|Wednesday, 26 February 2020|
United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-03-28
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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
Wednesday, March 28, 2001
ANNAN MEETS SYRIAN PRESIDENT IN AMMAN, ARRIVES IN ZURICH
Secretary-General Kofi Annan left Amman, Jordan, this morning and arrived a few hours ago in Zurich, Switzerland.
Last night, in the margins of the Arab League Summit, he met for 45 minutes with the President of Syria, Bashar Al-Assad, discussing the summit, the Middle East peace process, including the Syrian track, the situation in Lebanon and the question of Iraq.
After a dinner hosted by Jordan's King Abdullah II, the Secretary-General met with the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Saudi Arabia, His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz.
Asked about that meeting, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General and Deputy Prime Minister discussed a range of topics concerning the Middle East.
This evening in Zurich, the Secretary-General addressed some 2,000 members of the Swiss business community. He told them that "a global market required global corporate citizenship."
Afterwards, he was to attend a dinner hosted by Credit Suisse, the Swiss-based banking firm that is a participant in the Global Compact. About 60 business leaders are to attend that dinner, and the Secretary-General is to respond to their questions.
On Thursday morning, he will leave by train for the Swiss capital, Bern, to begin an official visit.
THREE UN STAFF FREED IN SOMALIA, BUT FOUR REMAIN DETAINED
Late Tuesday night in Mogadishu, two of the six UN international staff who had been abducted earlier that day -- Jonathan Veitch of the United Kingdom and Sheldon Yett of the United States, both of whom work for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) -- were released.
Also released with them were a Somali staff member of UNICEF and four staff members of Medicins sans Frontieres (MSF): two Spanish, one French and one Somali.
The three UNICEF staff members and four MSF staff members had been part of a group that was seized following an attack Tuesday morning by a Somali militia group on the MSF compound in north Mogadishu. The UN staff were part of a joint UNICEF-World Health Organization (WHO) effort to immunize Somali children against polio and cholera.
Four UN international staff members remain abducted, including two UK nationals, one French and one Belgian. They are believed to be held by a faction led by Musa Sudi Yalahow.
The United Nations has been in contact with Musa Sudi, and has appealed to all parties to help release its staff as soon as possible.
In response to questions, the Spokesman said that the UN staff who had been released were brought to Nairobi. The United Nations, he added, was hopeful that the remaining four staff members would be released soon, unharmed and unconditionally.
Asked about security in Mogadishu, he said that there had been a thorough security assessment before the team visited the city, but a further re-assessment was likely as a result of the incident.
The Spokesman did not want to speculate on why the staff had been seized, but noted that the militia faction linked to their capture opposed the Somali Transitional National Government.
UNITED STATES VETOES RESOLUTION ON MIDDLE EAST OBSERVER FORCE
At about 11 p.m. Tuesday night, the Security Council voted on a draft resolution on the establishment of a UN observer force to protect Palestinian civilians, which was sponsored by the seven Non-Aligned members of the Council. The resolution received nine votes in its favor --from Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Jamaica, Mali, Mauritius, Russian Federation, Singapore and Tunisia -- but was rejected as a result of the veto cast by United States.
France, Ireland, Norway, and the United Kingdom abstained. Ukraine decided not to participate in last nights vote.
Council members voted on the draft resolution sponsored by the Non-Aligned Movement after no agreement was reached on a compromise text that Council members had been working on for several days.
The Council did not schedule any meeting for today. It is scheduled to discuss Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and Somalia in consultations on Thursday.
KOSOVO UN REPRESENTATIVE DISCUSSES BORDER CLOSURES
The UN Mission in Kosovo reported today that the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Kosovo, Hans Haekkerup, visited Skopje, capital of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), on Tuesday, where he met with Javier Solana, the European Union's High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy.
Haekkerup and Solana stressed the need for a political solution in the FYROM, and the Special Representative also brought up the problem of the closing of the border crossings between FYROM and Kosovo.
Those border crossings remain closed to all non-UN and non-Kosovo Force vehicles. The Mission reports that essential drugs and other supplies have been arriving in Kosovo through alternate routes, but fuel supplies are running low. On Tuesday, in response to the fuel shortages, the UN Mission began to ration its own use of fuel.
Haekkerup expects to return to Skopje on Friday, when he intends to meet with senior FYROM Government authorities on recent tensions, the border crossing issue and other matters of mutual concern.
UN BRIEFS EU OFFICIALS ON BOSNIA'S STATE BORDER SERVICE
In Sarajevo today, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Julian Harston, and the Commissioner of the UN International Police Task Force, Vincent Coeurderoy, met with a visiting ministerial delegation from the European Union to discuss the UN Mission's efforts to deal with illegal migration and human trafficking.
The UN officials said that the best way to tackle human trafficking, smuggling and related corruption, is to complete the establishment of Bosnia's State Border Service as soon as possible. The establishment of the State Border Service is well under way, with the Service now controlling approximately 62 percent of the countrys 1,666-km border.
The Service is expected to be in full control of Bosnia's borders by next year, when it will employ approximately 2,700 personnel.
EAST TIMOR LEADER RESIGNS FROM NATIONAL COUNCIL
Late this afternoon in Dili, Timorese leader Xanana Gusmão sent a letter to the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Sergio Vieira de Mello, informing him of his resignation as Speaker of the East Timor National Council. Asked in Dili for reactions, Vieira de Mello said that he had not yet spoken with Gusmão and therefore had no reactions at this time.
Also today in Dili, Vieira de Mello met a group of former pro-Indonesia Timorese leaders, who arrived in East Timor for a two-day visit. They will meet the East Timorese leadership and civil society representatives to further the reconciliation process.
The visit, the first since September 1999 for some members of the delegation, follows the last reconciliation meeting held in Surabaya, Indonesia, last December.
Vieira de Mello laid out the UN Missions position that all refugees are welcome to return, but that there will be no amnesty for crimes committed in 1999 and that suspects would face the East Timorese justice system, notably the Special Panel for Serious Crimes.
UN MISSION NOTES INEQUALITIES FOR WOMEN IN GUATEMALA
The UN Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) is launching later today its report on Guatemalan women and the exercise of their political and civil rights, which notes that women in Guatemala face inequalities due to discrimination, lack of resources, long working hours, including house chores, and low education levels.
Though weak, the participation of women, the report says, has succeeded in some positive action, such as those in the field of health, access to land, violence, and gender-sensitive legislation.
In response to questions on what the result of UN-Iraq talks would be, the Spokesman said it was too early to predict. He said he believed that the Secretary-General, in his meeting with an Iraqi delegation in Amman on Tuesday, had firmed up a time to meet in New York in May. The Secretary-General, he stressed, does not intend to bargain with Iraq, and is guided by the resolutions of the Security Council.
Mark Malloch Brown, the Administrator for the UN Development Programme (UNDP), is travelling to the Netherlands, where will meet with the Dutch Minister for International Cooperation, Eveline Herfkens, in The Hague Thursday. He will then travel to Switzerland, where on Friday, he will be the keynote speaker at a meeting of Special Representatives of the Secretary-General, held in Mont-Pelerin, which the Secretary-General will also attend.
Argentina today became the 41st country to sign the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.
On Tuesday afternoon, China deposited an instrument of ratification to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, becoming the 148th country to ratify the Covenant.
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017
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