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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-06-25

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

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

ANNAN IN LONDON, MEETS WITH SENIOR BRITISH OFFICIALS

Secretary-General Kofi Annan met this afternoon in London with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whom he briefed on his visit to Amman, Jordan, and the Quartet discussions on the Middle East.

He and Blair reviewed the situation in Iraq, including the security situation and efforts to make political progress.

The Secretary-General then raised other issues, including Liberia, Sudan, Sierra Leone, North Korea, Iran, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Kosovo and UN reform.

[Afterward, the two men held a one-on-one meeting, which was still taking place a few minutes ago.]

Once the meeting with Blair is done, the Secretary-General will go on to meet Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, and then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. He may talk to the media after the meeting with Straw.

The Secretary-General, who arrived in London yesterday afternoon from Amman, Jordan, this morning met with Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, discussing both political and spiritual topics with him. They touched on Iraq, the Middle East and Africa, on the AIDS pandemic and the growth of traditional churches in Africa.

The Secretary-General briefed the Archbishop on his recent visit to the Middle East and efforts to achieve the implementation of the Road Map to a two-state solution. He emphasized the need to break the current cycle of violence and to deny spoilers on both sides the opportunity to disrupt the peace process. He asked for the Archbishops prayers in support of peace.

SHELLS LAND IN MONROVIA, LIBERIA

ANNAN CALLS ON PARTIES IN CEASE HOSTILITIES IMMEDIATELY

The Secretary-General, in a statement issued through his Spokesman, has learned with deep concern of renewed and intensified fighting between Government troops and rebel forces in Monrovia over the last twenty-four hours.

This development constitutes a flagrant violation of the recently-concluded cease-fire agreement (S/2003/664) and casts a shadow on the peace talks facilitated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Accra which had raised high hopes for the peaceful settlement of the conflict.

The Secretary-General once again condemns any attempts to resolve political differences through armed violence. He calls on all the parties to cease hostilities immediately in order to give a chance to the peace negotiations and allow for the safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to Liberias traumatized population. He also calls on the parties to refrain from any action that might further endanger the lives of the civilian population and to fully respect international humanitarian laws.

The Secretary-General reaffirms the United Nations support for the tireless efforts of the Chairman of ECOWAS and the Mediator to help restore peace and stability to Liberia and calls on the international community to continue to support those efforts.

Meanwhile, UN personnel on the ground report shelling has been occurring in Monrovias center.

Earlier today, one of six UN international staff members who had gone back into Monrovia over the weekend on a security and humanitarian assessment mission reported to New York that a shell landed just 60 meters from the compound in which they were staying.

Thousands of internally displaced persons are moving from the west of Monrovia to the center of the city. A large number of people are gathering near the U.S. embassy.

Security conditions make humanitarian activities in Monrovia nearly impossible. The internally displaced continue to be harassed. They have been robbed and raped and their camps looted.

Refugees from Sierra Leone residing in camps near Monrovia are now also being targeted for abuse because they are perceived to be supporting the rebels. Non-governmental organizations report that the number of Cholera cases in Monrovia has increased. Water and sanitation continue to be a major problem, especially at the national stadium where more than 70,000 people are sheltered.

MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE SPREADS OUT IN BUNIA

UN officials in Bunia, in the north east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, report that the Interim Emergency Multinational Force has been deploying in an increasing numbers of neighborhoods in the town. In the Yambi area, members of the Hema-UPC militia withdrew when elements of the force arrived there.

They have set up check points in various areas in town. While it is deploying in the south, the international force has also set up a check point at the northern entrance of Bunia to prevent entry of armed elements.

In Kinshasa, Amos Namanga Ngongi, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative and head of the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) held his last press conference. He is to be replaced in his functions by William Swing.

In New York, the Security Council has agreed to vote tomorrow on a resolution extending the mandate of the UN mission in the DRC until July 30, 2003.

UNICEF "HORRIFIED" BY ABDUCTION OF YOUNG GIRLS IN UGANDA

The UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) said today that it was horrified by the abduction this week of at least 100 young girls by the Lord Resistance Army in Uganda. The abductions were confirmed by the Roman Catholic Church in Soroti today.

This is part of the ongoing insecurity in the region, which has seen an upsurge of violence against civilians and has resulted in a doubling of the numbers of displaced people fleeing from insecure areas over the last year.

Over the last two months, up to 20,000 people, mostly young children and women, have fled for their lives trekking miles into the towns of Kitgum and Gulu. These "night stayers" who leave their homes before nightfall, seek refuge on the grounds of hospitals, religious centres, and any public areas deemed safe and secure, returning to their homes at daybreak.

