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United Nations Daily Highlights 96-10-25

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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


Friday, October 25, 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 terrorism has become a global danger.
  • UN Secretary-General pays tribute to first Acting Secretary- General of that Organisation.
  • Least developed countries have been unable to share fully in new growth opportunities, Prime Minister of Bangladesh tells General Assembly; President of Cameroon endorses current UN Secretary-General for further term.
  • Chemical Weapons Convention is likely to enter into force without ratification by two largest possessors of chemical weapons, Committee on Disarmament and International Security is told.
  • Representatives express support for establishment of international registry of anti-personnel land-mines, as Committee on Disarmament and International Security concludes general debate.
  • Senior UN Official says lead-time of UN rapid deployment capabilities will be reduced by fifty per cent.
  • Obstacles to achieving gender equality before end of century is greater than expected, Senior UN Official says.
  • World Food Programme says it intends to launch a limited airlift of essential supplies to eastern Zaire.
  • UN High Commissioner for Refugees urges refugees caught in fighting in eastern Zaire to consider returning to Rwanda.

UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has said that terrorism has become a global danger and no region, State or person was immune from terrorism because terrorists had become international players.

In an address on terrorism, the Secretary-General told a meeting at Harvard University in the United States, on Thursday, that unilateral and even bilateral action was not sufficient to deal with a threat that was global.

He said international cooperation was crucial, adding that a global approach was needed to restraint terrorists. Dr. Boutros-Ghali said United Nations had the global mandate and membership to facilitate global consensus-building and mobilise global action against terrorism. "The United Nations is a unique instrument to provide the forum for all participants in the global community to come together and devise the global approach necessary to defeat international terrorism," he said.

UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has said that he was saddened to learn of the death of Lord Gladwyn of Bramfield. He said Lord Gladwyn devoted his life to public service at home and abroad and dedicated himself to promoting the United Nations ideals of peace and international understanding.

"As the first Acting Secretary-General of the United Nations and later as United Kingdom Permanent Representative to the UN from 1950-54, Lord Gladwyn made crucial contribution to the work of the world Organisation", the Secretary-General said.

He said it was particularly poignant that Lord Gladwyn should pass away on United Nations Day. "I would like to express my profound regret at the passing of a great man, and my most sincere admiration for his extraordinary achievements," he said.

Least developed countries had been unable to share fully in the new growth opportunities in the world economy, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina has told the General Assembly on Thursday. She identified weakness in social and economic infrastructures as among the problems for her country.

Noting that private investment funds were difficult to attract and thus larger flows of concessional funding were essential, the Prime Minister said without investment in human capital, the least developed countries would fall further behind in the new age of technology, where the wealth of a society would be determined by its ownership and ability to create new ideas.

Also addressing the General Assembly on Thursday, President Paul Biya of Cameroon has said that as current Chairman of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), he had been instructed by that Organisation to undertake the necessary contacts to ensure a second term for Africa at the head of the United Nations, with Boutros Boutros-Ghali as the OAU candidate.

Focussing on the regional mechanism for the settlement of disputes established by the OAU, President Biya said the mechanism had become paramount mechanism of preventive diplomacy in the region, adding that in order to flourish, regional initiatives must receive adequate material and technical support. He stressed that for Africa, peace was an absolute requirement, so that all of the continent's resources could be committed to development.

Meanwhile, the Assembly, by a resolution adopted without a vote, had invited the International Seabed Authority to participate in its deliberations as an observer.

In another action, the Assembly reiterated its support for the government of Panama's convening of the Universal Congress on the Panama Canal, Preparation for the canal's future role. Expressing satisfaction at the close cooperation between the UN and the Organisation of American States (OAS), in particular their successful collaboration in Haiti, the Assembly emphasised that such cooperation should be conducted in accordance with their mandates, competence and composition.

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention) was now likely to enter into force without ratification by the two largest possessors of chemical weapons, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), was told as it continued general debate.

The Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Ian Kenyon of the United Kingdom said there was still no agreement on ratification in the legislative bodies of the United Sates and the Russian Federation.

The two countries together possess nearly 71,000 tons of chemical weapons. The Commission had made progress in areas such as inspection procedures and health and safety guidelines. The Convention was now only one signature short of the 65 needed for its entry into force, six month after receipt of that enabling ratification.

The representative of Nicaragua has expressed support for the establishment of an international registry of anti-personnel land-mines, as a transparency measure aimed at their elimination, as the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) concluded its general debate. He said such a mechanism might be similar to the UN Register of Conventional weapons, established in 1992 to help prevent illicit arms trafficking.

While speakers welcomed the adoption last month of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), many countries considered it to be a partial measure, which still permitted the qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons without recourse to testing.

