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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-01-26

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From: The United Nations Home Page at <> - email:





Friday, January 26, 2001


Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a statement, voiced his sadness upon learning of the massive loss of life and destruction caused by the powerful earthquake that struck northwestern India today. He offered his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of India, and noted the Government efforts to assist the affected areas. The Secretary-General said that the United Nations "stands ready to support these efforts in any way that the Government deems appropriate."

The Secretary-General also expressed his sadness at the deaths that took place in Sind Province, Pakistan as a result of the earthquake and extended his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Pakistan.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has deployed a five-member UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team after the earthquake, which measured 6.9 on the Richter Scale, hit India this morning.

The team of earthquake experts is due to arrive in India on Sunday and will support the UN Resident Coordinator. Although the Government of India has not issued an official request for assistance, it has indicated that it will accept any assistance offered by the international community in the spirit of international solidarity.


The Secretary-General is in Zurich, Switzerland today, where he is monitoring closely the peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians. He has had telephone contact with a number of leaders from the region and outside it, including Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

He leaves for Davos, Switzerland, on Saturday to attend the World Economic Forum, which he is to address on Sunday afternoon.


The Security Council is holding a public meeting on East Timor today, in which 37 speakers, including the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in East Timor, Sergio Vieira de Mello, are to speak.

In his opening address, Vieira de Mello briefed the Council on the "Timorization" process the establishment of Timorese structures of government in preparation for independence. He told the Council that the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) "should no longer be seen as an international transitional administration, but rather as a support structure to the embryonic government of East Timor and other institutions of state."

Vieira de Mello said that elections are expected for mid-2001; a final decision will be taken by the National Council once it resumes its session on February 12.

In addition to the political timetable, he also reviewed developments in the fields of social-economic development, security and law enforcement and reiterated his appeal for additional resources for the justice sector, particularly investigations into serious crimes.

Other speakers addressing the meeting included Jose Ramos Horta, Member of the Transitional Cabinet of East Timor responsible for Foreign Affairs and General Assembly President Harri Holkeri. Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator of the UN Development Programme, and representatives of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund also took the floor.


The Secretary-General today appointed Adama Dieng of Senegal to replace Agwu Okali of Nigeria as Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

He paid tribute to Okali, who has been Registrar since February 1997, and who corrected many of the organizational problems that afflicted the Tribunal in its early days.

Dieng had served as the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Senegal for six years and more recently was Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists.


The Secretary-Generals Special Representative in the DRC, Kamel Morjane, today represented the United Nations at the ceremony in Kinshasa to swear in Gen. Joseph Kabila as the new President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that increasing numbers of refugees are crossing into the Republic of the Congo from the northern DRC in search of food and medicine. The agency also reports that some refugees have been robbed and detained by DRC soldiers as they make their way down the Congo River.


The Secretary-Generals Special Advisor for Cyprus arrived on the island Thursday night for a working visit to consult with the parties regarding the plan of work for the coming weeks.

This morning, De Soto met with Glafcos Clerides and he is scheduled to meet with Rauf Denktash on Sunday. He is also expected to hold a press conference on Monday afternoon before leaving the island.


The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs announced the launch of an interagency appeal this morning in El Salvador, for the victims of the recent earthquake. The appeal calls for more than $34 million to assist 200,000 people and covers the areas of food, health, water and sanitation, agriculture, education and housing.

As part of the appeal, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is seeking $12.7 million to provide emergency shelter and economic recovery projects.


The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) remains extremely worried at the overall security situation in southwestern Guinea, where men carrying guns and grenades were seen during food distribution at two refugee camps yesterday.

In the camp at Massakoundou, UNHCR reported that armed men claiming to belong to one Liberian rebel group were seen leaving the camp with several bags of food aid intended for refugees. Many people in the camps in Nyaedou and Massakoundou, which together house some 30,000 refugees, have expressed their frustration that they have not received food aid consistently and would like to leave Guinea and return to their home countries.


The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) noted the increase in the number of Afghans arriving in Pakistan. There are now a reported 60,000 to 70,000 new refugees at the Jalozai campsite close to Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, and UNHCR estimates that huge numbers of people -- potentially in the hundreds of thousands -- are on the move in Afghanistan because of the fighting, drought and malnutrition there.

In Sarajevo on Thursday, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jacques Klein, held a ceremony in honor of the first multi-ethnic contingent of military observers from Bosnia and Herzegovina to join a UN peacekeeping operation. The observers -- nine in all, representing the Bosniak, Serb and Croat communities -- will be deployed next month in the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. (Bosnia previously sent a multi-ethnic team of civilian police to the UN Mission in East Timor.)

