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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-09-07

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

Friday, September 7, 2001

RACISM CONFERENCE HEADS TOWARDS CONCLUSION

The discussions at the World Conference against Racism, underway in Durban, South Africa, are continuing as the proceedings are scheduled to end today.

Delegates are looking over the new proposed language on the legacy of the past and the language concerning the Middle East, and are meeting behind closed doors to discuss those topics. All sides are still aiming for a text that can be adopted on general agreement.

South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the President of the Conference, is facilitating the talks.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES CHILDREN AND ARMED CONFLICT

Meeting in closed consultations this morning, the Security Council discussed children and armed conflict. A public meeting of the Council will be held on that subject on September 19.

The Security Council on Thursday received the Secretary-Generals report on children in armed conflict, which includes 23 action points that the Security Council, Member States and other relevant bodies should consider to ensure that childrens rights can be protected.

Among the steps that are detailed, the Secretary-General says the Council may wish to ensure that the mandates of peace operations explicitly include provisions for monitoring childrens rights.

He urges that sexual violence against women and children continue to be prosecuted as a war crime. The report also highlights the impact HIV/AIDS on children in conflict situations, the role of truth commissions and other related topics.

SECRETARY-GENERAL PROPOSES EXTENSION OF UNMEE

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his latest report on Ethiopia and Eritrea, issued today, recommends that the mandate of the UN mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) be extended for six months, until March 15 2002. He notes that, while the past 12 months have not been without difficulties, there are still grounds for satisfaction.

With the submission of the UN Missions final map to the parties, the Temporary Security Zone, established by the Mission in April 2001, is now operational. While the two Governments have not formally accepted the map, their de facto respect for its parameters on the ground augurs well, he says.

For the first time in three years, the armies of Ethiopia and Eritrea have been fully separated and some of their soldiers are beginning to return home. The majority of displaced persons have also returned to their homes inside the Zone, and the processes of rehabilitation and reconstruction have begun, he says. However, he says, several outstanding issues remain, and the parties' cooperation in resolving them is crucial.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Ethiopia and Eritrea, Legwaila Joseph Legwaila will be attending a series of Council meetings next week regarding the Mission.

ANNAN SAYS YUGOSLAVIA HAS MET CONDITIONS ON ARMS SANCTIONS

The Secretary-General, in a letter to the President of the Security Council issued today, considers the conditions the Council had placed on reconsidering the arms sanctions imposed on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in Resolution 1160 of March 31, 1998.

He notes that the situation in Yugoslavia has changed considerably, and writes, "The new authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia are cooperating constructively with the international community in efforts to bring peace and stability to the Balkan region."

He says that he believes the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has complied with the provisions of Resolution 1160, and that the Council may therefore wish to reconsider the sanctions prohibitions in that resolution.

Security Council members are considering a draft resolution on lifting the arms embargo on Yugoslavia and have scheduled a vote for Monday

TURKISH CYPRIOT LEADER REFUSES INVITATION TO ATTEND TALKS

In answer to a question, the Spokesman said that Rauf Denktash has today informed the United Nations that he is unable to accept the Secretary-General's invitation conveyed to him at the beginning of this week.

This is a regrettable development, the Spokesman said, adding the hope that it was not his final position. There is much work to be done, and efforts must get back on track without delay and in earnest, the Spokesman added.

The United Nations hopes that Denktash will see fit to support the Secretary-General's good offices by engaging in a new and reinvigorated phase of the search for a comprehensive settlement, starting next week in New York.

In response to a question, the Spokesman said he had no detailed schedule for the New York talks so far.

UNDP WELCOMES ZIMBABWE ACCORD ON LAND REFORM

Abdoulie Janneh, the Assistant Administrator and Director of the UN Development Programme's Africa Bureau, today said that UNDP warmly welcomes the agreement on land reform in Zimbabwe reached at the Thursday Commonwealth ministers' meeting in Abuja, Nigeria.

He said that UNDP has been working very closely with the Government of Zimbabwe, commercial farmers, regional leaders, donors, and other parties to re-open dialogue on the issue over the past 12 months. He added, "We stand ready and willing to help in any way we can to help implement the agreement."

UN POSITION CLARIFIED ON TOWN OF GHAJAR AT "BLUE LINE"

In a letter to the President of the Security Council, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean Marie Guéhenno clarified what the situation is at the village of Ghajar in southern Lebanon, which straddles the "blue line."

Guéhenno told the Council that the UN Interim Force in Lebanon ( UNIFIL) had for a time temporarily stored containers by a gate on the road leading from Ghajar to the Lebanese village of Abbasiyeh, but the containers were removed on August 4. He added that at no time did these containers constitute a position or a checkpoint, as Israel has asserted.

The United Nations, he said, is endeavoring to maintain the status quo in Ghajar. In the most recent period, UN officials have engaged in concerted efforts at the diplomatic and military levels with Lebanese and Israeli authorities to restore stability and avert conflict. However, there have been no "understandings" reached with Israeli officials.

Guéhenno adds that the United Nations is continuing to keep a close watch on the situation in the Ghajar/Abbasiyeh area and will promptly take any necessary further steps with the Lebanese and Israeli authorities to pre-empt possible inflammatory incidents.

