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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-12-30

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

Tuesday, December 30, 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]

SEARCH AND RESCUE CONTINUES IN

IRAN

Search and rescue operations in

Iran

are continuing and immediate relief needs are being addressed, says the UNs humanitarian office.

The pipeline of in-kind contributions is reported to be quite full, following last Fridays earthquake, and the need now is for more cash grants to afford maximum flexibility in meeting the needs of the affected population.

The UN Information Centre in Tehran reports that the President of Iran told the press today that more than 30,000 people have been buried, and those numbers are expected to continue to climb.

The UN is also focusing on medium-term rehabilitation requirements, which are expected to be massive, given the extent of the damage. Yesterdays aerial assessment showed that the destruction is confined to the city of

Bam

and its immediate surroundings.

Up to 90 per cent of the homes have been destroyed, leaving some 70,000 people homeless, says the UN representative for displaced persons, Frances Deng, in a statement released today.

He appealed for more durable shelter, as many of the displaced are being housed in simple tents, and night-time temperatures at this time of year dip below freezing.

ANNAN MOURNS DEATH OF SPANISH DIPLOMAT JAIME DE PINIES

The Secretary-General was saddened to learn of the death of veteran Spanish diplomat, Jaime de Pinies.

In a statement issued by his Spokesman, the Secretary-General recalled that Ambassador de Pinies served a distinguished term as President of the 40th General Assembly and represented

Spain

at 28 General Assembly sessions. In addition, he served as

Spain

s Permanent Representative to the United Nations for a total of 16 years.

The Secretary-General noted that de Pinies displayed exceptional devotion to the work and principles of the United Nations throughout his career. He conveyed his condolences to the Ambassadors family, friends and colleagues.

ANNAN OFFERS CONDOLENCES FOR FAMILY OF SLAIN PAPAL NUNCIO

In a statement released yesterday, the Secretary-General expressed his shock and sadness at the murder of Monsignor Michael Courtney, the Apostolic Nuncio in

Burundi

.

The

Vatican

s representative died early Monday following a road ambush near the town of

Minago

in Bururi province, about 50 kilometres south of the capital

Bujumbura

.

Mr. Annan said he hoped the perpetrators of the Monsignors murder would be brought to justice, and he offered his condolences to the surviving family members and to the Pope.

NEW FORCE COMMANDER APPOINTED FOR UN PEACEKEEPING FORCE IN

CYPRUS

Under a no-objection procedure this morning the Security Council took note of the Secretary-Generals intention to appoint Major-General Herbert Joaquin Figoli Almandos of

Uruguay

as the Force Commander of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

He will succeed Lieutenant General Jin Ha Hwang of the

Republic of Korea

. Major-General Figoli has previously served in UN missions in

India-Pakistan , Cambodia

,

Rwanda

and

Tajikistan

.

AL-QAIDA AND TALIBAN SANCTIONS COMMITTEE ADDS ONE INDIVIDUAL TO ITS LIST

The Security Council Committee on Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions has added the name of one individual to its Al-Qaida Section consolidated list.

Safet Durguti has been listed as belonging to or being associated with Al-Qaida.

The Committee has also added new information to the entries on two entities already on the Al-Qaida list.

UN MISSION TRANSFERS REMAINING COMPETENCIES TO KOSOVO AUTHORITIES

The UN Mission in Kosovo confirmed today that the remaining government functions, or competencies, have been transferred to the Provisional Institutions of Self Government (PISG).

In a letter to Kosovos Prime Minister, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Harri Holkeri, confirmed the transfer of the 44 competencies.

Although a small number of specific responsibilities cannot become functional until relevant legislation is enacted or until the relevant administering body is constituted, the formal responsibility for, and control of, these competencies now lies entirely at the disposition of the PISG.

The transfer had been agreed on at the last meeting of the Transfer Council, on 28 May 2003 , at which UNMIK and the PISG said they would carry out the transfer by the end of this year. The UN Security Council endorsed this transfer.

BENIN

ASSIGNED SOVEREIGN CREDIT RATINGS AS PART OF UNDP INITIATIVE

Credit ratings agency Standards & Poors has assigned

Benin

B+ long-term and B short-term sovereign credit ratings, and described its outlook as stable.

The move is part of a new initiative launched by the UN Development Programme to extend sovereign credit-ratings to sub-Saharan African countries.

UNDP hopes the better access to financing will help

Benin

and other developing countries to tackle a broad range of poverty alleviation issues, as well as provide an incentive to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME REACHED RECORD AMOUNT OF HUNGRY PEOPLE IN 2003

The UN World Food Programme reached 110 million hungry people with food aid throughout 2003 the highest number in its 40 year history.

In an end-of-year review, WFP notes that it carried out in

Iraq

the largest humanitarian aid operation ever at its peak moving 1,000 tons of food an hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week despite enormous obstacles.

At the same time, WFP helped to feed some 40 million people across Africa , throughout one of the worst food disasters to hit the continent in decades.

However, in its review, WFP notes that the outlook for 2004 is full of challenges, such as resourcing constraints and the number of chronically hungry people creeping back up to almost 800 million, after having decreased in the early 1990s.

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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