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United Nations Daily Highlights, 00-12-13

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 OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, December 13, 2000

UN HOSTAGES FREED IN GEORGIA

Two UN military observers belonging to the UN Mission in Georgia, who had been held hostage since Sunday, were released at around 8:30 p.m. local time.

They are with UN mission staff who had been waiting for them in a village in the upper Kodori Valley.

They are to be picked up from the village in the morning.

LOADING OF CRUDE OIL RESUMES IN IRAQ

After a suspension of 12 days, the loading of Iraqi crude oil has resumed.

The United Nations confirmed that a tanker chartered by the Indian Oil Corp was being loaded today with crude oil at the southern port of Mina al-Bakr.

The tanker, named the Jade, began lifting the oil before 1 a.m. and it is expected to conclude the operation before midnight, local time.

There is a second Indian tanker awaiting loading at Mina al-Bakr. As of this time, there are no tankers at the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

The Security Council's 661 Sanctions Committee is meeting today to receive a briefing on the oil situation by oil overseers from the Office of the Iraq Programme.

In response to a question on an Iraqi proposal to reallocate funds earned under the "oil-for-food" program to assist the Palestinians, the Spokesman noted that any changes in the way that revenue is allocated for that program would have to be agreed to by the Security Council.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES AFGHAN SANCTIONS, RENEWS CYPRUS MANDATE

The Security Council met this morning in closed consultations to hear a briefing by the Permanent Representative of Argentina, Ambassador Arnoldo Manuel Listre, in his capacity as Chairman of the Afghanistan Sanctions Committee. He reported on the discussions that took place Tuesday concerning the impact of sanctions on Afghanistan.

[In a formal meeting following the noon briefing, the Security Council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution on the UN Mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP). That resolution extends that Mission's mandate to June 15, 2001.

This afternoon at 5 p.m., the Council is expected to discuss the Secretary-Generals report on the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), which calls for extending the missions mandate until June 15, 2001.

UN MISSION RECOVERS STOLEN EQUIPMENT FROM SIERRA LEONE REBELS

The Force Commander of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone, Lt. Gen. Daniel Opande, traveled today to the Makeni-Magburaka area to recover equipment that had been stolen by the rebel Revolutionary United Front.

The handover has begun with the return of 11 armoured personnel carriers and a recovery vehicle to the UN Mission.

EAST TIMOR CABINET AGREES TO TRUTH COMMISSION

East Timor's Transitional Cabinet today agreed to a proposal to establish a Commission for Truth, Reception and Reconciliation.

The proposal, which was presented to the Cabinet by the UN Mission Tuesday, focuses on three areas: facilitating the return of East Timorese refugees, recording human rights abuses, and recommending legal and institutional safeguards to protect human rights in the future. The proposal will now go to the East Timor National Council for its consideration.

YUGOSLAVIA TRIBUNAL RECEIVES PLEA AGREEMENT

Today in The Hague, a plea agreement was announced in the case of Stevan Todorovic, a Bosnian Serb who had been facing 27 counts of crimes against humanity and assorted offences. Under the agreement, which was presented to a trial chamber judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) today, Todorovic would plead "guilty" to persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds -- which constitutes a crime against humanity -- in exchange for the withdrawal of the other counts of the indictment against him.

Under the agreement, the Tribunal Prosecutor would also recommend that the Tribunal impose a sentence on Todorovic of not less than five years and not more than 12 years.

A hearing of the trial chamber will take place on January 12, 2001, to determine whether it is satisfied with the agreement and to enter a finding of guilt if it is so satisfied.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

On Thursday, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) marks its 50th anniversary. In New York, UNHCR will commemorate the anniversary with the opening of an exhibition called "Respect Refugees." U.S. First Lady and Senator-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton will open the event with a video message. The event also marks the conclusion of Sadako Ogata's decade-long service as UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

This morning, Uzbekistan became the 36th country to sign the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and Nauru became the 120th country to sign the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

According to an addendum to the first performance report on the UN program budget for the biennium 2000-2001, the change in performance of a number of currencies resulted in a decrease in net requirements of $53.7 million from the original estimates of $2.174 billion. The revised estimates now stand at $2.120 billion.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has launched an initiative that will cost $15 million and reach 1.3 million people in Tanzania. The population of 11 north and central regions of the country have been affected by four years of drought and floods that have devastated crops.

The Joint UN Programme against HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) announced the two-day meeting of its governing body, the Programme Coordinating Board, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, starting Thursday. Discussions will focus on the framework for global leadership on HIV/AIDS.

The UN flag flying outside Headquarters is at half mast today, and no other flags are flying outside the building, to mark the official mourning for the late Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Ionatana Ionatana, who passed away on December 8.

The guests at Thursday's noon briefing will be Nafis Sadik, Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and Khadija Haq, President of the Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Centre, who will discuss the findings of the report on Human Development in South Asia 2000, which will be launched Thursday morning at UNICEF House.

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055

Back to UN homepage


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