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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-12-05

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

Friday, December 5, 2003

SECRETARY-GENERAL DISMAYED BY TRAIN EXPLOSION IN RUSSIA

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a statement, expressed his dismay at this mornings explosion in a commuter train near the Yessentuki station in the Russian Federation. This appears to be yet another act of terrorism. Terrorism can never be justified.

The Secretary-General sent his deepest condolences to the Government of the Russian Federation and to the families and friends of all those who were killed and the many more who were injured in this vicious attack.

ANNAN MEETS WITH KEY PANELS AT U.N. HEADQUARTERS

This morning, the Secretary-General opened the first meeting of the International Advisory and Monitoring Board, which is tasked by the Security Council to ensure that the Development Fund for Iraq is used in a transparent manner. In response to a question, the Spokesman said that the Board members were expected to speak to the press once their meeting ended.

At 3:00 p.m., the Secretary-General will host the members of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, which is chaired by Anand Panyarachun of Thailand. The Panels members will speak to the press, in the area just outside the Security Council, following that meeting.

Asked whether all the High-Level Panels members were attending the meeting, the Spokesman said that the United Nations was expecting all of them to participate.

And finally, at 5:30 p.m., the Secretary-General will meet with the co-authors of the Geneva Accords, Yasser Abed Rabbo and Yossi Beilin. Both are also expected to speak to the press at the Security Council stakeout afterwards.

U.N. RELIEF COORDINATOR WARNS OF INSECURITY IN DARFUR, SUDAN

The situation in the Darfur region of Sudan continues to deteriorate, with insecurity now reaching unprecedented levels.

Jan Egeland, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, warns that the humanitarian situation in Darfur has quickly become one of the worst in the world. He also says, Access to people in need is blocked by the parties in conflict and now, as the need for aid grows, stocks of relief materials are dwindling.

Fighting between forces loyal to the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), which escalated in March 2003, has driven more than 670,000 people from their homes. Some 70,000 of those people have fled across the border into Chad, where they lack basic supplies.

U.N. HUMANITARIAN ENVOY TO VISIT COTE DIVOIRE

Carolyn McAskie, the Secretary-Generals Humanitarian Envoy for the crisis in Côte dIvoire, is scheduled to arrive in Abidjan on Sunday for a fourth follow-up and evaluation mission. During her stay, she will meet with Governmental authorities, UN agencies, and a broad range of national and international humanitarian actors to review the humanitarian situation and assess needs countrywide.

The mission will also evaluate humanitarian response to ensure that assistance is adequate for all the vulnerable populations in Côte dIvoire, including displaced people, refugees and host families.

During her mission, McAskie hopes to mobilize financial support for the 2004 UN Consolidated Appeal for Côte dIvoire, which is for $59 million.

U.N. TRIBUNAL SENTENCES BOSNIAN SERB COMMANDER TO 20 YEARS

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia today sentenced a Bosnian Serb general who was deemed to have conducted a campaign of sniping and shelling attacks on the people of Sarajevo to 20 years in prison.

The Tribunal found General Stanislav Galic, former commander of the Republika Srpska Army, guilty of one count of war crimes and four counts of crimes against humanity.

UN TEAM LEAVES FOR CAMBODIA TO ASSIST WITH TRIALS

A team left UN Headquarters today for Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to look at technical assistance and practical needs to bring into force the agreement on the creation of Extraordinary Chambers to try Khmer Rouge leaders. The General Assembly authorized the United Nations to assist Cambodia in creating such Chambers for future Khmer Rouge trials.

The team, which is led by Karsten Harrel, will arrive in Phnom Penh over the weekend and will speak to the press on Sunday. It will be dealing with Cambodian officials through next week before returning the following Saturday.

SIERRA LEONE PROSECUTOR WITHDRAWS TWO INDICTMENTS

The prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone today announced the formal withdrawal of indictments against two accused persons, Foday Sankoh and Sam Bockarie, saying that there is no doubt that both men have died since charges were brought against them.

Prosecutor David Crane asserted that the body of Bockarie, who was reported to have died last May by multiple gunshot wounds, has been positively identified by several witnesses. Sankoh died after a long illness.

UN REFUGEE AGENCY SEEKS OVER $1 BILLION FOR NEXT YEAR

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is seeking over $1 billion to fund its refugee assistance and protection work during next year. The programs funded under the appeal will benefit some 20 million people worldwide. They include refugees, internally displaced people, returning refugees, asylum seekers as well as communities affected by refugee crises.

In 2004, Afghanistan will remain the agency's single largest operation worldwide. More than a third of the refugee agency's 2004 budget will go for repatriation and refugee assistance in Africa.

The appeal will be formally presented to donors at a pledging conference this coming Monday.

