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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-03-20

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





Tuesday, March 20, 2001


This coming Friday afternoon, Secretary-General Kofi Annan will travel to Washington, DC, to meet with US President George W. Bush at the White House.

While in Washington, Annan will also meet with US Secretary of State Colin Powell. The meeting with Powell will be from 4:00 to 4:30 p.m., and the meeting with Bush will take place afterward. The Secretary-General will return to New York later that afternoon.

This Thursday, the Secretary-General will hold his next press conference at UN Headquarters, at 11:30 a.m.

In response to a question on the reported phone conversation this morning between the Secretary-General and the Secretary of State, the Spokesman said he did not know the details of the conversation, but he added that the two were in regular phone contact.


On Saturday, March 24, the Secretary-General will leave New York for a thirteen-day trip that will take him to Jordan, Switzerland and Kenya.

His first stop will be Amman, Jordan, where for the first time, he will address a summit meeting of the League of Arab States. While in Amman, the Secretary-General is also expected to hold a number of bilateral discussions with regional leaders attending the summit.

The Secretary-General will arrive in Switzerland for an official visit on Wednesday, March 28. The first stop will be Zurich where he will address a group of some 2000 prominent Swiss business and political leaders.

The following day, he will travel by train to Bern, to meet with senior Swiss officials led by Moritz Leuenberg, President of the Swiss Confederation.

In the afternoon, the Secretary-General will go to Biel where he will visit an engineering school and engage in a discussion with students on the importance of youth involvement in shaping a better future, and the UN as an indispensable instrument in that process.

On Friday, March 30, the Secretary-General will be in Geneva to address the 57th session of the Commission on Human Rights (UNHCHR). Later that day, he will go to the resort of Mont-Pelerin, about an hours drive from Geneva, to attend the closing session of a week-long seminar organized for his Special and Personal Representatives.

The following day, the Secretary-General will depart Geneva for Nairobi to attend a two-day meeting of the UN Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC). This is a semi-annual meeting of the board of chief executives of the UN system chaired by the Secretary-General. The heads of 26 agencies, funds and programs of the UN system are expected to attend.

The Committee's formal sessions will address system-wide support for the sustainable development of Africa, as well as responses by the UN system to the challenges of globalization in a follow-up to the Millennium Summit.

While in Nairobi, the Secretary-General is also expected to meet with senior Kenyan Government officials.


The Security Council met in closed consultations this morning. It first discussed a draft presidential statement on the Council's role in the maintenance of international peace and security, particularly in Africa. The statement is intended as a follow-up to the Council Summit held last September and the subsequent open debate on that subject held two weeks ago.

Following that discussion, Council members were given a briefing by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast on the latest developments concerning Burundi.

Also this morning, Council members received the text of a draft resolution proposing a UN observer mission to the Palestinian territories.

This afternoon at 3:00, the Council will resume its closed consultations to take up a number of issues, including the situation in Georgia.


In a statement issued Monday afternoon, the Secretary-General expressed his grave concern at the escalation of violence and renewed fighting in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

He condemned the acts of violence by Albanian extremists, and expressed particular concern at the regional dimension of the recent escalation of violence and at the fact that the activities of the extremists have received outside support.

He hoped that the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia would succeed in its efforts to end the violence and to establish conditions conducive to solving all problems through political means.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported today that, over the past six days, more than 2,300 ethnic Albanians have crossed the border from FYROM into Albania. About half of them passed through Albania and then entered Kosovo.

According to UNHCR, the Albanians appear to be leaving FYROM as a precautionary measure, and, so far, none have asked for aid.

UNHCR estimates that an additional 1,400 people, mostly ethnic Albanian, have crossed from FYROM into southern Serbia, with many saying they are headed for Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. The International Federation of the Red Cross has registered some 3,700 internally displaced persons inside FYROM.


The UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) reports that Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov has visited Pristina today, where he met with the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Gary Mathews, as well as with Kosovo Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova and Kosovo Serb leader Momcilo Trajkovic.

Ivanov also held a press conference today, in which he stressed the international community's responsibilities in adopting Resolution 1244 (1999) and in particular the importance of respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.


Kenzo Oshima, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs will undertake a mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), at the request of the Secretary-General from April 5-11.

The exact itinerary is still being determined, but the Under-Secretary-General is expected to go to Kinshasa as well as various points in the eastern part of the DRC.

One of the main purposes of this trip will be to highlight the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis affecting some 16 million people and to assess the scope of opportunities for humanitarian agencies following recent political developments on the ground.

In his expected meetings with Government and rebel leaders, Oshima will seek, among other things, guarantees on access to all vulnerable populations as well as protection for civilians and relief personnel.


