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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-06-03

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From: The United Nations Home Page at <> - email:






Tuesday, June 3, 2003


This morning in Baghdad, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, met L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. Civilian Administrator, and John Sawers the U.K. Special Representative. The three held an initial meeting alone for an hour, they were then joined by their respective delegations for an additional 30 minutes.

During the meeting, Bremer and Sawers briefed de Mello on the Coalitions priorities in Iraq during the current phase, namely: re-establishing law and order, re-connecting basic services, and rejuvenating civil society; working on improving the economic situation; moving towards creating a democratic, representative government in Iraq.

Afterwards in speaking to the press, Bremer said the United Nations had a vital role to play in Iraq and said he was looking forward to working closely with de Mello and his team on implementing Security Councils latest resolution on Iraq (1483).

For his part, de Mello said that they had had a very cordial and constructive meeting, adding that he was spending his first few days in Baghdad working on defining precisely what the nature of the UN role would be, in accordance with the Security Councils resolution.


[Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in response to a reporter's question about the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said in a press encounter Tuesday afternoon: "We need to tackle the situation on two fronts to take urgent steps to calm the situation in Bunia, and I am grateful to the governments that have offered troops, and also to President [Jacques] Chirac for offering to lead the multinational force but at the same time we should press ahead on the political front with implementation of the Pretoria Agreement and the formation of the transitional government. I will be sending Mr. [Mustapha] Niasse as my Special Representative, with Gen. Maurice Baril, who was Chief of Staff of the Canadian Armed Forces, and former Military Adviser here, to work with the Government on the formation" of the new Congolese army.]

Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere of France is scheduled to brief journalists Wednesday afternoon on the upcoming Security Council mission to Central Africa, which he will lead. The mission is expected to travel to South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including Bunia, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania.

Meanwhile, the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) is coordinating regarding joint mechanisms on the ground with the Interim Emergency Multinational Force in advance of its deployment in Bunia. And consultations with troop contributing countries to that force continue.

Jean-Marie Guehenno, Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations is scheduled to brief the Security Council on Wednesday and be the guest at the noon briefing Thursday to discuss his just concluded visit to the DRC.

And on the humanitarian front, the World Food Programme said that insecurity in the Ituri region was hampering the distribution of food aid to the displaced populations. WFP had just completed a general distribution in difficult conditions of three weeks of rations to 9,000 displaced persons near the airport. The displaced persons were regularly harassed by rebel groups, according to WFP.

Meanwhile, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that humanitarian activities in the DRC are severely under-funded with only 18.5 percent of funding received against an appeal of more than $220 million.


The Security Council is meeting on the programme of work for the month of June and on Cote DIvoire during which members heard a briefing was expected by Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hedi Annabi.

[In a press statement on Cote DIvoire read by Security Council President, Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov, members of the Council welcomed recent progress in the implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement. is expected to be read following consultations.stressed again their concern at the humanitarian situation in Côte dIvoire. They expressed particular concern at the situation of Liberian refugees who had recently crossed the border into Côte dIvoire. Members said they looked forward to the opportunity to emphasize these points directly to the Ivorian parties during their mission to West Africa at the end of June/beginning of July.]


Published today is the Secretary-Generals latest report on the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), in which covers the developments on the island since November of last year. He recommends that the Council extend the missions current mandate for further six months, until 15 December 2003.

In the last week of April, the Turkish Cypriot authorities opened a crossing point to the public for travel in both directions. This was the first such opening in almost three decades. Additional crossing points were opened in the following days.

The first week around 140,000 Greek Cypriots crossed to the north and 34,000 Turkish Cypriots went in the opposite direction. Since then the average number of crossings has stabilized to about 13,000 people per day.

The UN force, especially its civilian police component, has been active in ensuring a safe and orderly crossing of people and vehicles through the UN buffer zone. UN engineers have also worked to improve the roads.

To face these additional duties, the Secretary-General says that the mission requires an additional 34 civilian police officers. There are currently 35 police officers assigned to the force.

