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United Nations Daily Highlights 96-10-18

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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


Friday, October 18, 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.


  • UN Secretary-General says attitude of factional leaders in Liberian conflict remains matter of concern.
  • United Nations is too valuable to be the scapegoat when international cooperation meets with setbacks, UN Secretary-General says.
  • UN Secretary-General lays foundation-stone of International Tribunal for Law of Sea building.
  • General Assembly appropriates funds for observer missions.
  • Burundi has lost millions due to economic sanctions, Economic and Financial Committee is told.
  • Deployment of tactical nuclear weapons near borders of Russian Federation would force that country to review its approach to arms control, Disarmament and International Security Committee is told.
  • UN Development Programme says eighty-three per cent of its core funds goes to three-fourths of the world's extremely poor.
  • UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's 1996 International Simon Bolivar Prize goes to "banker of the poor" in Bangladesh.
  • Human Rights Committee meets to consider several country reports.

Unless the faction leaders in the Liberian conflict finally decide to match their words with clear and verifiable deeds, the international community was likely to continue to extend its support to the peace process in that country, UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has said.

In his progress report to the Security Council on the UN Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL), the Secretary-General said he was, nevertheless, hopeful that the assessment meeting involving various interest groups would address these problems and enable the peace process to move forward. "While the attitude of the faction leaders remains a matter of concern, the new Chairperson of the Council of State, Ms. Ruth Perry, and many Liberian civilian groups are trying energetically to restore peace in that country," the Secretary-General said.

Congratulating Ms. Perry on her efforts, Dr. Boutros-Ghali called on the international community to give her and the Liberian civilian groups all the support they needed to soften the intransigence of the faction leaders and restore a peaceful society in Liberia.

UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has said that the United Nations was not only a forum for multilateral diplomacy on a global scale, but also a unique instrument for the realisation of the collective will of its member States. Addressing the Overseas Club, in Hamburg, Germany, Dr. Boutros-Ghali said the UN was an Organisation critical to the future.

He said the Organisation was far too valuable to be the scapegoat when international cooperation met with setbacks. Highlighting the essence of International law and cooperation, he said international cooperation for development had come to be recognised as essential to removing the causes of deprivation and confrontation.

Dr. Boutros-Ghali said the legacy of conflict could hamper development, and the lack of development could fuel still more conflict. "The evolution of a consensus on development cooperation offers a way to help break this cycle and strengthen development respectful of the environment, for long-term stability within and among states," he said. He assured the audience that the UN of the future would remain an intergovernmental organisation, in the service of its member States.

The development and extension of international law was one of the greatest projects of modern times, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros- Ghali said. In a statement on the occasion of the laying of the foundation-stone of the building of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg, Germany on Thursday, the Secretary-General said International law was the language of international relations and provided a way to develop shared norms and common standards.

"It offers a clear analytical framework for approaching problems of mutual concern. And it is a powerful basis for multilateral action," he said. Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali said Germany's support for the Law of the Sea Convention, which was one of the most comprehensive treaties ever completed, helped to fulfil one of the main purposes of the United Nations.

The General Assembly has appropriated some $46 million for the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and the UN Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL) for the period 1 July 1996 to 30 June 1997.

Earlier, the Assembly concluded its mid decade review of progress to implement the goals of the 1990 World Summit for Children, as well as its review of the follow-up to the 1995 World Summit for Social development.

During its consideration of the Children's Summit, several speakers said the burdens of poverty and debt impeded developing countries' ability to improve the lot of their children. Poverty was also a main obstacle to social development, many speakers told the Assembly.

The total value of losses to Burundi, two months after sanctions were imposed on it by its neighbours, were estimated to be at $165 million, the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) heard as it continued its general debate on the world economic situation.

Calling for the immediate lifting of economic sanctions imposed on his country by its neighbours, the representative of Burundi, Balthazar Habonimana said sanctions had resulted in reduction of food production by 30 per cent and decline in industrial growth by 10 per cent. The country could face widespread famine in the coming months if the situation continued, he stressed.

