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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-06-13

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 OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, June 13, 2003

MIDDLE EAST: ANNAN TO PARTICIPATE IN QUARTET MEETING IN AMMAN

Secretary-General Kofi Annan will participate in a meeting of Quartet Principals in Amman, Jordan, on 22 June, according to a statement issued through his Spokesman. The meeting follows the recent Aqaba summit at which both Israel and the Palestinians agreed to begin implementing the Quartet's Road Map.

The Secretary-General believes the Amman meeting will be a timely opportunity to discuss what the Quartet might do to help generate further momentum in the difficult search for peace. He believes very strongly that the parties should not allow themselves to be deterred by acts of violence and terror. They should show restraint in their words and actions, so that a revived peace process can gain traction through implementation of the Road Map.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES MIDDLE EAST;

"VIOLENCE ONLY LEADS DOWN THE ABYSS," SAYS TOP UN POLITICAL OFFICIAL

Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast, updated the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, as part of its periodic briefings on the issue.

The past month, Prendergast said, has witnessed the most promising openings in the political process since the autumn of 2000. The personal engagement of President Bush and the successful summit at Aqaba were developments of the highest significance, which generated enormous hopes and expectations. Yet, at the same time, we also witnessed the continuation of the sort of violence, by both sides, that has snuffed out every previous effort to renew the peace process.

In this situation, it is essential that the parties chose the road to peace. "Violence only leads down the abyss," Prendergast added.

Israelis and Palestinians need to stay the course, he told council members, and to do so they will need help.

"With this objective uppermost in our mind," Prendergast said, "the Quartet principles will meet in Jordan on June 22nd."

He also briefed them on the humanitarian situation of the Palestinians, which, he said, had not improved despite the tentative steps towards renewal of the political process. In fact the situation has worsened due tightening of the closures, which is also severely hampering the work of UN agencies in the Gaza strip.

Following the open briefing, Council members held closed consultations after which Council President Sergey Lavrov of Russia read a press statement. [Council members reiterated the demand for an immediate cessation of all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction, and reconfirmed the importance of, and the need to achieve, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East including the Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese tracks. It also said Council members are looking forward to the forthcoming meeting of Quartets Principals in Amman on 22 June and supported the statement of the Secretary-General in this regard.]

IRAQ: UN ENVOY TO TRAVEL TO BASRA AT START OF VISIT TO PROVINCES

Today, in Baghdad, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative, Sergio Vieira de Mello today met Hamid Majid Musa, Secretary-General of the Iraqi Communist Party as part of his continuing consultations with various political leaders in Iraq.

Musa stated that his party always believed that there was an essential role for the United Nations in Iraq, both before the war and after. They discussed the current transition and explored how to advance the political process.

De Mello stressed the importance of the role of women in peace, reconciliation and development. Musa agreed that they should be given a greater role in the new Iraq.

Saturday, de Mello will travel to Basra. This is the start of his visits to the provinces. In Basra he will meet with political figures and representatives of civil society. He will also visit a UN Quick Impact Project and meet the staff of UN agencies operating in the region.

On the humanitarian front, the UN Childrens Fund said today that there had been a flurry of news reports indicating an increase in the number of children on the streets in Baghdad. UNICEF considers this situation ripe for exploitation of children. In the chaos of the post-war environment in Iraq, UNICEF says, normal community networks for the protection of children were not fully functioning. In this regard, UNICEF strongly supported getting all Iraqi children back to school as a way of protecting them from exploitation and injury.

LIBERIAN PEACE TALKS TO DISCUSS DRAFT CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT

The various factions involved in the Liberian Peace Talks are expected to meet face-to-face for the first time today at Akosombo, Ghana.

This afternoons meeting has been arranged by the Special Mediator of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Gen. Abdulsalaami Abubakar after several bilateral meetings with the various delegations, especially those of the Liberian Government, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, LURD, Movement for Democracy and Elections in Liberia, MODEL, and the 18 political parties represented.

It is expected that the meeting will iron out their differences on the draft ceasefire agreement.

The UN Representative at the Peace Talks is the Secretary-Generals Representative for Liberia Abou Moussa.

On the humanitarian front, the World Food Programme said if security conditions permit, the resumption of food distribution to refugees and internally-displaced people in camps near the capital Monrovia would be done soon by a team of nine national staff with the help of non-governmental organizations.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees says it remains extremely concerned about the chaotic and dangerous security situation in Liberia and its humanitarian impact. UNHCR fully supports the ongoing efforts to reach a cease-fire and the High Commissioner has urged the subsequent deployment of a peacekeeping force to monitor it and to allow the rapid resumption of humanitarian activities for Liberias suffering population and refugees.

SECURITY COUNCIL MISSION TO TRAVEL FROM BURUNDI TO RWANDA

The Security Council mission to Central Africa led by French Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sablière is now in Bujumbura, Burundi, where they have meetings scheduled with Vice President Alphonse Marie Kadege and with President Domitien Ndayizeye.

Upon arrival in Bujumbura yesterday, Ambassador de la Sabliere made a statement in which he expressed his congratulations to the Burundian people and the various political parties and groups for the successful conclusion and signing of ceasefire agreements. He also expressed the Councils support for the peace process and invited armed movements, which have not yet done so, to join the process.

