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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-09-04

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

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HIGHLIGHTS

OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MANOEL DE ALMEIDA E SILVA

DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, September 4, 2001

SECRETARY-GENERAL PAYS OFFICIAL VISIT TO RWANDA

Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, earlier today after concluding his official visit to Rwanda. In Nairobi, he met with President Daniel arap Moi. He will fly from Nairobi to Sweden today, where on Thursday he will deliver a speech at Uppsala University.

While in Rwanda earlier today, the Secretary General flew by helicopter from Kigali to Ruhengeri to visit the Nkumba camp, where he was greeted by over 1,200 ex-Interahamwe, who welcomed him with singing and dancing. The fighters, formerly of the Rwandan Army and militias who were driven into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 1994 following the genocide in Rwanda, are being prepared for reintegration into Rwandan society. A lieutenant in the former Rwandan Army addressed the Secretary-General on behalf of the ex-fighters, acknowledging his side's military defeat and asking for international support as they reintegrate into Rwandan society.

Prime Minister Bernard Makuza, who accompanied the Secretary-General, thanked him for his support for the integration process, which is an essential step in the rebuilding of the nation.

The Secretary-General told the assembled ex-combatants, "In war, all are losers," and asked them to work together to see that the genocide is never repeated.

Returning to Kigali, the Secretary-General visited the Gisozi genocide memorial. The wreath he and his wife Nane laid there bore the simple inscription, "Souvenon Nous," or "Never Forget." Following this visit, the Secretary-General held a meeting with civil society organizations. The Secretary-Generals visit to Rwanda ended at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), where, together with his wife, he met national and international UN staff in Rwanda.

At the airport, he conferred with the new Registrar for the ICTR, Adama Dieng, and was seen off by the Prime Minister.

ANNAN SAYS UN OBSERVERS WILL HAVE ACCESS TO RWANDAN REBELS

The Secretary-General, upon arrival in Kigali early Monday evening, was met at the airport by Prime Minister Makuza.

He then met with President Paul Kagame, who, following the meeting, hosted a banquet in honor of the Secretary-General.

The two leaders held a press encounter. Asked about the announcement by Kinshasa on Monday that the Government intends to disarm about 3,000 Rwandan rebels, Annan said that UN observers will be given access to the rebels and would help make a determination as to who they are and which ones want to return to Rwanda. He added, "This is a step in the right direction. The mood is much more hopeful but there are still lots and lots of difficult tasks ahead so we should not relax and we need to persevere."

ANNAN MEETS WITH PRESIDENT, REBELS IN DR-CONGO

The Secretary-General had visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from September 1-3. During his stay in that country, he had a series of meetings with senior Government officials, including President Joseph Kabila. He also met with parties involved in the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, as well as Sir Ketumile Masire, the Facilitator of that Dialogue.

While in Kinshasa, he also met with officials of the UN Mission in that country.

The Secretary-General also visited Kisangani in the northeastern DRC, where he was greeted by thousands of people carrying signs, with many chanting "Demobilization Now." He was briefed by UN personnel on the ground, who reported the steady expansion of the UN presence in the region to monitor disarmament and demilitarization.

The Secretary-General also had a working luncheon with Adolphe Onusumba and other leaders of the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD). He said that the demilitarization of Kisangani was a priority for him. He also addressed a meeting of civic leaders.

Annan had arrived in the DRC on Saturday, 1 September, after having opened the World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa. He also held a press conference while in Durban.

DELEGATES URGED TO PUSH FOR SUCCESS OF RACISM CONFERENCE

The President of the World Conference against Racism, South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, and High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson today urged delegates to continue their work in a spirit of give and take to ensure a successful conclusion to the Conference. They made their plea a day after the United States and Israel announced that their delegations would leave the Conference.

In her statement to the plenary this morning, Robinson said that, if the conference fails, "we will have failed those who need this Conference most - the marginalized, the excluded, the hated. We will have let down those who are looking to this Conference to be a breakthrough in how we relate to each other as one human family in the 21st century."

On Monday while he was in Kigali, the Secretary-General issued a statement following the US and Israeli announcement of their withdrawal from the Conference, in which he said he expected progress could be made in the search for a consensus text to come out of the Conference.

