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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-01-21

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

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

ANNAN TO ATTEND COTE DIVOIRE PEACE TALKS IN PARIS

At the invitation of the French Government, Secretary-General Kofi Annan is scheduled to leave for Paris Thursday evening to join summit talks over the weekend on Cote dIvoire. He will return to New York Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Carolyn McAskie, the Secretary-General's Humanitarian Envoy for the crisis in Cote D'Ivoire who is in that country, has highlighted in her talks the need for authorities to continue to send a message of tolerance and solidarity to all Ivoirians. Today McAskie was to visit Yamoussoukro, where she will meet with the humanitarian community and visit a transit center for displaced persons as well as meet with the local authorities, and Bouake, where she will meet with the rebel group MPCI to impress on them the need to sustain their policy of allowing safe and unhindered access to those providing humanitarian relief.

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON SITUATION IN GEORGIA

The Security Council met in closed consultations this morning on Georgia, with a briefing by the Secretary-Generals Special Representative Heidi Tagliavani on his latest report. He has asked for a six-month extension of the mandate.

Tagliavani also updated the Council on the main developments in the political process on the ground. She told the members that the focus of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia remained on bringing about substantive negotiations with the support of the Council and the Friends of the Secretary-General for Georgia.

This afternoon the Council has scheduled a meeting with troop contributing countries to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

At 4 p.m., the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee has a meeting scheduled.

BLIX TO MEET WITH UNMOVIC COMMISSIONERS ON THURSDAY

The UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commissions (UNMOVIC) Executive Chairman, Hans Blix, is making his way back to New York today.

On Thursday, he will meet with UNMOVICs College of Commissioners at UN headquarters in New York.

Meanwhile, UN weapons inspectors in Iraq continued their work on the ground with a visit by an UNMOVIC team to the location of the four 122mm rocket warheads, which Iraq said they had found. The inspectors examined, X-rayed and tagged the warheads. The bunker containing them was sealed.

Inspectors from both UNMOVIC and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visited a number of other sites, including a missile testing center, a chemical production facility and an agricultural research plant.

IRAQI OIL EXPORTS IN PAST WEEK BRING IN $424 MILLION

According to the regular update from the Office of the Iraq Programme, Iraqi oil exports under the oil for food scheme totaled 15.1 million barrels for the week ending January 17th. That brought in an estimated $424 million in revenue.

The office of the Iraq Programme also announced that $61 million in savings on its administrative and operational costs for phase XII of the programme will be redirected to the purchase of humanitarian goods for Iraq. This brings the programmes total savings on administrative and operational overheads to $272 million since September 2000.

UN: 20 PERCENT OF ADULT SOUTHERN AFRICANS AT RISK OF HIV/AIDS DEATH

A statement today, by the heads of the worlds major humanitarian agencies called on the international community to respond appropriately to the human tragedy now unfolding in Southern Africa as a result of a combination of severe drought, the HIV/AIDS pandemic and growing poverty.

It notes that, failing decisive action now and large-scale funding, an estimated 20% of the total adult population of 60 million people12 million people--will die prematurely just due to HIV/AIDS alone. This number will increase due to food shortages, malnutrition and poor health services.

The agencies also welcomed a joint mission to southern Africa by James Morris, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa, accompanied by Stephen Lewis, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for HIV/AIDS in Africa. The mission will consult widely with humanitarian and development agencies to determine how best the United Nations system and international community can assist those at risk, especially women. It will also examine strategies to support Governments in the region in their efforts to improve the provision of social services.

Morris, in his capacity as Executive Director of the World Food Programme, at the end of a five-day mission to Ethiopia today welcomed generous new contributions. However, he warned there was no time to lose as available food aid supplies would start to run out during the peak of the drought crisis. Upon his departure from Ethiopia today, Morris will travel to Johannesburg to commence the seven-day southern Africa mission with Stephen Lewis.

UN ENVOY CONCERNED OVER ISRAELI DEMOLITION OF PALESTINIAN PROPERTY

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Terje Roed Larsen, today expressed serious concern over the demolition of Palestinian homes and commercial property by the Israeli army north of the West Bank town of Tulkarem.

In a statement released today in Jerusalem, Larsen said he was particularly concerned at the economic and humanitarian impact of such actions on the local economy.

He noted that such demolitions constitute a breach of Israels obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Conventions.

