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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-01-19

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

Friday, January 19, 2001

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES AIDS AND PEACEKEEPING

The Security Council held a formal meeting today to discuss follow-up to Resolution 1308 (2000) on HIV/AIDS.

Jean-Marie Guehenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said that the United Nations' immediate challenge was to increase the awareness of peacekeepers, and of the local populations they come in contact with, about the causes of HIV/AIDS and methods of preventing its spread. The Peacekeeping Department has developed a comprehensive training module on medical issues for national level senior trainers, and has conducted three Training the Trainer" courses, and it is establishing the post of HIV/AIDS focal point in all missions.

Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS, briefed the Council on the work of UNAIDS over the last year. He noted the Framework Agreement, signed earlier today with the Department of Peackeeping Operations, which would support ongoing work in training, the development of codes of conduct and civilian-military cooperation.

Under the terms of the agreement signed today by Guehenno and Piot, UNAIDS will provide technical and advisory support to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in the areas of training, voluntary testing and counselling, care of affected personnel and resources. It will also develop a Code of Conduct and Best Practices for HIV/AIDS.

In his comments to the Council, Piot said it was "incumbent on the United Nations to set the highest possible standards for the conduct of the troops deployed under its flag."

Immediately following the current meeting, which will continue this afternoon, the Council will go into a formal meeting to extend the deadline for considering additional nominations for judges for the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia until the end of January.

Asked about how the United Nations would treat troops known to be HIV-positive, the Spokesman said that the United Nations would provide counselling and testing for them but would allow them to go about their duties as long as they could do so. The question of repatriating such troops, he said, would be up to the commanders of their national contingents.

UN OFFICIAL MEETS NEW CONGOLESE LEADER IN KINSHASA

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kamel Morjane, met Thursday with the new leader of the DRC, Gen. Joseph Kabila. Morjane personally conveyed a message of sympathy and condolences on behalf of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to General Kabila, whose father, Laurent Kabila, was assassinated earlier this week.

General Kabila assured Morjane that his Government wanted the UN Mission in the DRC to continue its work in support of Security Council resolutions designed to bring about peace in the country.

In Geneva today, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ruud Lubbers, added his voice to that of the Secretary-General and the Security Council calling for the parties to this conflict "to avoid inflaming an already volatile situation."

"UNHCR cares for some 500,000 refugees and displaced inside the DRC," he said, and helps look after another 330,000 Congolese refugees outside the country. "More are fleeing every day," he added. "This must stop."

AFGHANISTAN SANCTIONS TAKE EFFECT, ONE MONTH AFTER ADOPTION

This morning, at one minute after midnight, New York time, the sanctions measures against the Taliban, detailed in Security Council Resolution 1333 (2000), automatically went into effect, one month after the Council's adoption of that resolution.

The sanctions measures that have gone into effect include an arms embargo against the Taliban, the reduction of staff at Taliban missions and posts and the closure of all Taliban and Ariana Airlines offices abroad, and a ban on flights to or from Taliban-controlled parts of Afghanistan. Now that the sanctions have entered into effect, Member States have 30 days to report on the steps they have taken to implement the sanctions.

The Secretary-General was also requested, in Resolution 1333 (2000), to appoint a committee of experts to make recommendations on the monitoring of the arms embargo and the closure of terrorist training camps. The Secretary-General is considering the request.

The closure of the camps is one of the requirements for the Taliban to obtain the lifting of sanctions; other steps include the handover of Saudi-born businessman Osama bin Laden and the cessation of any provision of sanctuary for international terrorists.

Asked about the effect of the sanctions on UN political and humanitarian work, the Spokesman said that humanitarian aid would continue as usual in areas where the United Nations is working, although Taliban officials could no longer travel aboard UN aid flights.

The UN presence in Afghanistan, he noted, had been reduced as a precautionary measure when the sanctions were introduced last month, but were gradually restored, although the United Nations continues to monitor security conditions. [On Friday, there were 28 UN personnel working in Afghanistan.]

YUGOSLAV TRIBUNAL AGREES TO MODIFIED DETENTION FOR PLAVSIC

Today at The Hague, Judge Claude Jorda, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), issued an order for modified conditions of detention for Biljana Plavsic, former President of Republika Srpska.

Under the terms of the order, Plavsic will remain at the Tribunal's Detention Unit, but will be detained in a part of the Unit that is reserved for female detainees. She will be guarded by female security officers, but she can use the facilities available to the Detention Unit's male detainees when they are absent. Plavsic will also be provided with an additional cell, accessible to her current cell, as soon as possible.