In its weekly update, the UN Office of the Iraq Programme (OIP) reports that for the week leading to March 16, Iraq exported a total of 17.9 million barrels of oil during, raising an estimated 367 million euros in revenue at current prices.

This is the largest volume of oil exported in a single week under the current Phase IX, which began last December 6.

The UN oil overseers have now adopted a new policy to prevent the diversion and discharge of Iraqi oil cargo to a destination other than that authorized in an approved contract.

According to the new policy, the masters of the vessels loading Iraqi oil will now have to sign a notification indicating the authorized destination of the cargo. Any diversion from the authorized destination will be the liability of the shipping company.

The new policy is in response to an incident in February when an oil cargo of two million barrels of Basrah Light destined for the United States was discharged in the Far East, incurring a revenue loss of 8.5 million euros to the programme. The UN Treasury is in the process of collecting this amount from the buyer through BNP Paribas, at the request of the Iraqi State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO).


The UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) reported that more than 6,000 East Timorese were registered over the past three days since the national civil registration started on Friday, March 16.

Registration sites have opened in all districts but Viqueque, due to last weeks security problems. By the end of this week it is expected that all 65 sites in all sub-districts will be fully operational.

Civil registration will enable the verification and registration of the identity and residence of East Timor inhabitants. It will also generate data for the issuance of civil documents and the compilation of electoral lists.

The UN Mission also noted a decision by China to construct the future Timorese Foreign Affairs Ministry building and the donation by the Republic of Korea of Taekwendo material to the East Timor Defense Force.


The UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) announced today that it has received detailed information from Eritrea on minefields, including details on anti-tank and anti-personnel mines that had been laid by the engineering corps of the Eritrean Defense Force.

UN Force Commander Maj. Gen. Patrick Cammaert, who received the data yesterday from the Eritrean authorities, welcomed the step.

The Mission also received data last week from Ethiopia about the results of mine surveys conducted by the non-governmental organization "HALO Trust." The UN Mission's Mine Action Coordination Center will use the new data it has received in its work to assist the parties' demining efforts.


The 44th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs opened today in Vienna. This year, the 53-member body will look at how Governments are living up to the goals and target dates established at the 1998 General Assembly special session on the drug problem.

Pino Arlacchi, Executive Director of the UN Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), told delegates, "In the next few days you will have the important role of determining whether progress is, in fact, being made" in the fight against drugs.

Arlacchi also pointed to the problem of a "balanced approach" on drugs, noting that the Drug Control Programme "needs a strong indication by this Commission to focus more on demand reduction. The time has come to invest more energy and funds towards the objective of reducing the number of abusers of all drugs if we want to fully achieve a balanced approach and shared responsibility."


In Helsinki, Finland, today, Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette delivered a lecture in honor of Helvi Sipil&auml;, a Finnish diplomat who was the first woman to hold the rank of Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Frechette told Sipil&auml;, "You have paved the way for women to the highest positions at the United Nations, and I am proud to walk in your footsteps."

Frechette noted that women now account for nearly a third of all staff at the level of principal officer and higher, but she added there are many areas -- including peace operations and field missions -- where women are badly under-represented.

Despite that, the Deputy Secretary-General added, the United Nations is doing better than many Member States, since women hold only three percent of top executive jobs worldwide, and only 11 of 189 Member States have women as their Permanent Representatives to the UN.


The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) announced today the visit by Momcilo Grubac of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's Ministry of Justice, Serbian Justice Minister Vladan Batic and Belgrade District Prosecutor Rade Terzic to The Hague. The three officials are to meet Tribunal President Judge Claude Jorda and Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte and hold a joint press conference will them on Wednesday.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that some 900 Sierra Leonean refugees returned over the weekend to the town of Daru, Sierra Leone, from the isolated "Parrot's Beak" region in southern Guinea. More returned refugees are believed to be in surrounding villages, and the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) is taking the returnees to Kenema, where they can be registered by UNHCR

This afternoon, the Secretary-General will be designate Wynton Marsalis as a new Messenger of Peace. A renowned jazz musician, Mr. Marsalis is Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in collaboration with the Association of South East Asian Nations, has outlined elements to be considered at a two-day meeting in Kuala Lumpur. That meeting is intended to negotiate an agreement designed to prevent a repeat of the haze from the region's 1997-98 forest fires.

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a new fact sheet on sleeping sickness, which threatens more than 60 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. Sleeping sickness is caused by a parasite borne by the tsetse fly and can be fatal if not treated.

Last Friday, the UN Foundation the public charity responsible for channelling the contributions made by US businessman Ted Turner in support of UN causes approved a major new round of funding of $72.6 million, including some $26.7 million in co-financing. A total of 39 projects were approved, most of them on environment matters.

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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