UN FLIGHTS TO AFGHANISTAN ARE INDISPENSABLE, OFFICE SAYS

The UN humanitarian coordinators office for Afghanistan, in response to reported threats by the Taliban to close Afghan airspace, today underscored the importance of UN aid flights to maintain urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.

A press release issued in Islamabad, Pakistan -- the operating base for the UN aircraft -- said the flights were indispensable to United Nations work in Afghanistan, particularly its humanitarian operations, because of the topography and poor infrastructure of the country. At times, various areas are almost entirely inaccessible except by air.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL WILL TOUR UN OFFICES IN TURIN

Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette will travel to Turin, Italy from September 9-12, at the invitation of a support group for the UN institutions in Turin.

The Deputy Secretary-General will visit the UN Staff College, the International Training Center of the ILO and the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute.

On September 10, she will receive an honorary degree in Political Science from the University of Turin. Following the acceptance of her degree, she will make a statement on globalization. She will be back in New York on September 13.

CLARIFICATION ISSUED ON UN STAFF EXPELLED FROM IRAQ

In response to a number of questions concerning statements made Thursday by Iraqi officials on the expulsion of two members of the UN Iraq/Kuwait Observer Mission ( UNIKOM), the Spokesman confirmed that two UN military observers who took some pictures on the Iraqi side of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) had left the country.

Iraqi authorities complained to the Mission and, since they had violated the UN Missions standard operating procedures that forbid the taking of pictures in that area, they were removed from the Iraqi side of the Mission area.

In April two other members of the Mission were also removed from Iraq because they had violated standard procedures and had taken pictures.

Also in response to questions, the Spokesman said there are a total of 882 UN staff members in Iraq under the umbrella of the "oil-for-food" program, 364 in Baghdad and 518 in northern Iraq. UNIKOM has 195 military observers and 904 troops stationed along the Demilitarized Zone.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Secretary-General left Uppsala, Sweden this morning and arrived back in New York this afternoon. He will back at work at Headquarters Monday morning.

The Chief of Staff of the UN Mission in East Timor, Nagalingam Parameswaran, today returned from a five-day visit to West Timor, where he met with refugee leaders to arrange for the expected return next week of some 2,000 refugees to East Timor. That return is scheduled to take place on September 12, when the refugees, who are from East Timor's Ainaro District, will meet with leaders from that district and be welcomed in a traditional ceremony.

By the end of August, there were a total of 47,151 military and police personnel, coming from 88 countries, who were serving in the 16 UN peacekeeping operations

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Saturday, September 8

Today is International Literacy Day, an event sponsored by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ( UNESCO). The Secretary-General will issue a message to mark the occasion.

Sunday, September 9

The third session of the UN Environment Programme's Ministerial Conference on International Environmental Governance will take place in Algiers today and Monday.

Monday, September 10

The Secretary-General, on his first day back at UN Headquarters since his two-week trip to Europe and Africa, will address the Department of Public Information-Non-Governmental Organization Conference, titled "NGOs Today: Diversity of the Volunteer Experience."

The Security Council will hold a public meeting on East Timor. It has also scheduled a formal meeting to vote on a resolution concerning the lifting of the arms sanctions imposed in 1998 on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

There will be a meeting of troop contributing countries for the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).

The Secretary-General's report to the Security Council on the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) is expected toward the beginning of the week.

At noon, there will be a press conference at Christie's concerning of a $40 million collection of art, the proceeds of which are to benefit the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF). UNICEF Special Representative Susan Sarandon will attend.

At 4:30 p.m., outgoing General Assembly President Harri Holkeri will give a press conference to review the 55th General Assembly session.

At 7:00 p.m., the Secretary-General will present the Candlelight Award to Klaus Schwab, Founder and President of the World Economic Forum, and will also inaugurate the new Center for Global Issues on Sustainability at 149 East 38th Street in Manhattan.

The Deputy Secretary-General will receive an honorary degree in political science from the University of Turin in Italy.

Tuesday, September 11

The General Assembly will formally open its 56th session, selecting a new President. The Secretary-General will open the day's work by ringing the Peace Bell at UN Headquarters.

The Secretary-General will also speak to the Council on Foreign Relations on preventive action.

The Security Council will hold consultations on the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).

At 11:15 a.m., there will be a press conference to launch the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Africa Report, with Odyek Agona, an UNCTAD economist.

In London, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) World Conservation Monitoring Centre will launch the "World Atlas of Coral Reefs." See www.unep-wcmc.org/marine/coralatlas/

Wednesday, September 12

The Security Council intends to hold its monthly luncheon with the Secretary-General.

There will be a troop contributors meeting for the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).

The guest at the noon briefing will be Peter Hansen, Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Thursday, September 13

The Secretary-General will attend and deliver remarks at the annual inter-faith service at St. Bartholomew's Church, which this year is devoted to the theme of "changing the world with children."

The Security Council expects to hold consultations on the UN Mission in Sierra Leone and on the sanctions it imposed on Sudan in 1996.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) will launch its annual State of the World's Children report.

Friday, September 14

The Secretary-General's task force on information and communications technology, headed by former Costa Rican President Jose Maria Figueres, will hold its inaugural meeting, and the Secretary-General will deliver remarks. At 12:30 p.m., Figueres will attend a press conference on the launch of the task force.

The Security Council expects to hold consultations on the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) for Iraq and the Secretary-General's annual report to the General Assembly. It also intends to hold a formal meeting to consider the mandate of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), which is to expire on September 15.

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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