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United Nations Daily Highlights, 02-07-09

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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

Tuesday, July 9, 2002

ANNAN ATTENDS BIRTH IN DURBAN OF AFRICAN UNION

In Durban, South Africa, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today attended the inaugural session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the new African Union, which replaces the Organisation of African Unity.

The birth of the African Union was celebrated in a three-hour extravaganza at a stadium for 20,000 people, complete with a flyover, parachute landings, performances by Zulu dancers in traditional dress carrying spears and shields, and the launch of the Unions theme song called Unity Afrika.

The Secretary-General watched as the presidents of the African Union walked into the stadium behind their national flags and heard the crowd give a huge welcome to former South African President Nelson Mandela. The crowd, which waved miniature flags of the member states, also roared when the Senegalese and South African soccer teams were brought in.

This afternoon, he will continue his busy schedule of bilateral meetings with the leaders gathered for the summit. He met first with Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa. Later, he is to meet with the presidents of Djibouti, Togo, Nigeria, Somalia and Equatorial Guinea, as well as with the Prime Minister of Guinea and the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. A joint meeting bringing together the leaders of Nigeria, Senegal, Gambia and Guinea-Bissau is also expected.

Also this afternoon, he witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The heads of those two agencies respectively, James Morris and Ruud Lubbers signed a memorandum strengthening their cooperation in providing food aid to refugees and returnees, which could help benefit some 20 million refugees around the world, more than a third of them in Africa.

The Secretary-General and the other officials present for the UNHCR-WFP signing took some questions from the press about the humanitarian situations in Angola, Zimbabwe and southern Africa in general.

Later tonight, the Secretary-General will meet with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Congolese President Joseph Kabila, in a meeting hosted by South African President Thabo Mbeki to discuss the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES CYPRUS, SOMALIA

The Security Council met in closed consultations this morning to hear a briefing from the Secretary-Generals Special Advisor on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto. De Soto updated the Council members on face-to-face talks between His Excellency Glafcos Clerides, the Greek Cypriot leader, and His Excellency Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader.

Council members then discussed the situation in Somalia.

MIDDLE EAST SEMINAR TO TAKE PLACE IN COPENHAGEN NEXT WEEK

The question of peace in the Middle East will be the subject of an international media seminar organized by the UNs Department of Public Information and Communication on July 17-18 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

This meeting, which is being co-hosted by the Danish Foreign Ministry, will bring together present and former policy makers from the Middle East -- including Israel and the Palestinian Authority and the European Union, as well as senior UN officials and representatives of the world media.

The keynote address will be delivered by the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Terje Roed-Larsen. Other participants will include, among others, Nabil Shaath, the PAs Minister for Planning and International cooperation; Yossi Beilin, former Israeli Justice Minister; and the Europe Unions Middle East Envoy, Miguel Moratinos.

Participants will discuss the issues that continue to divide Israelis and Palestinians and the role of third parties, especially the United Nations, in restoring confidence and building trust.

IRAQI OIL EXPORTS DECLINED LAST WEEK, UN OFFICE SAYS

Figures released by the Office of the Iraq Programme in its weekly update show that in the week ending on July 5, Iraq exported 6.3 million barrels of oil which is down from the previous weeks total. Those 6.3 million barrels netted an estimated $150 million in revenue.

Owing to a revenue shortfall, 1,074 humanitarian supply contracts, worth about $2.2 billion, while approved by the United Nations, are currently lacking in funds and cannot be further processed. Almost all the sectors of the program continue to be affected by this shortfall in funds to some degree.

ANNAN NOTES SHARED UN COMMITMENT WITH ISLAMIC CONFERENCE

This morning in Vienna, the Director-General of the UN Offices there, Antonio Maria Costa, delivered a message on behalf of the Secretary-General to the general meeting of the UN and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

The United Nations and the OIC, the Secretary-General said in his message, share a commitment to tolerance, equality, the peaceful resolution of conflict and the promotion of economic and social development, and we have worked closely together to foster these universal principles.

This meeting will discuss, among other issues, refugees, the environment and education. Delegates will also review cooperation in the political realm, in particular on the Middle East and Afghanistan.

This the eighth general meeting of the two organizations, which is held every two years.

LUBBERS RAISES CONCERNS ON REFUGEES IN LIBERIA

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Ruud Lubbers, while in Durban, South Africa, called today for the inclusion of refugees, returnees and host countries in the New Partnership for Africas Development (NEPAD).

He is also scheduled to meet today with Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, the current president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Lubbers is expected to seek more support from ECOWAS in resolving the latest fighting in Liberia. On Monday, he met with the Foreign Minister of Sierra Leone, Momadou Koroma, seeking that countrys assistance in securing the release of five nurses abducted from a refugee camp northwest of Monrovia three weeks ago.

The UNHCR Office in Monrovia has reported an increase in the number of Sierra Leonean refugees asking for help in returning to Sierra Leone. More than 2,000 have registered so far and are awaiting return. UNHCR is making arrangement to transport the refugees back to Sierra Leone by sea, as the main road from Monrovia remains blocked. The first boat trips could begin as early as next week.

Meanwhile, the influx of Liberian refugees into Sierra Leone continues, with more than 1,800 passing through the Gendema crossing point last week, bringing the total since the beginning of the year to 40,000. There are also indications that a large number of Liberians are using unofficial crossing points.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

A Bosnian Serb suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity will make his first appearance before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on Wednesday, after having being detained over the weekend by the Stabilisation Force (SFOR) in Bratunac and transferred to The Hague yesterday. The suspect, Miroslav Deronjic, stands accused of killing Bosnian Muslims in the spring of 1992, and of ordering an attack on the village of Glogova, which was burned to the ground.

This afternoon, another 682 Dag Hammarskjöld Medals, presented posthumously to members of UN peacekeeping missions who have lost their lives, will be given to representatives of 44 Member States. Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean Marie Guéhenno will present each representative with the Medal for their countrys first peacekeeping fatality and the rest will be transferred to the Permanent Mission following the ceremony.

At the International AIDS Conference in Barcelona today, the World Health Organization and the International AIDS Society launched new international guidelines for lowering the technical barriers to the treatment of AIDS in resource-poor settings. The new guidelines simplify the complex anti-retroviral treatment so that it can be used in situations where there are no highly trained medical staff or sophisticated laboratories.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) is seeking $27 million to help in the rebuilding of Afghanistans education system. Unesco and the Afghan government have compiled a series of projects to present to donors. The projects range from training in educational management and planning to teacher and vocational training

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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