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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-01-30

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

Thursday, January 30, 2003

ANNAN LOOKS FORWARD TO POWELL VISIT TO THE UNITED NATIONS

Secretary-General Kofi Annan was asked by the Associated Press this morning about yesterdays discussions in the Security Council in Iraq, and he noted that discussions would continue, with everyone looking forward to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powells visit to the United Nations next week.

He said he suspected that many foreign ministers would come for that meeting, and would discuss Iraq further following the evidence Powell brings to the Council.

He added, Whether that will change the minds of some members of the Council will depend on the material he puts before them.

As for evidence, he added that the inspectors have made it clear for some time that they would appreciate receiving actionable information from Governments, and he hoped they would use any helpful information that it is presented next week.

Asked for a reaction from the Secretary-General to President Bushs statements during the State of the Union address in which he said he was ready to lead a coalition against Iraq outside of the United Nations, the Spokesman answered that the Secretary-General felt that the inspections are being carried out in a professional manner and should continue until they can report non-cooperation from Iraq or some other development, which might trigger Council action. The Secretary-General favors continuation of the inspection process, the Spokesman added. The Secretary-General would also welcome, he went on to say, the sharing of information that would enable to inspections to be more focused.

Asked about the format of the meeting of February 5th, the Spokesman said the Security Council had not yet worked out the details but he added that it was expected that the meeting be an open one and that it would start in the morning and to end that day.

Asked about the specific press arrangements, the Spokesman said an unprecedented number of journalists would be at the United Nations that day and that a pass system for access to the Security Council stake-out area would have to be initiated for safety reasons.

UNMOVIC UNABLE TO COMPLETE INTERVIEWS WITH IRAQI CITIZENS

In Baghdad, the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) sought two more private interviews today, according to the daily briefing. In both cases, the Iraqi individuals requested to be interviewed in private showed up with a person at the agreed hotel and insisted on having the individual with them during an interview. Consequently, no interviews took place.

Meanwhile, field inspections continued with UNMOVIC visiting two private distilleries and an infectious disease diagnostics laboratory.

Teams from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), visited a precision casting facility and conducted a motorized radiation survey in areas southeast of Baghdad.

Also, air sampling equipment has been installed by the IAEA and is operating on the roof of the Canal Hotel, the operations base for IAEA inspections in Iraq. This is the initial step in the re-installation of both fixed and mobile air samplers as part of wide-area environmental monitoring in Iraq.

Asked if the Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, Hans Blix, would have to postpone his trip to Germany next week due to the Security Council meeting on February 5th, the Spokesman said that Blix would not be going to Germany and would instead meet with Germanys Foreign Minister Joshka Fisher here in New York, on the sidelines of the Security Council meeting.

ANNAN WARMLY WELCOMES NEPALESE CEASE-FIRE

The Secretary-General, in a statement issued through his Spokesman, warmly welcomes the announcement of a cease-fire Wednesday by the His Majestys Government of Nepal and the forces belonging to the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the Governments intention to convene all-party talks.

He is encouraged by these developments which he hopes will facilitate an early start of talks between the two sides and lead to the peaceful resolution of Nepals internal conflict.

The Secretary-General wishes to reiterate his readiness to provide assistance from the United Nations system in sustaining a process of national reconciliation and reform in Nepal.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES BURUNDI, EXTENDS MANDATES OF UN MISSIONS

The Security Council began its work today with consultations on Burundi, with Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tuliameni Kalomoh briefing on political developments, as well as the military and security and humanitarian situation.

Afterwards, the President of the Security Council, Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sablière of France,

said the Council encouraged the parties in the Burundi conflict to respect fully all the commitments they have undertaken and underscored the importance for all parties to fulfill their obligations regarding the transition scheduled for next May.

Following consultations, the Council held four back-to-back formal meetings to adopt resolutions on children in armed conflict and extensions of the UN peacekeeping missions in Georgia

and Lebanon and Western Sahara, whose mandates are scheduled to expire Friday.

Published today as a Security Council document today is a letter from Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere of France transmitting the agreement on Cote DIvoire reached last week in Linas-Marcoussis, France, and conclusions adopted after the weekend Conference of Heads of State.