UNICEF and non governmental organizations are providing tents for shelter, blankets and latrines, among other essential support.

UN ENVOY FLAGS IMPORTANCE OF SERVING IRAQI PEOPLE

This morning in Baghdad, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative, Sergio Vieira de Mello, convened a meeting at the UN office with a group of eminent Iraqi Jurists to discuss justice system reforms. They discussed lessons learned from UN experiences in post conflict countries, and the Iraqi perspectives.

Also in attendance, was General (Judge) Campbell, Head of the Justice Section at the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), who gave a presentation on the CPA's activities in this area. The Iraqis asked de Mello to continue this dialogue and to support them in developing their own vision on justice reform.

In the afternoon the he met Ambassador John Sawers, the British representative in the CPA. They discussed the security situation in Iraq in general, and the killing yesterday of six British soldiers and the wounding of eight, in two separate attacks in southern Iraq.They also reviewed the CPA's current efforts in the political track, which is intended to lead to the formation of a political advisory council, followed by a constitutional convention.

Upon his return to Baghdad from Jordan yesterday, de Mello held his first major press conference.

He told journalists he had not spoken to the press much since first arriving in Iraq because he has been spending his time listening to the Iraqi people to see what they wanted for themselves and how the UN might be of assistance.

It is their country, after all and they should run it, de Mello said and it will be vital to the success of the international community in Iraq that Iraqis have ownership of all decisions made affecting them.

This is and will remain axiomatic for the UN in Iraq for us as long as we are here, he added.

Asked if there were any clashes between the United Nations and the Coalition, de Mello said there have been no clashes and there needs to be no clash between us as long as we have the same objective, which is to serve the Iraqi people.

Meanwhile, today in Washington, the Secretary-Generals Special Advisor on Iraq Rafeeuddin Ahmed as well as representatives of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development will be attending an organizational meeting in Washington with officials of the US State and Treasury Departments. It is a first opportunity for them to exchange views and comments on the draft terms of reference of the International Advisory and Monitoring Board of the Development Fund for Iraq. Mr. Ahmed is expected to return to New York today.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES EXTENSION OF UN GOLAN FORCE

The Security Council held consultations this morning on the UN Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights (UNDOF.)

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno briefed on the recently released report by the Secretary-General on the Force. The Secretary-General had recommended that the mandate of the force, whose presence he considers to be essential, be extended by a further six months until 31 December.

The Security Council agreed to vote tomorrow on the UNDOF resolution extending the mandate for six months.

At 4 p.m. today the 1267 sanctions committee, now chaired by Chilean Ambassador Heraldo Munoz, will consider the latest report of the panel of experts on the sanctions measures against al-Qaeda and associated entities. The release date of that report is not yet confirmed.

UN SURVEY PREDICTS SLOW GROWTH OF GLOBAL ECONOMY

The UNs annual economic survey has just been launched, and the report, The World Economy in 2003, says that although geopolitical uncertainties that had sidetracked the economic recovery are easing, the persistence of a slowdown in trade and investment and rising unemployment continue to hold back world growth.

Overall, the world economy is expected to grow by only two and a quarter percent in 2003, following 2 percent growth in 2002. Trade is expected to pick up incrementally, to 4 percent growth in 2003, compared to 2 percent last year, but foreign investment remains hesitant.

The report adds that the depreciation in the U.S. dollar is among the reasons why a global economic recovery would need to be built on a broader base than just the U.S. economy, so that a recovery can be sustained through 2004.

USE OF INTERNET TECHNOLOGY FOR DEVELOPMENT TO BE EXPLORED

The first UN conference on using wireless Internet technology for development, bringing together government representatives with private sector executives and field practitioners to explore broadband wireless potential for supporting development, will open at 9:15 a.m. tomorrow at UN headquarters.

A press conference will take place tomorrow at 10:30 a.m., which will feature, among others, Pat Gelsinger, Chief Technology Officer, Intel Corporation; Sarbuland Khan, of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs; and a developing country ICT field practitioner, Amir Hassan of First Miles Solution.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS:

DRUGS: The new report on illicit drugs trends by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, launched in Paris today, says that areas of opium poppy cultivation, in Asias Golden Triangle region of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand, and of cocaine cultivation in Latin Americas Andean region, including Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, have both recorded declines over the past year.

QATAR: The Secretary-General has sent a letter to Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Misnad, Consort to his highness the Amir of the State of Qatar in support of her initiative, the International Fund for Iraqi Higher Education.

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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