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United Nations Daily Highlights, 00-12-11
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.comHIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FRED ECKHARD
SPOKESMAN OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, December 11, 2000
ANNAN IN ITALY TO ADDRESS CONFERENCE ON ORGANIZED CRIME
Secretary-General Kofi Annan is in Palermo, Italy, today, where he conducted business by telephone before attending an official dinner hosted by Pino Arlacchi, Executive Director of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention. The dinner will also include the Heads of State and Government who are attending the signing conference for the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which will begin in Palermo Tuesday. By Sunday night, 145 countries had confirmed their participation in that conference.
Before he left for Palermo on Saturday, the Secretary-General had met in Asmara with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and other senior Eritrean officials. In a press conference after his meeting with the President, the Secretary-General said they had agreed on the critical need to address the situations of the internally displaced, refugees and prisoners of war. He said, "We should do whatever we can to get these people back to their homes, to pick up their lives and give them support in building their shelters, going back to till the land and develop agriculture."
The Secretary-General then met with UN staff in Eritrea, as well as with donors, non-governmental organizations and UN agencies. At a press conference afterward, the Secretary-General told journalists that leaders in Ethiopia and Eritrea "are determined to make peace, determined to honor their commitments and their engagements," which will be formalized in Algiers on Tuesday.
The Secretary-General intends to fly from Palermo Tuesday, after his speech at the signing conference, to Algiers to attend the signing of the peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea. He is then expected to fly back to Rome in the evening.
Although the Secretary-General, because of the trip to Algiers, has had to cancel his trip, previously scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, to Corleone, Italy, he will be represented there by Arlacchi.
Asked when the Secretary-General would return to New York, the Spokesman said he would be back in New York by Wednesday, and may be at UN Headquarters by Thursday or Friday.
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES CYPRUS, GUINEA, MIDDLE EAST
This morning the Security Council met in closed consultations to take up three items. It started with a briefing from the Secretary-Generals Special Advisor on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto. The Council also discussed the Secretary-Generals report on the UN peacekeeping mission on the island (UNFICYP), which was issued last Tuesday.
The Council then received a briefing from Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast on the increasingly violent situation in Guinea, along the border with Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The Council then resumed discussion on a draft resolution, sponsored by the Non-Aligned Movement countries, which proposes the establishment of a UN Monitoring Force in the Occupied Territories.
IRAQ TO EXTEND OIL-FOR-FOOD DEAL FOR NINTH PHASE
The Permanent Representative of Iraq is expected to arrive at UN Headquarters this afternoon to sign with the United Nations an extension to the May 1996 Memorandum of Understandings on the implementation of the "oil-for-food" program.
This extension covers Phase IX of the program, which went into effect December 6 for a period of 180 days.
FIRST INDICTMENTS FOR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY FILED IN EAST TIMOR
Today in East Timor, the office of the Prosecutor-General filed the first indictment concerning crimes against humanity committed last year, accusing 11 people for a range of crimes -- including murder, torture, deportation and forcible transfer of civilians -- that took place in Los Palos between last April and September.
The group, most of whom were members of the militia group "Team Alfa," is accused of committing at least 13 murders, including an attack on clergy and church workers that took place on September 25, 1999. The indictment -- also for the first time -- accuses an Indonesian Army officer, Lt. Sayful Anwar, of torture and murder, and the Dil Court's Special Panel for Serious Crimes is to issue a warrant for his arrest.
Of the other 10 accused, nine are detained at Becora and Gleno prisons in East Timor; one militia member is still at large.
DEPARTING UN ENVOY MEETS LEBANESE PRESIDENT
The Secretary-Generals Personal Envoy for Southern Lebanon, Rolf Knutsson, had a number of farewell calls with Lebanese officials today, including President Emile Lahoud. Knutsson is to be replaced in Lebanon by Staffan de Mistura, the current director of the UN Information Center in Rome.
Following his meeting with President Lahoud, Knutsson issued a statement in which he said that the Government of Lebanon has already taken some courageous steps towards the restoration of its authority in the south. However, he said, "More needs to be done and will hopefully be done promptly by the Government of Lebanon, in order to assume full control all the way down to the Blue Line."
He added, "At the same time, Israel must of course also respect the Blue Line on the ground and, equally important, in the air. In short, all sides must fulfill their side of the bargain in order for peace to stand a chance."
In response to a question on the kidnapping of two UN military observers in Georgia, the Spokesman said that the United Nations' policy is not to pay ransom. The United Nations does not know the whereabouts of the two observers, with whom it lost contact on Sunday morning while they were on ground patrol in the Kodori Valley.
On Sunday in Johannesburg, diplomats from 122 countries met in negotiations, organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), at which they finalized the text of a legally-binding treaty to require Governments to minimize and eliminate persistent organic pollutants, such as pesticides and industrial chemicals. The treaty sets out control measures that are intended to deal with the production, import, export, disposal and use of an initial list of 12 chemicals, including DDT.
High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson marked Human Rights Day in Geneva today with the launching of the newsletter of the Conference against Racism, entitled "Durban 2001 United against Racism". Speaking on the occasion, Robinson said the aim of the newsletter was to brief governmental and-non governmental partners, UN bodies and civil society about the preparations for the World Conference to keep all concerned in the picture.
Bankers, investment managers, technology exporters and corporate leaders from the North and South are talking today and Tuesday in Conference Room 2 with the Preparatory Committee for an event involving UN Financing for Development to be held in March 2002. Some of the business leaders at the meetings will give a press conference Tuesday at 11 a.m.
This morning, the Permanent Representative of Germany, Dieter Kastrup, deposited Germany's instrument of ratification for the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. That ratification makes Germany the 25th country to ratify the Rome Statute, which was also ratified by Fiji last Thursday; the statute needs 60 ratifications before it can enter into force.
The Secretary-General's Special Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jacques Klein, will speak to reporters Tuesday following his briefing to the Security Council.
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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