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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-12-24

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

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

[The UN will be closed on December 25th. Briefings will resume on December 26th]

ANNAN SETS JANUARY 19 FOR MEETING ON IRAQ

Adnan Pachachi,the President of the Iraqi Governing Council for January, has agreed to come to New York to meet the Secretary-General on January 19.

He will be accompanied by the Governing Council's President for December, Abdel Aziz El-Hakim, and the President for February, Massoud Barzani. The three make up the so-called troika.

The Spokesman said the Secretariat is in regular contact with the US Mission to the UN regarding possible participation by members of the coalition Provisional Authority, but have nothing definite to announce at this time.

When asked about the objective of the meeting, the Spokesman said it was to review with both the Iraqi Governing Council and Coalition Provisional Authority would like to see the UN play in Iraq, in two distinct phases: between now and the establishment of an interim government at the end of June, and once a provisional government is in place.

Asked if the United States had given a response to the Secretary-General, the Spokesman said the initial reaction from two very senior US officials had been positive, but added that he nothing firm to answer at this time.

Asked if a formal invitation would be sent to the Coalition Provisional Authority, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General did not feel the need to that since he had already spoken to President George W. Bush directly about the meeting.

Asked if the US Mission to the United Nations had been informed of these developments, the Spokesman said the US Mission was informed yesterday of the date of the upcoming meeting and there had not yet been final confirmation that the date was suitable nor which US Administration official would attend, but initial indications had been that the January 19 date would be feasible.

IRAQ MONITORING BOARDMEETS TO REVIEW EXTERNAL AUDITS OF DEVELOPMENT FUND

Earlier this week in

Washington

, the International Advisory and Monitoring Board for Iraq met for a second time.

All members of the board have agreed to the following communique:

The IAMB continued its discussion of organizational matters. In particular, the IAMB reviewed the scope of work for the external auditors to be appointed by the Coalition Provisional Authority to audit the export sales of Iraqi oil, petroleum products and natural gas, and the operations of the Development Fund for

Iraq

, in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1483 of

22 May 2003

.

IAMB attaches the highest priority to this scope of work, and to this end IAMB will provide its comments to the Coalition Provisional Authority before the end of the year.

SECRETARY-GENERALWELCOMES TRANSITIONAL AGREEMENTS IN COMOROS ISLANDS

In a statement on the

Comoros

islands attributable to the Spokesman, issued in French, the Secretary-General welcomes the agreement on the Transitional Arrangements between the President of the Comoros Union and the autonomous islands of Anjouan, Mwali and Ngazidja.

This took place on December 20th in the Comorian capital of

Moroni

, in the presence of South African President and coordinator of the regional effort, Thabo Mbeki.

The Secretary-General calls on the parties to respect and implement the agreements which are a crucial step in the process of national reconciliation.

UN POPULATION AGENCY WELCOMES ARAB PARLIAMENTARIANS VOWS ON WOMENS RIGHTS

The UN Population Fund has welcomed promises made by Arab parliamentarians to pass a range of laws that would ensure womens rights, eliminate the gender gap in education and employment, and prevent violence against women.

The parliamentarians made the vows as part of a declaration at the Fourth Arab Parliamentarian Forum on Population Development, held in

Morocco

this month.

Taking note of many Arab countries high population growth rates, the legislators also called for governments to incorporate reproductive and sexual health in school curricula and to encourage peer education.

UNHCR CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION INTO

COLOMBIA

DEATHS

In

Colombia

, the UN refugee agency has expressed deep concern over continuing attacks against human rights organizations, particularly those run by women.

Two women activists working with

Colombia

s internally displaced people have been killed in recent months, and many others have been threatened and attacked.

The latest incident was a break-in last Friday at the office of a womens organization in

Bogota

by a group of unidentified armed men who stole computer files and documents.

UNHCR has called upon Colombian authorities to investigate all of these incidents and to prosecute those responsible.

It also urges authorities to ensure the protection of those who have been threatened, including their families.

INTERNATIONAL COURT TO RULE ON MEXICANS ON US 'DEATH ROW'

The International Court of Justice is deliberating the case of Avena and Other Mexican Nationals, also known as

Mexico

v.

United States of America

.

The case involves more than 50 Mexican nationals on death row in the U.S. Mexico

claims the

U.S.

has violated international law by denying the prisoners consular or diplomatic access.

Public hearings concluded on December 19 and the Courts Judgment will be delivered at a public sitting, the date of which will be announced in due course.

UN SAYS MOZAMBIQUE S HEALTH INDICATORS REMAIN WEAK

Paul Hunt, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, has just completed a mission to

Mozambique

at the invitation of the Government.

While commending the Mozambique Government for its policies for poverty reduction and health and its close cooperation with international partners, the Rapporteur notes that health indicators in

Mozambique

remain extremely weak.

The Rapporteur draws attention to the crucial importance of community participation in health matters, especially involving people affected by HIV/AIDS.

While the Government has anti-discrimination legislation in place, he notes that many people in

Mozambique

living with HIV/AIDS are being rejected by their families and fired from their jobs.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS:

AFGHANISTAN: The World Bank has approved $166 million in credits for three projects in

Afghanistan. The Banks Board of Executive Directors approved the credits yesterday. The money will go towards rebuilding communities and strengthening local governments, as well as providing water for farms and improving customs procedures.

PHILIPPINE FLOODING: The number of deaths caused by flooding, landslides, and a tornado in eight provinces in the central

Philippines

jumped to 143 from 90. The UNs office of humanitarian affairs reports than more than one hundred are still missing. Philippine authorities are providing shelter for almost 18,000.

SOMALI FIGHTING: More than fifteen-hundred families have been displaced in central

Somalia

due to continued fighting between clans. UN humanitarian agencies report that the majority of the displaced are women, young children and the elderly. The humanitarian consequences of these clashes are serious. Fighting has led to the destruction of houses, water stores, and the looting and killing of livestock. Access to clean water and health facilities is limited, and poor autumn rains have caused additional hardship for people and have adversely affected the health of livestock.

The Guest at the Noon Briefing was Warren Sachs, the Director of Programme Planning and Budget for the UN Secretariat. He briefed journalists on the newly adopted 2004/2005 budget.

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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