Jorda's order was issued after Plavsic explicitly withdrew her earlier request to be detained in a safe house or in a facility in Republika Srpska itself. The order took into account the fact that Plavsic had voluntarily surrendered to the Tribunal and that she is its only female detainee.

Also today, the Tribunal's third trial chamber entered a finding of guilt against Stevan Todorovic, who entered a plea of "guilty" last month to one count of persecution on political, racial and religious grounds, which is a crime against humanity. A date for his sentencing will be set at a later stage.

Next week, the Tribunal's Prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, will visit Belgrade, where she plans to meet with President Vojislav Kostunica and other senior officials; President Kostunica Thursday indicated that he would see her during her visit.

WHO TO SEND EXPERTS ON DEPLETED URANIUM TO KOSOVO

The World Health Organization has announced that it is sending an expert mission to Kosovo to support the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) in its response to claims regarding possible health risks of exposure to depleted uranium.

The team of environmental health experts will collect information on population exposure to depleted uranium and other toxic substances and verify data on cancer and leukemia. The team will also identify potential health risks to those who may have been exposed to depleted uranium.

On Thursday in Kosovo, the District Court in Mitrovica found Miroslav Vuckovic guilty of genocide, under the laws of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, for attacking Kosovar Albanian villages, burning and looting houses and chasing away the Albanian population. He was tried by a panel of five judges, four of them Kosovar Albanians and one international, and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

If he chooses to appeal, Vuckovic could petition for the assignment of international judges or a change of venue in order to ensure the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, in accordance with a regulation approved last month by the former Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Bernard Kouchner.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

The World Drug Report 2000 will be launched on Monday in London. Pino Arlacchi, Executive Director of the Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention, will brief the press there on the report, which reviews trends in drug production and consumption worldwide.

Today, the Maldives became the 22nd Member State to pay its regular budget contribution in full for 2001 with a payment of over $10,000.

"A Work in Progress: Human Rights in Haiti", a new UN video, will be awarded tonight the Finalist medal at the New York International Film Festival. The video, produced by Isabelle Abric and Simone Di Bagno for the UN Mission in Haiti, is a blend of paintings and footage, taking viewers through the history of the Haitian people.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Sunday, January 21

In Beijing, the Secretary-General is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Qian Qichen and other senior Chinese officials.

Monday, January 22

The Secretary-General will meet with Chinese President Jiang Zemin and visit UN staff in Beijing before flying to Tokyo, Japan.

The Security Council will hold consultations on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A meeting of the troop contributing countries for the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) will be held in the afternoon.

The Secretary-General's reports to the Security Council on the UN Mission of Observers in Georgia (UNOMIG) and the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) are expected toward the early part of the week.

Pino Arlacchi, Executive Director of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), will launch "The World Drug Report 2000" in London.

Working Group I of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is currently meeting in Shanghai, China, will release its contribution to the IPCC's Third Assessment Report, titled "The Scientific Assessment of Climate Change." A summary of the Working Group report will be available on the web at www.ipcc.ch.

The 21st session of the Inter-Agency Meeting on Outer Space Activities will be held at the United Nations Office at Vienna through Wednesday. The session will discuss space science and technology.

In Dakar, Senegal, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson will participate in the African preparatory meeting for the World Conference against Racism, which will take place through Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 23

In Tokyo, the Secretary-General is scheduled to meet the Emperor and Empress of Japan, as well as Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, Foreign Minister Yohei Kono and other senior officials.

The Security Council will hold an open briefing on the Central African Republic.

The Conference on Disarmament begins its annual session in Geneva.

The International Labour Organisation will issue its bi-annual report on world employment in Geneva.

Wednesday, January 24

The Secretary-General will open the UN House in Japan and meet UN University staff in Tokyo.

At 1:00 p.m., Mia Farrow, UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Special Representative, will talk about her recent mission to Nigeria where she helped launch a countrywide polio vaccination campaign.

Thursday, January 25

The Secretary-General will depart Japan for Switzerland, where he is to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos over the weekend.

The Security Council has scheduled consultations on the UN Interim Force in Lebanon. It will also hold a public meeting to discuss the report of the Expert Panel on Sierra Leone sanctions, on which it will hear an open briefing by the Chair of the Security Council Sanctions Committee for Sierra Leone, Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury of Bangladesh.

Friday, January 26

The Security Council will hold an open debate on East Timor.

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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