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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-12-26

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 26, 2003

[Instead of Noon Briefings this week, highlights of daily developments in the UN system will be provided on this page; Briefings will resume on Friday, January 2, 2004]

ANNAN SENDS CONDOLENCES TO

IRAN

FOLLOWING QUAKE, UN MOBILIZING SUPPORT FOR RELIEF EFFORTS

In a statement issued today through his Spokesman, the Secretary-General was distressed to learn of the devastating casualties and damage caused by the earthquake in southeastern Iran.

He conveys his deepest condolences and sympathy to the Government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran and to the victims of the disaster.

The Government of Iran has indicated that it would welcome assistance from the international community.

The United Nations is mobilizing international assistance to support the Government to cope with the tragedy. The United Nations Country Team in

Tehran

has sent two teams to the affected area.

In addition, a United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team has been dispatched to help coordinate relief efforts. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has made an initial emergency grant of $90,000.

The Secretary General calls on the international community to provide immediate support to the relief efforts for victims of the earthquake.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs initial reports estimate that at least 60 percent of the houses in the city have collapsed. The city hospital in Bam has also collapsed, and telephone lines and the water and power supply are cut off. Search and rescue activities are being conducted by the provincial government, the Iranian military and the Iranian Red Crescent Society. The UN Disaster Management Team (UNDMT) in

Tehran

are sending two teams to the affected area.

COUNCIL TO HOLD CONSULTATIONS ON WMDs ON MONDAY

The Security Council will hold consultations on Monday morning at 10:30am to discuss a Syrian draft resolution on the establishment in the Middle East of a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

The draft had originally been circulated in April of this year.

EXPLOSION AT UN COMPOUND IN

KABUL

NO INJURIES REPORTED

A building housing United Nations staff members in

Kabul

was struck by an explosion in the early hours of Thursday morning. No injuries were reported. According to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, the blast damaged the outer wall of the compound and broke windows in the house and in neighbouring buildings. Six UN staffers lived in the house and four of them were present at the time of the explosion. The UN Assistance Mission added that the details of the bombing were still being investigated.

UN NUCLEAR AGENCY ASSISTS IN REMOVAL OF NUCLEAR MATERIAL FROM

BULGARIA

As part of its efforts to safeguard potentially weapons useable atomic material, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) assisted

Bulgaria

with the removal of highly-enriched uranium stored at a shut-down research reactor in

Sofia

.

The substance, which was airlifted earlier this month to

Russia

, the original supplier, according to the IAEA.

Agency safeguards inspectors monitored and verified the packaging of the fuel, which

Moscow

says it will re-fabricate into low-enriched uranium.

The cost of fuel removal is being funded by the United States Department of Energy under a cooperative US-Russia-IAEA programme called the Tripartite Initiative, to further the aims of nuclear non-proliferation. The Tripartite Initiative facilitates the return of both fresh and spent fuel from Russian designed research reactors abroad.

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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