The Secretary-General added that he was disappointed at the decision taken by the United States and Israel. Despite the tough going, he urged all countries to stay the course and remain at the conference.

Negotiations on language of the Declaration and Programme of Action continue.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS WORK FOR SEPTEMBER

There are no Council meetings scheduled today as the President for the month of September, Ambassador Jean-David Levitte of France, is engaged in bilateral consultations.

On Wednesday morning, the Council members will meet in closed consultations to discuss the program of work for this month. In the afternoon, they will hold a private meeting with the Facilitator of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, former Botswanan President Ketumile Masire. After briefing the council, Masire will hold a press conference.

Also on Wednesday, immediately after the noon briefing, Ambassador Levitte will hold a press conference to discuss the councils program of work for September.

UNMOVIC READY TO IMPLEMENT MANDATE, SAYS CHAIR

The latest quarterly report from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) to the Security Council, available today, reports on its ongoing activities and on the latest meeting of its College of Commissioners, which took place in New York late last month.

In his conclusion, UNMOVIC Chair Dr. Hans Blix says that "UNMOVIC has reached a level of preparedness which would allow it to implement the mandate given to it in an independent, effective and non-provocative manner."

The weekly oil-for-food update from the Office of the Iraq Programme will be out on Wednesday.

UN MISSION IN SIERRA LEONE ESCORTS PRESIDENTS TO DIAMOND ZONE

The UN Mission in Sierra Leone ( UNAMSIL), in its press briefing in Freetown earlier today, reported on a visit it hosted to the diamond-producing Koidu district, made by the presidents of Nigeria, Mali and Sierra Leone.

Also present during the Monday visit of Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Alpha Oumar Konare of Mali -- current chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) -- and Ahmed Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone, was the interim leader of the Revolutionary United Front, Issa Sesay.

The UN Mission described the visit as one that will further encourage the people of Sierra Leone to embrace the peace process and show that Sierra Leone is gradually moving towards lasting peace.

UNHCR SAYS SCREENING OF AFGHAN REFUGEES HAS RESUMED

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees ( UNHCR) said today that it had resumed the joint screening of thousands of Afghans in Jalozai and Nasir Bagh camps in northwest Pakistan, following a meeting with senior Pakistan officials during which the question of deportations was discussed and resolved.

UNHCR had suspended the screening exercise on Friday after 28 Afghan families from Jalozai were deported to Afghanistan by the provincial authorities earlier last week.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

UNHCR notes that more than 800 refugees have been returning daily from Kosovo to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) since last Saturday, maintaining an increased rate of arrivals from Kosovo over the past week.

On Monday in Arusha, Tanzania, the trial of former Rwandan Minister of Higher Education, Research and Culture Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda resumed at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda ( ICTR). Kamuhanda is facing nine counts of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and incitement to commit genocide, and also faces charges of rape, murder and extermination.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) reports that two Bosnian Serbs who had been granted provisional release by the Tribunal in April 2000 -- Simo Zaric and Miroslav Tadic -- have returned to The Hague to face trial. They have come back to the Tribunal's detention unit as they had agreed to do prior to their trial, which is to begin on September 10.

The Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO) says an estimated 1.6 million people are in need of emergency food aid in Central America. A combination of Hurricane Mitch, dry spells and earthquakes has caused a precarious food situation in the region, with El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala being the most affected. The FAO says the estimates for cereal output in the region will be 8 percent lower than the average for the past five years and the situation will worsen if the drought continues and hurricanes destroy crops.

The World Health Organization ( WHO) has said that, over the past ten years, about one-third of the worlds population has been affected by natural disaster, with floods and droughts accounting for 86 percent of those affected. Although earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and landslides are more dramatic and take a higher toll in human lives, floods and droughts have a longer lasting and more far-reaching effect.

Five more Member States have made their payments in full to the 2001 regular budget, bringing the number of fully paid-up Member States to 111. Payments were made by China (for more than $15 million); Ghana (more than $51,000); Guinea (more than $31,000); Japan (more than $203 million) and Kiribati (more than $10,000).

This morning, Rwanda became the 11th country to sign the 2001 International Coffee Agreement.

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055

Back


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