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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-09-05

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

Wednesday, September 5, 2001

UPDATED WEEKDAYS BY 3 P.M. U.S. EASTERN STANDARD TIME

SECRETARY-GENERAL ARRIVES IN SWEDEN

After visiting South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and, briefly, Kenya, Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived in Stockholm, Sweden, earlier today.

Upon arrival, Annan was met by the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Hans Dahlgren, and the Executive Director of the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation, Olle Nordberg.

Thursday morning, the Secretary-General is expected to meet separately with a number of Swedish government officials, including the Speaker of the Swedish Parliament, Birgitta Dahl, Foreign Minister Anna Lindh and Prime Minister, Goran Persson.

In the afternoon, he will go to Uppsala, where the following day he will deliver the Dag Hammarkjold Lecture

His lecture will cover his views on his great predecessor and on the ways in which the world and the United Nations have changed.

ANNAN TO HOLD SEPARATE MEETINGS WITH CYPRIOT LEADERS NEXT WEEK

Before departing Cyprus, the Secretary-General's Special Advisor on Cyprus, held at a press conference at the UN offices in Nicosia.

In his opening statement, de Soto announced that, on behalf of the Secretary-General , he "conveyed to His Excellency Mr. Glafcos Clerides, the Greek Cypriot leader, and His Excellency Mr. Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader, an invitation to resume the search for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem under the Secretary-General's auspices."

"It is our hope," de Soto said," that a new and reinvigorated phase of the Secretary-General's Good Offices will begin with separate meetings of the Secretary-General with each of the two leaders on 12 September 2001 in New York."

When asked about the media reports that Rauf Denktash had already refuses the invitation, the Spokesman said the UN had yet to hear from him directly and adding that we remain hopeful that Rauf Denktash will find it possible to come to New York on the date for which he and Glafcos Clerides have been invited.

EFFORTS CONTINUE TO REACH AGREEMENT AT RACISM CONFERENCE

The Secretariat of the World Conference Against Racism said today in Durban that progress continues to be made on the draft language of both the Programme of Action and the final Declaration.

The President of the Conference, South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has taken the lead in trying to find compromise language relating to the Middle East.

Earlier today, the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Secretary-General of the Conference, Mary Robinson, addressed a forum the link between HIV/AIDS and discrimination and racism. Robinson told the panelists, which included UNAIDS Executive Director, Dr. Peter Piot, that this conference provides an opportunity to build on the achievements of the recent Special Session on AIDS which recognized the need to put human rights at the heart of the global response to the epidemic.

Today, Piot also launched of the "UNAIDS Compendium on Discrimination, Stigmatization and Denial", reports based on case studies from India and Uganda.

The Executive Director said, "We must continue to encourage people to break the silence and to combat the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS.

Asked if the Secretary-General was involved in any way in the efforts to salvage the Durban conference, the Deputy Spokesman answered that when the Secretary-General had been in Durban he was in regular and direct contacts with the heads of delegations who were involved in the language negotiations. Since then, he added, the Secretary-General has been in regular contact with Mary Robinson, the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Secretary-General of the conference. However, he said, it is up to the member states to come up with the language that is acceptable to all and we do hope they are able to reach an agreement on more temperate wording for the final documents.

In response to a question, the Spokesman later said 170 countries were participating in the conference..

IRAQ REQUESTS DEPARTURE OF UN STAFF FROM BAGHDAD

On September 2, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry informed the Office of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq that it had declared five international UN staff members working in Baghdad as persona non grata because, the Foreign Ministry claimed, they were involved in activities that infringed on the national security of Iraq.

The Executive Director of the Iraq Programme, Benon Sevan, wrote to Iraq Permanent Representative at the United Nations, and told him in order to respond to these allegations it was necessary for the Secretary-General to receive all the details and evidence of the charges made against the staff members.

In light of these developments it was decided that for their own safety that the staff members leave Iraq as soon possible.Sevan took that decision in his capacity as UN Security Coordinator. Three of the staff members left Iraq and are currently in Amman. The others were not Iraq when the allegations were made.

Sevan will brief the Security Council Thursday morning in closed consultations on this issue.

When asked if these were key members of the mission, the Spokesman said they were data collectors and added that four of them were Nigerians and the fifth from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Asked if the Secretary-General had responded to the Iraqi accusations, the Spokesman said the letter from Benon Sevan was the initial response from the Secretariat, he added that were waiting for a letter from the Iraqis to the Secretary-General outlining these accusations.

