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United Nations Daily Highlights, 02-07-18

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

HIGHLIGHTS

OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MARIE OKABE

ASSOCIATE SPOKESMAN

FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, July 18, 2002

UN LAUNCHES SOUTHERN AFRICA APPEAL FOR $611 MILLION

This morning, Kenzo Oshima, the UNs Emergency Relief Coordinator delivered a message on behalf of Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the occasion of the launch of a more than $600 million appeal for immediate food and other life-sustaining support for the humanitarian crisis in Southern Africa.

Referring to a critical moment in the lives of nearly 13 million people in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, he said, There is still an opportunity to avert famine and to save lives, but this window is closing rapidly.

In the message, the Secretary-General announced the appointment of James Morris, Executive Director of the World Food Programme, as his Special Envoy on the humanitarian crisis in southern Africa. Morris will travel to the region and work with Governments to review the humanitarian situation, current relief efforts and contingency planning, in order to ensure a coherent and complete response to the crisis. He will also collaborate with donors to ensure that contributions are channeled in the most efficient manner to those in the greatest need.

ANNAN CONDEMNS ATTACKS; SECURITY COUNCIL ISSUES MIDEAST STATEMENT

In a statement issued in the early evening Wednesday, the Secretary-General condemned in the strongest possible terms the suicide bomb attack that took place that day in Tel Aviv, which comes on the heels of Tuesdays terrorist attack near the settlement of Emanuel in the West Bank.

The Secretary-General reiterated his utter denunciation of such heinous acts, which are harmful to the Palestinian cause and do not serve any acceptable purpose, political or otherwise.

The international community and the parties must remain steadfast in their determination not to allow the perpetrators of violent and senseless acts to derail efforts in the search for a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the conflict.

[In a statement read out after the noon briefing by Council President, British Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock, the Security Council expressed its support of the Joint Statement of the Quartet group on the Middle East.]

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES LESSONS LEARNED IN SIERRA LEONE

The Security Council is holding an all-day workshop on the Mano River Union today. Chairing the workshop is Baroness Valerie Amos, Minister for Africa in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, which is holding this months Council presidency.

According to the Council presidency, the objectives of the Workshop are: to identify lessons from the United Nations' experience in Sierra Leone, which may be relevant to other conflict situations in Africa; to consider how the United Nations might manage the transition from peacekeeping to peace-building in Sierra Leone; and to examine what more the United Nations and the international community can do to reduce the instability in the Mano River Union sub-region, especially the fighting in Liberia.

The Secretary-General, in brief remarks at the opening of the workshop, welcomed the timeliness of the discussion and its effort to develop a coordinated approach to the situation in that part of Africa.

He said, "It comes at a critical juncture, when the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) is about to begin a new phase of its operations in Sierra Leone, but, at the same time, the escalating conflict in Liberia threatens to destabilize he whole area."

He said the UN peacekeeping experience in Sierra Leone offers invaluable lessons, not only because of the success achieved so far, but also, particularly, because of the trials encountered in the early stages of the Mission, and how they were handled. He added, Thank goodness, the international community did not give up.

The Secretary-General credited the timely British intervention in Sierra Leone that helped stabilize the country.

There are 26 speakers scheduled to speak 13 each in the morning and afternoon. Among them are the Foreign Minister of Sierra Leone, the Foreign Minister of Guinea, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guéhenno and Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast, as well as the Deputy Executive Secretary of ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States), General Chekh Diarra.

A discussion paper written in preparation for the Workshop is available on the British missions website.

ANNAN NOTES LACK OF PROGRESS IN ABKHAZIA, GEORGIA NEGOTIATIONS

The latest report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, says there is a regrettable lack of progress on the initiation of political status negotiations between the Georgian and Abkhaz sides.

He appeals again to the Abkhaz side in particular to agree to a discussion on the substance of the paper on competences, and to use this opportunity to commence negotiations on a settlement that would guarantee the rights and interests of the multi-ethnic population of Abkhazia.

He also urges both the Georgian and the Abkhaz sides respect their responsibility to safeguard UN Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) personnel at all times, especially when hazardous conditions prevail, and to ensure that the Missions air and road movements are not restricted.

