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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-12-19

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 19, 2003

ANNAN WELCOMES SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRATIC

TRANSITION IN MYANMAR

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a statement, welcomes the strong support expressed for the efforts of his Special Envoy, Razali Ismail, during the one-day meeting hosted by

Thailand

on December 15 to help facilitate democratic transition in

Myanmar.

The Secretary-General is also encouraged by the commitment made by Foreign Minister Win Aung of

Myanmar

that the

Myanmar

authorities would implement their seven-step roadmap for the countrys democratic transition in an all-inclusive manner. He welcomes the Governments intention to reconvene the National Convention and draft a new Constitution in 2004.

The Secretary-General stresses the need for his Special Envoy to be allowed to visit

Myanmar

as soon as possible to help facilitate the participation of all the parties concerned, including representatives of the National League for Democracy and national ethnic groups in

Myanmar

s roadmap process.

SECURITY COUNCIL

FOCUSES ON

GUINEA-BISSAU AND

BURUNDI

The Security Council focused its work on Africa, with Guinea-Bissau, Burundi and Liberia on the agenda.

The Secretary-Generals Representative for

Guinea-Bissau

, David Stephen, briefed on the latest report, which was issued this week and which noted that the transitional government has taken some important steps in the right direction.

[In a press statement on Guinea Bissau, the Council President, Ambassador Stefan Tavrov of

Bulgaria, said members welcomed the positive steps taken recently by the authorities, especially, the announcement by the President of the date of 28 March 2004, after his visit to the Security Council, as the date for the parliamentary elections. They encouraged the Transitional Government and all actors in Guinea-Bissau to stay the course and to continue working together in search of the right solution to the urgent problems confronting their country.]

Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Tuliameni Kalomoh, is to brief on the most recent report on

Burundi

, which noted that events this year have created new hope for democracy and peace there.

[A scheduled formal meeting on a draft resolution maintaining sanctions on

Liberia was postponed.]

The latest report on the UN Mission in Liberia, which came out Thursday, is scheduled to be taken up by the Security Council on Monday when Special Representative Jacques Klein will brief.

ANNAN WELCOMES AND ENCOURAGES ECOWAS CRISIS INITIATIVES

The Secretary-General, in a message to the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in

Accra, Ghana, welcomed the initiatives taken by ECOWAS leaders to settle crises in

Liberia

,

Cote dIvoire

and

Guinea-Bissau

.

He said the regional approach was particularly important because the crises are increasingly interconnected.

He encouraged ECOWAS to formulate preventive measures to deal with conflicts created by governments, which, although duly elected, violate constitutional norms and flout basic principles of good governance.

He also encouraged ECOWAS not to be silent when faced with poor standards of governance, which he says are sometimes the principal cause of coups detats.

Asked about the Sudan, the Spokesman said that in one of the Secretary-Generals recent contact with senior a U.S. official, he was able to thank the United States for its support of UN efforts in reaching a peace agreement, adding that without that support the peace process would not have gone as far as it has.

UNICEF CHIEF WARNS OF POLIO THREAT IN WEST AFRICA

Carol Bellamy, the head of the UN Childrens agency, told the leaders attending a summit of the Economic Community of West African States, in

Accra , Ghana

, that the alarming spread of polio in West Africa is now the biggest threat to global eradication of the disease.

Two West African countries -

Nigeria

and

Niger

- now account for almost half the worlds total polio caseload, according to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

Meanwhile, Olara Otunnu, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict is also attending the summit.

He discussed the issue of children in armed conflict, with a special focus on the situation in

Cote dIvoire.

KOSOVO: UN ENVOY SIGNS FOUR LAWS FORWARD BY ASSEMBLY

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, has signed four laws forwarded to him for promulgation by the Assembly of Kosovo.

The laws cover areas such as postal services, disability pensions, and public financial management.

Holkeri sent back a census law for the Assemblys further consideration, as it had rejected a special panels recommendations.

WHO, NOVARTIS SIGN AGREEMENT FOR FREE TUBERCULOSIS DRUGS

Half a million of the worlds poorest tuberculosis patients are to benefit from free life-saving drugs under an agreement signed today by the World Health Organization and the pharmaceutical company, Novartis.

Novartis will donate the drugs to the Global Drug Facility.

The drugs will be provided over a five-year- period to countries scaling up TB control with support from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

WESTERN SAHARAN REFUGEES SUFFERING FROM MALNUTRITION

Western Saharan refugees are suffering from acute and chronic malnutrition due to continued delays in relief aid, says the World Food Programme.

It adds that urgent crises elsewhere in the world have frequently overshadowed the needs of the refugees whove lived in five camps around Tindouf in the Algerian desert for the last 28 years.

WFP is urging donors to come forward with contributions and commitments for the speedy delivery of food to the camps, as well as aid to combat nutrient deficiencies among the refugees.

D.R.

CONGO

PAYS TRIBUTE TO UN FORCE COMMANDER DIALLO

The Government of the

Democratic Republic of the Congo

and the UN Mission in that country have paid tribute to Force Commander, General Mountaga Diallo of

Senegal

who will be wrapping up almost four years of duty at the end of December.

Under his command, MONUC evolved from a small military observer mission to a major multidimensional peace keeping operation with over 10 thousand troops.

He oversaw the disengagement of foreign and Congolese fighters and the withdrawal of foreign troops and he participated in negotiations leading to a Transitional Government in the DRC.

General Diallo will be succeeded as of 1 January 2005 by Major-General Samaila Iliya of

Nigeria

.

UNHCR CONCERNED ABOUT PLIGHT OF REFUGEES ON

NAURU

The UN refugee agency says it is concerned about the situation of hundreds of people mostly Afghans and Iraqis and including more than 90 children who continue to be detained on the isolated Pacific

island of Nauru

, some of them for more than two years.

The agency adds that the current hunger strike staged by a number of these people is symptomatic of a general degree of despair that must be addressed with a view to responding humanely to what is becoming a human tragedy.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON JANUARY 15 MEETING ON IRAQ

Asked why the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, John Negroponte, appeared surprised by the Secretary-Generals announcement of the January 15th meeting on Iraq, the Spokesman said he did not know why since the Secretary-General had discussed this with the Ambassador a few days ago although the discussion may not have involved a specific date.

Prompted by more questions on the meeting, the Spokesman said that the idea had evolved very quickly yesterday morning. The Secretary-General decided to send a letter to the Security Council asking them to move their monthly luncheon closer to mid-January when he expected members of the Governing Council and the Coalition Provisional Authority to be in New York. Even earlier, the Spokesman added, the Secretary-General had spoken to Adnan Pachachi, the Iraqi Governing Council President for January.

Just prior to yesterdays press conference, the Spokesman also said, the Secretary-General had a conversation with a senior Administration official at the White House who told him the meeting sounded like a good idea but did not offer any firm commitment. Asked who the White House official was, the Spokesman said he would not go into that much detail.

Asked if the Secretary-General had spoken to U.S. Administrator Paul Bremer, the Spokesman indicated that he had not.

Asked for more information on who would attend the meeting on January 15th, the Spokesman added that he had nothing more on the Coalition Provisionals Authority commitment to attend the meeting.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Monday, December 22, 2003

The Security Council has scheduled consultations on Liberia and an open briefing, offering reports by the chairmen of the Councils working groups and sanctions committees.

Tuesday, December 23

Wednesday, December 24

Thursday, December 25

The United Nations will be closed for the Christmas holiday.

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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