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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-01-17

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

FROM THE NOON BRIEFING

BY

FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN

FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, January 17, 2003

UN WEAPONS CHIEF MEETS BRITISH, FRENCH LEADERS AHEAD OF IRAQ TRIP

The Executive Chairman of UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), Hans Blix, met in Paris today with President Jacques Chirac of France. He then traveled to the United Kingdom where he met today with Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Blix will now be making his way to Cyprus. From there, he and the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, will travel to Baghdad on Sunday for two days of talks with Iraqi officials.

According to the regular update from Baghdad, inspectors from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) visited a farm and a chemical plant.

Thursday, the inspectors discovered 11 empty 122 mm chemical warheads and one warhead that requires further evaluation. The warheads were in excellent condition and were similar to ones imported by Iraq during the late 1980s. The team used portable X-Ray equipment to conduct a preliminary analysis of one of the warheads and collected samples for chemical testing.

Asked for a reaction to reports that the United States was about to share more intelligence information with the weapons inspectors, the Spokesman said he had no particular information on those reports. But, Hans Blix, the head of UNMOVIC, has said that he would welcome more information from those countries that had the necessary intelligence capabilities.

UN ENVOY ARRIVES IN BAGHDAD FOR TALKS ON MISSING KUWAITIS, PROPERTY

UN High-Level Coordinator Yuli Vorontsov is to arrive in Baghdad for two days of talks on missing persons and seized Kuwaiti property, at the invitation of the Iraqi Government.

Vorontsov traveled overland from Amman, Jordan, where some days ago, he followed from the margins a meeting of the new technical subcommittee on missing persons of the Tripartite Commission.

On this trip he also visited Cairo, Egypt, on the 11th and 12th of this month, where he met with Amre Mousa, head of the Arab League, and Ahmed Maher, Egyptian Foreign Minister. And on the 13th, he met with the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Abdelouahed Belkeziz, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

He will be in Baghdad through Monday, when he will travel to UN Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission headquarters at Um Qasr and then on to Kuwait City for official meetings.

Vorontsov will return to Amman on the 22nd, when the second meeting of the technical committee will take place. He is expected back in New York on the 24th, and will report to the Secretary-General.

Asked if there is a relation between the simultaneous visits of Vorontsov and the heads of the IAEA and UNMOVIC to Baghdad, the Spokesman said there was none that he was aware of except for the fact they are both the result of Iraqi invitations.

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON LIBERIA, EXTENDS AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS

The Security Council met in closed consultations on Liberia. Africa Division Director Youssef Mahmoud of the Department of Political Affairs briefed on security, humanitarian and human rights aspects and preparations for elections in Liberia. The Council has also received a letter from the Secretary-General in which he says that the Government of Liberia is still studying the proposed revised mandate for the UN Peace-Building Support Office in that country.

[The Council President, Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, in a press statement on Liberia said the Council expressed regrets that the Government of Liberia did not respond to the proposals of the Secretary-General for a revised mandate for the United Nations office in Liberia, and urged it to do so as soon as possible.]

[Then, in a formal meeting following consultations on the item Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, Council members unanimously adopted a resolution to improve the implementation of measures against the Taliban and members of the Al Qaida organization and their associates, and to further improve implementation in 12 months, or sooner if necessary.]

This afternoon at 3:15 p.m., there will be a Council meeting with the troop contributors to the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG).

SECURITY COUNCIL READIES FOR MINISTERIAL MEETING TO COMBAT TERRORISM

The Security Council has scheduled consultations at 4 p.m. on the declaration to be adopted at Monday's ministerial meeting on the issue of combating terrorism which will take place in an open session.

Only Council members are expected to speak during Monday's meeting. Non-Council members who wish to participate in the discussion of this issue have been invited to do so at an open meeting to be held on February 20.

10.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; color:black;mso-ansi-language:EN-GB;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language: Mondays debate will provide an opportunity for the Council to examine the results of the activities of the Counter-Terrorism Committee that was established in the wake of September 11, 2001. It will also allow Council members to make a political assessment of the actions that have been taken and consider formulating new guidelines to improve the effectiveness of combating terrorism. The purpose is to give new impetus to international action to combat the scourge of terrorism.

At 12:45 p.m. Monday, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, who will preside over the meeting, will hold a press conference, along with Renaud Muselier, minister of state for foreign affairs.

CYPRIOT LEADERS AGREE TO MEET THREE TIMES A WEEK

Earlier today, the Turkish Cypriot leader, His Excellency Rauf Denktash, and the Greek Cypriot leader, His Excellency, Glafcos Clerides, met in the presence of the Secretary-Generals Special Advisor for Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, in the UN Protected Area in Nicosia.

They agreed to continue their meetings on thrice weekly basis.

COTE D'IVOIRE: UN ENVOY STRESSES STATE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROVIDE AID

On the second day of her mission to Cote DIvoire, Carolyn McAskie, the Secretary-Generals Humanitarian Envoy for the crisis in Côte dIvoire met with government leaders and stressed the importance of the governments role in the provision of emergency relief to those in need regardless of their location.

