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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-08-08

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

DAILY HIGHLIGHTS

Friday, 8 August 1997


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

  • Security Council members call on warring parties in Congo- Brazzaville to find a lasting solution to their dispute.
  • Members of the Security Council support Secretary-General's proposals regarding UN transitional mission in Haiti.
  • UN Secretary-General calls on world community to acknowledge past injustices against indigenous people.
  • UN food agency launches an urgent appeal for funds to provide food aid to Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
  • Head of UN children's agency warns of growing suffering from famine in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
  • UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomes efforts of Princess of Wales to highlight plight of victims of landmines.


Security Council members on Friday called on the warring parties in Congo- Brazzaville to find a lasting solution to their dispute.

Speaking to the press at UN Headquarters in New York, Council President Ambassador John Weston of the United Kingdom said the Council members called on the parties to pursue an agreement along the lines currently under discussion in Gabon. Earlier, the Council had been briefed by UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Bernard Miyet on the recent assessment mission to the country.

On the question of a possible United Nations involvement in Congo- Brazzaville, Ambassador Weston said the Council strongly endorsed the Secretary-General's three conditions which included a political process, a lasting ceasefire, and the security of the airport. "We would like to take this opportunity to once again strongly urge the parties in the Republic of Congo to take steps to meet and implement those conditions. Against that background the Council will then be able to take a decision about further United Nations involvement in that country", Ambassador Weston said.

Earlier, Under-Secretary-General Bernard Miyet informed the Council, among other things, that due to the volatility of the situation observed by the assessment team, neither the dispatch of a relatively small advance party nor the deployment of unarmed military observers seemed viable. He recommended that, should the United Nations decide to do so, it should intervene at a strength of 2,500 - 3,000. Following his briefing to the Council, the UN official told journalists that if the peacekeeping operation was to be launched, there would have to be "neutralization or withdrawal of every weapon around the airport".


Members of the Security Council have welcomed the appointment of Brigadier- General J.J.R. (Robin) Gagnon of Canada as Commander of the military element of the United Nations Transition Mission in Haiti (UNTMIH). The Council members also agreed with the UN Secretary- General's proposal concerning the composition of the military and police components of the mission.

The Secretary-General had earlier proposed that the military component of the Mission be made up of personnel from Canada and Pakistan; and that the police component be contributed by Benin, Canada, France, India, Mali, Togo and the United States of America.


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called on the international community to acknowledge the injustices of the past and to move towards a more understanding future for indigenous people.

In a statement marking the International Day of the World's Indigenous People (9 August), the Secretary-General highlighted actions being taken by the United Nations system on behalf of indigenous people. He said the United Nations had undertaken to draw up a declaration of rights as soon as possible, adding that the declaration would create a framework for national and international action in favour of indigenous people.

The UN leader said the world body was actively building partnerships with indigenous peoples and organizations to develop programme activities to address their concerns and to bring about improvements in conditions. According to the Secretary-General, the indigenous people would play an active part "as we reform the United Nations to meet the challenge of the next millennium".


A UN food agency on Friday launched an urgent appeal for funds to provide food aid to Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. In its "Appeal for the Caucasus", seeking $15.7 million, the World Food Programme (WFP) warned that the situation was critical in Armenia and Georgia where the UN food agency's supplies of relief food aid was expected to run out in the next two months. WFP said that the supplies in Azerbaijan were sufficient only until early 1998.

The Rome-based food agency said that 600,000 internally displaced and other vulnerable people needed a total of nearly 34,000 metric tons of additional food in the three countries. The countries are suffering the effects of unresolved territorial disputes and the severe economic disruptions caused by the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

In Armenia, according to the UN food agency, 157,000 people still live in temporary shelters nine years after an earthquake devastated the country, killing 28,000 people and leaving 530,000 homeless.


Describing the situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as worsening, the head of the UN children's agency told UN Radio on Friday that hundreds of thousands of children, and, increasingly, adults, were at risk because of lack of food and poor economic conditions.

The Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Carol Bellamy, who just returned from a visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, said the country had suffered some major weather problems over the last couple of years and as a result the modest recovery they were expecting in corn and rice crops was now severely threatened.

She said there was an immediate need for food and medicine, adding that in the long term, the country needed to move to diversify its agriculture and strengthen its economy. She said the humanitarian response through UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) and others was very crucial.

Earlier, Ms. Bellamy briefed the press at UN Headquarters on her recent trip to the country, stating that the net effect at this point was falling most traumatically on children. "We have seen children up to the age of 15 who are very severely malnourished. Significant thousands of them are close to dying as a result of malnutrition. The fact that we are starting to see it in older children shows how the situation is growing worse day by day", Bellamy said.


The United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) has welcomed the efforts of Diana, Princess of Wales, to focus world attention on the continuing plague of landmines. The Princess of Wales is currently in Bosnia and Herzegovina to highlight the plight of victims of landmines.

The UN Mission said in a statement on Friday that it fully supported the call by the Princess of Wales for a complete ban on the production, sale and use of landmines and also commended her interest in the plight of landmine victims across the globe. "We are delighted to introduce the Princess of Wales to UN demining activities in the country. The UN, as the lead international agency in the country on demining issues, is assisting the government by coordinating the international effort for mine clearance and mine awareness and in establishing a national mine clearance institution with a complete data base on all mine fields in the country", the UNMIBH statement said.

It also noted that the UN had trained, equipped and deployed over 100 deminers throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. It said the UN 1997 appeal for essential resources for demining in Bosnia was $23 million, however only $7 million had been pledged.


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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