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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-01-24

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, January 24, 2001

SECRETARY-GENERAL ENDS PROGRAM IN JAPAN

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today ended the official part of his visit to Japan. He met first this morning with Sadako Ogata, former High Commissioner for Refugees, with whom he discussed the establishment of a commission, which Ogata will co-chair with Indian Nobel laureate in economics Amartya Sen, to identify threats to "human security."

The Secretary-General then met with 29 ambassadors of the African Group in Japan and discussed UN and Security Council reform, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the strengthening of the UN-Japan partnership.

He then opened the so-called "UN House" in Tokyo and toured a Humanitarian Emergencies exhibition in the building and met with UN staff there, before attending a luncheon hosted by the Rector of UN University, Hans van Ginkel.

In the afternoon, he visited the head office of the national broadcasting foundation, NHK, and then held a news conference at the National Press Club. At the press conference, the Secretary-General said he was "heartened to see the commitment by Japan to continue playing its leadership role" and stressed the importance of Japans development assistance to countries in need of help.

He later held a meeting with Yukio Hatoyama, the leader of the opposition Democratic Party, and later met with five goodwill ambassadors and the father of a UN staff member killed while serving in the UN mission in Cambodia, who has been named UN Volunteers Honored Ambassador. In the evening, he attended a private dinner hosted by Ambassador Yukio Satoh, Japan's Permanent Representative at the United Nations.

On Thursday, he is scheduled to fly to Zurich en route to Davos, Switzerland, to attend the annual World Economic Forum.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS SIERRA LEONE SANCTIONS

On Thursday, the Security Council will hold a public meeting at which the Chairman of the Sierra Leone Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury of Bangladesh, will brief the Council on the report of the panel dealing with sanctions violations including the question of conflict diamonds.

The Foreign Minister of Liberia, Monie Captan, will brief the press following that meeting.

The Security Council has no meetings scheduled today, which is the beginning of the Chinese Year of the Snake.

UN REPRESENTATIVE URGES RELEASE OF KOSOVO DETAINEES

The Secretary-General's Special Representative in Kosovo, Hans Haekkerup, today urged the authorities in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to return all Kosovo prisoners detained in Serbia without delay. He hoped that a proposed amnesty that may be considered by the new Yugoslav Parliament would be adopted soon.

He added, "Those prisoners who would not fall within the scope of the amnesty law should be returned to Kosovo and will have their cases proceed through a judicial review in Kosovo conducted under the supervision of the UN Mission (UNMIK)." That review, he added, would be held according to international human rights and judicial standards.

PROSECUTOR CONTINUES VISIT TO BELGRADE

The Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Carla del Ponte, is on the second day of her three-day visit to Belgrade, which she began Wednesday with a one-hour meeting with Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica.

Today, she will be meeting with senior officials of both the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbia, including Serbian Premier-designate Zoran Djindjic, and expects to press her case for the need to hand over indicted suspects to the Tribunal.

This morning, she also met with the Association of Families of Missing and Kidnapped Persons for Kosovo and Krajina, which has tried to draw attention to the fate of missing Serbs. The group said it was willing to cooperate with the Tribunal and to provide evidence and testimony for its ongoing investigations.

On Thursday, del Ponte will hold a press conference in Belgrade at which she expects to speak at length about the Kostunica meeting and other subjects. Until then, she has no comment on that meeting.

DAKAR CONFERENCE ON RACISM TO WRAP UP TODAY

Mary Robinson, High Commissioner for Human Rights and Secretary-General of the upcoming World Conference against Racism, met today in Dakar with representatives of African non-governmental organizations to discuss ongoing cooperation on the preparations leading to the conference.

The meeting took place in the margins of the African regional preparatory conference to the World Conference, which is winding up its work later today.

On Wednesday, Robinson, along with delegates present at the conference, visited Goree, the historical island from which, during three centuries, hundreds of thousands of black slaves were shipped to the Americas. During her stay in Dakar, Mrs. Robinson also met with President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal as well as other Government officials.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

Today, Bahamas, New Zealand and the Russian Federation joined the ranks of countries that have paid their 2001 regular budget contributions in full. Bahamas made a payment of more than $124,000, New Zealand more than $2.5 million and Russia more than $12.4 million. There are now 29 Member States fully paid up for this year.

The UN Correspondents Association invited correspondents to a reception at 3 p.m. on Thursday, hosted by Ambassador Mohammed Sacirbey of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

  • The guest at today's briefing was Acting Emergency Relief Coordinator Carolyn McAskie, who discussed her recent trip to Mongolia.

    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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