ANNAN RECOMMENDS TWO-MONTH EXTENSION OF WESTERN SAHARA MISSION

The Secretary-General, in his latest report on Western Sahara, which was circulated today to Security Council members, notes the travels last week by his Personal Envoy, James Baker, to meet with the Moroccan Government and Polisario Front leadership, as well as officials in neighboring Mauritania and Algeria, to explain a proposal for a political solution of the Western Sahara conflict.

On the basis of Bakers visit, the Secretary-General says that he and his Personal Envoy will provide to the Security Council in due course their views of the options available regarding Western Sahara. He adds, Every possible option has been presented to the parties, aimed at reaching an agreed solution.

To give the parties time to consider the proposal presented by Baker, the Secretary-General recommends that the Security Council roll over the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara, known as MINURSO, for two months, until the end of March.

The Council intends to hold consultations on Western Sahara on Thursday.

ANNAN: WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION CHALLENGE INTERNATIONAL PEACE

International peace and security continue to face profound challenges in the form of weapons of mass destruction, and the continual development of new weapons systems, the Secretary-General warned in a message to the 25th Session of the Conference on Disarmament.

In the message, which was delivered by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva, the Secretary-General again expressed his serious concern over the announcement by the Government of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea of its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

He underscored that the only viable solution to this latest setback for disarmament and non-proliferation is through peaceful means, dialogue, and a spirit of mutual interest.

In the past four years, the Conference was not able to reach agreement on a programme of work and so was unable to start work on substantive issues.

The Secretary-General expressed his hope that 2003 would mark a turning point in the history of this Conference, and it should redouble its efforts to overcome its current impasse, so as to enable it to discharge faithfully and effectively its mandate as the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum.

MEXICO SUBMITS CASE AGAINST THE UNITED STATES AT WORLD COURT

Today at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, oral arguments began in a case submitted by Mexico against the United States for violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

In an application, submitted on January 9, the Mexican Government says that officials in 10 states of the United States have arrested, detained, tried, convicted and sentenced to death no fewer than 54 Mexican nationals, following proceedings in which the competent authorities failed to comply with their obligations under the Vienna Convention. Mexico says it has intervened in numerous judicial proceedings on behalf of its nationals, but has not received adequate relief.

The oral arguments will continue throughout today, and a verbatim transcript of those arguments will be available afterward on the Courts website.

WHO CONSIDERS FIVE CANDIDATES TO REPLACE OUT GOING CHIEF

The Executive Board of the World Health Organization has reduced the number of candidates for the post of Director-General to five. Included in the short list are Julio Frenk of Mexico, Jong Wook Lee of the Republic of Korea, Pascoal Manuel Mocumbi of Mozambique, Peter Piot of Belgium and Ismail Sallam of Egypt.

Early next week, the Board will nominate one of the candidates, who will have to be confirmed by the World Health Assembly when it meets in May. The new Director-General will take over from Gro Harlem Brundtland on 21 July 2003.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS IMPACT OF ARMED CONFLICT ON WOMEN: The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced today that High Commissioner for Refugees, Ruud Lubbers and the Executive Director of the UN Development Fund for Woman (UNIFEM), Noeleen Hezyer, will launch tomorrow in Geneva a report prepared by the Independent Panel of Experts on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and the Role of Women in Peace-building.

NORTH KOREAN ASYLUM SEEKERS: UNHCR has asked the Chinese government for access to a group of 48 North Korean asylum seekers, including children, arrested last Saturday as they tried to board fishing boats in the port of Yantai, Shandong Province. In a note verbale sent to the Chinese authorities in Beijing today, UNHCR also urged China not to send the North Koreans back to their country. UNHCR says it is ready to assess the asylum claims of the group jointly with the Chinese authorities.

SOUTH ASIAN ENVIRONMENT: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) launched two reports of the State of the Environment reports for South Asia. The first, targeting policy makers, highlights five key environmental issues: security of livelihoods, environmental disasters, industrialization, urbanization and loss of biodiversity. The other is the youth version of the report, Children of the Monsoon and was written by members of youth organizations which make up the South Asia Your Environment Network. WATER RESOURCES IN KENYA: Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of UNEP, met today with Kenyas new environment Minister, Newton Kulundu, to discuss a project on water resources in the Mount Kenya region. The project aims to tackle soil erosion in the Tana River which is clogging up dams and reservoirs. The project will work with local communities and farmers to balance the needs of agriculture with those of wildlife in the area.

WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM: Asked if the Secretary-General would be attending this years World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General would not be going. The Spokesman added after the briefing that the UN Development Programmes Administrator, Mark Malloch Brown, would be the senior most UN official attending the gathering.

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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