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United Nations Daily Highlights, 02-07-08

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

HIGHLIGHTS

OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY HUA JIANG

DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, July 8, 2002

ANNAN ADDRESSES OAU SUMMIT ON EVE OF AFRICAN UNION

Secretary-General Kofi Annan is in Durban, South Africa, today, where he addressed the 38th Summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) just one day before that organization will transform itself into the African Union.

He told the OAU delegates that Tuesdays proclamation of the birth of the African Union was a tribute to the OAUs success, adding, It is an occasion to celebrate, and more important, an occasion for hope. But he cautioned, Let us not imagine that, once proclaimed, our Union will become a reality without further effort.

Noting the difficulties that faced the building of the European Union, he told those gathered that a successful Union will require great stamina and iron political will, combined with the readiness to accept seeming endless series of negotiations and compromises.

He said that Africa must build a Union that will last, which will not replace the sovereign States of which it is composed.

He added that Africa is gaining a new sense of respect, and that leaders will respect us even more when they see us actually resolve the conflicts that disfigure our continent. And I do mean, resolve them. Managing them is not enough and will not be enough.

Finally, he looked ahead at next months World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.

This time the stakes will even be higher, he said. We have to trace a path for development that will not only will be shared by all nations, but can be sustained and enjoyed by future generations. In this part of Africa, already stricken by drought and menaced by famine, you need no reminder of the urgency of that task.

He urged the crowd, Let us apply ourselves, as Africans, to persuading the rest of the world to join us next month and start implementing the measures we all know are needed, if development is to be truly sustainable.

ANNAN MEETS WITH LEADERS IN DURBAN ON MARGINS OF SUMMIT

Before addressing the OAU Summit earlier today, the Secretary-General had two meetings on the Middle East: one with Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States; and another with Farouk Kaddoumi, Representative of Palestinian National Authority President Yasser Arafat.

On the sidelines of the Durban summit, the Secretary-General has a number of back-to-back meetings scheduled with African leaders.

The Secretary-General began his stay in South Africa on Sunday morning with a one-on-one meeting with South African President Thabo Mbeki. On Sunday afternoon, he held talks with Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi on the Horn of Africa before meeting with the heads of UN agencies, programs and specialized agencies attending the summit.

ANNAN SADDENED BY KILLING OF AFGHAN VICE PRESIDENT

The Secretary-General, in a statement, said he was deeply disturbed and saddened by the murder of Haji Abdul Qadir, Vice-President and Minister of Public Works of the Afghan Transitional Administration. He condemns this assassination in the strongest possible terms and has sent his heartfelt condolences to the family of Haji Qadir and to the government of Afghanistan. The Secretary-General urges the Afghan authorities to do everything in their power to conduct a thorough investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice. He recalls in this regard that the killing of then Aviation Minister Abdul Rahman remains unresolved.

The assassination of Haji Qadir is a graphic reminder of the fragile situation in Afghanistan - less than a month after the successful conclusion of the emergency loya jirga. The Secretary-General appeals to the Afghan authorities in Kabul as well as in the provinces to strengthen ongoing efforts towards the achievement of security and stability in the country. Most importantly, the international community must remain fully engaged in the peace process to ensure that the Afghan people will not again be the victim of a senseless civil war.

To this end, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative, Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, and the United Nations Assistance Mission (UNAMA) will continue to assist the Transitional Administration in the implementation of the Bonn Agreement and to support the Afghan people towards peace and reconstruction.

Asked about the casualties of a US attack on an Afghan village on July 1, the Spokeswoman said that an investigative team had gone to the area, but a report from the team has not yet been received.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ELECTS PRESIDENT FOR FIFTY-SEVENTH SESSION

The General Assembly met this morning to adopt a resolution by which the General Assemblys President and Vice President, as well as other members of the Bureaux of the Main Committees, would be elected ahead of the forthcoming sessions of the General Assembly.

After that, the Assembly proceeded to elect Jan Kavan, presently the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, to be the President of the 57th session of the Assembly. He will be the President-elect of the Assembly until September 10, when he will open the 57th session of the General Assembly.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES GUINEA-BISSAU, IRAQ

This morning, the Security Council held a closed meeting during which Council members were briefed on the political and economic situation in Guinea-Bissau by the Secretary-Generals Representative in that country, David Stephen.

The Council then moved into closed consultations to be briefed on the latest meeting between the Secretary-General and an Iraqi delegation, which took place at the end of last week in Vienna. The Secretary-Generals Chef du Cabinet, Iqbal Riza, provided the briefing.

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES POW RELEASE IN WESTERN SAHARA

The 100 prisoners of war (POWs) released by the Frente POLISARIO on June 18 were repatriated on Sunday by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to the Kingdom of Morocco.

The Secretary-General, in a statement, welcomed this step and called on the Frente POLISARIO to move toward an early release of the remaining 1,260 POWs.

UNAIDS HEAD NOTES CHALLENGES AS AIDS CONFERENCE BEGINS

Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme against HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), told the opening of the International AIDS Conference in Barcelona on Sunday that the battle against the disease must be fought on the global political stage. He said that among the challenges will be the mobilization of political commitment, the scaling up of AIDS prevention and treatment, the development of a vaccine and the search for $10 billion to fight AIDS.

It is now clear that the AIDS epidemic is still in its early stages, he said, And let us be equally clear: our fight back is at an even earlier stage.

He challenged the audience of researchers, advocates and government and community representatives to keep the promises that have been made for development assistance and increases in the amount of money to fight AIDS.

UN POLICE ARREST EIGHT IN KOSOVO KILLINGS

Over the weekend, UN police in Kosovo arrested eight people suspected of involvement in a brutal attack on a Kosovo Albanian family in Glogovac last August, in which five members of the Hajra family were killed.

The arrests were carried out on Saturday morning by UN police, with all those arrested now in detention. Although three of those arrested were members of the Kosovo Protection Corps, the Mission said that the suspects backgrounds played no part in the arrests.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

Asked about the next meeting of the Quartet dealing with the Middle East, the Spokeswoman said that consultations are underway between the parties about a new meeting of that body. However, she added, the venue and date for a new meeting is still under discussion.

Today in The Hague, the registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Hans Holthuis, decided to withdraw the counsel and other legal support previously assigned to one of the accused, Zoran Zigic. After an investigation into his financial status, the Tribunal concluded that Zigic has sufficient means to pay for his defence, although he had earlier claimed that he was indigent.

Uzbekistan today became the 85th Member State to pay its 2002 regular budget contribution in full with a payment of more than $122,000.

  • The guest at todays briefing was Celhia de Lavarene, Special Adviser to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and head of the Special Trafficking Programme (STOP). Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General United Nations, S-378 New York, NY 10017 Tel. 212-963-7162 - press/media only Fax. 212-963-7055

    All other inquiries to be addressed to (212) 963-4475 or by e-mail to: inquiries@un.org


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