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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-09-14

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

Friday, September 14, 2001

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

ANNAN HAILS MAGNIFICENT SPIRIT OF NEW YORKERS, AMERICANS

This morning, under the pouring rain, Secretary-General Kofi Annan rang the Peace Bell in the Japanese Garden at UN Headquarters.

The ringing the Peace Bell, part of the tradition to usher in the new General Assembly session, was delayed because of the horrific attacks Tuesday on the United States. At the ceremony, the Secretary-General said that no one will forget 11 September. But he asked: who will remember it was also the International Day of Peace, when people try to imagine a world free of conflict and violence. "Clearly," he said, "this year, it was a dream deferred." Now, he said, the peace bell is being rung in honor of the victims of Tuesday's attack.

He noted that one of the guests at today's ceremony, Wei Li Chai, had come to the United Nations on Tuesday to hear his daughter sing at the Peace Bell ceremony that was cancelled -- instead of going to his workplace, the World Trade Center, where several of his colleagues died.

We must not lose hope, the Secretary-General said, adding, "We must maintain our resolve, and all nations must unite against the forces of darkness and depravity."

Later in the morning, the Secretary-General attended a gathering organized by the UN staff in the General Assembly Hall, to demonstrate solidarity with the people of the United States. The Hall, which can sit approximately 2,000 people, was filled to capacity with others standing in the aisles.

The UN Staff Committee announced the establishment of a Relief Fund for the families of the victims with an initial donation of $25,000. In his remarks, the Secretary-General urged staff to add to that initial contribution as generously as possible.

"Our host city is deeply wounded, he went on to say, our host country is in mourning. But their magnificent spirit is not broken."

Thursday, the Secretary-General sent letters of condolence to U.S. President George W. Bush and to New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. He told them that the United Nations grieves with other New Yorkers, and expresses its solidarity with the American Government and people. He told Giuliani that, above all, the United Nations mourns the deaths of so many valiant police officers, fire fighters and city officials, who had worked to keep us safe over the years.

ANNAN ATTENDS PRAYER SERVICES IN NEW YORK

As part of the designated day of prayer in the United States, the Secretary-General attended a noon service in honor of the victims at the Church of Heavenly Rest in New York.

At 1 oclock, he went to the Islamic Cultural Center of New York to participate in a prayer service being held for the victims, along with Christian and Jewish religious leaders.

Next Tuesday, the Secretary-General will go to the Temple Emanuel synagogue in New York.

TIGHT SECURITY MEASURES REMAIN IN PLACE AT UN HQ

The UN security service announced today that the UN Headquarters will continue to remain closed to the public, and guided tours will be suspended, until further notice.

The section of First Avenue in front of the UN premises will remain closed to vehicular traffic.

AFGHAN CIVILIANS FACE INCREASED VULNERABILITY

Afghan civilians to face increased vulnerability, the UN humanitarian coordinators office for Afghanistan warned today a day after international staff were temporarily relocated from that war-torn country due to security concerns.

The warning came in a press release issued in Islamabad, Pakistan, which outlined the deepening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and said massive displacement could not be ruled out if assistance cannot be continued. Citing the World Food Programmes statistic of three million people receiving food aid in rural areas, the press release said at least half that number may be forced to leave their homes to avert starvation if the support cannot be continued.

There are currently believed to be almost six million vulnerable people inside Afghanistan, approximately 25% of the total population.

The UN Childrens Fund says it hopes for a cease-fire during the next phase of its planned polio immunization campaign from 23 to 26 September, which is aimed to reach more than five and a half million children in Afghanistan.

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF UN MISSION IN ETHIOPIA/ERITREA

In a unanimous vote early this afternoon, the members of the Security Council unanimously approved resolution extending the mandate of the UN mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea until March 15, 2002.

Earlier, meeting in closed consultations, Council members received a briefing by Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hedi Annabi on the Secretary-Generals recent report on the UN mission in Sierra Leone. In the report, the Secretary-General recommends that the mission be extended by six months.

During consultations, Council members also discussed their annual report to the General Assembly.

HUNDREDS OF REFUGEES RETURN TO EAST TIMOR

The UN mission in East Timor ( UNTAET) reports that more than 600 refugees returned from camps in Indonesian West Timor today in a process facilitated by, among others, independence leader Xanana Gusmão.

The mass return, in which UNTAET, the International Organization for Migration and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees played a crucial part, follows a 7 July border meeting attended East Timorese leaders and militia leaders from West Timor.

UNTAET officials will be continuing discussions with political and militia/pro-autonomy/pro-integration leaders with a view to promoting reconciliation and negotiating further refugee returns.

OTHER ANNOUCEMENTS

The Marshall Islands today became the 115th Member State to pay their 2001 regular budget contribution in full with a payment of over $10,000. At this time last year, 126 Member States had paid in full. The dollar value of fully paid contributions is slightly higher this year at about $746 million as compared to $744 million last year.

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea today announced that Edward Laing, Judge of the Tribunal since October 1996, died in his home country of Belize on September 11. Laings term of office was due to end in September 2002.Laing served as both a Professor of Law and as Ambassador of Belize during his long career.

The report of the Joint Inspection Unit on the management of buildings was issued today. The report says the United Nations needs to review its budgeting policy on building maintenance costs and capital expenditure in order to ensure that buildings are kept structurally sound and equipment well maintained.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Sunday, September 16

The Secretary-General will issue a message to mark the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.

Monday, September 17

The Security Council expects to hold a meeting to hear from Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic.

The Secretary-General's report to the Security Council on the Central African Republic is expected during the early part of the week.

In Vienna, the 45th session of the general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will take place throughout the week.

The World Investment Report for 2001 will be issued by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The New York launch of the report will be at 11:15, when Georg Kell of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General will brief the press.

At 2:30 p.m., the London School of Economics Foundation and Centennial Fund will give a briefing to the press.

Tuesday, September 18

The United Nations intends to display an exhibit to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld's death. The UN Postal Administration will issue three commemorative stamps to mark the anniversary of his death.

The Security Council has scheduled consultations on Iraq (UNMOVIC) and Burundi in the morning. In the afternoon, the Council has scheduled a public meeting on the adoption of the mandate extension resolution of the UN mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL). The Council also intends to hold a private meeting on Angola.

Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Jayantha Dhanapala will represent the Secretary-General at the third meeting of States parties to the Landmine Convention, which will take place through Friday in Nicaragua.

Thursday, September 20

The Security Council has scheduled morning consultations on Iraq (oil-for-food program) and in the afternoon, a private meeting on Burundi.

Friday, September 21

The Security Council has scheduled two public meetings. The first is to hear from the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Wolfgang Petritsch, and the second is to hear from the Secretary-General's Representative for the Central African Republic, Lamin Cissé.

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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