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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-12-04

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

FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, December 4, 2003

ANNAN VISITS AIDS CLINIC IN LOS ANGELES

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has concluded his trip to California and is expected back in New York tonight and back at the office Friday morning.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Secretary-General and Nane Annan spent some two hours at an HIV/AIDS clinic jointly run by the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles County. The focus of the clinics work is on the care of mothers and children. They strive to help women who are living with HIV/AIDS to take care of themselves so they can in turn take care of their children.

The Secretary-General and Mrs. Annan had a chance to meet with some youth activists who receive treatment at the clinic. They told the Secretary-General of their concerns and their hopes for the future.

In speaking to reporters afterwards, the Secretary-General said he hoped the clinics comprehensive approach to AIDS treatment could be replicated around the world. He added that he was particularly impressed with the young people he had met. These are the heroes, he said, given the stigma, the discrimination, the difficulty it is to come out.

In answering a question, he underscored the need to assist women who often face the brunt of this pandemic. Women, he said, have to be given the means to protect themselves.

Later that evening, the Secretary-General attended the UNICEF gala honoring the agencys Goodwill Ambassadors. The star-studded evening was hosted by Whoopi Goldberg.

Immediately following the UNICEF event, the Secretary-General met with US Senator Hillary Clinton, who also happened to be in Los Angeles. The Senator briefed the Secretary-General on her recent trip to Afghanistan and Iraq.

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO VISIT SWITZERLAND, GERMANY

The Secretary-General will be on the road again starting Sunday evening, and is scheduled to visit first Geneva, before going on to Berlin and Tubingen in Germany.

While in Geneva, the Secretary-General is scheduled to address the World Summit on the Information Society on Wednesday, December 10. Also on his agenda is the opening ceremony of the World Electronic Media Forum, at which he will deliver remarks, and the launch of the independent Global Commission of International Migration. Both those events take place on Tuesday, December 9.

On Thursday, December 11, the Secretary-General will travel to Berlin for an official visit to Germany during which he will meet with President Johannes Rau, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Minister of Foreign Affairs Joschka Fischer, as well as the leader of the opposition Christian Democratic Party, Angela Merkel. He is also expected to attend a dinner hosted by the Chancellor with the Chief Executive Officers of Global Compact companies.

Then on Friday, December 12, the Secretary-General is to travel to Tubingen, where he will deliver a lecture on ethics entitled, "Do we still have universal values?" at the University of Tubingen.

The Secretary-General is scheduled to return to New York on Saturday, December 13.

PANEL ON THREATS, CHALLENGES AND CHANGE TO MEET

The High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, chaired by Anand Panyarachun of Thailand, will meet for the first time from December 5-7. The Panel will meet with the Secretary-General and will then proceed to a venue outside the city for two days of intensive briefings and meetings.

The Panel is being asked to examine the landscape of peace and security, broadly defined; identify the contribution of collective action in addressing the major challenges and threats, both hard and soft; and recommend the changes necessary to ensure effective collection action, especially by the United Nations.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES LIBERIA, COTE DIVOIRE

The Security Council is reviewing the sanctions on Liberia in consultations today. The Council heard a briefing by the Chairman of the Liberia sanctions committee, Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan.

A press statement was read on this issue by the Council President, Ambassador Stefan Tavrov of Bulgaria, noting the general agreement among Security Council members that the sanctions measures concerning Liberia be continued for the time being. Council members agreed on the need to redefine the legal basis for the sanctions and to evolve appropriate criteria for their eventual lifting.

Council members then heard a briefing from Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno on recent developments in Cote d'Ivoire. They then held a formal meeting to adopt a Presidential Statement in which the Security Council expressed its grave concern at attempts by armed elements in Côte dIvoire to cross the ceasefire line.

SECURITY COUNCIL SCHEDULES BRIEFING ON BURUNDI

This afternoon at 3:30, the Security Council will hold a formal meeting on Burundi, during which it will hear from South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma. The President of the Economic and Social Council, Gert Rosenthal of Guatemala, and the Permanent Representative of Burundi, Marc Nteturuye, have also been invited.

The cease-fire agreement on Burundi is available as a Security Council document today.

