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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-06-17
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.comHIGHLIGHTS
OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY HUA JIANG
DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, June 17, 2003
LIBERIA: GOVERNMENT AND REBEL GROUPS SIGN CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT
The Secretary-Generals Representative for Liberia, Abou Moussa, reports that a cease-fire and cessation of hostilities agreement has been signed between the Government of Liberia and the two rebel movements, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and the Movement for Democracy and Elections in Liberia (MODEL). The 12-point agreement was signed in Accra, Ghana.
According to the agreement, the signing shall be followed immediately by the engagement of the Government of Liberia, LURD and MODEL with all other Liberian political parties and stakeholders in dialogue, to seek, within a period of 30 days, a comprehensive peace agreement.
The agreement calls for the formation of a transitional government, which will not include the current President. in accordance with his June 4 declaration in Accra, made at the inauguration of the Liberian peace talks.
The United Nations is expected to provide logistical and military personnel support to the Joint Verification Team led by the Economic Community of West African States, which is to identify the locations of the parties on the ground, and the Joint Monitoring Committee, which will supervise and monitor the cease-fire.
The Secretary-General is expected to issue a statement on the cease-fire agreement.
UN ENVOY IN IRAQ MEETS WITH KURDISH LEADER
In Baghdad today, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, met with Jalal Talabani, the Iraqi Kurdish leader and head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.
Talabani told de Mello that he believed the United Nations should play an important role in the current transitional phase in Iraq, by providing advice and assistance in matters such as the constitutional and electoral processes; financial, monetary and budgetary matters; and the longer-term construction of democratic institutions in Iraq.
De Mello underlined the importance of promoting and protecting the human rights of all Iraqis, and of assuring an equal place for Iraqi women in all walks of life. After the meeting, the two men spoke to the press.
De Mello was asked if saw any common ground emerge from his various meetings with Iraqi political leaders and answered that he was discovering by the day a convergence of the opinions of Iraqi leaders on the need to move swiftly to new transitional institutions to embody Iraqi sovereignty, leading to the elaboration and the adoption of a new constitution and democratic elections.
On the humanitarian front, the UN Childrens Fund noted its efforts to increase security for school children.
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES SECURITY, DRUGS IN AFGHANISTAN
In an open meeting this morning, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, briefed the Security Council on Afghanistan, noting such positive developments as President Hamid Karzais resolute action towards establishing the Governments authority over the provinces and the beginning of public consultations on the Constitution. But he underscored, The security situation is a serious impediment to progress, and is a major risk to the entire process.
Guéhenno warned that it is difficult to gauge whether regional commanders and powerful governors are genuinely committed to the nation-building process, or whether they seek to undermine it.
Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, also addressed the Council, saying that, according to the Offices recent assessment, opium cultivation in Afghanistan appears to have spread to new areas, while a decrease has taken place in the provinces where it is traditionally grown. On balance, opium cultivation levels are likely to remain unchanged.
He also drew the Councils attention to other consequences of the Afghan drug trade, including violence, corruption, the spread of HIV/AIDS and the risk to the economic and social stability of neighboring countries.
ANNAN NOTES DIVISIONS BETWEEN LEADERS IN SOMALIA
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his latest report to the Security Council on Somalia, notes that the Somalia National Reconciliation Conference is about to enter its final phase in Kenya, but also points to divisions between Somali leaders, including emerging disagreements between the President and Prime Minister of the Transitional National Government.
The Secretary-General deplores the frequent violations by the Somali parties of their commitments to cease hostilities, and he calls on all parties to refrain from hostilities and from any acts likely to increase tension during the national reconciliation process.
UN ENVOY FOR MYANMAR MAY HAVE TO CHANGE TRAVEL PLANS
Asked about plans by the Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for Myanmar, Razali Ismail, to visit New York, the Spokeswoman said that he planned to visit New York before the end of June to see the Secretary-General, but, given the Secretary-General travel plans that start with a visit to Jordan later this week, Razali may have to change those plans.
Asked about Razalis business dealings, she said that the Envoy is not a UN staff member, and comes under UN regulations when he is doing UN work. What he does in his spare time, she said, is his own business. She added, asked about business dealings between a company that Razali has worked for and Myanmar, that those deals were signed before he joined the company in question, and that Razali has always informed the United Nations of his business interests.
ANNAN APPOINTS FIVE EXPERTS TO FOLLOW UP RACISM CONFERENCE
Late Monday, the Spokesman announced the Secretary-Generals appointment of five independent experts to follow up, along with the High Commissioner of Human Rights, the implementation of the Declaration and Programme of Action of the 2001 World Conference against Racism.
The five experts are former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari; Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan; the Rapporteur-General of the World Conference, Edna Maria Santos Roland of Brazil; former Organization of African Unity Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim, of Tanzania; and former Polish Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka.
TAIWAN REMOVED FROM SARS TRAVEL ADVISORY
The World Health Organization today removed Taiwan Province, China, from its list of areas to which travelers are advised to avoid all but essential travel due to the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The situation in Taiwan, which was the third largest outbreak on record, has significantly improved thanks to the vast and rapid developments in case detection and infection control that led to a steep drop in the daily number of new cases.
WHO continues to recommend that persons planning to travel to Beijing, China, consider postponing all but essential travel.
The WHO Global Conference on SARS started today in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Experts who were involved in the worldwide SARS epidemic will review the scientific findings on SARS and examine the public health interventions to contain the disease.
The latest statistics indicate a total of 8,460 probable SARS cases, with 799 deaths, reported worldwide.
ICJ REJECTS REQUEST BY CONGO TO ANNUL PROCEEDINGS IN FRANCE: Today in The Hague, the International Court of Justice rejected the request submitted by the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), seeking the annulment of the investigation and prosecution measures taken by French judicial authorities following a complaint for crimes against humanity and torture allegedly committed in the Congo. That case was filed in France by various human rights groups against Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso and other senior officials.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL VISITS SCOTLAND: Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette is spending this week in Loch Lomond, Scotland, attending the "38th Conference on the United Nations of the Next Decade" sponsored by the Stanley Foundation. The theme of the conference is "Who Rebuilds After Conflict." She will be back in New York on Monday, June 23.
ANNAN MARKS WORLD DAY TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION: Today is World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. In a message, the Secretary-General says that desertification and drought pose an ever-increasing global threat, such as in Australia and India, where millions of tons of productive soil are blown away in dust storms and millions of hectares turn into wasteland.
WFP EXTENDS APPEAL FOR MADAGASCAR: The World Food Programme (WFP) has extended its emergency appeal for food aid in Madagascar until the end of 2003 because of the country's prevailing drought and recent cyclones that destroyed large areas of infrastructure and affected thousands of people. Another significant reason for the extension was because donor support for the previous appeal was not fully funded.
UN BUDGET: Liechtenstein became the 87th Member State to pay its regular budget dues in full for 2003, completing its payment of more than $93,000. Also today, France contributed more than $5.2 million to the peacekeeping budget.
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