Algiers next Tuesday, and which he will witness, he said it was a "very positive step for both sides and for all of Africa."

He arrived in Asmara, Eritrea, at mid-day, where he was briefed by Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, his Special Representative for Ethiopia and Eritrea, and other UN officials. He then traveled by helicopter 100 kilometers south to the town of Adi Keyh, where there is a UN military observer station. He was greeted by thousands of villagers, who cheered him. Children ran along side him carrying hand-painted signs saying "We want peace."

He addressed the crowd, saying, "As you begin to pick up the pieces and rebuild your lives, you must know you are not alone."

He then flew by helicopter to a UN logistics base at Dek'emhare, where he spoke to Dutch and Canadian peacekeepers, taking coffee with them in their canteen.

He returned to Asmara this evening. Saturday he will conclude his visit to Eritrea and fly to Palermo, Italy, where he will attend the signing of the Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.

TOP UN MILITARY OFFICIAL IN SIERRA LEONE MEETS WITH RUF LEADER

A team from the UN mission in Sierra Leone led by the Force Commander Lt. Gen. Daniel Opande traveled to the outskirts of the town of Mile 91 today and met with the interim leader of the rebel Revolutionary United Front, Issa Sesay, to discuss implementation of the Abuja cease-fire agreement. It is the first meeting between Sesay and a high-ranking UN mission official since the accord was signed on November 10.

Meanwhile, more than 90 ex-Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC) combatants who had been providing security for Johnny Paul Koroma -- turned in their arms today in Freetown. Koroma, who is now Chairman of the government's Commission for the Consolidation of Peace, turned in his own personal pistol and some ammunition. Koroma called on all faction leaders to do what he has done in order to bring peace to Sierra Leone. He said UN mission security personnel would provide security from now on.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

The UN Department of Political Affairs organized a meeting of Special Envoys and Representatives for Burundi to discuss the steps the international community can take to support the implementation of the Arusha accords. Todays meeting is being attended by, among others, the Special Representative to the Great Lakes Region of Africa Ambassador Berhanu Dinka, Jean Arnault, the Secretary-General Special Representative in Burundi and by representatives of the European Union, the Francophonie, the United States, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

The International Court of Justice has rejected a request by Belgium that the case, Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000, be removed from the Courts List. The case involves an international arrest warrant issued by a Belgian investigating judge against Yerodia Ndombasi, who was at that time the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The warrant called for Ndombasis detention pending request for extradition to Belgium to face charges of serious violation of international humanitarian law, according a press release on the case.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Saturday, December 9

The fifth and final round of negotiations on an international treaty on persistent organic pollutants (DDT, PCBs, dioxin, et al), held under the auspices of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), are expected to conclude in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Sunday, December 10

Today is Human Rights Day. The text of the Secretary-General's message is available on the website.

Monday, December 11

The Security Council will hold consultations on Cyprus.

Beginning today and continuing until the 22nd, UNCITRAL will hold the 23rd session of the Working Group on International Contract Practices.

The Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer will begin a one-week session in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The status of the phase-out of ozone-depleting chemicals by the developing countries is among the main agenda items. See www.unep.ch/ozone for more details.

Officials from the 177 member Governments of the Convention on Biological Diversity will be meeting for one week, beginning today, in Montpellier, France, to discuss practical steps for minimizing some of the potential risks of biotechnology.

Also beginning today, until the 14th, is a Workshop on Indigenous Media co-sponsored by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Department of Public Information, in Conference Room 7. UNCA journalists are encouraged to participate.

UNAIDS-organized meeting on AIDS and Security in Stockholm begins today and ends on the 13th.

Tuesday, December 12

The Secretary-General will deliver an address at the opening ceremony of the High Level Political Signing Conference for the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime today in Palermo, Italy. The meeting continues until the 15th.

The Security Council will have a formal meeting on Bosnia and Herzegovina. SRSG Jacques Klein is expected to brief journalists after the meeting.

The UNICEF report The State of the Worlds Children 2001 will be launched at UNICEF House, 10.00 a.m.

At 11.00 in S-226 at UN headquarters, a panel of business leaders will brief the press on the two-day Business Hearings taking place at Headquarters between business leaders and governments on how to meet the finance needs of the world's poor and developing countries.

The International Labour Organization will hold its European Regional meeting n Geneva beginning today until the 15th. Discussion will include economies in transition and the impact of information and communication technology on the workforce.

Thursday, December 14

The Security Council will have a formal meeting on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cyprus.

The report Human Development in Sough Asia 2000 will be launched at 10.00 in UNICEF House. Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, Nafis Sadik and Khadija Haq will be guests at the Noon Briefing to brief on the findings of the report.


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