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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-09-28

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 28, 2001

ANNAN TO ADDRESS GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON TERRORISM

Secretary-General Kofi Annan is scheduled to deliver an address on terrorism to the General Assembly on Monday morning, at the opening of a debate on combating international terrorism. He will emphasize that terrorism is a universal challenge that the United Nations is uniquely positioned to help address.

This was an attack on all humanity, and humanity must respond as one, he is to say. He will stress that in that struggle, there is no alternative to international cooperation. He will urge Member States to sign and ratify existing conventions on terrorism as an urgent priority.

The Secretary-General will warn against the even more dangerous threat of terrorists using weapons of mass destruction, and will suggest actions that must be taken to help prevent such acts. He will also emphasize the importance of caring for all the victims of terrorism, both those directly affected and those vulnerable populations that may be affected by the struggle to eliminate terrorism.

[New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is also expected to speak.]

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES NEW RESOLUTION TO COUNTER TERRORISM

The Security Council scheduled consultations to resume at 3:30 p.m. to discuss a draft resolution on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

If needed, Council members will continue their work this afternoon, despite a planned evacuation drill of the building.

The Spokesman declined to respond to specific questions about the draft resolution on terrorism, noting it had not been made public. However, in response to questions about complaints from some Governments that "terrorism" is not defined in that resolution, he said that countries were trying to come to grips with a serious threat, and the United Nations hoped that it could be dealt with in a fair and effective way that would not affect civil liberties.

He added that Member States had not yet agreed on a definition of terrorism, but that the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly is dealing with that issue.

SECURITY COUNCIL LIFTS DIPLOMATIC SANCTIONS ON SUDAN

The Security Council this morning adopted resolution 1372, lifting sanctions on the Sudan, by a vote of 14 in favor and one abstention, which was by the United States.

The sanctions, as stated in resolution 1054, related to ban on travel by Sudanese Government officials. Under the terms of that resolution, Member States were required to reduce the number of Sudanese diplomatic personnel, and restrict the entry or transit of Sudanese Government officials in their respective countries.

The Secretary-General was present at the meeting. After the vote, he told the press, "I think it isimportant that the Council lift sanctions, sending the message that it can impose sanctions but it can also suspend and lift [them], if the conditions they sought to correct have been amended."

He added, "It is a very important day for Sudan, and also for the way the Council works."

UN HUMANITARIAN CHIEF TO VISIT REGION TO DEAL WITH AFGHAN CRISIS

The UNs top humanitarian official, Kenzo Oshima, will be flying Saturday to Pakistan and then Iran at the request of the Secretary-General to make sure that the United Nations is sufficiently prepared in those countries and to meet with Government officials on issues related to the growing crisis in and around Afghanistan.

Oshima today gave a press conference in Geneva on the Afghan humanitarian crisis, together with Michael Sackett, the newly appointed Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan. Sackett was previously the humanitarian coordinator for Afghanistan.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said that, while the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan remains officially shut, thousands of Afghans are trickling into Pakistan through the mountains. Anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 people are believed to have arrived in Pakistan's Quetta region over the past week. Most people are staying with relatives and friends or trying to blend into existing Afghan refugee settlements in an effort not to attract attention.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said that, while its portion of the appeal launched by the Secretary-General was relatively small, more than two-thirds of the 7.5 million people targeted in the appeal are women and children. Of that number, 1.5 million are children under the age of five. Even before the September 11 attack on the United States, UNICEF said it had estimated that one in four children born today in Afghanistan would die before their fifth birthday.

On Saturday, a UNICEF convoy is scheduled to take 200 metric tons of emergency aid to Badakhshan in northeastern Afghanistan, including clothes and shoes, family kits and pediatric medicines. For a portion of the journey, a team of 500 porters will be transferring the supplies by 4,000 donkeys for a two-day trek down a mountainside, according to a UNICEF briefing in Islamabad.

The World Food Programme (WFP) says that it has now established from reliable sources that its national staff is still in control of the warehouse in Kandahar with 1,640 tons of food. However, the Taliban are still occupying the WFP office there and staff cannot use the communication equipment. WFP says it has no information indicating that there has been any looting of its food stocks thus far throughout Afghanistan.

SECRETARY-GENERAL ENCOURAGED BY KABILA-KAGAME MEETING

The Secretary-General, in a statement issued through his Spokesman, said he was encouraged by the recent meeting of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in Malawi.

