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United Nations Daily Highlights, 02-07-26

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 FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, July 26 2002

SECURITY COUNCIL SCHEDULES CONSULTATIONS ON MIDDLE EAST

[The Security Council is scheduled to meet today at 3:30 p.m. in closed consultations on the Middle East. The consultations today follows a late night open debate on the Middle East on Tuesday.]

On Friday morning, the Security Council held closed consultations this morning on Western Sahara. William Lacy Swing, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Western Sahara, gave an update on developments on the ground to Council members before the debate on a draft resolution got underway. The missions current mandate expires on July 31.

KOSOVO: ANNAN NOTES PROGRESS ON MANY FRONTS IN UN OPERATION

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his latest report on the UN Mission in Kosovo published today, notes the progress made on a number of fronts, including an encouraging overall trend in the security situation, progress in building local law enforcement, and a climate over the past few months that appears conducive to promoting inter-ethnic dialogue and the possibility of return.

The report notes a modest increase in minority returns, with nearly 1,000 internally displaced people returning to Kosovo in the first half of this year about four times the number of people who left Kosovo during the same period.

The Secretary-General also notes that the situation in the northern city of Mitrovica remains a challenge to the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1244, with the UN Mission seeking to stabilize the situation on the ground by doubling the number of UN police in northern Mitrovica and continuing a dialogue on the matter with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

He says that the Mission will face demanding challenges in the coming months, including the implementation of a budget reduction that will necessitate the transfer of responsibility to the provisional institutions earlier than planned. The amount approved for the Mission by the General Assembly for this year and next was reduced by $61 million.

He adds that it is essential that the UN Mission exercise its authority throughout the whole of Kosovo, and that strengthening the rule of law throughout that area remains a high priority.

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Kosovo, Michael Steiner, will be in New York next week to brief the Security Council in an open meeting on Tuesday.

In a statement issued today in Pristina, Steiner today thanked Germany for its offer of five million euros to the UN Mission in Kosovo, to rehabilitate Kosovos power sector after its main power plant was damaged by lightning a week ago. We have a press release upstairs on that.

GOMA VOLCANO ERUPTS AGAIN, NO IMMEDIATE DANGER TO POPULATION

The Nyamuragira volcano erupted overnight in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A survey was conducted during the night and a team of UN volcanologists is to be taken up in helicopter to get a better assessment of the situation.

A preliminary assessment shows that the lava flows are heading towards the Viruga National Park where extensive damage is expected.

However, there is no immediate threat to the population in Goma and no roads have been cut.

The volcano is nearby Mt. Nyiragongo which erupted in January of this year, causing extensive damage to the town of Goma.

ERITREA/ETHIOPIA: DELAY IN RAINY SEASON AFFECT CROPS, GRAZING LAND

During its regular briefing the UN mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea flagged the on-going drought alert in the region.

The mission says that the Eritrean Relief and Refugee Commission notes that the long delay in the onset of the main rainy season has prevented the planting of the major short-cycle crops and has had an adverse affect on grazing lands. Although it has been raining in the last couple of days, there is growing concern that the rainy spell came too late and that agricultural production in many areas will be significantly affected.

The northern parts of Ethiopia bordering Eritrea ---as well as Eritrea itself--- have had poor rains throughout this year. Ethiopia has already issued several alerts concerning the looming drought situation.

ARGENTINEAN DIPLOMAT TO HEAD CHEMICAL WEAPONS ORGANIZATION

The States Parties to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, in a special session convened yesterday in The Hague, appointed Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter of Argentina by acclamation to be Director-General of the Organization. He will serve a four-year term, effective immediately.

He replaces Jose Bustani, whose term as Director-General was cut short by a vote in a special session of the States Parties on April 22.

Pfirter was Under-Secretary for Foreign Policy at the Argentine Ministry of External Relations prior to his appointment. He thanked the delegations for their unanimous support and said the Organization serves as a model for the global disarmament of weapons of mass destruction.

UNHCR WELCOMES NEW SALVADORIAN REFUGEE LAW

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees today welcomes the approval by El Salvador's National Assembly of the Law on Refugee Status Determination. The legislation approved a week ago is now pending signature by the President.

UNHCR says the passage of the law is a clear sign of the will of El Salvador to fully comply with its commitment to refugee law and the human rights of asylum seekers.

The new statutes establish clear procedures under which refugees could request asylum and have their cases reviewed by national institutions according to the standards established in the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol.

TOP UN HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIALS URGES TO STOP HUNGER

Today in Geneva, High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson addressed the start of the first session of the Social Forum, which brings together diverse experts to exchange views on social issues, starting today with a discussion on the right to food.

Robinson told the Forum that the fight against hunger depends on the sustainable management of natural resources, and suggested that its discussion of the issue should focus on how we can ensure that the upcoming Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development contributes to addressing responsibilities for food security at the international level.

UNICEF USES NEW EASY-TO ADMINISTER TETANUS VACCINE IN MALI

The UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) today began a campaign to vaccinate women in hard-to-reach communities against tetanus in an effort to save the lives of thousands of women and their new-born children.

The project, which starts in two remote districts in Mali, introduces a new pre-filled device called Uniject, which can be administered by lay people, making it easier to vaccinate women in remote areas.

Traditional birth attendants, teachers and community workers have been trained to support health workers in immunizing women in areas without health centres or clinics. Three doses over a one-year period are needed for full protection.

Our goal, said Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF, is the elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus by 2005, and reaching women in remote areas is essential to succeeding.

Tetanus claimed the lives of 200,000 newborns and 30,000 women in 57 developing countries last year.

UNIFEM WILL WORK WITH AFGHANISTAN TO IMPROVE RIGHTS OF WOMEN

The new Afghan Minister of Womens Affairs, Habiba Sarobi signed an agreement today with the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)

According to the agreement, UNIFEM will assist the Ministry in restoring the rights of Afghan women and girls and improving their legal, economic, political and social status. UNIFEM has approved $1.4 million for technical and organizational assistance and to strengthen outreach to women and womens groups in the provinces.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS Monday, July 29 The Security Council expects to hold a private meeting, followed by consultations, on Georgia.

The Terrorism Branch of the Centre for International Crime Prevention will begin a three-day mission to New York and Washington, D.C., to brief Permanent Missions on its work and to meet with the UN Secretariat and the Counter Terrorism Committee.

Tuesday, July 30 The Security Council is scheduled to hold an open meeting on Kosovo, to receive a briefing from the Secretary-Generals Special Representative, Michael Steiner.

At 9:15 a.m., the U.S. Mission will hold a press conference on the International Conference on Illicit Tobacco Trade, which is being sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

At 12:30 p.m., Dr. Derrick Yach, Executive Director of the World Health Organization cluster on non-communicable diseases, will hold a press briefing.

Wednesday, July 31 The Security Council is scheduled to hold open meetings to consider the mandates of the UN Missions in Lebanon, Western Sahara and Georgia, all of which expire at the end of the day.

Thursday, August 1 The Presidency of the Security Council will rotate for the month of August from British Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock to U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte, who is expected to hold bilateral meetings with Council members on its work for the month.

Friday, August 2 The Security Council is expected to hold consultations on its program of work for August.

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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