Tomorrow, the Council delegation travels to Kigali to meet with Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

During the Councils three-hour visit to Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, yesterday, the delegation received a briefing on the deployment of the Emergency Interim Multinational Force by its commanding officer, the French General Jean Marie Thonier.

The meeting with the members of the Ituri Pacification Commission (IPC) was to reinforce the support of the international community to that democratically elected body.

The third meeting was with the NGOs and the humanitarian community. They raised fears that Bunia could become a big camp for displaced people if the mandate of the Multinational Force is to exclusively secure that town and its surroundings. They encouraged the United Nations to put an end to impunity in Bunia as the only way to discourage further violence and human rights violations against the civilians.

CAMEROON-NIGERIA COMMISSION ENDS FOURTH MEETING ON LAND BOUNDARY

The Cameroon-Nigeria mixed commission considering ways to follow up on the boundary ruling of the International Court of Justice of October 2002 has concluded its fourth meeting.

The meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, discussed the progress towards the planning and implementation of the demarcation exercise of the land boundary as well as other issues.

A communiqué was issued at the end of the meeting, which was chaired by the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for West Africa Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah.

ANNAN, ENVOY DISCUSS STEPS TO RESOLVE IMPASSE ON KOREAN PENINSULA

The Secretary-General met on Thursday afternoon with Maurice Strong, his Personal Envoy. Mr. Strong reported on his recent consultations and activities particularly with regard to the humanitarian situation in the Peoples Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK), including a recent meeting of the World Food Programme in Rome on its projects in the country, and on other relevant issues.

They also discussed further steps in pursuing the Secretary-General's initiative to support the current efforts to achieve a negotiated settlement of the impasse on the Peninsula. They noted that recent visits by Swiss Foreign Minister Calmy-Rey and a U.S. bipartisan congressional delegation led by Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA) to the country have been helpful in contributing to this process.

The Secretary-General is keeping in close touch with these efforts as part of his role to support and facilitate a peaceful resolution of the situation.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

HUMAN RIGHTS IN GUATEMALA:

Acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Bertrand Ramcharan, expressed his grave concern the recent murder of a Guatemalan human rights activists, José Israel López.

RUSSIAN FOOD DONATION: The World Food Programme welcomed its first ever donation from the Russian Federation -- an $11 million contribution to WFP's emergency operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola.

SARS TRAVEL ADVISORY UPDATE: The World Health Organization today is removing its recommendation that people should postpone all but essential travel to Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi and Tianjin regions in China due to the outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome there. WHO is changing this recommendation as the situation in these areas has now improved significantly, following the confirmation that there have been no new cases isolated in any of these areas for more than twice the maximum incubation period. The latest statistics on SARS indicate a total of 8445 probable cases, including 790 deaths, reported worldwide.

TUBERCULOSIS IN THE WORKPLACE: WHO and the International Labour Organization have launched new measures on controlling tuberculosis in the workplace, which could protect millions of workers from the disease. The guidelines provide information for employers and employees on how tuberculosis spreads, and steps that can be taken to contain the disease.

HIV/AIDS IN LATIN AMERICA: The Pan American Health Organization, the regional office of the World Health Organization in the Americas, has praised 10 Latin American countries for their successful negotiation to reduce the prices of anti-retroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS treatment. The agreement was negotiated by the ministries of health of the countries with support of PAHO, UNAIDS and the Andean Health Organism. It will allow the countries to save up to $120 million a year, which amounts to 150,000 annual treatments and a 30 to 92 % reduction of prices for therapy.

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS: Palau has become the 50th country to ratify the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, starting a 90-day countdown to the agreement's entry into force in September. Adopted in January 2000 by the member governments of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Protocol sets out the first comprehensive regulatory system for ensuring the safe transfer, handling and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), with a specific focus on movements of these organisms across national borders.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS Monday, June 16

The Security Council will hold consultations on missing Kuwaiti property and persons.

The Security Council mission to Central Africa is expected to return to New York.

At 11:00 a.m., the Canadian Mission is sponsoring a press briefing by Watchlist which is launching their report on Children and Armed Conflict. They will also discuss the impact of war on children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The swearing-in of the first Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is scheduled to take place at the Great Hall of Justice of the Peace Palace.

In Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency will begin a meeting by its Board of Governors.

Tuesday, June 17

The Security Council is expected to hold a public meeting on Afghanistan.

The IAEA Board of Governors will consider a report by Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei on Iran.

At 11:00 a.m., the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is sponsoring a press briefing by the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the International Center for Transitional Justice.

This is the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.

Wednesday, June 18

The Security Council has scheduled an open briefing on the mission to Central Africa led by French Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere. The Council also intends to hold its monthly luncheon with the Secretary-General.

At 11:00 a.m., the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and EngenderHealth will launch a report on obstetric fistula in sub-Saharan Africa.

The guest at the noon briefing will be Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, who will launch the Laos and Myanmar opium surveys.

Thursday, June 19

The Secretary-General will travel to Amman, Jordan, for a meeting of the Quartet on the situation in the Middle East.

The Security Council has scheduled consultations on Guinea-Bissau.

The guest at the noon briefing will be Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Carolyn McAskie, who will discuss her recent mission to Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Friday, June 20

The Security Council has scheduled an open briefing on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

This is World Refugee Day.

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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