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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-09-18

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2001

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

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO VISIT SITE OF WORLD TRADE CENTER ATTACK

Secretary-General Kofi Annan will visit the site of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center this afternoon at 2:00 p.m., where he will be met by New York Governor George Pataki and the Mayor of New York City, Rudolph Giuliani.

He will offer condolences and support on behalf of the international community in New York. Nationals of scores of nations are among the more than 5,000 people still missing in the tragedy.

This morning, he attended a service marking the start of Rosh Hashanah at Temple Emanu-el in New York City, where he said that the world had "recognized in this despicable act a common threat to shared freedoms and ideals."

"This tragedy has united us," he affirmed, "we must not let its aftermath divide us. Let us take care not to blame an entire people...for the unspeakable acts of a few individuals."

Asked whether the United Nations had not been involved in the response to the terrorist attack, the Spokesman noted the immediate response by the Security Council, including Resolution 1368 (2001), which strongly endorsed measures to deal with terrorism. Adding that "it's not the Secretary-General's job to start forming military coalitions," he said that Annan had focused on emphasizing a moral stance in response to recent events.

UN REFUGEE AGENCY WARNS OF HUMANITARIAN CONSEQUENCES IN AFGHANISTAN

[In a press release issued following the noon briefing, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers, on a visit to Washington, D.C. today urged US leaders to weigh carefully the humanitarian consequences of any actions in Afghanistan. Noting that thousands of people in Afghanistan are on the move, he said, "We must do everything we can to avoid further displacement of innocent civilians."]

UNHCR reports that people continue to leave major cities in Afghanistan, with some 5,000 Afghans reportedly massing at a border crossing near Pakistans provincial capital of Quetta.

The refugee agency is negotiating with the Pakistani authorities and hopes the people will be allowed to cross the border. It says 2,000 tents have been sent to Quetta as an emergency measure.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme ( WFP) says it has enough food left in Afghanistan for two to three weeks.

Asked about UNHCR's efforts, the Spokesman said the agency was providing whatever assistance it could to the refugees while it tries to negotiate safe passage for them. He noted Pakistan's previous generosity in receiving Afghan refugees, and noted that UNHCR earlier this year had tried to help bring some Afghan refugees back to their home country from Pakistan.

UN ENVOY WELCOMES STATEMENTS ON MIDDLE EAST CEASE-FIRE

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East, Terje Roed Larsen, welcomed as significant a statement made today by Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat to a gathering of diplomats in Gaza, in which he said he had reiterated orders to secure a Palestinian cease-fire on all fronts, and to exercise maximum self-restraint in the face of any attacks.

Arafat added that Palestinians and Israelis have to work together to break the vicious cycle of violence, and stated his readiness to sit down to negotiate peace.

Larsen was also informed that Israel, following that message, had announced that it would cease all offensive military operations.

He praised today's developments, which he saw as a sign that the intensive diplomatic efforts by the nations of the European Union, the United States, Russia and the United Nations are starting to bear fruit.

Larsen called for today's words by both sides to be followed by actions, including the resumption of security cooperation efforts between the Israelis and Palestinians, followed by renewed political talks, starting with those planned to take place between Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.

ANNAN WELCOMES RESUMPTION OF INTER-KOREAN DIALOGUE

The Secretary-General, in a statement, welcomed the resumption of the inter-Korean dialogue. He was particularly glad that the ministerial talks between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK), held in Seoul on September 15-18, agreed to continue the exchange visits between separated families, as well as to undertake practical steps in the economic and other fields.

He urged the parties to persevere with the full implementation of the Joint Declaration signed on June 15, 2000, including a dialogue between the two countries at the highest level.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES UN SECURITY, IRAQ INSPECTORS

The Security Council began today's closed consultations with a briefing by the Chief of the UN Security and Safety Service, Michael McCann, on the impact of last Tuesdays terrorist attack on security at UN Headquarters. McCann also distributed to Council members pocket cards showing 10 points to be observed for fire safety in high-rise buildings. Those cards are being distributed to UN staff on a floor-by-floor basis following meetings and drills with security personnel.