He hoped that the meeting would be followed up by further contacts between the two leaders, as well as a more detailed dialogue between the two Governments on key aspects of the peace process in the DRC and the Great Lakes Region. At the same time, the two leaders should do their utmost to stop the ongoing fighting in the east of the DRC, which threatens to undermine the peace process.

On the humanitarian front, the World Food Programme ( WFP) today said it was urgently appealing for $378,000 to resume a food airlift operation in early October in eastern DRC.

WFP says that hundreds of thousands of people fled their homes to seek refuge in the bush since the start of the 1998 war. Now, the arrival of the UN Mission has encouraged thousands to leave their rural hiding places and seek aid in the urban centers.

ANNAN SENDS CONDOLENCES TO SWISS FOLLOWING KILLINGS IN ZUG

The Secretary-General Thursday sent a letter to the President of the Swiss Confederation, Moritz Leuenberger, to express his profound condolences at the attack that took place earlier that day on the regional legislature of Zug, in which 14 people were killed.

He wished the Swiss people courage and fortitude in dealing with the incident, saying he has faith that the men and women of Zug "will draw strength from one another as they come together to work through this difficult time."

PROSECUTOR FILES NEW CHARGES AGAINST MILOSEVIC

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) announced today that Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte has filed a new indictment against former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, charging him for responsibility in crimes allegedly committed in Croatia.

The charges filed by Del Ponte are to be reviewed by the Tribunal's judges, and will be made public only if they are confirmed by the judges.

This indictment is separate from the indictment filed against Milosevic for crimes allegedly committed in Kosovo; he is currently at the Tribunal's Detention Unit while trial proceedings for that case continue.

REPORT: DEBT CRISIS SHOWED IMPROVEMENT IN 2000

The Secretary-General, in a report to the General Assembly on external debt, notes that the year 2000 saw some improvements in the external debt indicators of developing countries and transition economies. The total stock of debt last year was virtually unchanged in nominal terms, while growth rates in many countries exceeded 5 percent, reducing the rate of overall debt relative to gross national products.

However, the Secretary-General says, debt service continues to represent a heavy burden for many developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, and arrears on interest payments actually rose in Latin America and East Asia in 2000.

While progress has been made in accelerating the Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), he says that Initiative needs fundamental changes to make tangible progress in resolving the debt problems of poor countries, including measures to speed up the actual provision of debt relief.

He also notes the need for official development assistance (ODA) to be raised in accordance with the needs of recipient countries.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

UN High Commissioner for Refugees ( UNHCR) Ruud Lubbers today, at the end of a visit to Skopje, urged the international community to maintain its commitment to build peace in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Monday will be World Habitat Day, and to mark the occasion, the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements ( Habitat) will hold a panel discussion on this years theme "Cities without slums". The venue for the discussion has been changed to the Church Centre across the street and will begin at 9:30 a.m. Monday.

The Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO) said today that millions are affected by heavy monsoon rains and floods in Asia, while Central Asia and the Near East are gripped by drought. The September issue of the FAO's Foodcrops and Shortages report lists 34 countries facing food emergencies including 12 in Asia, 17 in Africa, three in Latin America and two in Europe.

Starting at 4:00 p.m. today, there will be an evacuation drill of the UN Headquarters building in New York, to help improve emergency procedures, which will end at 5:30 p.m. UN-based journalists can congregate at Ralph Bunche Park, on the opposite side of First Avenue. In response to a question, the Spokesman noted that the last such drill took place in 1979.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Monday, October 1

The General Assembly will begin a two-day session on combating international terrorism, which the Secretary-General will address. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is also expected to speak.

Ambassador Richard Ryan of Ireland will take over as President of the Security Council for the month of October, replacing Ambassador Jean-David Levitte of France.

The Secretary-General's report to the Security Council on Guinea-Bissau is expected toward the early part of the week.

The Secretary-General will issue a message to mark the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons.

At noon, a memorandum of understanding will be signed between the United Nations and Belarus on standby arrangements for peacekeeping.

Today is World Habitat Day, which the UN Centre for Human Settlements will devote to the theme "Cities without Slums."

Tuesday, October 2

The new Security Council President for the month of October, Ambassador Richard Ryan of Ireland, will talk to the press following the noon briefing.

Wednesday, October 3

Thursday, October 4

At 11:00 a.m., the Canadian Mission is sponsoring a press briefing to discuss the Landmine Monitor report for 2001 from Human Rights Watch.

At 4:00 p.m., General Assembly President Han Seung Soo will give a press briefing.

Friday, October 5

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will commemorate Teachers' Day.

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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