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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-06-23

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 HUA JIANG

DEPUTY SPOKESWOMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, June 23, 2003

ANNAN URGES WEF TO BUILD INSTITUTIONS FOR THE COMMON GOOD

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today addressed the closing plenary of the World Economic Forum, on the banks of Jordan's Dead Sea, urging delegates to follow the model for the future provided by the second half of the last century, built on a network of institutions in which different nations could cooperate for the common good.

I see human beings caring for each other, and states sharing responsibility for the safety and welfare of all people, he said. I see markets that are truly free and fair.The poor will be able to improve their lot by producing and selling, without facing trade barriers or unfairly subsidized competition. I see peoples working together to care for their common home, the Earth. He concluded, Let our children look back on this time, and say that here, by the shores of the Dead Sea, we entered a living land a land of hope.

IN JORDAN, ANNAN HOLDS NUMEROUS BILATERAL MEETINGS

Before attending the Forum, the Secretary-General began his day in Jordan with a meeting with the Foreign Minister of Brazil, Celso Amorim, with whom he discussed the situation in Colombia, as well as UN reform and the situation in the Middle East, including Sundays Quartet talks. The Foreign Minister mentioned Brazils interest in promoting peace in Africa, and they also discussed in particular the current events in Guinea-Bissau.

At mid-day, the Secretary-General met with the Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister, Nabeel Shaath, for a review of current efforts to advance the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

He then saw the former Foreign Minister of Iraq, Adnan Pachachi, and the two men talked of the emerging UN role in Iraq, the security situation there, the political process leading to an Interim Iraqi Administration and the problems of managing the closing down of the oil-for-food program.

On Sunday, the Secretary-General held another series of bilateral meetings with other leaders, focusing on Iraq and the Middle East. The bilateral meetings included those with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Earlier on Sunday, the Secretary-General and his Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, met with the Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer. Following that meeting, the Secretary-General, in press comments, said that de Mello and Bremer have been working extremely well together, and that there is a clear direction as to the formation of the Interim Iraqi Authority.

ANNAN, QUARTET CALL FOR DETERMINATION, COURAGE IN MIDDLE EAST

On Sunday, the Secretary-General met in Amman with the other principals of the Quartet which brings together the United Nations, the United States, the Russian Federation and the European Union and read out on the Quartets behalf a statement agreeing that moving along the path of the Road Map will require determination and courageous decisions on both sides.

The Quartet Statement called on the Palestinian Authority to make all possible efforts to halt immediately the activities of individuals and groups planning and conducting terror attacks on Israelis, and also called on Israel to make every possible effort to support the Palestinian Government and to take immediate actions to ease the plight of the Palestinian people.

He added, in his capacity as Secretary-General, that the principle of parallelism must be maintained, and he called on Israel not to use disproportionate force in civilian areas, carry out house demolitions or engage in extrajudicial killings. Simultaneously, he said, the Palestinian Authority must not spare any effort to bring to an end all acts of terror against Israelis anywhere.

UN LAUNCHES APPEAL FOR IRAQ HUMANITARIAN EFFORT

This morning, Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette formally launched the revised Humanitarian Appeal for Iraq, in which the UN is requesting an additional $259 million for the remainder of 2003. The appeal is a revision of the flash appeal issued in March, which had asked for $2.2 billion to cover needs for six months.

In her remarks, she noted that, while some of the UNs humanitarian planning assumptions did not materialize, notably large scale population movements, the conflict and its aftermath nevertheless resulted in a wide range of urgent humanitarian needs. Some, such as food distribution, had been anticipated, while others, due to widespread looting, emerged only after the conflict.

Fréchette outlined activities the UN has been conducting in Iraq in a number of vital sectors. The humanitarian assistance the UN has provided has been tangible and important for the Iraqi people in these difficult months, she told the delegates.

In closing, she noted that while the needs in Iraq are large, humanitarian needs elsewhere are also large. She appealed to all donors to respond to this request for funds in a way which does not compromise their support for other equally important emergencies.

The Deputy Secretary-General was followed by Kenzo Oshima, the UN Emergency Coordinator, who outlined the appeal in more detail. Ramiro Lopes da Silva, the UN Coordinator for Iraq, then presented an overview of the humanitarian situation, the UNs activities in the country and the organizations priorities.

Searching for common ground, building consensus, facilitating dialogue between all parties involved in the effort to rebuild Iraq is a crucial task, Lopes da Silva said. The major challenge faced by the UN is to interpret the aspirations of the Iraqi people, and respond to these needs."

