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United Nations Daily Highlights, 00-03-13

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, March 13, 2000

EX-SERB ARMY COMMANDER CHARGED WITH GENOCIDE GOES ON TRIAL

This morning at The Hague, the trial of Radislav Krstic began at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Krstic is accused of planning, ordering, aiding and abetting the murder of Bosnian men and boys after the fall of the Srebrenica enclave in July 1995. He is specifically charged with genocide, complicity of genocide, extermination, persecution, and deportation, both in his individual criminal responsibility and in his capacity as commander of the Drina Corps of the Army of Republika Srpska.

In his opening statement, Mark Hamon, the Prosecutor presenting the case, said that following their conquest of Srebrenica, "the victors abandoned all semblance of humanity and committed atrocities of a type and on a scale not seen in Europe since the Second World War."

ANNAN COMPLETES FIRST DAY OF VISIT TO THE UNITED KINGDOM

The Secretary-General began an official visit to the United Kingdom today with an on-the-record breakfast meeting with senior editors at the Royal Commonwealth Society. We hope to have a transcript of that exchange shortly.

He met with representatives of civic groups at a luncheon hosted by the United Nations Association of the UK and then attended a multi-faith church service at Westminster Abbey to mark Commonwealth Day.

That service was also attended by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, His Royal Highness Prince Charles and Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The Secretary-General and the Prime Minister took advantage of the uncommonly fine weather in London to walk from Westminster Abbey to the Prime Minister's Office at No. 10 Downing Street, stopping to chat with young schoolchildren along the way. They then met there for about a half-hour.

In the evening, the Secretary-General was to attend the Commonwealth Day Reception, at which he is expected to have the opportunity to chat with the Queen and Prince Charles.

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON WESTERN SAHARA, SIERRA LEONE

The Security Council met at 10:30 this morning in closed consultations for a briefing on Western Sahara. The briefing, which was at the request of the Council was given by Hedi Annabi, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.

Following consultations, the Council moved to an open briefing on Sierra Leone, which was also given by Annabi.

UN PEACEKEEPERS BLOCKED BY REBELS IN SIERRA LEONE

This morning in Sierra Leone, despite the agreement of last week that there would be unhindered access to UN peacekeepers throughout the country, a patrol of 107 Indian peacekeepers and six military observers were stopped by a group of rebels on their way from Daru to Koidu in southeast Sierra Leone.

The rebels, all of them from the Revolutionary United Front, argued that they did not have clearance to let an armed escort move forward.

The peacekeepers returned to their base in the afternoon, four hours after they were stopped.

CLEAR SKIES ENABLE AID WORKERS TO DELIVER AID IN MOZAMBIQUE

With waters receding and no rains reported for two days, aid operations in Mozambique were reported in full swing to some are 97 centers housing 329,000 people displaced by the flooding.

Secondary roads were beginning to be opened up.

The Mozambique Government also confirmed today 492 dead -- this is the number of corpses picked up and buried. That number is expected to rise in the days ahead.

There will be a summit meeting of the South African Development Community in Maputo Tuesday on current coordination arrangements and the way forward. This will be a follow-on to the Pretoria meeting held on March 3.

Meanwhile in Madagascar, World Food Program airlifts continued over the weekend. The Food and Agriculture Organization reported that preliminary indications point to almost total crop losses in low-lying areas.

UNITED NATIONS TO ISSUE POSTAGE STAMPS IN KOSOVO

The UN mission in Kosovo reported four murders and several cases of arson and explosive attacks in the province over the weekend.

It also reports that Bernard Kouchner, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Kosovo, will launch the first release of new postage stamps Tuesday -- a significant step forward in restoring communication within Kosovo and ultimately to the outside world. Mail service inside Kosovo is expected to begin this week. International service will get underway in mid-May. The French postal service printed 8 million stamps.

The Spokesman confirmed reports that retired Gen. William Nash, a U.S. national, has been appointed the next Civilian Administrator of Mitrovica. He succeeds Mario Marconi of Italy whose contract expired and returned to Italy.

ANNAN WELCOMES "POSITIVE SIGNS" ON KOREAN PENINSULA

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a statement issued through his Spokesman in response to a question posed during Friday's noon briefing about recent peace efforts between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea, said he welcomes the increasingly positive signs related to the Korean Peninsula.

While the issues on question remains most challenging, the statement said Annan believes that they can be successfully addressed through dialogue and determination, and that he looks forward to the forthcoming visit to Washington, D.C. by a high-level representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

He also notes that the President of the Republic of Korea, President Kim Dae-jung has made, in his speech in Berlin on March 9, a number of proposals on increased economic cooperation in the Peninsula and on other issues, according to the statement. The Secretary-General said he considers it to be of particular importance the proposal that a dialogue be opened without delay between these two Member States of the United Nations.

"The United Nations system is exploring ways of enhancing its humanitarian and development efforts in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," the statement said. "The Secretary-General stands ready, if requested by those concerned, to contribute to the efforts aimed at reducing tensions and promoting mutual confidence in the region."

COUNCIL TO HEAR FINDINGS OF ANGOLA SANCTIONS COMMITTEE THIS WEEK

In response to questions about the upcoming report by Ambassador Robert Fowler of Canada, chair of the Council's Sanctions Committee on Angola, on the sanctions regime imposed against the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), the Spokesman said Fowler is scheduled to brief the Security Council on this matter on Wednesday.

"What's interesting about Ambassador Fowler's committee is the aggressive nature of how he has approached his job," the Spokesman said. "He wants to document where sanctions are not being honored and points fingers at specific individuals who might be involved. I realize that there has already been a reaction to the leaked report of various people denying responsibility for weakening the sanctions regime, but I think the credibility of the Security Council overall is at risk if these regimes are not respected by all. So I think that's Ambassador Fowler's main contribution."

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Republic of Korea has become the 70th Member State to be paid in full for the 2000 UN regular budget by making a payment close to $10.5 million.

In response to a question, the Spokesman told reporters after the briefing that the appointment of Dileep Nair of Singapore as Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services is effective 24 April.

In response to a questions on Iraq, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General's next report to the Security Council on the implementation of the "oil-for-food" program for Iraq, is expected to be issued Wednesday. On the appointment of a new humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, the Spokesman said, "We expect that maybe by the end of next week we will have that announcement."

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