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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-10-21
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.comARCHIVES
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING
BY MARIE OKABE
ASSOCIATE SPOKESWOMAN FOR THE
OF THE UNITED NATIONS
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, October 21, 2004
ANNAN COMMENDS DECISION TO EXPAND AFRICAN UNION FORCE IN DARFUR
Secretary-General Kofi Annan commends the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council for its decision to deploy an expanded AU force of troops and police in Darfur. He especially welcomes the broad mandate given to the AU Mission, which will provide protection to a larger number of AU monitors as well as civilians and humanitarian operations under imminent threat.
In the light of the growing insecurity in Darfur, the Secretary-General urges the African Union to deploy this force speedily.
The planned deployment requires complex and massive planning and logistical support.
The Secretary-General considers it essential that the African Union receive the urgent, adequate and continuing support of the international community, not only to quickly deploy but also to sustain effectively its mission.
This AU mission is crucial to enhancing security for the civilian population and for the effective provision of much-needed humanitarian assistance.
The United Nations will continue to offer the AU whatever assistance it can.
The Secretary-General urges all member states with capacity urgently and generously to provide the required support.
In a press encounter upon entering UN headquarters this morning, the Secretary-General was asked by a reporter about the situation in Darfur, Sudan, and he said that he had spoken to the Chairman of the African Union Commission this morning on the decision to approve the expansion of the African Union force in Darfur. He said he hoped they would proceed very quickly.
The Secretary-General emphasized the need to improve the security situation, and to maintain pressure on the Sudanese Government and rebels to honor their commitments.
U.N. ENVOY TO ATTEND PEACE TALKS ON DARFUR IN ABUJA, NIGERIA
The Abuja Talks between the Government of the Sudan and the rebel groups of Darfur, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), have started today.
Jan Pronk, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Sudan, will be in Abuja to attend the talks and to discuss with the heads of the parties' delegations the way to move forward with the peace negotiations and the role of the United Nations in this regard.
Pronk also welcomed the decision of the AU Peace and Security Council on the expansion of the size and the mandate of the African Mission, as well as its timeliness. He expressed his satisfaction at the broad mandate designed for the mission, which takes into account almost all the recommendations of the United Nations.
"The AU has done its part. It's time now for the others to do theirs: the countries that are in a position to provide the required assistance to the AU must do it without delay, and the Government and the other parties to the Darfur conflict must extend full cooperation with the African Mission," he said. Time is of the essence, any effort must be exerted to ensure the speedy deployment of the Mission.
Meanwhile, the UN
High Commissioner for Refugees today announced it would step up its operational activities in West Darfur as part of a collaborative UN effort to provide protection and assistance to hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people and refugees.
SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON HUMANITARIAN EMERGENCIES IN AFRICA
Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, briefed the Security Council today on humanitarian emergencies in Africa.
Egeland paid particular attention to Uganda where a crisis that has displaced as many people as in Darfur, Sudan, receives a fraction of the attention.
IRAQ: ANNAN SAYS "TECHNICALLY POSSIBLE" TO HAVE ELECTIONS IN JANUARY
At the morning press encounter, when asked about Iraq elections, the Secretary-General said that, at this point, it is still technically possible to have elections in Iraq in January.
As we move forward, he added, it will be necessary to send in additional UN staff. But the circumstances have to be conducive, either in having a genuine improvement in the security environment or solid arrangements for the protection of staff.
Asked whether the Secretary-General was confident that other States would be willing to send troops to protect UN personnel, the Spokeswoman said that, as the Secretary-General noted today, that effort is continuing.
SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETS CHAIR OF OIL-FOR-FOOD INQUIRY
This morning the Secretary-General met with Paul Volcker, the Chairman of the Independent Inquiry Committee into the UN Oil-for-Food Programme, to receive an updated briefing on the work of the Committee.
The Secretary-General is encouraged that the Committee is working diligently on the inquiry and looks forward to receiving its final report.
Asked for a read-out of the Secretary-Generals meeting with Volcker, the Spokeswoman noted that Volcker would give a press conference this afternoon.
ANNAN CALLS ON ALL COMMUNITIES TO PARTICIPATE IN KOSOVO ELECTIONS
On October 23, the people of Kosovo will have the opportunity to vote for their representatives in the Assembly of Kosovos Provisional Institutions.
In a statement, the Secretary-General calls upon members of all of Kosovos communities to exercise their right to vote in the elections. He urges members of the Kosovo Serb community to participate in the election and in this way to ensure that their interests and concerns are represented and promoted within Kosovos provisional institutions. Kosovos leaders should do their utmost to encourage Kosovos voters to engage in the democratic process.