The meeting will reconvene for a closed session this afternoon.

ANNAN CONCERNED AT AUNG SAN SUU KYI'S JAILING

The Secretary-General, in a statement, expressed his grave concern about a report he received recently that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), is being held in Insein Jail outside Yangon. He considers the conditions under which she is being held - incommunicado and without charge - to be truly deplorable.

The Secretary General has also been informed through his Special Envoy that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is being held under Section 10-A of Myanmar Law No.3 (1975) designed to "safeguard the State against the Dangers of Subversive Elements".

The Secretary General urges the Government of Myanmar again to heed the repeated calls of the United Nations and the international community, including the member nations of ASEAN, to immediately release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of the NLD detained on May 30; to acknowledge that the people of Myanmar are overwhelmingly in favor of change; and to join-hands with all parties, including the NLD, to bring about national reconciliation in Myanmar as soon as possible.

UN MILITARY OBSERVERS FOUND SAFE AND SOUND IN DR CONGO

Although two military observers from the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were abducted by armed men in Beni, North-Kivu, late last week, the two of them, from Tunisia and Russia, have since been found safe and brought back to their base on Saturday, June 21.

Also on the DRC, the Report of the Security Council Mission to Central Africa, which visited the region from June 7 to 16, says that the mission is deeply concerned, not only by the present situation in Bunia but also by the possibility of further fighting, humanitarian catastrophe and human rights violations after the current emergency measures expire on September 1.

The report also notes that the Burundi peace process is at a critical juncture and calls on the international community to make every effort to assist the Burundians in the process.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET WITH TROOP CONTRIBUTORS TO UN GOLAN FORCE

This afternoon, there is a meeting of the Security Council with the troop-contributing countries to the UN Disengagement Observer Force.

Informal consultations on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which had been scheduled to take place at 11:30 a.m., were cancelled. The Council presidency says the reason for the meeting had been the incident in Beni in which two military observers were abducted, which has since been resolved, ending the need for an urgent briefing.

SWISS AUTHORITIES ANNOUNCE ASSET FREEZE OF LIBERIAN PRESIDENT

Responding to a request from the Prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Switzerland today announced that various personal and business accounts of Liberian President Charles Taylor would be blocked or frozen.

The Prosecutor, David Crane, thanked the Swiss authorities for their rapid and decisive support of the Special Court, which had made the request to block assets held by Taylor, which he said could be evidence of the joint criminal enterprise which Taylor and other indictees are alleged to have conducted in Sierra Leone.

UN MISSION URGES RELEASE OF JOURNALISTS IN AFGHANISTAN

Lakhdar Brahimi, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, has called for the immediate release of two journalists arrested last week. His spokesman said that the appeal was being issued "both on procedural grounds, to the extent that continued detention of the two journalists does not serve the investigation undertaken by the authorities, and on substantive grounds."

Citing the current case as well as other incidents of threats and intimidation against journalists recorded in recent months, the spokesman called for "a thorough and time-bound review of the legal system in order to promote freedom of expression, protect the rights of journalists and guarantee their freedom to do their work in safety, including publishing critical reports and opinions."

HONG KONG REMOVED FROM SARS WATCH LIST

The World Health Organization (WHO) today has removed Hong Kong from its list of areas with recent local transmission of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Twenty days, which is twice the maximum incubation period, have passed since the last case was isolated on June 2.

This is a very significant achievement, said Dr David Heymann, Executive Director of Communicable Diseases at WHO. Hong Kong, with its dense population and fluid border with China, had one of the hardest outbreaks to control. This success means that the whole world can now feel safer from the SARS threat.

The latest statistics on SARS indicate a total of 8,461 probable cases, including 804 deaths, reported worldwide.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

LANDLOCKED MEETING OPENS IN NEW YORK: The first preparatory committee for the International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries opened this morning at UN Headquarters, and will continue through Friday, dealing with such issues as the access of landlocked countries to deepwater ports. A high-level panel on landlocked countries will take place, starting Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. in Conference Room 2, featuring Under-Secretary-General Anwarul Karim Chowdhury and economist Jeffrey Sachs.

UN NAMES FIRST WOMAN POLICE COMMISSIONER: Sandra Peisley, the United Nations' first female police commissioner, assumed her functions in Timor-Leste today as Police Commissioner in the UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET). Peisley is an Assistant Commissioner in the Australian Federal Police, and has had responsibilities in a wide variety of relevant areas of policing, including police training, management, investigations and close protection.

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: inquiries@un.org


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