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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-01-28

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

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

SECURITY COUNCIL TO HOLD CONSULTATIONS ON COTE DIVOIRE

The Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations at 3:00 p.m. on Cote d'Ivoire, with the Secretary-General to brief on the weekend Paris talks and follow-up.

Also on the Council agenda this afternoon are draft resolutions on extending the Liberia sanctions panel of experts and on support for the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme for Rough Diamonds.

Formal meetings to adopt both resolutions are expected afterward.

UNHCR TEMPORARILY SUSPENDS OPERATION IN COTE DIVOIRE

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says that the security concerns in Côte dIvoire have forced its staff to temporarily suspend its operations in Cote dIvoire, including a repatriation movement that has so far sent some 900 Liberians home from the southwest.

In view of recent violent protests in the Ivorian city of Abidjan and the general climate of insecurity, UNHCR has put all its operations in the country on hold as a precautionary measure, instructing its staff to stay at home until further notice.

Meanwhile, Carolyn McAskie, the Secretary-Generals Humanitarian Envoy for the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire, remained in Abidjan today. She is meeting with UN agencies to discuss ways to strengthen the coordination of humanitarian assistance.

UN CYPRUS ENVOY MEETS TURKISH OFFICIALS IN ANKARA

Today in Ankara, the Secretary-General Special Advisor for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, is scheduled to meet with Turkish Foreign Ministry Under Secretary Ugur Zial.

Later this evening, de Soto will also be meeting with Turkeys Prime Minister Abdullah Gul.

Wednesday, de Soto is to meet with the leader of the ruling party Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

De Soto will return to the island tomorrow in time to hold another meeting between the Turkish Cypriot Leader, Rauf Denktash, and the Greek Cypriot Leader, Glafcos Clerides.

UN INSPECTORS REQUEST MORE PRIVATE INTERVIEWS WITH IRAQIS

The UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) requested one further private interview with an Iraqi individual on Sunday, January 26. The individual concerned showed up with an Iraqi official at Al Hayat Hotel Monday, but a private interview did not take place, as he insisted on having a witness with him. UNMOVIC requested another private interview. It did not take place today, either, as the individual concerned insisted on having a witness with him.

To date, UNMOVIC has requested to interview in private 16 Iraqi individuals, but no private interviews have taken place so far. UNMOVIC will further seek private interviews, as allowed in Security Council resolution 1441.

As of today, there are a total of 251 persons working for UNMOVIC and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as part of the weapons inspections process in Iraq. The total number of inspectors is 111, with 100 coming from UNMOVIC and 11 from the IAEA. The rest are support staff, including 50 aircrew and 31 local staff.

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: KOREAN DOCTOR TO SUCCEED BRUNTLAND

The Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) today nominated Dr. Jong Wook Lee for the post of Director-General. Dr. Lee is a citizen of the Republic of Korea, has worked with WHO for 19 years and is the current head of the tuberculosis programme.

Monday, the Board heard presentations from the five candidates on the shortlist on their vision for the future of the Organization. Voting for the final nominee took place this morning. The nomination will be presented to the 56th World Health Assembly in May for approval.

PAN AMERICAN HEALTH ORGANIZATION HEAD TO BE SWORN IN FRIDAY

The Pan American Health Organization, the arm of the World Health Organization operating in the Americas, announced that the first woman to lead the Organization will be sworn in on Friday.

Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, also the first Argentine to hold the position, was elected by the Pan American Sanitary Conference in September of last year and will replace Dr. George Alleyne, whose five-year term ends on Friday..

UNICEF SEEKING HALF A BILLION DOLLARS FOR CRISIS COUNTRIES

Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), briefed the press today in Geneva on a report on countries in crisis. Bellamy said UNICEF is seeking $534 million to meet the needs of children in 33 countries in crisis, including Iraq.

On Iraq, Bellamy said that although it was her hope that here would not be a war, UNICEF, along with the rest of the UN family, has been working on contingency plans to meet the humanitarian needs of the population, about half of whom are children. She added that even though some of the countries in crisis occupy the headlines, the world should not overlook the children of any of them.

WFP APPEALS FOR DONATIONS TO AVERT WEST AFRICA FAMINE

The World Food Program (WFP) today launched an appeal to international donors to provide emergency relief food to southern Mauritania, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Mali and Senegal.

To avert a humanitarian disaster, WFP says it needs $28 million to quickly purchase food rations to help feed 420,000 people suffering from three consecutive years of severe drought in the African countries on the southern edge of the Sahara desert.

MAJOR LITERACY CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED IN AFGHANISTAN

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Government of Afghanistan today launched a major project to boost literacy throughout Afghanistan, which suffers one of the worlds lowest literacy rates.

UNESCO estimates that only half of Afghan men over the age of 15 and one in five women in the same age group can read and write.

The projects main focus will be on building up a nationwide network of literacy teachers, trained in modern non-formal education methods. It will also train people in the development and production of teaching material and provide the necessary equipment for this.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

DISARMAMENT CONFERENCE: In answer to a question about the criticism in the United States regarding the fact that Iraq will be President of the Conference on Disarmament, the Spokesman said that Iraqs assumption of the presidency is a purely automatic rotation by alphabetical order. Each Chairman serves a four-week term, the Spokesman said, adding that this year the chairs would be India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland and Israel. Asked if he understood why some in the United States would consider Iraqs Presidency hypocritical, the Spokesman said it was not a hypocritical decision but rather an orderly method that governments have arrived at for the rotation of the presidency. This has no political significance, the Spokesman added.

ANNAN AT THE WHITE HOUSE: Asked for a readout of the Secretary-Generals recent dinner with President Bush at the White House, the Spokesman said it was a private dinner and no comment would be made.

BLIX AND PRESS COVERAGE: Asked if the Secretary-General was jealous or envious of the fact that [UNMOVIC chief] Hans Blix has now become the UN official with most press coverage, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General does not have a jealous bone in his body and, furthermore, he has always encouraged other officials to speak to the press.

IRAQ OIL FOR FOOD: According to this weeks update from the Oil For Food Programme, Iraqi oil revenues for the period of 18 to 24 of January was $324 million dollars, based on the export of 11.4 million barrels.

AIDS: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) signed an agreement with the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Buenos Aires Monday, which will provide $12 million to fight AIDS in Argentina over the next two years. The funds will help Argentina take preventive measures against AIDS and guarantee the availability of antiretroviral drugs through the country's health care system. Last week in Honduras, UNDP announced that the Global AIDS fund allocated $2 million for that countrys anti-AIDS efforts, with the possibility of another $40-million grant for the coming four years.

"PLANT FOR THE PLANET":The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced that an international tree planting campaign will be launched in Kenya tomorrow at the Global Youth Retreat. Called Plant for the Planet, the campaign will begin with the participants of the retreat planting 4,000 seedlings in the Ngong Forest Sanctuary. This effort is part of a programme to plant one million native and rare indigenous trees to restore forests in Kenya. The campaign is expected to continue in other countries.

BUDGET: Today, four more countries paid in full their contributions to the regular budget for this year. The Bahamas made a payment of more than $162,000; the Democratic Peoples Republic of Koreas contribution was more than $120,000; Denmark made a payment of over $10 million; and Luxembourg made a payment of more than $1 million. A total of 33 countries have paid their contributions in full so far this year.

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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