The October 23 elections will be the first that are largely organized and run by the people of Kosovo themselves. The Secretary-General is confident that these elections will prove to be yet another significant step in the consolidation of Kosovos representative and democratic provisional institutions of self-government and a further demonstration of Kosovos progress on the path of normalization and stability.
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES HALT TO MILITARY ACTION IN NEPAL
The Secretary-General welcomes the announcement by the Communist party of Nepal (Maoist) to suspend military action for a period of nine days coinciding with the Nepalese Dashain festivals beginning on October 20 and the decision of His Majestys Government of Nepal not to initiate offensives against the insurgent forces.
According to a statement issued today, the Secretary-General considers this to be a positive first step towards the possible resumption of a peace process in Nepal, which he believes to be a matter of urgent importance.
He strongly encourages the Government and the Maoists to extend the suspension of hostilities beyond the holiday period in the interest of peace and the restoration of a degree of normalcy, which ordinary Nepalese citizens desperately need.
The Secretary-General remains at the disposal of Nepal to assist in any manner that would lead to the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Nepal.
ANNAN COUNTERS FORCE COMMANDERS COMMENTS ON HAITI
Asked about the Secretary-General's reaction to the reported remarks by UN Force Commander in Haiti, which appeared to blame instability in Haiti on statements by a candidate in the U.S. presidential election, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General has noted the statement issued by Gen. Ribeiro Pereira on October 18.
The Secretary-Generals own view is that the problems the United Nations faces in Haiti have their roots in that country and nowhere else. Also, UN officials should make public statements only within their area of competence and responsibility.
The Force Commanders remarks as originally reported were therefore wrong both in content and in form, she said.
U.N. COMPENSATION COMMISSION DISBURSES $195 MILLION
The UN Compensation Commission has made available today a total of almost $195 million to 20 governments and two offices of international organizations for distribution to more than 2,100 successful claimants.
The Commission was created in 1991 as a subsidiary organ of the UN Security Council. It processes claims and pays compensation for losses suffered as a direct result of Iraq's unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait.
The present payment brings the overall amount of compensation paid so far to close to $19 billion.
U.N. MISSION THANKS COALITION FOR RESCUE IN AFGHANISTAN
The UN Mission in Afghanistan today thanked coalition forces for their support in a rescue operation of an electoral civic educator, who had been the victim of an accidental weapons discharge which had wounded him badly in the arm.
In the process of bringing the civic educator to a hospital, the Coalition rescuers were themselves injured when their helicopter crashed. The pilot of the helicopter has since died from his injuries, and the Mission extended its deepest condolences to his family.
ANNAN SEEKS THREE-YEAR EXTENSION FOR WEST AFRICA OFFICE
The Secretary-General says that the UN Office for West Africa has been useful in raising public awareness about cross-border problems and promoting conflict prevention, and he asks for it to be extended by three years.
In a letter to the Security Council, which is out on the racks today, he notes the work the office has done, including the efforts by the head of the Office, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, as Chairman of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission. He asks the Council to extend the Office until the end of December 2007.
CAMEROON-NIGERIA COMMISSION MEETS IN ABUJA
The Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission set up to assist the two countries to implement the International Court of Justices judgment on the demarcation of their land and maritime boundaries, is meeting in Abuja today.
In his opening statement, Chairman Ould-Abdallah reported that tranquillity prevails in the Lake Chad and land boundary areas where the transfers of authority have taken place.
Regarding the maritime boundary, he said submissions by both Cameroon and Nigeria were being considered by both parties.
Regarding the delay in the transfer of authority from the Bakassi Peninsula, Ould-Abdallah said the Commission faced a real test on whether African states were ready to abide by the rule of law. He remained convinced that the Commission would complete its assignment in due course, sooner, rather than later.
NO SECURITY COORDINATOR APPOINTMENT YET: Asked whether a new Security Coordinator would be announced, the Spokeswoman said the announcement was not ready yet.
NEW FENCE POSTS BUILT AT UN HEADQUARTERS: Asked about the fence posts being put up at the perimeter of UN Headquarters, the Spokeswoman said that they were intended to provide a fence while parts of the old perimeter fence are taken down and a newer fence is constructed.
INTERPOL CALLS FOR ARREST OF SIERRA LEONE SUSPECT: Interpol this week made public a Red Notice calling for the arrest and transfer of indictee Johnny Paul Koroma to the custody of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Koroma was indicted in March 2003 on 17 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, which include terrorizing the civilian population, unlawful killings, sexual violence, physical violence, use of child soldiers, abductions, forced labor and attacks of peacekeeping personnel. His current whereabouts are unknown.
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