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United Nations Daily Highlights, 00-12-20

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 20, 2000

ANNAN URGES PROGRESS ON ASSESSMENTS SCALE AT FIFTH COMMITTEE

Secretary-General Kofi Annan made an unscheduled appearance before the Fifth Committee Tuesday night, to underline the urgency of reaching a decision on the scale of assessments for the regular budget and the peacekeeping budget for the years 2001-2003.

The President of the General Assembly, Harri Holkeri, also appeared before the Committee, which is continuing its deliberations today.

REPORT ON SIERRA LEONE DIAMONDS AND ARMS IS ISSUED

The scheduled presentation to the Security Council of the report by a Panel of Experts on Sierra Leone Diamonds and Arms (established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1306), has been postponed.

The report was issued as a document following the noon briefing.

At a later date to be decided by the Security Council, the Sanctions Committee on Sierra Leone will officially present the report to the Security Council, according to a Note issued by the President of the Security Council.

ANGOLA SANCTIONS REPORT DUE OUT THURSDAY

The final report of the Monitoring Mechanism of Sanctions against the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) will be presented to the Security Council Thursday.

Ambassador Paul Heinbecker of Canada, Chair of the Sanctions Committee on Angola, and the Chair of the Monitoring Mechanism Ambassador Juan Larrain of Chile, are scheduled to brief reporters on Thursday at 12:45 p.m.

SECURITY COUNCIL IMPOSES TIGHTER SANCTIONS AGAINST TALIBAN

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Security Council adopted a resolution tightening sanctions against the Taliban, by a vote of 13 in favor and none against, with China and Malaysia abstaining.

The measures, which include an arms embargo, will take effect at one minute after midnight on January 19, and last for one year if the Taliban does not comply with the Council's demands, which include the handover of indicted terrorist Usama bin Laden.

Also on Tuesday, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on Afghanistan, which reaffirms its support of the good offices of the Secretary-General and his Personal Representative, Francesc Vendrell, aimed at achieving a political solution to the Afghan conflict.

COUNCIL DISCUSSES IRAQ, ETHIOPIA-ERITREA, SIERRA LEONE

The Security Council this morning began its consultations by discussing Iraq. Council members heard a briefing by Han Blix, Executive Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), who introduced the Commissions third quarterly report, which was published earlier this month.

The Council was then briefed by Yuliy Vorontsov, the High-level Coordinator dealing with the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third country nationals, as well as Kuwaiti property seized by Iraq. He introduced the third report of the Secretary-General on that topic.

Starting at 3 p.m., the Council will discuss the situation in Eritrea and Ethiopia, in order to consider a draft resolution to welcome the recent peace agreement between the two countries.

Following those consultations, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean Marie Guéhenno will brief Council members on the Secretary-Generals latest report on the UN Mission in Sierra Leone.

ANNAN APPOINTS CIVILIAN POLICE COMMISSIONER FOR KOSOVO

The Secretary-General today appointed Assistant Chief Constable Christopher Albiston of the United Kingdom as the new Civilian Police Commissioner for the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

Albiston, who currently serves with the Royal Ulster Constabulary, will replace Commissioner Sven Frederiksen of Denmark, whom the Secretary-General thanked for his dedication and his work in establishing the Kosovo Police Service.

Albiston is expected to take up his duties in Pristina in early January 2001.

UN CONDEMNS GRENADE ATTACK IN NORTHERN KOSOVO

On Tuesday night in the northern Kosovo town of Zubin Potok, a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at a UN van that had been parked in front of a police station. The van was destroyed and the police station was damaged in that attack, and four other UN vehicles were damaged when semi-automatic weapons rounds were fired at them. No injuries were reported in the incident.

Today, the Secretary-General's Special Representative, Bernard Kouchner, deplored the Zubin Potok attack, and said that the recent violence in Kosovo -- including the attacks on UN police and Kosovo Force (KFOR) personnel in Leposavic over the weekend -- was unacceptable.

Kouchner said that any attack on the UN Mission or on KFOR would result in a strong reaction, and he urged the Serbian community to refrain from violence, arguing that extremists on both sides want to undermine the path to peace in Kosovo.

EAST TIMORESE REFUGEES TO CONDUCT CHRISTMAS VISIT

About 450 Timorese refugees from camps around Kupang, West Timor, will arrive in East Timor this Friday for a Christmas visit organized by the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) and the International Organization for Migration. The refugees will be picked up in Kupang by a ship on Thursday.

The refugees will be brought to Dili and subsequently transported to their respective home districts. Field officers from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees will monitor the well-being of the visitors during their stay.

ANNAN PRAISES ASSEMBLY DECISION ON SYSTEM STAFF COLLEGE

The Secretary-General, in a statement, praised the adoption this morning in the General Assembly of a resolution on the institutionalization of the UN System Staff College in Turin.

By providing a common, modern instrument for system-wide learning, the College will greatly strengthen the capacity of staff to be agents of change and to meet these challenges in an effective and cohesive way.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

In response to a question, the Spokesman said the United Nations welcomed India's announcement of its extension of a unilateral cease-fire in Kashmir, and said it hoped it would contribute to the resolution of the problem there.

Today in The Hague, Carla del Ponte, the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda, told reporters at a year-end press briefing that, although she had no new indictments to announce against former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, he and other indictees must stand trial at The Hague. She also said that, after two years of exhumation work in Kosovo, pathologists have conducted more than 1,800 autopsies and the remains of some 4,000 victims have been found.

Egypt this morning became the 80th country to sign the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity, and Oman became the 123rd country to sign the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

In her farewell speech to her staff, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata said they should not be bureaucratic and should keep thinking. "Overly bureaucratic organizations", she added, "are going to become irrelevant in a globalized world."

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that nursing and midwifery services worldwide are in crisis due to poorly planned workforce policies and fragmented health systems. Hazardous working conditions, poor pay and lack of career development are driving nurses out of the health sector, hindering the functioning of many health services.

  • The guest at today's noon briefing was Hans Haekkerup, the Defense Minister of Denmark, who was recently appointed as the next Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Kosovo, replacing Bernard Kouchner.

    Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

    United Nations, S-378

    New York, NY 10017

    Tel. 212-963-7162

    Fax. 212-963-7055


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