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United Nations Daily Highlights 96-10-02

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

DAILY HIGHLIGHTS

Wednesday, October 2, 1996


This document is prepared by the Central News Section of the Department of Public Information and is updated every week-day at approximately 6:00 PM.

HEADLINES

  • Debt burden of Least Developed Countries and economic expansion dominates debate as General Assembly focusses on critical global affairs.
  • UN Secretary-General expresses disappointment that UNITA leader misses meeting of Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit.
  • UN Secretary-General condemns massacre of civilians at Sinje, Liberia; says assault on defenseless civilians is violation of international humanitarian law.
  • Arab women to present sculpture symbolizing 'sisterhood solidarity' to UN Secretary-General.
  • Mass vaccination campaign launched to halt spread of polio outbreak in Albania.


The Secretary of Foreign Affairs for the Philippines, Domingo L. Siazon has called on the developed countries to desist from circumventing their own commitments to a free international trading regime by providing subsidies to their uncompetitive sectors. He told the General Assembly that the Philippines was strongly committed to opening up its economy, adding that the world must ensure that economic expansion encompasses all sectors and strata of society and that none was marginalised by development.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Kenya, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka called for an early consensus on debt relief, reduction and possible cancellation. He said while most developing countries continue in their strenuous economic reform efforts, the question of the debt burden and debt servicing remained a major obstacle.

Mr Musyoka said it was expected that the Bretton Woods Institutions would quickly conclude their consultations on the steps to be taken to address the debt problem of developing countries, including additional innovative measures that would provide social safety nets to vulnerable groups, particularly the children, women and the poor.

The Assembly heard that the UN must continue its role as an important catalytic element in the process of economic and social development of developing, underprivileged and marginalised countries. The Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the UN, Ambassador Luis Valencia Rodrigues told the Assembly that there was a need for dialogue and collaboration between all nations in order to guarantee the existence of a favourable economic and political environment for the promotion of international cooperation for development based on beneficial and mutual interests.

Highlighting the debt burden faced by many countries, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guyana, Clement Rohee said debt service payments should be limited to ten percent of exports, provided that 50 percent of the savings are used for social sector development. Mr. Rohee proposed the creation of a Global Fund through mobilising of resources using new and innovative measures such as the Tobin tax and environmental related levies.

The Iraqi people want to be enabled to satisfy their human needs, using their own capabilities and financial means, and seek the lifting of the restrictions which only aim at starving them in order to wound their pride and honour, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq, Mohammed Said Al-Sahaf told the Assembly.

He said Iraq had carried out all its obligations under Security Council resolutions in spite of the injustice they involved. Mr. Said Al- Sahaf said infant mortality rates have soared for lack of food and medicine, with widespread disease and the deterioration of the health, education and environmental sectors.


UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has expressed disappointment that Jonas Savimbi, leader of the Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) failed to attend a meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit, which was a part of an initiative to restart the political aspects of the 1994 Peace Agreement in Angola, the Spokesman for the Secretary-General Sylvana Foa said today. His presence would have helped accelerate the implementation of the peace of accord, the Spokesman added.

Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali had been in communication with Mr. Savimbi several times about this meeting which was a unique opportunity gathering all the regional Heads of State, Ms. Foa indicated. The meeting was specifically called in order to advance the implementation of the peace process. It would have been Dr. Savimbi's first meeting with President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos on Angolan territory since 1992, the Spokesman recalled.


UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has condemned the massacre of civilians, which took place at Sinje, Grand Cape Mount County in Liberia during the early hours of Saturday, 28 September 1996, the Spokesman for the Secretary-General Sylvana Foa said. A statement by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ambassador Anthony B. Nyakyi indicated that the massacre left at least 17 civilians dead, many more wounded, and forced about 1,000 others to flee from Sinje, according to reports from UN agency and relief workers who visited that location on 30 September. The majority of the victims appear to be innocent women, children and elderly men.

UN Secretary-General stressed that the continued support of the international community for the peace process in Liberia is contingent on the Liberian factions demonstrating their commitment to resolve their differences peacefully, and to achieve national reconciliation, in accordance with the Abuja peace agreements of 17 August 1996, the Spokesman indicated. He also stressed that the assault on defenseless civilians is a violation of international humanitarian law, as well as of the Abuja Agreement.

In pursuit of its mandate on human rights and on verification of ceasefire violations, the UN Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL) is making urgent arrangements to carry out an investigation of this incident, which has demonstrated the serious consequences for the peace process and for the safety of innocent civilians of the delay by the factions in disengaging and disarming their fighters, according to the statement by Ambassador Anthony B. Nyakyi.


A gift from Arab women to the United Nations and the world women -- a sculpture symbolizing sisterhood solidarity -- will be presented to UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali at a ceremony on Thursday, 3 October, at Headquarters. It is also a symbolic gift to the women of the world from women of Arab countries that are members of the League of Arab States.

The initiative to offer the sculpture, the first gift from women of any country to the United Nations, was taken by an Arab-American woman, Rajaa Mukaddam, who founded several women's organizations.

The sculpture, which was financed by private individuals from Arab countries, is of brushed stainless steel, approximately 12 feet high and weighing around 3,000 pounds, that sits on a pink marble base. It was designed by artist Silvio Russo, and shows 12 women holding hands in a synergetic representation of a rising sun.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have issued a joint appeal for US$1.3 million to help fund an emergency mass vaccination campaign being undertaken by the Ministry of Health to halt the spread of wild polio virus in Albania, where an outbreak of the disease has killed 12 persons and infected 78 others since April.

A first shipment of 3.4 million doses of vaccine for the campaign, donated by the Government of Italy, is due to arrive in Albania 3 October. Together with an additional consignment of vaccines donated by the Monaco Red Cross, there will be enough doses to give more than 3 million people in the 0-50 years of age group a first round of vaccinations.

The vast majority of poliomyelitis cases in the current outbreak are among teenagers and young adults. WHO officials say it may be necessary to organise a door-to-door vaccination campaign in order to reach a proportion of the adult population large enough to control the outbreak.


For information purposes only - - not an official record

From the United Nations home page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org


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