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United Nations Daily Highlights, 02-07-16

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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 MARIE OKABE

ASSOCIATE SPOKESMAN

FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS BUS ATTACK IN WEST BANK

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a statement issued through his Spokesman, said he was appalled by the attack on a bus near the settlement in Emanuel in the West Bank earlier today, in which seven Israelis were killed and some 25 injured.

He reiterated his utter condemnation of indiscriminate attacks against civilians, which cannot be justified by any political or other objective.

This terrorist attack was clearly designed to disrupt the search for a peaceful solution to the conflict, the statement said. The perpetrators cannot be allowed to succeed in their sinister purpose.

ANNAN, QUARTET AGREE TO WORK TOWARD TWO-STATE SOLUTION

The Secretary-General met for more than two hours at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel with the senior members of the other parties comprising the Quartet on the Middle East, in a session chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and the European Union Commissioner dealing with foreign policy, Javier Solana, are the other Quartet members in attendance.

[The Secretary-General read out a communiqué on the Quartet's behalf following the end of that meeting, expressing strong support for the goal of a final Israeli-Palestinian settlement and agreeing with U.S. President George W. Bush that, with an intensive effort, this can be achieved within three years. The Quartet, he said, welcomed the Palestinian interest in reform, including the building of efficient Palestinian security capabilities to combat terror, and called on Israel to support the emergence of a viable Palestinian state, including easing internal closures, withdrawing forces and stopping all settlement activity.

The Secretary-General said he had been informed this morning by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that Sharon wanted to see a humanitarian operation to alleviate the plight of the Palestinian people. The Secretary-General said the Quartet agrees that full humanitarian access would be the fastest way to improve their plight and added that the United Nations, with the full support of the Quartet, agreed to lead that effort.

Annan told reporters, "We all share the end objective of two states, living in peace, side by side. What we have to do is work out how we get there." The Secretary-General said that work should be done to improve the security situation, but must be accompanied by progress on the political and economic tracks, as well. He added that the United Nations will continue to deal with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, "until the Palestinians decide otherwise."]

The Secretary-General is scheduled to meet later this afternoon at his residence with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher. On Monday afternoon, he met with Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher, and they discussed in particular some ideas that the Arab side may bring up when the Jordanian and Egyptian foreign ministers, as well as Saudi Arabias Permanent Representative to the United Nations, meet with the Quartet members later today at the Secretary-Generals residence.

That meeting is to begin at 5:30 today, and is to be followed by a dinner.

The Secretary-General and the Jordanian and Egyptian foreign ministers are expected to participate in a press encounter at 7:00 at the residence, prior to the dinner.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES BURUNDI, DR-CONGO

The Security Council held closed consultations on Burundi this morning and heard a briefing by Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast on the political, security and humanitarian situation in that country.

The Council President, British Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock, is expected to read a press statement on Burundi.

After that, the Council took up the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Council members heard a briefing from Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno on recent developments on the political and military developments in that country.

They also heard a briefing by Mary Robinson, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, on the human rights situation in Kisangani. Robinson briefed on the preliminary report by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions who had visited the area.

Robinsons spokeswoman in Geneva said that this was the first time the High Commissioner addressed the Security Council on a specific country.

ECOSOC CONSIDERS COMPLEX HUMANITARIAN EMERGENCIES

The Substantive Session of the Economic and Social Council continued this morning with a meeting focusing on special economic, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance. The session includes a panel discussion on reaching the vulnerable in complex humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters, with panel members including Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund; Jean-Jacques Graisse, Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme; Ross Mountain, Assistant Emergency Relief Coordinator; and Georg Charpentier, UN Humanitarian Coordinator and Resident Coordinator in Burundi.

In her opening statement, Carol Bellamy said there were no redeeming features to the reality of a child living in a war zone. She said it was essential to look at how effectively assistance was being provided to the vulnerable and explore ways to do better.

Ross Mountain added that there were three key elements to effective coordination of humanitarian assistance: a clear plan, rapid mobilization of resources and timely and effective information services.

UN IRAQ OFFICE READY TO IMPLEMENT REVISED PROCEDURES

The Executive Director of the Iraq Programme, Benon Sevan, wrote the Chairman of the 661 Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Ole Peter Kolby of Norway, on Monday, informing him that the Office of the Iraq Programme has made all the necessary arrangements to implement the revised procedures adopted by resolution 1409 (2002). Those arrangements are effective as of July 15.

Figures released by the Office of the Iraq Programme show that Iraqi oil exports decreased slightly from the previous weeks total, standing at 5.1 million barrels in the week ending June 12. The weeks exports netted an estimated $120 million in revenue.

Owing to a revenue shortfall, 1,001 humanitarian supply contracts, worth about $2 billion, although 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.

AFRICA GREW FASTER THAN OTHER DEVELOPING REGIONS, SAYS REPORT

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in this years edition of its Economic Report on Africa, says that the continent grew faster than any other developing region last year, reflecting better microeconomic management, strong agricultural production and the end of conflicts in several countries.

However, the report argues, the average growth rate in Africas gross domestic product which was 4.3 percent last year, up from 3.5 percent in 2000 masks wide disparities. Equatorial Guineas economy, for example, grew 65 percent in 2001, while Zimbabwes contracted by 7.5 percent.

The outlook for African economies over the current year is affected by the global slowdown, but there are some positive signs, including the outlook for South Africa, the continents largest economy, and signs of favorable macroeconomic conditions in the three large North African economies of Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

The first group of Iranian refugees to repatriate from Iraq under the auspices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) returned home last Saturday, with 125 refugees crossing the border between those two countries, as part of an agreement signed between the Iranian Government and UNHCR last year. So far, about 8,000 individuals have applied to repatriate under the auspices of the UNHCR program, which is voluntary, and to date, Iran has approved the applications of 480 families to return.

UNHCR welcomed the agreement announced last week by the British and French Governments that would establish a process to close the Sangatte center near Calais. In that process, UNHCR would register the centers residents and assist in organizing the voluntary repatriation of Afghans at that center who wish to return home.

The Secretary-Generals Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters will meet for a three-day closed session in Geneva, starting Wednesday. The Board advises the Secretary-General on a wide range of disarmament issues, and it expects, at this session, to discuss the preparedness of public health systems to deal with bio-terrorism; nuclear safety; the weaponization of outer space; rising military expenditures; and disarmament and development.

The Joint UN Programme against HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) announced that the First Ladies of 18 African countries will gather in Geneva, starting Wednesday, for three days to establish the African First Ladies Organization Against HIV/AIDS. Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS, said it was a great step forward to see the first ladies so committed to fighting the epidemic on the worst-hit continent. Through their leadership, he said, I am certain the First Ladies will inspire communities, families and individuals to play a more active role in turning back the epidemic.

The World Health Organization announced today the release of the draft text of a treaty that will be the basis for the final stage of negotiations on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. This new text provides details of key issues such as advertising, promotion and sponsorship, illicit trade in tobacco products, taxes and areas for international cooperation.

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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