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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-01-25
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: firstname.lastname@example.orgHIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FRED ECKHARD
SPOKESMAN OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, January 25, 2001
COUNCIL CONSIDERS REPORT ON SIERRA LEONE SANCTIONS
The Security Council this morning held a formal meeting to consider the report of the panel of experts that examined the enforcement of sanctions on diamonds and arms in Sierra Leone, chaired by Martin Chungong Ayafor, which was circulated to the Council last month.
Ambassador Anwarul Karim Chowdhury of Bangladesh, chairman of the Sierra Leone Sanctions Committee, briefed the Council on the report. He noted the need to follow up on the report's recommendations, and said it should not end up "on some shelf, gathering dust."
Those recommendations include suggestions on possible embargoes against specific countries suspected of violating the Sierra Leone sanctions on diamonds and ways of "naming and shaming" countries that export weapons into conflict areas. Among other speakers at the meeting was Liberian Foreign Minister Monie Captan, who also briefed the press afterward.
On Friday, the Security Council will hold a public meeting to debate the situation in East Timor. Sergio Vieira de Mello, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), and Jose Ramos Horta, East Timor Transitional Cabinet Member for Foreign Affairs, will address the session.
Also appearing in the Council Friday will be General Assembly President Harri Holkeri, who recently returned from a visit to East Timor.
ANNAN WELCOMES RELEASE OF OPPOSITION MEMBERS IN MYANMAR
In a statement issued through his spokesman, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he welcomed the release Wednesday of National League for Democracy (NLD) Vice-Chairman U Tin Oo and 19 members of the party's youth wing, who were taken into detention four months ago.
In the statement, the Secretary-General said he believed this step, taken shortly after the visit of Special Envoy Razali Ismail to Yangon earlier this month, "will contribute to the on-going dialogue between the military authorities and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi." He also reiterated his call on the two sides to "seize the momentum and to strive to achieve national reconciliation in Myanmar."
SECRETARY-GENERAL ARRIVES IN SWITZERLAND
The Secretary-General arrived in Zurich, Switzerland, today after flying from Japan.
On Saturday, he will travel by road to Davos to attend the annual World Economic Forum, where he will be joined by Assistant Secretary-General John Ruggie.
Ruggie will be the guest at the noon briefing Friday, before he leaves for Switzerland.
UN AGENCIES TO JOIN FORCES TO STUDY DEPLETED URANIUM
The Executive Director of the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP), Klaus Toepfer, and the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed El Baradei, announced today that they have agreed to consider ways and means to mount fact-finding missions to Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Iraq to study the possible effects of depleted uranium ammunition.
The two organizations will also coordinate activities with the World Health Organization (WHO), which has decided to send a team to study the health effects of exposure to depleted uranium in Iraq.
Today in Sarajevo, Pekko Haavisto, chair of UNEP's Depleted Uranium Assessment team, is meeting with officials of the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) for consultations on a possible future mission by the team to Bosnia.
Haavisto will also visit Belgrade Friday to meet with officials of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
UN TEAM SET TO TRAVEL TO EXAMINE IRAQI OIL INDUSTRY
The Office of the Iraq Programme (OIP) received a letter from the Iraqi Government, stating its agreement to the dispatch of a team of UN experts who are to examine ways to implement the cash component for the oil industry, as called for in Security Council Resolution 1330 (2000). That resolution extended the "oil-for-food" program for a ninth phase.
The United Nations and the Baghdad authorities still need to agree on the length and scope of the mission.
MILITIA MEMBER SENTENCED TO 12 YEARS IN EAST TIMOR
Today the Special Panel for Serious Crimes at the Dili District Court in East Timor sentenced former militia member Joao Fernandes to12 years' imprisonment. The sentence marks the first successful prosecution for the violence that surrounded the popular referendum in East Timor.
Fernandes pleaded guilty to stabbing a village chief to death in Bobonaro district on September 8, 1999. The defendant faced 20 years in jail, but because he agreed to cooperate in future criminal investigations, the prosecution recommended a minimum of ten years in jail.