The Secretary-General concludes that he remains convinced that UNOMIGs presence is essential for creating the conditions for a political process towards a settlement of the conflict, and for moving this process forward. He recommends a further extension of the mandate of UNOMIG for six months, until the end of January 2003.

The Security Council is expected to discuss the report next Wednesday.

ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: ANNAN SAYS UN CAN HELP BOUNDARY COMMISSION

The Secretary-General, in his latest report on the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), makes recommendations to the Security Council on the roles that Mission can play to ensure the expeditious and orderly implementation of the Boundary Commissions decision on delimitation.

The Mission, he says, can help by providing mine clearance, agreeing with the parties on the technical modalities for the orderly transfer of territorial control and providing administrative and logistical support for the Boundary Commissions field office.

The Secretary-General emphasizes that all parties must do their part to allow the Boundary Commissions work to move forward quickly, adding, The lives of the affected populations have been plagued by uncertainty for far too long.

He appeals to the parties to exercise restraint, and notes, The successful conclusion of this process, in which the parties have invested heavily, is within sight.

ANNAN SEEKS EXTENSION OF DR-CONGO PANEL ON RESOURCE EXPLOITATION

The Secretary-General, in a letter to the Security Council last week, noted that the Expert Panel dealing with the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo needs additional time to complete its work, in order to receive responses from questionnaires sent to Member States and to corroborate evidence.

Accordingly, the Secretary-General recommended an extension of the Panels mandate until October 31.

COMPENSATION COMMISSION DISBURSING $708 MILLION

The UN Compensation Commission, which deals with claims involving the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, today made available more than $708 million to 33 Governments and three international organizations, to be distributed to 961 successful claimants.

The awards are paid out of the UN Compensation Fund, which at present receives 25 percent of the proceeds of the oil-for-food plan, in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1409.

DISARMAMENT EXERCISE BEGINS IN NORTHERN AFGHANISTAN

The UN Mission in Afghanistan reports that, on Wednesday morning, the first disarmament exercise to be carried out voluntarily by Afghan factions began in Sholgareh, a district southwest of Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan. The disarmament is taking place under the auspices of a multi-party group, the Security Commission in Mazar-e-Sharif, which is observed and facilitated by the UN Mission.

Weapons are being brought to three collection points, and, once collected, the arms will be transported to military depots belonging to the various parties, where they will be registered and kept under guard by factional forces. The UN Mission has the right to monitor the safekeeping of arms.

UN ENVOY IN EAST TIMOR FOCUSES ON CHILDRENS RIGHTS

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for East Timor, Kamalesh Sharma, said today that protecting childrens rights is especially important, as children are among the most vulnerable sectors in East Timorese Society.

His comments came as the Director of the United Nations Children's Funds Southeast Asia Division, Mehr Kahn, winds up her four-day visit to the country. She will meet Friday with government officials at a briefing, which will also be attended by civil society leaders, that will focus on the protection of the rights of children, as guaranteed in the Timorese Constitution and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

UN BODIES TO ANALYZE HUMAN RIGHTS IN BOSNIA

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will soon carry out a joint project to gather and analyze data on a wide range of human rights issues in 48 municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is the first such survey in the country.

A team of development and human rights specialists will work with Bosnian experts to assemble information on civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson says the project is an encouraging example for the successful implementation of the human-rights based approach to development.

FRIENDS WRAP UP MEETING ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

The meeting of the 25 nations comprising the Friends of the Chair to deal with differences prior to the World Summit on Sustainable Development wrapped up its day-long meeting Wednesday night, at around 8:00.

South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who chaired the session, said afterward, There is more hope now than there was at the end of Bali, where the last preparatory meetings before next months Summit were held. She said it should not take too long to achieve an agreement at the Summit, which will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Asked why Dlamini Zuma did not speak to the press on Wednesday, the Spokeswoman said that the foreign ministers schedule had been busy and she had to fly out of the country.

  • Todays guests were Kenzo Oshima, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, who discussed the humanitarian situation in Angola, and together with Reginald Mugwara, Representative of the Southern African Development Community, also discussed the appeal for the Southern African humanitarian crisis.

    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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