CAMEROON, NIGERIA AGREE ON LAKE CHAD AREA HANDOVER

The Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission, which the Secretary-General set up to bring about the peaceful implementation of the International Court of Justices ruling on the border dispute between the two countries, has ended a two-day meeting in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

In a nine-point communiqué issued at the end of the meeting chaired by the Secretary-Generals Special Representative, Ahmedou Ould Abdallah, the commission said it had agreed that the withdrawal and the handover in the Lake Chad Area will take place from December 8 to 18, 2003.

It also agreed that the Mixed Commission observer personnel be set up immediately in the Lake Chad Area for a period of one year, since this will strengthen the confidence among the Parties.

The Mixed Commission further recommended that the CameroonNigeria Joint Commission (CNJC) meet every year, instead of every two years.

The next meeting of the Mixed Commission will be held in Abuja, Nigeria, from February 10-11, 2004.

INTERPOL NOTICE FOR TAYLOR ASSISTS SIERRA LEONE COURT

Interpol, the international law enforcement agency, today issued a Red Notice to seek the arrest of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, so that he can be transferred to the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Interpol issued its notice following an agreement between it and the Special Court on November 3, under which the Court may request Interpol to publish and circulate such notices for persons wanted by the Court.

The Special Courts Prosecutors Office said the Red Notice will serve as a reminder that Charles Taylor remains a fugitive from justice, and that his indictment will not go away.

UN REPORTS START OF VOTER REGISTRATION IN AFGHANISTAN

The UN Mission in Afghanistan reports that voter registration for next years general election started this week in seven of eight regional capitals: Kabul, Bamyan, Jalalabad, Mazar-e-Sharif, Kunduz, Kandahar and Herat. Voter registration in the eight regional capital, Gardez, will begin Friday. Initial results indicate that a little over 10,000 people registered to vote this week, about a third of them in Bamyan.

Next week, the Constitutional Loya Jirga will begin, under which Afghans from all around the country will convene in Kabul to discuss the shape of the new Constitution. The Loya Jirga is scheduled to open on December 10.

According to the preliminary results of a Food and Agriculture Organization livestock census - the first study of its kind ever carried out in that country - it could take up to10 years for Afghanistan's animal herds to regenerate naturally. The study's results show that animal herd numbers have plummeted after four years of drought and years of civil strife.

The study's final results are expected early next year, and the data will provide a foundation on which to base future decisions regarding matters such as farming systems and livestock development policies.

UN TEAM ARRIVES IN MICRONESIA FOLLOWING TYPHOON

The United Nations has deployed a three-member Disaster Assessment Coordination team to Micronesia, to assess needs in the wake of the powerful tropical storm Lupit that passed through there last month. The team, who came upon request from the Micronesian Government, is in the capital of Yap State and is in close contact with Government officials.

Thanks to early warning and preparedness measures by the Government, no injuries or casualties were reported as a direct result of the typhoon. However, strong winds and a tidal surge affected the communities in low-lying areas on some of the islands.

UNITED NATIONS LAUNCHES ANNIVERSARY OF YEAR OF THE FAMILY

The United Nations is today launching the 10th anniversary of the International Year of the Family, with the Secretary-General saying that it is time to take stock of policies since 1994 and determine whether the situation of families has improved.

He says the anniversary gives us a chance to consider what can be done on issues of direct concern to families, such as the spread of AIDS, migration and the ageing of societies.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

UNMOVIC MAINTAINS FUNDING: In response to a question, the Spokesman confirmed that the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) continues to have funding, which it accumulated from proceeds of the oil-for-food program, to allow it to carry out further activities.

GREAT LAKES GROUP OF FRIENDS MEETS IN GENEVA: The Group of Friends of the Great Lakes region is holding its first meeting in Geneva today. The meeting is co-chaired by Canada and the Netherlands and has brought together thirty-eight senior delegates representing Governments and international organizations. The Group will examine the ways to provide political, diplomatic, technical and financial assistance leading to the holding of an International Conference on the Great Lakes region, as proposed jointly by the United Nations and the African Union.

BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY MEETING TO TAKE PLACE: In an effort to protect biodiversity, some 300 delegates representing governments and indigenous communities will meet in Montreal next Monday. The week-long meeting, which is organized under the aegis of the Convention on Biological Diversity, will focus on how to preserve the traditional knowledge of indigenous communities to protect biological resources and biodiversity.

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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