Preliminary hearings into three additional cases also took place before the Serious Crimes Panel in the Dili District court today.
PROSECUTOR SAYS YUGOSLAVIA WILL COOPERATE WITH TRIBUNAL
Carla del Ponte, the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), wrapped up her three-day visit to Belgrade today by giving a press conference in which she said that she leaves with the conviction that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia will cooperate with the Tribunal.
She added that the ultimate test of such cooperation would be the transfer to the Tribunal of indicted suspects who are in Yugoslav territory.
Del Ponte acknowledged disappointment in her meeting on Tuesday with Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica, but added that her meetings with Federal and Serbian authorities had been good, and that she expected that obstacles to Yugoslavia's full cooperation with the Tribunal would be removed.
She also told reporters that the Tribunal rejects any notion of collective guilt, but focuses on individuals on all sides who are suspected of serious crimes.
In response to a question on Kosovo Albanian prisoners held in Serbia, the Spokesman said slightly more than half of the prisoner had been released by the Serbian authorities. He added that the United Nations hoped the amnesty law now before the Serbian Parliament would cover these prisoners and that, if it did not, that they be released on other grounds. The United Nations is pleased with the progress so far on this issue. [By the end of last week, 673 Kosovo Albanians remained detained in Serbian jails.]
CONGOLESE LEADER PLEDGES COMMITMENT TO WORK WITH UN
This morning in Kinshasa, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kamel Morjane, met with the new Congolese leader, Gen. Joseph Kabila. It was their second meeting since the death of President Laurent-Desire Kabila.
During the meeting, which was described as "positive in tone and content," General Kabila said he was committed to working closely with the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) in order to achieve peace.
He also expressed readiness to support the inter-Congolese dialogue and re-affirmed his will to restore democracy in the DRC, but added that this would not be possible as long as foreign troops occupied parts of the country.
On Wednesday in Kampala, the UN Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Mountaga Diallo, met with the head of the Ugandan army to discuss the ethnic violence in Bunia province between the Hema and Lendu peoples. Uganda said that its forces would provide security for UN personnel in the area.
In response to a question on the relationship between the UN Mission and the new Congolese leader, the Spokesman said that there was hope on everyones part that the peace process can be revived and the cease-fire agreement can be implemented.
EXECUTIVE BOARDS OF UN AGENCIES BEGIN JOINT MEETING
The Executive Board of UN Funds and Programmes (UN Development Programme, UN Childrens Fund, the UN Population Fund and the World Food Programme) are holding a joint meeting in New York today and Friday.
As a result of the UN reform program, the boards of these four organizations now meet periodically to review issues of common interest.
During this session the Joint Executive Board will for the first time hold discussions with a senior official of the European Commission, with Poul Nielson, Commissioner for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, invited as part of the effort to reinforce the UN-European Union partnership.
Board members will review how the UN reform program is working in the field. They will take up the case of Nepal and will hear presentations by Nepalese and UN officials working in that country.
In addition to the meeting with the Joint Executive Board, Nielson will also meet with Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette and senior officials at UNDP and the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Asked about the approval by Cambodia's Senate of draft legislation on a trial for Khmer Rouge leaders, the Spokesman said that as of Wednesday, UN Legal Counsel Hans Corell had not yet received the official text of the law as it was passed. Earlier, Corell had commented in writing on draft legislation approved by the lower house of the Cambodian Parliament. The United Nations hopes that any remaining differences will be resolved before the legislation is adopted.
Fishing at sea may be one of the most dangerous occupations in the world, according to the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2000 report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today in Rome.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports a dramatic increase in malnutrition rates in Burundi. Burundi received only one quarter of the funds it needed in 2000.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed its concern that increased militia activity in southern Guinea could lead to recruitment of fighters in overcrowded refugee camps. The unstable security situation in southern Guinea poses a risk to about 300,000 refugees, as well as 250 humanitarian workers, the agency said.
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
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New York, NY 10017
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