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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-09-10

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 FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, September 10, 2001

( Updated weekdays by 3 p.m. U.S. Eastern Standard Time)

ANNAN WELCOMES AGREEMENT REACHED AT RACISM CONFERENCE

The World Conference against Racism ended on Saturday afternoon in Durban, South Africa, after intensive and often difficult deliberations on a number of issues.

Delegates adopted a Declaration and Programme of Action that commits Member States to undertake a wide range of measures to combat racism and discrimination at the international, regional and national levels. However, a number of delegations made known their reservations or dissociated themselves from the text on certain issues, including those relating to the Middle East and to the legacy of the past.

In a statement issued Saturday, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, "I am very glad that agreement has at last been reached. As I said at the beginning of the Conference, to have left Durban without agreement would have given comfort to the worst elements in every society."

As he entered UN Headquarters this morning, the Secretary-General told reporters that delegations had worked hard to find common language. He added that he thought it was regrettable that the Conference "was overshadowed by all the acrimonious discussions in the NGO conference, and also the whole discussion about the Middle East and the reparations issue because there were lots of other victims."

He added, "The conference was about victims; the conference was about the future; the conference was to try and come out with a plan of action and a declaration that would mean something to all those people in the room and around the world who are victims of discrimination."

Asked if these types of conferences could be considered a waste of money, the Secretary-General agreed that the Durban conference did not go as well as had been expected. However, he added, "It does not mean that the world coming together to discuss common issues and find a solution is not a proper thing to do."

SECURITY COUNCIL LIFTS SANCTIONS ON YUGOSLAVIA

The Security Council this morning unanimously adopted a resolution lifting sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

On September 6, the Secretary-General sent a letter to Council President Jean David Levitte confirming that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had complied with the provisions of Resolution 1160 (1998), and that the Council could therefore wish to reconsider the sanctions detailed in that resolution.

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON EAST TIMOR ELECTIONS

The Security Council this morning also met to hear a briefing from Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean Marie Guéhenno on the elections held in East Timor on August 30. Guéhenno noted that of the 16 parties that contested the elections, 12 won seats in the 88-member Constituent Assembly.

He said that in the next few days the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Sergio Vieira de Mello, hopes to announce a new Cabinet which is expected to be composed entirely of East Timorese and to reflect broadly the election outcome.

Guéhenno noted that the forthcoming report of the Secretary-General on East Timor will present the planning for the mission, which will follow on the current UN Transitional Administration in East Timor ( UNTAET).

Today in East Timor, the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, Bong-Scuk Sohn, certified the results of the elections at a ceremony in Dili, telling Vieira de Mello that the East Timorese "sent a signal to their community leaders, and indeed to the whole world, that for them, a successful electoral process was more important than any particular outcome."

Following its public meeting, the Security Council adopted a Presidential Statement on East Timor.

This afternoon they Council will hold a private meeting with the troop-contributing countries to the UN Mission in Eritrea and Ethiopia (UNMEE). This is the first time the Council will hold a formal meeting with troop contributing nations; until now, Council members met in a more informal setting with troop contributing countries. This change comes as a result of Resolution 1353.

SECRETARY-GENERAL ISSUES ANNUAL REPORT TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY

In his annual report to the General Assembly on the work of the United Nations, the Secretary-General says that Member States did him a great honor in appointing him to a second term and added, "We have achieved a great deal over the past five years. I firmly believe, however, that we can and must do better."

He says in the report that he has reinforced efforts to move the United Nations from a culture of reaction to one of prevention. A draft plan of action on peace-building is now being finalized to serve as a practical guide for the UN system on formulation and implementation of coherent peace-building strategies.

He notes that, in June, he issued his second report on improving peacekeeping capacity, and says that some of the proposed measures will require immediate investment for future benefits, while others will require political compromise. He is convinced, he adds, that their adoption will improve the UN's capacity to respond to the demands made of it.

The Secretary-General also mentions recent elections and protests that have led to changes of government in countries ranging from Cote d'Ivoire and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to Peru and the Philippines. He says, "These examples suggest that public awareness of democratic rights -- such as freedom of the press, the rule of law, and free and fair elections -- is rising, and that citizens are beginning to act upon this awareness. They are holding their leaders accountable."