Following that briefing, Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), introduced the Commissions latest report, which states that the Commission is prepared to implement its mandate in "an independent, effective and non-provocative manner."

In the afternoon, starting at 3:30, Council members will hold consultations on Afghanistan. Kieran Prendergast, Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, will brief. Asked about the contents of that briefing, the Spokesman said it would be expected to concern the latest political developments on Afghanistan.

After that discussion, Council members are to hold hold two formal meetings. In the first one, the Council will vote on a resolution to extend the mandate of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone ( UNAMSIL) for a period of six months, until the end of March 2002.

The second formal meeting is to adopt the annual report of the Security Council to the General Assembly. That report lists all communications received by the Security Council through the middle of 2001 and provides an assessment of Council activities on a monthly basis.

ANNAN PRESSES NEED FOR ACTION AGAINST LANDMINES

Today in Managua, Nicaragua, the States that are party to the Mine-Ban Convention are holding their third meeting, and the Secretary-General, in a message to that meeting, says that after last week's attack on the United States, "Never has there been a greater need for the world to show unity and purpose against the forces of violence and destruction."

In his message, which was delivered by Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Jayantha Dhanapala, the Secretary-General notes that 120 countries have either ratified the Convention banning anti-personnel mines or are in the process of doing so, and he urges all other countries to join the treaty as soon as possible.

He adds that the United Nations is currently developing a five-year mine action strategy to identify the goals that still need to be achieved, including an international instrument to deal with the problem of unexploded ordnance.

REPORT PRESENTS VIEWS ON EAST TIMOR'S CONSTITUTION

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in East Timor, Sergio Vieira de Mello, today handed over the Constitutional Commission reports to the new Constituent Assembly.

The reports from each of East Timors districts contain input from some 38,000 East Timorese on what they would like to be considered by the Constituent Assembly when it drafts a Constitution.

Some of topics in the reports include the Timorese peoples views on a system of government and head of state, taxation and investment, language, defense and security, currency, and human rights.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS IRAQI OIL PRICE THURSDAY

The issue of pricing mechanisms for Iraqi crude oil deliveries to the United States market in September has remained unresolved. The Security Council is scheduled to take up this issue this coming Thursday.

The Office of the Iraq Programme reports that, at an average rate of 1.9 million barrels per day, Iraq exported a total of 13.6 million barrels of oil in the week that ended on September 14, under the UN "oil-for-food" program.

The value of contracts placed on hold by the Security Councils 661 Sanctions Committee rose to just over $4 billion, covering 1,529 contracts.

FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF HAMMARSKJÖLD'S DEATH MARKED

Today is the 40th anniversary of the death of Dag Hammarskjöld served as Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1953 until his death in 1961 while on a mission concerning the Congo. To mark this anniversary, the UN Postal Administration is today issuing three stamps, one in each of the currencies of the Postal Administration.

Also to mark the anniversary, the UN Library is launching a website honoring the late Secretary-Generals years of service to the Organization. The site features a year-by-year narrative of events and of the Secretary-Generals legacy, and includes photographs, video and audio clips and transcripts from the Librarys Oral History Project.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Spokesman noted after the briefing that the Secretary-General and French President Jacques Chirac would hold a joint press conference at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

The Secretary-General, in a letter to the President of the Security Council, says that Col. Graeme Williams ended his tour of duty as the UN Chief Military Observer in the Prevlaka peninsula, located between Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, on September 15. He has appointed Col. Rodolfo Sergio Mujica of Argentina to be the next Chief Military Observer and head of the UN Mission of Observers in Prevlaka.

This morning, Brazil became the 12th country to sign the International Coffee Agreement.

The World Health Organization ( WHO) announced today that the composition of the 2002 Southern Hemisphere flu vaccine has been decided. The vaccine is intended for use in the Southern Hemisphere for the May to October 2002 flu season. The flu season in the Northern Hemisphere is about to begin, and many countries have already begun advertising vaccination campaigns.

The WHO said the epidemic of Yellow Fever in Abidjan, Cote dIvoire, is continuing but has not started to accelerate.

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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