The representative of Libya, Mohamed Elmejrebi said that a hostile economic environment had prolonged the economic crisis of developing countries, particularly those in Africa. He called for an end to coercive measures by some developed countries against developing ones imposed to influence sovereign decisions. Such measures, he said, violated the principles of international partnership.

Drawing attention to the Helms-Burton Law promulgated by the United States which sought to penalise foreign companies doing business in Cuba, the representative of Cuba said he wondered whether that legislation was being taken into account in the efforts of some delegations to have the United Nations adopt a declaration on corrupt practices in international business.

The representative of Colombia, Jairo Montoya decried the allocation of increased resources to resolve financial crises caused by speculative ventures, at a time when restrictions were placed on official assistance flows to combat poverty. Calling for the development of strategies to counter a worldwide globalisation process, dominated by a few countries and enterprises, he said growth and development based excessively on private capital flows had proved unsustainable.

Citing the possibility of eastward expansion by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the representative of the Russian Federation, Grigory Berdennikov told the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), that any deployment of tactical nuclear weapons or sophisticated conventional arms systems near his country's borders would force the Federation to review its approach to arms limitations and disarmament.

Stressing the importance of blocking illicit trafficking in fissile materials, he said the Russian Federation had already stopped its production of weapons-grade uranium, adding that a programme to stop production of weapons-grade plutonium would be implemented by 1998.

The representative of the Republic of Korea, Park Soo Gil said the Democratic People's Republic of Korea had yet to fulfil its multilateral obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. He said North Korea's non-compliance with the safeguards system of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) posed a dangerous challenge to the global non-proliferation regime.

Responding in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Kim Chang Guk said that, as a colony, South Korea was not qualified to talk about the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula. He said both the Security Council and the IAEA had welcomed the Agreed Framework between his country and the United States. That agreement, he said clearly stipulated what had to be done with regard to the IAEA.

The Marshall Islands said the South Pacific Forum had expressed satisfaction at the permanent cessation of French nuclear-testing in the South Pacific, marking the end of all testing in a region which had been subjected to atmospheric and underground tests for five decades. He, however, expressed concern over shipments of plutonium and radioactive wastes through the region.

Eighty-three per cent of the core funds of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) went to fifty countries that were the home to three- fourths of the world's extremely poor, the Associate Administrator of UNDP, Rafeeuddin Ahmed, told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial).

He said an amount of $1.1 billion would have to be mobilised each year, according to the figure of $3.3 billion for core resources which had been adopted by the Programme's Executive Board for the three-year period starting in 1997. He said the increase in voluntary contributions to the core resources should remain the central effort of all donors.

The representative of Costa Rica, on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, expressed concern at the difficult financial situation faced by the Programme, despite reforms undertaken by the Administrator.

Muhammad Yunus, Managing Director of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, earlier this week received the 1996 International Simon Bolivar Prize at United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Headquarters in recognition of his contribution to helping eliminate poverty and improving the status of women in rural areas of Bangladesh.

UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor presented the US$25,000 prize, along with a certificate and a Simon Bolivar bronze Medal to Dr. Yunus, known as "the banker of the poor," at a ceremony in Paris.

Dr. Yunus, a Professor of Economics, created the Grameen Bank in 1983 as an establishment to assist the poorest, particularly women, in avoiding loan sharks. He is the inventor of the micro-credit system which makes loans with limited guarantees, enabling those who normally are excluded from credit to work independently in such profitable areas as crafts Some 94 per cent of those who borrow from the bank, with branches in 36,000 Bangladeshi villages, are rural women.

The Human Rights Committee will meet from 21 October to 8 November in Geneva to consider reports from Denmark, United Kingdom (on Hong Kong), Switzerland, Gabon, Peru and Germany.

The six countries are among 134 States parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and under the terms of the treaty, they are required to inform the Committee periodically on measures taken to put the Covenant's provision into effect.

The Committee will also consider, in closed session, confidential communications sent to it by individuals who claim their rights under the Covenant had been violated.

For information purposes only - - not an official record

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

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