The World Food Programme (WFP) today launched an appeal for $24 million for an emergency operation to feed some 335,000 displaced and poor Chechens in the Northern Caucasus. Food deliveries, suspended about a month ago, are due to resume in February, pending clearance by the United Nations security management team.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has urged countries to be concerned about the risks of "mad cow" disease, saying that all countries which have imported cattle or meat and bone meal from Western Europe since the 1980s can be considered at risk and should implement surveillance measures for the disease. These methods include both testing of samples of slaughtered cattle and correct disposal of affected stock.

Three more countries have paid in full their contributions to the regular budget for this year. Armenia made a payment of more than $20,000, Kuwait more than $1.4 million and Monaco more than $41,000. This brings to 32 the number of Member States that have paid their dues in full. The 30-day deadline for full payment of contributions has been extended to February 3, since assessment notes were handed out in the first days of this year.

This morning, Tanzania became the second country to sign the International Coffee Agreement and the Slovak Republic became the 38th country to sign the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.


Saturday, January 27

The Secretary-General will arrive in Davos, Switzerland, where he is expected to conduct bilateral meetings prior to the World Economic Forum. Among those whom he is expected to meet while in Davos are Presidents Vicente Fox of Mexico, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Vojislav Kostunica of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Sunday, January 28

In Davos, the Secretary-General will address the World Economic Forum. He will also discuss the Global Compact at a luncheon with US and European business leaders.

Monday, January 29

The Secretary-General will arrive in Stockholm, Sweden, where he is to deliver the keynote speech at the Stockholm Conference on Combating Intolerance.

The Security Council will hold consultations on the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), on which it expects a briefing on the Secretary-General's latest report on Lebanon. The Council will also hold a private meeting to be briefed by the Chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Romanian Foreign Minister Mircea Dan Geoana.

There will be a meeting of troop contributors for the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG).

The Preparatory Committee for the Special Session on Children will be holding its second session throughout the week, during which it will discuss the draft of the final outcome document as well as organizational arrangements for the Special Session.

The Executive Board for the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Population Fund (UNFPA) will begin its first regular session.

In Geneva, the Commission on Human Rights will begin a session of its open-ended working group on the right to development, as well as an expert meeting on the issue of mercenaries.

A memorial tribute for the UN personnel who died in the helicopter crash in Mongolia will be held in Geneva, with Acting Emergency Relief Coordinator Carolyn McAskie in attendance.

Thirty-two youth leaders from 25 countries will meet in Mombasa, Kenya, through February 4 for the second UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Youth Retreat.

Tuesday, January 30

The Secretary-General expects to meet with Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson and Foreign Minister Anna Lindh before departing Sweden to return to New York on Wednesday.

The Security Council expects to hold a formal meeting to consider an extension of the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). It will also hold consultations on the mandates of two other peacekeeping missions, the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) and the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).

Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, will launch the Secretary-General's report on "Financing for Development" at a press conference scheduled for 11:15 a.m. The report presents a comprehensive set of recommendations on how to meet the world's development financing needs.

The Economic and Social Council will hold its organizational session through Friday.

Wednesday, January 31

The Security Council will wrap up its work for January with formal meetings to extend the mandates of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia and the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor, whose current mandates expire on Wednesday.

The Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, 20 high-ranking experts dealing with disarmament affairs, will open the first of its two sessions for this year. For further details on the advisory board's composition and work, see

There will be a panel discussion on "The Revolution in Military Affairs: Implications for Disarmament and the United Nations" from 1:15 2:45 p.m. in Conference Room 8.

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean Marie Guehenno will deliver a message on behalf of the Secretary-General at a colloquium on peacekeeping and conflict prevention in Paris.

Thursday, February 1

Ambassador Said ben Mustapha of Tunisia will replace Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani of Singapore as President of the Security Council, and he is expected to discuss the Council's program of work for February in bilateral talks with other Council members.

The Department of Economic and Social Affairs expects to issue its report on the revision of population estimates.

The UN Postal Administration will launch the ninth set of its Endangered Species stamps, which includes the Galapagos turtle.

Friday, February 2

The Secretary-General will meet with his Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters at 3:00 p.m. Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette will attend a luncheon in their honor on the same day, hosted by Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Jayantha Dhanapala.

Charlotte Abaka of Ghana, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and Angela King, Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, will hold a press briefing at 11:15 a.m. on the 24th Session of the Committee, which concludes on Friday.

  • The guest at today's briefing was John Ruggie, Assistant Secretary-General in the Executive Office, who discussed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that the Secretary-General will attend this weekend.

    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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