ANNAN CALLS FOR SIX-MONTH EXTENSION OF SIERRA LEONE MISSION

The Secretary-General, in his latest report on the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), recommends a sixth-month extension of that Mission's mandate. The Mission is scheduled to be discussed in consultations on Thursday and with the troop contributing countries the day before. The extension of the mandate is expected next Monday.

In the report, the Secretary-General notes the continued progress in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration program and the deployment of the UN Mission into the country's diamond-producing areas.

Although these developments provide grounds for cautious optimism, he adds that many more challenges may be encountered in the months ahead, particularly in the months leading up to the elections.

He says that in order to enable the UN Mission to carry out the tasks of providing security and logistical assistance for the elections, the force requirements are being further reviewed to determine whether the military strength of the mission needs to exceed the ceiling of 17,500 personnel in place now.

An electoral assessment mission, which just returned from Sierra Leone, is preparing a report that will serve as a basis for an operational plan for the role of the UN Mission to support the elections.

UN APPEALS TO TALIBAN FOLLOWING MORE ARRESTS OF AID WORKERS

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports today that it has learned that up to 10 Afghan staff of the aid organization International Assistance Mission have been detained in Kabul by the Taliban.

The Secretary-General, in a statement issued on August 31 on the Taliban's treatment of that organization, had warned that the action by the Taliban against the aid community could have serious consequences on the provision of international humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan.

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Kenzo Oshima today appealed to the Taliban to take steps to assure the security and freedom for all aid workers to operate in accordance with international law.

UN OBSERVERS SAY FIJI ELECTIONS REFLECT POPULAR WILL

The UN Electoral Observation Mission in Fiji today issued a press release summarizing its findings as it observed the voting process and the counting of ballots in that country. The Mission concludes that, at this stage, the election result reflects the will of the people of Fiji.

It adds, "The next step for Fiji will be the formation of a government in accordance with the nation's constitutional procedures and the results of the election. It is the clear intent of the Constitution that the formation of the government should include political parties according to their level of support, reflecting the will of the people as expressed in the election."

The Mission notes several complaints lodged with it that claimed irregularities during the voting, and it expresses its concern that voter turnout may have been somewhat influenced by a perception of underlying intimidation. That perception, the Mission says, highlights the need for all parties to allow democratic governance to take root in Fiji.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL ADDRESSES TURIN UNIVERSITY

Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette arrived in Turin, Italy, Sunday morning, where this morning she was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Turin.

In her acceptance speech, the Deputy Secretary-General focused on globalization. She said that people have always traded, moved, colonized and migrated. "What makes our era different is the degree of inter-penetration, and the speed with change is taking place," she said.

One way to respond, she suggested, is through the "globalization of values." She said there is a need to create a wide, more expansive definition of duties to ensure that globalization benefits all people economically, politically and socially.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Secretary-General will meet this afternoon at 4:30 with Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo of the Republic of Korea, who is to be the President of the 56th session of the General Assembly. That session will formally begin Tuesday, and the Secretary-General will open the session in the morning with the traditional ringing of the Peace Bell near the entrance of UN Headquarters.

[After the briefing, the spokesman said that Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides was coming to UN headquarters at the invitation of the Secretary-General.]

Asked about the possibility that both Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will come to New York, the Spokesman said that Arafat was expected to attend the General Assembly meetings that begin later this month. Israel has not yet confirmed whether Sharon would attend, but the Spokesman added the Secretary-General has urged the Prime Minister to attend.

The report of the Security Council's Iraq Sanctions Committee, covering its activities from December 6, 2000, to July 3, 2001, is available today. The Committee will be meeting this afternoon in a closed session to continue its discussion of prices for Iraqi crude oil destined for the European and U.S. markets.

In The Hague today, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), for the first time in its history, began work simultaneously on three trials. Two Bosnian Croats and five Bosnian Serbs were tried in the three separate cases. The holding of the three simultaneous trials comes after the appointment of six new "ad litem" judges, who took their declarations to serve the Tribunal last Thursday. The new trials reduce to 15 the number of people accused by the Tribunal who are awaiting trial.

Today, Bulgaria became the 114th country to pay its 2001 regular budget contribution in full with a payment of more than $130,000.

The Seventh Conference of Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change will take place in Africa for the first time later this year. The Government of Morocco and the secretariat of the Conference today signed a host country agreement for the meeting, which will take place in Marrakech from October 29 to November 9.

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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