IRAQI CRUDE OIL SLIPS SLIGHTLY LAST WEEK

According to the weekly update from the Office of the Iraq Programme, the Security Council's 661 sanctions committee on Iraq has not yet decided on the price of Iraqi crude oil sold to the United States market during September.

The volume of Iraqi oil exports under the United Nations oil-for-food programme fell back to 13 million barrels in the week 25 - August 31, down from the previous week's high of 16.8 million barrels.

The value of contracts placed on hold by the 661 Committee rose to $3.76 billion, up from the previous week's total of $3.58 billion.

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS TO DISCUSS SEPTEMBER PROGRAMME

The Security Council met this morning to discuss its programme of work for the month of September. It was the first meeting under the presidency of Ambassador Jean-David Levitte of France.

This afternoon at 4 p.m., the Council will hold a private meeting to hear from Sir Ketumile Masire, the facilitator of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue.

UN ETHIOPIA/ERITREA MISSION TO INVESTIGATE MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Ethiopia and Eritrea, Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, has established a Board of Inquiry, composed of senior military and civilian staff, to investigate and report on all allegations concerning serious misconduct by members of the UN mission (UNMEE).

On August 27, the mission had been informed that a former member of UNMEE's Italian contingent was being investigated in Italy on accusations of allegedly having sex with under age girls while serving in the mission area.

UN OBSERVERS ROBBED IN EASTERN CONGO

On Monday, military observers from the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo ( MONUC) while on patrol on Monday encountered unidentified armed men in the eastern part of the country.

The armed men stopped a UN mission vehicle on the road near Bukavu and robbed the two military observers of their radios and 300 dollars.

A team of four military observers had arrived in Bukavu on August 23.

The MONUC teams in Bukavu and Uvira have been instructed to restrict their movements.

UN HUMANITARIAN OFFICIALS HEAD TO SUDAN

The Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Humanitarian Affairs in the Sudan, Tom Eric Vraalsen (Norway) and Kenzo Oshima, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, are scheduled to travel to the Sudan starting Saturday.

During their weeklong mission, Vraaelsen and Oshima will visit both the government and rebel held areas and press for unconditional humanitarian access to millions in need of assistance in the war-torn country.

According to the World Food Programme, some 2.9 million are targeted to receive food aid.

NO SIGNIFICANT PROBLEMS REPORTED IN FIJI VOTE, SAYS UN MONITORS

The UN Electoral Observer Mission in Fiji is currently consolidating its data on the independence, impartiality and professionalism of the electoral authorities during the voting in that country that took place from August 25 until September 1.

To date, the UN Observer Mission has observed no problems significant enough to compromise the overall integrity of the voting process. The vote was conducted in a transparent manner, and national electoral officials worked with dedication to conduct the vote under severe logistical constraints.

As it observes the counting process underway in Fiji, the UN Mission expressed appreciation for the cooperation it has received from the Fijian people and officials and said it looks forward to the realization of the return to democratic rule there.

OTHER ANNOUCEMENTS

The UN's Chief Electoral Officer in East Timor, Carlos Valenzuela, today congratulated the people of East Timor for having come out massively to cast their vote in the recent elections. The final voter turnout in the August 30 elections amounted to 384,227 voters, or 91.3 percent of those eligible to vote.

In a report issued today, the UN secretariat presents an estimated budget for the first year of operation for the International Criminal Court. If the Court does not have any situation referred to it and it holds its major meetings in The Hague, the report says, its estimated costs for its first year would be more than $15.7 million. If a situation were referred to the Court during its first year, however, its costs would rise to more than $30.1 million. Its costs could be reduced by about $109,000 over its first year if its meetings are held at UN Headquarters in New York.

Today, Algeria and Sri Lanka will sign the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, bringing the number of signatories to 100.

The World Health Organization today launched an urgent appeal for $2.9 million to combat an outbreak of yellow fever in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Cases have been confirmed in half of the communes in Abidjan and suspected cases have been reported elsewhere. WHO says it is crucial to begin immunization as soon as possible as there is a seven to ten day period necessary for protective immunity to develop.

The United Nations Development Fund for Women ( UNIFEM) announced that a group of three independent experts today began a ten-day visit to Somalia, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is the second of six planned visits to conflict areas to assess the impact of armed conflict on women and women's role in peace building.

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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