McAskie also reminded the Government of its responsibilities regarding the protection of civilians including some one million internally displaced persons, the 50,000 Liberian refugees living in Cote dIvoire as well as the humanitarian personnel working to bring aid to vulnerable populations.

Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says it is about to begin to repatriate thousands of Liberian refugees in western Cote d'Ivoire. The return will require both bus transport and canoes. UNHCR has requested a police security escort following days of negotiations with local villages for safe passage. Ivorian authorities have worked hard over the past week to calm tensions between the local population and the Liberian refugees.

STUDY: SOMALI PARENTS PAY TO HAVE CHILDREN SMUGGLED TO EUROPE

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has released results of a study on Somali children prepared by its independent humanitarian news service known as the Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN).

According to the report, Somali parents are paying smugglers up to US $10,000 to take their children abroad, as part of a lucrative and exploitative international child-smuggling business. Faced with desperate choices, many parents who see no future in their own country allow their children to be abandoned by "agents" at airports and railway stations in European and North American countries.

On the reports of children being smuggled into Europe from Somalia, the UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) says the reason for this phenomenon was largely related to education at the secondary level -- Somalis had always placed a high value on education, and currently secondary education was not easily available in the country.

UNDP REPORTS SEVERE POVERTY LEVELS IN EUROPEAN ROMA COMMUNITIES

In Brussels, Belgium, the UN Development Programme yesterday launched its Roma Human Development Report, "Avoiding the Dependency Trap," which points out that the literacy, infant mortality and basic nutrition rates of most of Europe's four to five million Roma are closer to levels in sub-Saharan Africa than those for other Europeans.

Nearly half of the Roma surveyed are unemployed, and close to one in six is "constantly starving." Only six out of 10 households have running water, the report says, and fewer than half have toilets in their homes. It adds that only a third of the Roma surveyed completed primary school, while only one percent attended college.

"The international community needs to consider Roma issues from a broader developmental perspective and ensure that Roma people have equal access to education and job opportunities," said Kalman Mizsei, UNDP Director for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, who supervised the survey. The survey was carried out in five countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

AFGHAN REFUGEES: The World Food Programme took over responsibility on Friday from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for the distribution of food aid to 288,000 Afghan refugees in Pakistan as part of a test project that could be extended to all areas of the world. Previously, WFP provided the food to UNHCR, which then distributed it to the refugees.

SRI LANKA: UNHCR officials have been meeting with Sri Lankan government representatives and Tamil Tiger rebel leaders this week to determine the refugee agencys possible role in returning an initial group of over 100,000 internally displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka. Also discussed during the meeting, held in the rebel-controlled town of Kilinichchi, was the future return of some 84,000 refugees living in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

HEALTH: The World Health Organization announced today in a press release that 43 new countries have been given low cost access to health journals. The 43 countries, all with a per capita gross national product (GNP) of between $1,000 and $1,500, will pay $1,000 annually for access to 2,200 high-quality medical journals. These countries will join the 69 low-income countries already participating at no cost in the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI).

UN WORKS: The first episode of a 10-part television series called Whats Going On? co-produced by UN Works, will air on Sunday on the Showtime Cable network. The first episode will feature United Nations Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover and will profile children in the Caribbean living with HIV/AIDS. The series was developed in collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund, UNDP, the International Labour organization and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. TREATIES

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and their Destruction was ratified by Cyprus, bringing the number of parties to 131.

Nicaragua acceded to the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, which now has 79 parties.

UN BUDGET: Two more Member States have paid their 2003 regular budget contributions in full today. Canada made a payment of more than $34 million and Hungary more than $1.6 million to bring the total of fully paid up Members to 20.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS Monday, January 20 The Security Council will hold an open meeting, at the ministerial level, on the fight against terrorism, on which it expects also to adopt a Presidential statement. At 12:45, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, who will preside over the meeting, will provide a press briefing, along with Renaud Muselier, minister of state for foreign affairs.

In New York, the executive boards of the UN Development Programme and UN Population Fund will meet.

In Geneva, the executive board of the World Health Organization will begin a meeting, during which, among other things, it will consider the successor to Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland.

The Commission on Human Rights will hold a one-day meeting to elect its bureau for its 59th session.

Tuesday, January 21 The Security Council intends to hold consultations on Georgia and a meeting with troop contributors for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon.

Wednesday, January 22 The Security Council intends to hold consultations on Lebanon and Burundi and will also meet with troop contributors for the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara.

Thursday, January 23 The Security Council intends to hold consultations on Western Sahara.

Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette will speak to the McGill Model UN in Montreal, Canada.

In Nairobi, the Committee of Permanent Representatives for the UN Environment Programme will meet.

Friday, January 24 The Security Council has scheduled an open briefing, followed by consultations, on Afghanistan.

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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