In conclusion, he notes that these recent developments are not a substitute for a comprehensive settlement. It seems highly unlikely that such a settlement can be achieved without the genuine political commitment to the proposal I put forward and a firm timetable to finalize negotiations, he says.

Asked if the Secretary-General had any plans to send his Special Advisor for Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, back to the region, the Spokesman said he was not aware of any such plans.


In a statement released on Monday night through his Spokesman, the Secretary-General says he has been following developments in Zimbabwe and is concerned about reports of the possibility of violence in connection with the mass action planned by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) against the Government during the first week of June.

The Secretary-General urges the organizers of the mass action to ensure that their action remains peaceful and within the law. He urges the Government of Zimbabwe to respect the basic principles of freedom of expression and assembly as well as the human rights of those participating in the mass action, and to exercise maximum restraint in dealing with the situation.

The Secretary-General reiterates his continued support for and readiness to contribute to the search for a negotiated solution of the serious difficulties facing the country.


UN HUMANITARIAN APPEALS: The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today the mid-year review of their 2003 Consolidated Appeals for countries in crisis shows that overall only one-third of the funds required have been received so far. Some of the appeals for individual countries like Afghanistan and Iraq have received strong funding while others like Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have received less than a quarter of what is needed.

LIBERIAN REFUGEES FLEE TO COTE D'IVOIRE: The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reports that thousands of Liberians have fled fresh fighting in southern Liberia for the relative safety of neighbouring Côte d'Ivoire in recent days, putting new pressure on communities already burdened by long-time refugees and the effects of Côte d'Ivoire's civil conflict.

FIGHTING IN BUJUMBURA DISPLACES THOUSANDS: The World Food Programme said that the renewal of intensive fighting on 22 May in Bujumbura province had caused a serious displacement of up to 15,000 civilians. Meanwhile, UNHCR said it was worried about more than 35,000 Burundian refugees who had sought asylum in Tanzania in the last year and a half. There was a sharp rise in the number of returns of these Burundian refugees amid concern that their return was not fully voluntary.

LACK OF PROGRESS ON SARS DIAGNOSTICS TEST: The World Health Organization yesterday expressed concern over the rather slow process of developing commercial diagnostic tests for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.Part of the problem arises from certain unusual features of SARS that make this disease an especially difficult scientific challenge.The latest statistics indicate a total of 8,384 probable cases, with 770 deaths, reported from 29 countries.

SARS OUTBREAK IN CHINA: WHO, together with the Chinese authorities, is also concerned about the SARS outbreak in China, as the number of new cases is dropping very sharply, virtually to zero, while doubts still exist on the effectiveness of surveillance and reporting systems. WHO is currently coordinating a series of training courses in Beijing aimed at establishing an efficient laboratory infrastructure for SARS diagnosis in all provinces throughout China.

POLIO ERADICATION: WHO and UN Childrens Fund welcomed the new $88.6 million pledge from Rotary International for the Global Polio Eradication Program, the worlds largest public health initiative.

LABOUR: The 91st International Labour Conference began today at ILO headquarters in Geneva and will run until 19 June. It began with the election of its new President, Michael Christopher Wamalwa, Vice President and Labour Minister of Kenya. Director General, Juan Somavia, presented his annual report, Working out of Poverty, which provided a roadmap for ILO efforts to reduce poverty by promoting decent working conditions for the working poor and creating new opportunities for those excluded from work.

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UN CAPITAL MASTER PLAN: mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black;mso-ansi-language:EN-US; Asked about the latest developments for the Capital Master Plan, the Spokesman said the United Nations was waiting for the financial arrangements to be worked out and those, he added, depended on an interest-free loan from the United States.

  • The guest at the guest at the Noon Briefing was former Brazilian President Fernando Enrique Cardoso, the Chair of the Secretary-Generals Panel of Eminent Persons on UN Relations with Civil Society. He briefed journalists on the two-day closed-door meeting which focused on two main issues: civil society and global governance and a review and analysis of UN practice in dealing with civil society.

    style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: 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:

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