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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-06-24

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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

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

UNITED NATIONS CONVENES IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION MEETING

UN Development Programme Administrator Mark Malloch Brown, the chair of the UN Development Group, opened an informal meeting on the reconstruction and recovery of Iraq.

In his opening remarks, Malloch Brown said delegates at the meeting would have to decide what framework to adopt when discussing Iraqi reconstruction. This would include choosing a time frame for projects. Should projects be aimed for 2004 or beyond? He asked, should they address only the immediate needs of the Iraqi people or look at long-term issues?

It is vital, he said, that the international community have Iraqi civil and political interlocutors. He added the UN Development Group and the World Bank will be sending experts to Iraq to identify needs in 11 key social and infrastructure sectors. Delegates at todays gathering would also have to plan a meeting for next fall and identify sponsors for it.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Ramiro Lopes da Silva, also addressed the meeting this morning. He reiterated the strong belief that a fundamental precursor to any process is the establishment of a representative Iraqi interim administration to lead the reconstruction effort.

Before moving into a closed session, Akila al-Hashimi of the Coalition Provisional Authority also addressed the delegates.

Sergio Vieira de Mello, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, is now back in Baghdad after having spent a few days in Jordan where he met with, among others, Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He held a press conference in Baghdad upon his return.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO HOLD CONSULTATIONS ON IRAQ

At 3:00 p.m. today, the Security Council is holding consultations on Iraq.

Special Adviser Rafeeuddin Ahmed is scheduled to brief Council members on the implementation of the latest resolution on Iraq.

ANNAN ASKS WHETHER UN IRAQ-KUWAIT MISSION STILL NEEDED

The Secretary-Generals latest report on the UN Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM), which covers the period of March 22-June 15, says that, now that the conflict in Iraq has subsided, and with the adoption of resolution 1483, the Security Council may wish to consider whether the whether the continued presence of the UN Mission in these changed circumstances is still desirable.

He recommends that a final three months extension of mandate be granted during which a scaled-downed staff would undertake the liquidation of its assets and make appropriate arrangements for the handover of its humanitarian operations to other entities in the area. There is currently a staff of 11 military officers at a small headquarters in Kuwait City, along with about 140 civilian staff, both nationals and internationals.

On March 17, in advance of the military campaign against Iraq, the Secretary-General decided to suspend the Missions operations and withdraw its personnel from the demilitarized zone. During the conflict, most of the Missions property on the Iraqi side of the border was totally destroyed or stolen during or soon after the conflict. On the Kuwaiti side, some property was also damaged and other properties have been occupied by British troops.

On the ground, the UN Mission continues to provide support to other UN activities in the area, including humanitarian agencies and the Office of the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq.

SECRETARY-GENERAL LEAVES JORDAN FOR LONDON

After meeting this morning in Amman, Jordan, with the heads of UN agencies in Jordan, whom he thanked for their coordinated aid effort in Iraq, the Secretary-General left the country for London, where he arrived in the afternoon.

On Wednesday, he is scheduled to meet in London with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams.

SECURITY COUNCIL MISSION TO WEST AFRICA DEPARTS TOMORROW

The Security Council mission to West Africa is scheduled to leave on Wednesday.

British Ambassador to the United Nations, Jeremy Greenstock, who is leading the mission, will give a press briefing on that trip Wednesday at 12:45 p.m.

WHO: BEIJING LAST LOCATION REMOVED FROM SARS ADVISORY LIST

Effective today, the World Health Organization is removing its recommendation that people should postpone all but essential travel to the Chinese capital, Beijing, which was the last area in the world where WHO still had a SARS-related travel advisory in place.

The situation in Beijing has improved significantly, WHO says, with more than 20 days having passed since the last new case of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) was isolated there. Beijing has therefore also been removed from the list of areas with recent local transmission of SARS.

WHO Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland said, This is very good news and shows the great progress the world has made against SARS.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

FORTY COUNTRIES SIGN TOBACCO CONVENTION: The World Health Organization (WHO) said today that 40 countries signed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in just the first week that it was opened for signature, with Norway becoming the first country to accept the treaty. Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland said the rapid amount of signings demonstrate how strongly the Convention is supported, and added, It is only through a concerted worldwide effort that we can make global tobacco control happen. The benefits for health will be immense.

SUSPECT TRANSFERRED TO YUGOSLAVIA TRIBUNAL: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia confirmed that Ivica Rajic, a Croat paramilitary leader who was indicted for war crimes and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions for commanding attacks on Bosnian Muslims in central Bosnia in 1993, was transferred today to the Tribunals Detention Unit.

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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