ANNAN PLEASED BY RUSSIA/UKRAINE BORDER AGREEMENT

The Secretary-General said in a statement issued through his Spokesman Wednesday that he was very pleased to learn of the signing in Kiev of an Agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on the Ukrainian-Russian State Boundary.

He extends his congratulations to H.E. Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, and H.E. Mr. Leonid Kuchma, President of Ukraine on this important development which will enhance the security and stability of both nations, the statement said.

UN AFGHAN MISSION TO PROBE REPORTED BAN OF MALE TEACHERS IN GIRLS SCHOOLS

The UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has sent its Senior Human Rights Advisor to the Province of Herat to look into the issue of girls education. There have been reports that the province had banned male teachers teaching girls students.

At a meeting, attended by representatives of the United Nations and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, the Herat Education Department explained that they were in fact implementing a decree issued by the Ministry of Education. The authorities reportedly took action after receiving letters of complaint from the parents of female students protesting against their daughters being taught by male teachers.

According to Herat Education Department, the measure will not affect the access of girls to education as there is a sufficient number of female teachers in the province.

UNAMA maintains that though in the Herat district itself, female teachers allegedly outnumber male teachers, the situation might be different in the rural areas where the number of female teachers is smaller and also in specialized courses such as English language or computer courses where the number of female teachers is particularly low.

UNAMA and UNICEF will be following up the meeting by approaching the Ministry of Education about the decree and how it is being implemented, if at all, at national level and to assess its impact in other parts of Afghanistan.

Also from Afghanistan: the UN Development Programme and the Ministry of Housing and Development signed an agreement today in Kabul to facilitate planning, management, and implementation of urban reconstruction projects that have already created employment opportunities for over 30,000 local Afghans in Kabul. An additional programmes have benefited 15,000 Afghans in Jalalabad and 30,000 in Kandahar.The programmes under the agreement are funded by the government of Japan and the European Commission.

TEST ON POWDER FOUND IN UN CYPRUS OFFICE COME BACK NEGATIVE

Following up on the mysterious white powder sent to the offices in Nicosia of the Secretary-Generals Special Advisor for Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, this morning, the UN mission was informed at that more in depth tests on the powder show that it is harmless and poses no danger to anyone.

As a result, UN staff are now returning to their offices. Therefore, the Technical Committee meetings scheduled for this afternoon will take place at the Nicosia Conference Centre, which is located in the UN compound, as usual.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS:

COTE D'IVOIRE: The Secretary-Generals Humanitarian Envoy for the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire, Carolyn McAskie, meanwhile, continued her visit to the region with a stop in Ghana today. In Accra, McAskie met with the UN Country Team, Ghanaian authorities and representatives of humanitarian organizations. McAskie plans to visit Burkina Faso tomorrow and then on to Guinea, Liberia and Mali.

RWANDA COURT: Wednesday, the General Assembly held a day-long meeting to consider the nominees to fill 11 seats for permanent judges on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, but it will have to hold the voting again after it was determined that one of the voting States, Mauritania, had not made sufficient dues payments to allow it to vote. As a result, yesterdays three rounds of voting on the Rwanda Tribunal were declared invalid, and a new round of voting will begin at 10:00 a.m. Friday.

MALARIA: The World Health Organization issued a first update on the Roll Malaria programme, which was launched in 1998 by Gro Harlem Brundtland in her first months as Director-General. The Roll Malaria Secretariat today announced the appointment of its first Executive Secretary, Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré of Mali.

MAD COW: WHO published a new document on Mad Cow disease. The booklet aims at providing governments and consumer protection groups with information on the disease and how to prevent its spread. The press release includes answers to eight common questions about Mad Cow disease and its human counterpart.

FOOD OUTLOOK: Food and Agriculture Organization announces a new policy of publishing highlights from its Food Outlook a week before the full issue is published.

UN BUDGET: Today, Switzerland became the 34th Member State to pay its 2003 regular budget contribution in full with a payment of more than $17 million. This is the first time Switzerland, which joined the Organization last year, has paid its contribution as a full Member.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: Asked about the implementation of Phase I security for UN staff in Trinidad and Tobago, the Spokesman said he would not comment in detail on security issues but he did say that the concern with security in that country involved local criminality and not terrorism, as it had been suggested in some press reports.

INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT: Asked about the election of judges to the International Criminal Court, the Spokesman later said it would be dealt with at an assembly of States Parties, which begins Monday in New York.

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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