ANNAN COMMENDS ROLE PLAYED BY COMMONWEALTH

In a message to the meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of State and Governments in Abuja, Nigeria, the Secretary-General commends the active role the Commonwealth is playing in helping members fight extreme poverty, hunger, death, disease, and illiteracy. Those efforts help to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Regarding the question of Zimbabwe and its future participation in the proceedings of the Commonwealth, the Secretary-General says, It is vital for dialogue to resume without delay in Zimbabwe, and for tangible progress to be made, he says. Zimbabwe, after all, was the place that the Commonwealths blueprint for promoting good governance and human rights the Harare Declaration was adopted.

ANNAN MARKS VOLUNTEERS DAY WITH TRIBUTE TO FORMER HEAD

Today is International Volunteers Day, and the Secretary-General, in a message, pays tribute to one of the greatest champions of volunteers, Sharon Capeling-Alakija, who passed away last month while serving as Executive Coordinator of UN Volunteers. The Secretary-General says, Let us remember that each contribution no matter how small can make a difference.

Also today, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and UN Volunteers agreed to expand the role of UN Volunteers in UN peace operations worldwide. A memorandum of understanding on global collaboration between the two was signed in New York by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean Marie Guéhenno and UN Development Programme Administrator Mark Malloch Brown.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECURITY COUNCIL: There are no meetings or consultations of the Security Council scheduled today.

ANNAN EXPRESSES CONDOLENCES TO JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER: Asked about a phone conversation on Thursday between the Secretary-General and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, the Spokesman said the two had discussed Iraq, among other matters. The Secretary-General expressed his condolences for the recent killing of two Japanese diplomats in Iraq.

WSIS PREPARATORY MEETING RESUMES: In Geneva this morning, the resumed session of the third preparatory committee of the World Summit on the Information Society started. The remaining stumbling points concerned the freedom of the press, governance of the Internet, and a fund to end the digital divide as parts of the Declaration of Principles and the Plan of Action remained between brackets.

VIEIRA DE MELLOS ACCOMPLISHMENTS TO BE REMEMBERED: This coming Monday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Fordham University Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs are co-sponsoring a symposium on the life and accomplishments of Sergio Vieira de Mello. The theme of the gathering is Human Security for All.

2010 SET AS DEADLINE FOR PHASING-OUT SINGLE HULL TANKERS: The International Maritime Organization confirmed today that after discussions held late Thursday, it has agreed to bring forward the deadline for the phasing-out of single hull tankers to 2010 instead of 2015. An IMO spokesman said the accelerated deadline shows the ability of the organization to react quickly and expeditiously to situations like the one caused by the Prestige tanker oil spill off Spain's northwestern coastline in 2002.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Sunday, December 7

The Secretary-General is scheduled to leave New York for a week-long trip to Switzerland and Germany.

Carolyn McAskie, the Secretary-Generals Humanitarian Envoy for the crisis in Côte dIvoire, will arrive in Abidjan for a fourth follow-up and evaluation mission.

Monday, December 8

The Secretary-General will arrive in Geneva.

The Security Council will hold consultations on the work of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) for Iraq.

At an 11:15 press conference, Jose Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, will launch the final part of the World Economic and Social Survey 2003.

At 12:45, a senior UN official will give a background briefing on the Secretary-General's address to the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva this Wednesday, and on the Secretary-General's Lecture on Global Ethics in Tubingen on Friday.

Fordham University will host a symposium to pay tribute to the life and accomplishments of Sergio Vieira de Mello.

Tuesday, December 9

The Secretary-General will make remarks at the World Electronic Media Forum in Geneva.

The Security Council will hold an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland will brief the Security Council in that debate on a plan for protecting civilians in armed conflict.

In Merida, Mexico, the signing ceremony for the Convention against Corruption will take place.

Wednesday, December 10

The Secretary-General will attend the opening ceremony of the World Summit on the Information Society, and deliver an address to mark the occasion. He will also send a message to children on the original Internet server.

Today is Human Rights Day, and the UN Awards for Human Rights will be formally presented, among other events. The awardees will hold a press conference at 2:30.

Thursday, December 11

The Secretary-General will travel to Berlin, Germany, where he is to meet with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and other senior officials, as well as with Angela Merkel, the leader of the Christian Democrats. He will also attend a dinner hosted by the Chancellor with the CEOs of companies participating in the Global Compact.

The Security Council has scheduled a formal meeting to consider a Presidential Statement for the Central African region, and it has also scheduled consultations on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the afternoon, it expects to meet with troop contributors for the UN Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights.

Friday, December 12

The Secretary-General will travel to Tubingen, Germany, where he will speak at the University of Tubingen, delivering the Third Global Ethics lecture, Do we still have universal values?

The Security Council will hold an open briefing on the Middle East by UN Special Coordinator Terje Roed Larsen, followed by consultations on the same subject.

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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