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United Nations Daily Highlights 96-10-08

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <> - email:


Tuesday, October 8, 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.


  • General Assembly hears calls for withdrawal of Armenian forces from occupied territories of Azerbaijan, as it continues to debate global issues.
  • Humanitarian community condemns abuse of civilians by factional fighters in Liberia.
  • A new approach to decolonisation was needed, Special Political and Decolonisation Committee hears as it resumes its consideration of decolonisation matters.
  • General Assembly should lower the floor rate of assessment scales, Administrative and Budgetary Committee is told.
  • International Conference on Education adopts recommendations to develop global strategy to improve schooling systems.
  • World Congress on Calcium and Vitamin D in Human Life starts in Rome.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, Hassan A. Hassanov told the General Assembly that the withdrawal of Armenian forces from all occupied territories of Azerbaijan, including Shusha and Lachin districts could speed up the forward movement of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk process towards achievement of comprehensive settlement.

Outlining proposals to ensure immediate implementation of the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and decisions of the OSCE, Mr. Hassanov said the return of Azerbaijani population to the places of their permanent residence, including to the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, and the ensuring of equal security under the monitoring of the OSCE forces would be the only way to settle the conflict.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, Abdus Samad Azad told the Assembly that his country's outstanding problem with India over the sharing of the waters of the Ganges river may be amicably and equitably resolved with the resumption of bilateral discussions with India.

He said the existence of friendly and good neighbourly relations does not necessarily preclude the emergence of problems, adding that the best of political will, good will and good intentions are brought to bear in seeking solutions to any outstanding problems or new ones that may arise.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Maldives, Fathulla Jameel told the Assembly that the early entry into force of the Convention Against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries would be a step forward in addressing the threats of terrorism. He urged all states who have not yet done so, to ratify the Convention as early as possible.

The Minister for Legal Affairs and Local Government of Grenada, Raphael Fletcher told the Assembly that his country welcomed the resolution of the European Union, through its parliament, to support the call for participation in international organisations by Taiwan. He said the Government and people of Grenada considered that action on the part of the European Union to have been a most significant development.

The Permanent Representative of Lesotho to the UN, Percy M. Mangoaela told the Assembly that the national economies of Southern Africa have registered strong performance in 1995. He expressed the hope that the international community would continue to assist Southern Africa in its reconstruction efforts, particularly by encouraging the flow of private investment as a contribution to the regional efforts for the economic recovery of the continent. Mr. Mangoaela said throughout Southern Africa, political stability, peace, democracy and human rights continued to be deepened.

The UN Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Office in Liberia (UN- HACO) has said that fighting continued to rage in Grand Cape Mount County, Liberia despite the Abuja peace agreement signed on 17 August which called for a cease-fire and disengagement of fighters by the end of August 1996.

The ongoing battles and changing front-lines make it impossible for the humanitarian community in Liberia, comprising UN Agencies, and international and national NGOs, to reach thousands of civilians suffering as a result of the six years of civil conflict in Liberia. "The Humanitarian Community in Liberia vehemently and unanimously condemn the continued patterns of abuse of innocent civilians by the fighters of the warring factions in Grand Cape Mount County", said Mr. Tesema Negash, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Liberia.

He said entire civilian populations in Grand Cape Mount, including thousands of children and women, many of whom are severely malnourished, continued to be denied their basic rights as set forth in both International Humanitarian Laws and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Although United Nations decolonisation efforts were well intentioned, the Organisation sometimes appeared remote, and driven by agendas that did not address the needs of small territories. A representative of New Zealand, Peter Rider told the Special Political and Decolonisation Committee (Fourth) on Monday that a new approach to decolonisation was needed, in which present realities and concerns were taken into account.

The Committee heard that the survival of the Special Committee on Decolonisation was of great concern to the people of Guam, and that if the Special Committee were to be eliminated, the UN would be unable to address economic, political and cultural colonialism. The Committee was considering the Report of the Special Committee on Decolonisation which contained an omnibus draft resolution on the situation of the 12 Non- Self-Governing Territories.

The fifty-first session of the General Assembly should lower the floor rate of the scale used to assess Member states for their share of the expenses of the United Nations, the Administrative and Budgetary Committee (Fifth) was told on Monday.

The proposal was made by the representative of Costa Rica as the Committee began its substantive work with a debate on the scale of assessments. Nazareth Incera of Costa Rica said that the current floor rate- which was the minimum amount a State was expected to pay, now calculated at 0.01 per cent of the regular budget- had led to a serious departure from the principle of capacity to pay.

For many small and developing States, the amount calculated by the floor rate exceeded by a substantial sum the amount they would pay if it had been calculated on the basis of capacity to pay, Mr. Incera said. He recommended that the ceiling rate of 25 per cent, the maximum any State is assessed, should not be lowered any further.

Expressing support for a substantial reduction or the elimination of the floor rate, the representative of Ireland said as a starting point, gross national product (GNP), converted to United Sates Dollars at market rates, should be used to measure relative wealth. A three-year statistical base period and an annual calculation of the scale should also be used to ensure that the scale reflected an up-to-date measure of relative wealth.

The meeting heard that the scale used to finance peace-keeping missions should be overhauled. Australia said the practice of voluntary swaps by member States from higher- or lower-paying groups of countries created for peace-keeping assessments would continue unless a comprehensive review was undertaken.

The 45th session of the International Conference on Education (ICE) adopted a declaration and recommendations to develop a global strategy to improve schooling systems with the collaboration of teachers and all educational partners.

"The document that we have adopted reflects our will as teachers to unite all partners to facilitate this process," said Susana Decibe, ICE Chairwoman and the Argentine Minister of Education during ICE's closing session.

The participants pledged to call upon teacher's organisations, defined as key actors of change, as well as political and religious authorities, business, the family, media, scholars, artists and scientists "to commit themselves to the development of a school envisaged as an active centre for learning and moral, spiritual, civic and vocational education to be continually adapted to a changing world," according to the declaration.

"One cannot claim to promote the long-term development of a country and proceed with programmes which erode the quality and morale of its educators, " said Colin Power, UNESCO Assistant Director for Education. "We must change the school environment so that it attracts, rather than repels or discourages, teachers, students, parents and the communities," he said, adding that the adopted declaration and recommendations provided guidelines for doing so.

The First World Congress on Calcium and Vitamin D in Human Life began in Rome on Tuesday. The Congress, jointly organised by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and three Italian Institutions, will discuss ways to improve Calcium and Vitamin D intake among all population groups, promoting proper growth during childhood and adolescence, and reducing diseases such as osteoporosis, cancer and hypertension.
For information purposes only - - not an official record

From the United Nations home page at <> - email:

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