Nevertheless, the view was widely held that the Treaty represented an historic step on the road to complete nuclear disarmament and should be seen in those terms. Most speakers welcomed a recent advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice declaring that States were obliged to pursue good-faith negotiations aimed at complete nuclear disarmament.

A number of speakers called on the nuclear-weapon Powers to fulfil that obligation, which they had undertaken with their adherence to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

The lead-time of the United Nations rapid deployment capabilities would be reduced by 50 per cent during the next two years, according to the Under- Secretary-General for Peace-keeping Operations, Kofi A. Annan.

He told the Peace-Keeping Committee on Thursday that initiatives had included standby arrangements involving 60 Member States and enhanced planning capabilities through the Mission Planning services of the UN Peace- keeping Department.

The representative of Pakistan to the UN, Ambassador Ahmad Kamal said he supported the concept of rapid deployment headquarters team but was concerned at the action of a self-appointed group of "Friends of Rapid Reaction" operating without legitimacy, and having half-baked ideas developed without broad consultations with the countries most concerned. If there was a shortage of funds, he said, the answer did not lie in subcontracting the Organisation's operations to member States, adding that mission headquarters should be staffed in balance with troop providing countries.

Reacting to questions concerning the status and responsibilities of the Group of Friends of rapid Deployment, Mr. Annan said "Friends" groups were not new to the organisation. He said the "Friends of Rapid Deployment" had provided his department with useful advice, which had always been presented to the full membership.

The need to reach an agreement on functions of the Global Mechanism establish under the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification was stressed by several speakers as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) concluded its consideration of environment and sustainable development.

The Global mechanism was established under article 21 of the Convention top promote actions leading to the mobilisation and channelling of substantial financial resources, including the transfer of technology to affected developing country parties top that treaty. Speaking on behalf of the "Group of 7" developing countries and China, the representative of Costa Rica stressed the need for a facility to meet the resource needs of countries affected by desertification.

Obstacles to achieving gender equality by the year 2000 were far greater than expected, Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues, Rosario Green told the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural).

Speaking as the Committee began its general debate on the advancement of women and the implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Mrs Green said that although the severe financial crisis was the organisation's biggest problem, the Secretary- General had continued his efforts to ensure it did not disproportionately affect women.

A roster of highly qualified women was being compiled to provide him with a pool of women candidates who could serve as his special representatives.

The Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management, Dennis Halliday said despite real progress at the junior level and improvement in the middle ranks, there were not enough qualified women in senior decision- making posts. He said member States needed to alert the Secretary-General about women candidates qualified for those assignments. The representative of Zambia said the Secretary-General should appoint at least one women as a special envoy in a UN peace initiative.

In a related but separate development, the representative of Burkina Faso told the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) that women from developing countries were virtually absent at the levels of Under- Secretary-General, Assistant Secretary-General and Director, adding that the situation of women at those levels should be adjusted.

The representative said the Secretariat must avoid marginalising women from underrepresented States and stressed the need to increase the number of women in posts subject to equitable geographical representation.

Commenting on the proposed reductions from the regular budget, the representative of Kenya said the zeal for reform or cost reduction should not in any way be an excuse for eroding the role of the General Assembly.

Noting that the budget reductions must never prevent the Organisation from achieving its priority objectives, he said the process must accord priority to the UN's crucial role in coordinating development.

Nicaragua's representative expressed concern that the vacancy rate of 11.8 per cent proposed by the Secretary-General would hamper the full implementation of mandated programmes. He said the Secretariat should be reminded that it should follow established priorities and that the elimination of posts required specific decisions by the Assembly.

The World Food Programme has said that it intended to launch a limited airlift of essential supplies from Entebbe, Uganda into Bukavu and Goma in eastern Zaire to support on-going relief operations.

A WFP chartered C-130 was scheduled to arrive at Entebbe Saturday. The Agency said the limited airlift had been prompted because supply routes from the north and south to refugee camps in Goma and Bukavu remained closed due to mounting fighting in the area. In addition to airlifting essential food items, WFP was discussing with other agencies the possibility to transport relief items such as fuel and medicines.

Meanwhile, the Agency's officials in Sierra Leone have found hundreds of emaciated people who were held in virtual slavery by rebels in the strife- torn country. Officials believed thousands more people could be hiding in the bush in similar condition, scavenging for food.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Friday urged Rwandan refugees caught in fighting in eastern Zaire to consider returning to Rwanda. High Commissioner Sadako Ogata said she was deeply saddened that Burundi and Rwandan refugees are again fleeing for their lives. She said she was afraid that the terrible situation may not stop immediately, adding that UNHCR would do everything possible, in cooperation with the authorities, to assist.
For information purposes only - - not an official record

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

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