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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-01-30

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





Tuesday, January 30, 2001


Secretary-General Kofi Annan continues to follow the Middle East from Stockholm, Sweden, from where he has stayed in close touch with the Israelis, the Palestinians and others concerning the possibility of a summit meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.

He concluded his official visit to Sweden today, starting with a meeting this morning with Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson and Foreign Minister Anna Lindh. Their talks focused on the Middle East, UN reform issues and crisis spots in Africa, as well as on humanitarian issues.

At a press encounter after that meeting, he said that he and the Prime Minister support the peace process and "are working closely with the parties." He also took the occasion to appeal to the international community to give generously and promptly to the relief effort underway for the victims of the earthquake in India.

He then met again with the Foreign Minister, this time without the Prime Minister, and covered a range of issues, including the situation in the Balkans and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

He was briefed on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on his arrival in Stockholm Monday night by Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and Foreign Minister Louis Michel.

On Wednesday, before his scheduled departure from Sweden, he is to meet with Javier Solana, the European Union's High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy.


The Security Council held a formal meeting this morning to extend the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for a further period of six months, until July 31. The Council also decided to reduce the military personnel of UNIFIL by July 31, as suggested in the Secretary-Generals report.

Council members then went into closed consultations to take up a letter on the violence in southern Serbia, which they received over the weekend from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Goran Svilanovic. They also heard a briefing by Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Hedi Annabi. At the end of this mornings consultations the President of the Security Council, Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani of Singapore, made a statement to the press condemning the recent violence.

The Council also discussed the UN missions in East Timor and Georgia, whose mandates expire Wednesday. On Georgia, the Council received a briefing by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in that country, Dieter Boden.


The Secretary-General's Special Representative in Kosovo, Hans Haekkerup, condemned the violence that took place Monday in Mitrovica, in which one Kosovo Albanian was killed and one Kosovo Serb was gravely injured.

The violence has continued today, with a riot involving Kosovo Albanians, who set on fire two light armored cars that were parked outside the southern Mitrovica headquarters of the UN Mission. French riot troops from the Kosovo Force (KFOR) are trying to restore calm to the area.

Some 53 UN personnel remain surrounded by Albanian demonstrators in the headquarters. The personnel have been told not to leave the building, and they may have to stay overnight if the situation does not improve.

In a statement issued earlier today, Haekkerup said that the United Nations would make every effort to provide security in Mitrovica, but he added, "The people of Mitrovica must themselves stop the cycle of violence."

The fighting started early Monday afternoon in Mitrovica's "Little Bosnia" neighborhood, when a clash between Serbs and Albanians escalated into a grenade attack, in which one Kosovo Albanian was killed, and five others were injured. Following that incident, both communities gathered and set up roadblocks in parts of Mitrovica.

In a later incident, a crowd stopped a car and removed and beat one Serb man who worked as a translator for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), breaking his jaw.

Today, Kosovo's Interim Administrative Council condemned the violence and called on the people of Mitrovica to stop all acts of provocation and revenge.


The Secretary-General has decided to appoint Alan Doss of the United Kingdom as a Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).

Doss is to work under the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Oluyemi Adeniji, along with another Deputy Special Representative, Behrooz Sadry, who would continue to assist Adeniji in the overall political leadership, operations and management of the UN Mission.

Alan Doss is currently Director of the UN Development Group Office, which brings together the UN system's development agencies and is led by an Executive Committee comprising the heads of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Children's Fund, UN Population Fund and World Food Programme. Prior to his recent work, he was Director of UNDP's European Office in Geneva.

Asked about the reason for having two Deputy Special Representatives in Sierra Leone, the Spokesman said that Sadry had experience in handling a broad range of political and administrative issues and would be the principal Deputy. Doss would be expected to deal with specific matters such as national rehabilitation and elections.


According to press reports, the new President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Joseph Kabila, will be traveling to the United States later this week, where he is expected to attend a formal meeting of the Security Council on Friday.

Kabila is expected to be in Washington to attend the Congressional Prayer Breakfast, at the invitation of Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia. It is probable that he will come to UN headquarters in New York on Friday to meet with the Secretary-General before speaking to the Security Council in the afternoon.

The Spokesman noted, in response to a question, that Rwandan President Paul Kagame would also be travelling to Washington on Friday, but he did not know of any plans for Kagame to come to New York.


The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, presented today to both governments the redeployment plan for the establishment of the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ). He traveled between Asmara and Addis Ababa today to personally present the Missions plan to President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia.

On the basis of the Missions assessment, Force Commander Maj. Gen. Patrick Cammaert will convene a meeting of the military coordination commission on February 6 in Nairobi. The meeting will then begin working out the modalities for implementation.


The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced today that it was once again scaling down its operations in southern Guinea because of fresh outbreaks of violence.

This renewed outbreak of violence and the withdrawal of UNHCR staff from the area around Gueckedou leaves an estimated 250,000 refugees in a very precarious situation. UNHCR says it is gravely concerned about the security incidents in southern Guinea, where it says a number of Sierra Leonean refugees in the area have reportedly been attacked and beaten by members of the Guinean Army as well as by Sierra Leonean rebels.


According to the weekly update from the Office of the Iraq Programme, loadings at the Ceyhan terminal resumed on Sunday, January 21, after a three-week halt.

During the week of January 20-26, Iraq exported 12.4 million barrels of crude oil through seven loadings, earning an estimated 293 million euros in revenue. In Phase IX of the "oil-for-food" program, which began on December 6, 2000, Iraq has exported 40.5 million barrels of oil for an estimated 837 million euros in revenue. The average price for Iraqi crude oil during the reporting period was approximately $22.35 per barrel.

The total value of contracts placed on hold by the Iraq Sanctions Committee as of January 26 was $2.85 billion, consisting of $2.4 billion for humanitarian supplies and $436 million for oil industry spare parts and equipment.


Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Nitin Desai today launched the Secretary-General's report on financing for development, which recommends new norms for international cooperation in development financing.

The report discusses foreign debt and currency crises, falling levels of foreign aid and restrictions on access to developed country markets for such products as textiles and agriculture.

Desai said the report is "at the leading edge of a breakthrough process, in which the global community has decided to utilize the United Nations as a forum for discussing one of the most critical and hotly contested arenas of international relations -- economic and financial affairs."

The report will be presented to a preparatory committee prior to a global meeting on financing for development that will be held in early 2002.


The Spokesman declined comment on the trial of two Libyan nationals in Camp Zeist, the Netherlands, where a verdict is expected on Wednesday. The Security Council suspended sanctions against Libya once the suspects were handed over for trial, and it would be up to the Council to determine whether the sanctions can be lifted outright.

Pino Arlacchi, the Executive Director of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, said today that "money laundering worldwide involves roughly one trillion dollars every year, with three hundred to five hundred billion of that amount related to drug trafficking." Arlacchi explained that the recently adopted UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime will help to overcome "bureaucratic inertia and different judicial systems, laws and regulations which stand in the way of better cooperation" among law enforcement officials.

The United Nations received three more payments of contributions to the regular budget in full today. Ireland made a payment of over $3 million dollars, Lesotho just over $10,000 and Luxembourg over $800,000. There are now 36 fully paid up Member States for this year. There are also 38 Member States with large enough arrears, under the terms of Article 19 of the UN Charter, as to render them ineligible to vote at the General Assembly.

The Food and Agriculture Organization has published a new report on the use of treadle pumps for irrigation in Africa. It says these pumps are cheaper and easier to handle than engine-driven pumps and can be produced locally.

  • The guest at today's briefing was Kenzo Oshima, the new Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.

    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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