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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-06-16

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






Monday, June 16, 2003


Today in Baghdad, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, continued his efforts to meet and listen to a broad spectrum of Iraqi society, including a meeting with Sherif Ali Bin Hussein, the head of the Iraqi Constitutional Monarchists Movement. Bin Hussein told de Mello that the United Nations should not only play a humanitarian role but also be active in the political and reconstruction spheres.

De Mello also met today with a group of Iraqi jurists who emphasized the urgent task of ensuring security and justice. They stressed that the current effort undertaken by the Authority did not provide for consultations; they believe that major decisions are made about the legal framework and the judiciary with no Iraqi participation. De Mello assured them that the United Nations would make every effort to raise their concerns with the Authority and pledged UN support for the rebuilding of the justice in Iraq, in the context of resolution 1483.

On Sunday, the Special Representative met with a group of Iraqi journalists and assured them that he was committed to assisting them in creating a free and independent media in Iraq as soon as possible. He added that he, along with various UN agencies in Baghdad, would organize tangible support for the emergence of a free press in Iraq.

On Saturday, De Mello made his first foray outside of Baghdad by traveling to Basra in the south of the country. He told a group of local political, religious and tribal leaders that the United Nations is determined to do its utmost to see the Iraqis rule themselves and form a democratically elected government that would meet the aspirations of all Iraqis.


On the humanitarian front, the Iraqi Ministry of Health, with the support of the UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization, has begun the process of immunizing the countrys 4.2 million children under the age of five against preventable diseases such as polio, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, measles and tuberculosis. This is the first routine immunization since the start of the armed conflict in March.


The Security Council met in closed consultations on Iraq, starting with a discussion in which the High Level Coordinator for missing Kuwaiti property, Yuli Vorontsov, presented the Secretary-Generals latest report on that topic, in which Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he hopes there will be a renewed commitment to resolve the issue.

After that, UN Controller Jean-Pierre Halbwachs presented the Secretary-Generals report on the budget for phasing out the oil for food program. In resolution 1483, the Security Council decided that the program would be phased out by this November 21 and asked the Secretary-General to present an operational budget.

After November 21, a limited number of staff will be required to remain in Iraq until December to close down the program at the field level. Meanwhile, some staff will be required until March 2004 to remain at the headquarters of the various UN agencies involved in the program. A small number of employees will remain at the Iraq Programmes offices in New York until June 2004. A final financial statement for the operation will be ready by the end of 2004 and an external audit by April 2005.

The total budget for these tasks is estimated at $106 million, plus a contingency reserve of $16 million. Since, at then end of last month, there was a balance of $400 million in the "2.2 percent account," which covers the administrative cost of the running the program, a total of $277 million will be available to the Iraq Development Fund as required by Council resolution 1483.


Today in Vienna, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, opened a session of the Agencys Board of Governors by presenting its annual report for 2002, and reviewing its work in Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

On Iran, he noted that the IAEA, following extensive verification activities, points out that Iran has failed to report certain nuclear material and activities, and that corrective action is being taken in cooperation with the Iranian authorities. Meanwhile, work is going on to ensure that all nuclear material in Iran has been declared and is under safeguards.

ElBaradei today called on Iran to conclude and bring into force, at an early date, an additional protocol to help the IAEA provide credible assurances regarding the peaceful nature of its nuclear activities. He also asked Iran to permit the Agency to take environmental samples at the particular location where allegations about enrichment activities exist.

On Iraq, the Director-General noted the sending of an IAEA mission to undertake an inventory of the nuclear material stored at the Tuwaitha complex south of Baghdad. He also said that the Agency has not performed any safeguards functions in North Korea since last December.


The Security Council Mission to Central Africa returned to New York today.

On Saturday, the mission left Bujumbura, Burundi, for Kigali, where a 90-minute meeting took place with Rwandan President Paul Kagame. They discussed the political process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), fighting in the eastern DRC and Ituri, the deployment of the interim Multinational Force in Bunia, allegations about a Rwandan presence in eastern DRC territory, the role of neighboring countries in the DRC peace process, and the possibility of holding a Conference on the Great Lakes.

