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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-03-26

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

Monday, March 26, 2001

SECRETARY-GENERAL ARRIVES IN AMMAN FOR ARAB SUMMIT

Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived in Amman, Jordan Sunday night to attend the Arab League summit that begins Tuesday.

He is holding a number of bilateral meetings today, starting with Javier Solana, the European Union's High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy. Solana, who also serves as a member of the Commission headed by former US Senator George Mitchell, briefed the Secretary-General on the Commission's recent visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

Solana was on his way to Skopje in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and the two also discussed the latest crisis in the Balkans.

The Secretary-General then met with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan, for a general review of the situation in the Middle East, including the situation in the Palestinian territories and Iraq.

Annan then met with his Middle East team: Terje Roed Larsen, his Special Coordinator for the region; Staffan de Mistura, his Special Representative for southern Lebanon; Peter Hansen, Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA); and Lakhdar Brahimi, his special envoy on preventive and peacemaking efforts. The meeting also included senior military officials from the UN peacekeeping missions in Lebanon, on the Golan Heights in Syria and in Jerusalem. They briefed him extensively on the latest situation in the region.

He was then scheduled to meet with Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi, in a meeting that was requested by Qadhafi. After that, he was to receive the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Mohamed Benaissa.

His last scheduled appointment of the day is to be with the President of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat.

On Tuesday, the Secretary-General will address the opening session of the Arab Summit.

SECURITY COUNCIL CONSIDERS DRAFT RESOLUTION ON PALESTINIANS

The Security Council's consultations on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, began shortly after noon, and that discussion is expected to resume, following a brief adjournment, later this afternoon.

The European and Non-Aligned members of the Council are reviewing the changes in the text of a draft resolution concerning a mechanism to protect civilians, following marathon discussions held over the weekend. The text that is currently being discussed included language from both the European members of the Council and the Non-Aligned Movement.

Council members intend to hold a formal meeting following today's consultations, so that they can vote on the resolution before the start of the Arab Summit in Amman, Jordan.

MACEDONIANS CONTINUE TO FLEE FIGHTING, UNHCR SAYS

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of people displaced by the recent fighting in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has risen above 30,000.

More than 16,000 of that number have remained in FYROM, with the rest fleeing to neighboring countries, including some 3,800 reported in Turkey, some 2,600 in Albania and more than 4,500 in Kosovo, UNHCR says. The people fleeing the fighting belong to all the ethnic backgrounds of FYROM, and the majority continues to say they are leaving as a precautionary measure.

The UN Mission in Kosovo noted today that the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Kosovo, Hans Haekkerup, will travel to Skopje this week for discussions with the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The border between FYROM and Kosovo remains closed to all non-UN and non-Kosovo Force (KFOR) vehicles, creating problems for the delivery of essential supplies.

ANNAN NAMES FIVE-MEMBER PANEL FOR LIBERIA SANCTIONS

The Secretary-General, in a letter to the Security Council dated last Friday, submitted five names for a panel of experts pursuant to Resolution 1343 (2001), which concerned the imposition of new UN sanctions on Liberia. That panel was to be established for six months, and would investigate any violations of the sanctions, as well as possible links between the exploitation of natural resources and the fuelling of the conflict in the region.

The Secretary-General appointed Martin Chungong Ayafor of Cameroon, who had chaired an earlier panel of experts that dealt with violations of the sanctions in Sierra Leone, to head the Liberia panel of experts. He also appointed Atabou Bodian of Senegal, from the International Civil Aviation Organization; Johan Peleman, an expert on arms and transportation from Belgium; Harjit Singh Sandhu of India, an expert from Interpol; and Alex Vines, a diamond expert from the United Kingdom.

Liberian President Charles Taylor wrote to the Secretary-General last week, saying that Liberia had taken several measures consistent with the Security Council's concerning sanctions in Sierra Leone and support for the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in that country.

UN REPRESENTATIVE MEETS ERITREAN PRESIDENT

The Secretary-General's Special Representive for Ethiopia and Eritrea, Legwaila Joseph Legwaila met on Saturday with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki in Asmara, the Eritrean capital. They had positive discussions on a range of issues, including the Temporary Security Zone.

Following those discussions, Legwaila is heading to Addis Ababa, where he is to meet with the Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tuesday.

Last Friday, the United Nations and the Ethiopian Government signed a Status-of-Forces Agreement concerning the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE). The United Nations is still negotiating a Status-of-Forces Agreement with Eritrea.

UN MARKS ANNIVERSARY OF COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS

Today is the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. To mark the occasion, the Commission on Human Rights, meeting in Geneva at its 57th session, held a special debate on tolerance and respect.

In her statement to the Commission, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson said that the promotion of tolerance and respect is a key element to a preventative strategy. She also pointed out the negative forces of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance, which should be considered at the upcoming conference on Racism in South Africa.

Also to mark the occasion, the Human Rights Committee will host a commemorative event at UN Headquarters this afternoon at which the Committees activities over the last 25 years will be evaluated.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Secretary-General wrote a letter to the President of the Security Council, forwarding the names of four candidates to take up two additional seats in Arusha, Tanzania, for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The Council is supposed to transmit a list of not less than four candidates for the two positions to the President of the General Assembly.

Nine basketball players, led by Yugoslav national Vlade Divac and Croatian native Toni Kukoc, will conduct a basketball camp in Treviso, Italy for young players from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Slovenia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It will happen between June 29 and July 2. The three-day event, called "Basketball without borders," is intended to commemorate the International Day against Drug Abuse on June 26.

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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