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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-01-03

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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 FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, January 3, 2003

UN-CAMBODIA PRELIMINARY TALKS ON TRIALS TO BEGIN MONDAY

On Monday, preliminary talks will take place at UN Headquarters with a Cambodian delegation on the establishment of a special court to try Khmer Rouge leaders. UN Legal Counsel Hans Corell will lead the UN delegation, and we understand that Sok An, Senior Minister in charge of the Council of Ministers, will head Cambodias delegation.

Last week, the Secretary-General had invited Cambodia to send a delegation to New York for an exploratory meeting to prepare for the resumption of negotiations. The Cambodian Mission to the United Nations then informed the United Nations that Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen had accepted the invitation.

The talks are expected to start on Monday at 10:00 in the morning.

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT HOLDS TALKS ON PROGRAM OF WORK

The Security Council President, Ambassador Jean Marc de la Sabliere of France, is holding bilateral discussions today with other Council members on the program of work for January, which the Council will discuss in consultations on Monday.

Also on Mondays consultations agenda is an item on the bureaux of the various Security Council sanctions committees.

Following consultations, the Council President will present the January program at a press briefing. At that point, the program will be posted on the French presidency website.

No Council consultations or meetings are scheduled for today.

UNMOVIC INSPECTS FORMER AMMUNITIONS DEPOT IN IRAQ

A UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) team of missile inspectors inspected the al-Mamoun Plant, which belongs to the al-Rasheed Company. The site is located roughly 60 kilometers south of Baghdad. The team tagged several declared equipment, which Iraq had manufactured between 1998 and 2002.

An UNMOVIC multidisciplinary team drove more than 200 km west of Baghdad to inspect a former ammunitions depot used as a chemical weapons storage facility prior to the Gulf War and an adjacent area used in the 1980s for chemical weapons munitions tests. Both locations were inspected by the UN Special Commission in the past and are located in the middle of the desert.

An UNMOVIC chemical team inspected the al-Basil Narawan, located 20 km east of Baghdad. This facility is part of the al-Basil Center, which produces several chemicals, including sodium carbonates.

IAEA GOVERNING BOARD TO MEET ON NORTH KOREA

The International Atomic Energy Agencys (IAEA) governing board will meet next Monday for consideration of a report from Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei about North Korea, and a press briefing by ElBaradei is also planned that day at IAEA headquarters in Vienna.

The last two IAEA inspectors in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) left the country on Tuesday.

The IAEA will keep an office in North Korea, and its equipment there has been placed in storage after an inventory of all its remaining equipment was completed.

UN MISSION ASSESSES DISPLACEMENT IN NORTHEAST DR-CONGO

Displacement is increasing in the province of North Kivu in north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with over 70,000 people newly displaced, in addition to 33,000 previously displaced.

An assessment mission by UN agencies and non-governmental organizations toured the area this week, though not all population centers could be visited because of lack of security.

Many displaced persons are headed for Beni and southern parts of North Kivu province. The results of an assessment mission to these locations are expected soon.

As of mid-2002, total displaced persons in the DRC numbered 2.27 million, while there were 346,000 refugees from Angola, Sudan, Rwanda, the Central African Republic, Burundi, the Republic of Congo, and other places. The total general population affected by conflict and insecurity was 20 million, out of a total population of 56 million.

UN TEAM DEPLOYED TO SOLOMON ISLANDS AFTER CYCLONE

In response to extensive damage caused by Cyclone Zoe, a category 5 tropical storm that passed over the Solomon Islands from December 28-30, the United Nations deployed a UN Disaster Assistance and Coordination team to that country today.

The two-person team will liaise with national and international agencies responding to the emergency and assist in the determination of further requirements for humanitarian assistance to the 1,200 people affected by the cyclone.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has already provided an emergency grant of $10,000 for the purchase of emergency relief supplies and will continue to provide updates on the situation.

MORE THAN 1.8 MILLION AFGHANS RETURNED HOME, SAYS UNHCR

Despite the fragile infrastructure and persistent security problems in parts of Afghanistan, more than 1.8 million refugees returned in 2002, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a year-end update. The report added that more than 250,000 internally displaced persons went back to their homes.

However, the report notes that there are still some 4 million Afghans outside the country, including an estimated 2 million in Iran and 1.5 million in Pakistan. Despite the strong will of the Afghans finally to return to their homes, UNHCR stresses that the security and living conditions in the country are not yet sufficient to encourage all refugees to return at this time.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

From a peak of more than half a million in the mid-1990s, the last Rwandan refugees in Tanzania have now returned home, marking the end of one of the most dramatic refugee exoduses in the turbulent history of Central Africa, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS Monday, January 6 The Security Council will hold consultations on its program of work for January. After that, the President of the Security Council for January, Ambassador Jean Marc de la Sabliére of France, will talk to the press around 12:45 p.m. about the Councils work during the month.

In Vienna, the governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency will meet to consider the case of North Korea, hearing a report from Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei, who will also brief the press afterward.

UN Legal Counsel Hans Corell will hold preliminary talks with Cambodian Senior Minister Sok An on the establishment of a special court to try Khmer Rouge leaders.

Tuesday, January 7 The election of the bureau of the Economic and Social Council will take place.

Wednesday, January 8 At 11:00 a.m., Ian Kinniburgh, Director of the Development Policy Analysis Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, will brief the press on the report World Economic Situation and Prospects 2003. The guest at the noon briefing will be the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy dealing with AIDS in Africa, Stephen Lewis.

Thursday, January 9 At 10:30 a.m., Andrew Natsios, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will brief the press.

Friday, January 10 Carolyn McAskie, the Secretary-Generals Special Humanitarian Envoy for Western Africa, will be the guest at the noon briefing.

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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