On Sunday morning, the Council mission met in Dar es Salaam with Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa. The discussions include the support of Tanzania for the Burundian Peace process and good neighborly relations in the region. Also in Dar Es Salaam, the delegation met with a Burundian rebellion movement, the FDD-CMDD, one of two rebel groups still fighting against the Burundian Government.

On Sunday evening, the Council mission met at Entebbe Airport with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni for one hour. Talks focused on the DRC and Burundian Peace process and the positive role" that neighboring countries should play on both issues.

The leader of the mission, French Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sablière, is scheduled to brief the Security Council on the six-nation Central African visit on Wednesday.

In response to a question about the Secretary-General's position regarding a conference on the Great Lakes, the Spokesman later said that the Secretary-General has entrusted Ibrahima Fall, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region, to coordinate the preparation of the Conference as called for by the Security Council. Fall briefed the Council mission in Central Africa on the progress of the preparations.


The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has launched an inquiry into the allegations and circumstances of the killing of two military observers in Mongbwalu in the north-eastern part of the country. The bodies of the two military observers were recovered on May 18.

The UN Mission today also announced the annulment of appointments made by the Union of Congolese Patriots to administrative posts in Ituri. The Mission underscored that only the Interim Special Administration of the Ituri Pacification Commission is authorized to carry out appointments to different administrative posts in Ituri.

The Mission also reported that on Saturday, the multinational force had a clash with an unspecified number of militia, believed to be of Lendu origin. One patrol from the force was fired on some 4 kilometers south of Bunia, and the patrol returned fire, for the first time since its deployment, and was able to repel the militiamen, without suffering any damage.

Asked about the problems the multinational force has had in keeping the peace in Bunia, the Spokesman noted that the force is only partially deployed, with some 400 troops on the ground, and added that it was too early to judge the success or failure of the force.


The Secretary-General welcomed the decision of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu to dispatch a small civilian transition team to Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, after the Bougainville Peace Monitoring Group leaves the island on June 30. He is pleased that the transition team will continue to provide logistical and operational support to the UN Political Office in Bougainville.

This decision demonstrates the continuing commitment of the countries in the region to support the desire of the people of Papua New Guinea, including Bougainville, for a peaceful and prosperous future.


ANNAN TO ATTEND WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM: The Spokesman, asked about the Secretary-Generals travels, noted that the Secretary-General would visit Amman, Jordan, later this week to attend a meeting of the Quartet, and, while he was there, would also attend the World Economic Forum. He added that the Secretary-General would make other stops, but Amman would be his only stop in the Middle East.

LIBERIA PEACE TALKS MOVE TO ACCRA, GHANA: UN officials attending the Liberian Peace Talks in Ghana reported that the talks have now moved to Accra, the capital, from Akosombo and delegates are discussing a ceasefire agreement

ICC PROSECUTOR SWORN IN: Today in The Hague, Argentine lawyer Luis Moreno Ocampo was sworn in as the first chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, with the President of the Assembly of States Parties for the Court, Prince Zeid Raad Zeid al-Hussein of Jordan, administering the oath of office. Once the Courts registrar has been elected, as is expected to take place this month, all its senior officials will be in place, following the swearing-in of the prosecutor and the Courts first 18 judges.

TOBACCO CONVENTION OPENED FOR SIGNATURE: The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the first global treaty of the World Health Organization, today was opened for signature at a signing ceremony in Geneva. So far, 28 countries and the European Community have signed the treaty, which will enter into force after its 40th ratification.

DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD OBSERVED: Today is the Day of the African Child. This years theme calls for the need to ensure that all children are registered at birth, since 50 million children last year were denied the right to a legal identity. In honour of the Day, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is coordinating events and activities in dozens of African countries.

COMMITTEE ON DISABILITIES BEGINS SESSION: The General Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities is holding its second session, starting today. In conjunction with the session, a public forum on the rights of persons with disabilities will be held Tuesday afternoon. The forum will be opened by Hessa al-Thani, the new Special Rapporteur on Disability of the Commission for Social Development.

FULBRIGHT FELLOWS START UN FELLOWSHIP: The Institute of International Education, the United Nations Foundation and the United Nations kicked off a six-month fellowship program for 19 Fulbright fellows, who met Monday with UN staff and received a briefing from Assistant Secretary-General Gillian Sorensen.

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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