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United Nations Daily Highlights, 00-03-14

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

Tuesday, March 14, 2000

"SANCTIONS BUSTING" BY UNITA, OTHERS DOCUMENTED IN NEW UN REPORT

Issued as a document today is a 60-page report prepared by the Security Council's Sanctions Committee on Angola, which provides an exhaustive overview of sanctions busting by the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and others in the areas of arms, military equipment, petroleum, diamonds, finances and assets, as well as representation and travel.

The report contains 39 recommendations and concludes with the expressed hope that the Security Council will use the opportunity to demonstrate that international sanctions can be made to work effectively, and that Member States and others who violate Security Council sanctions will be held accountable by the international community.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS ANGOLA SANCTIONS

Ambassador Robert Fowler of Canada, who chairs the Angola Sanctions Committee, will brief the Security Council on the committee's findings at an open meeting Wednesday.

The Security Council today met in closed consultations between Ethiopia and Eritrea this morning. The Council also agreed to the text of a draft presidential statement on Haiti, which is expected to be issued Wednesday.

ANNAN CONCLUDES OFFICIAL VISIT TO THE UNITED KINGDOM

Secretary-General Kofi Annan concluded his official visit to the United Kingdom today with a series of meetings this morning and delivery of a major speech on Africa.

He began with a working breakfast with Foreign Minister Robin Cook during which they reviewed a number of African issues, the humanitarian situation in Iraq and the UN Mission in Kosovo, among other issues.

In remarks to reporters after that briefing, the Foreign Minister commented extensively on Kosovo and the Secretary-General focussed primarily on Africa. They then took questions on a variety of different topics, and we have the full transcript available in my office.

He also met with Peter Hain, the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Geoff Hoon, the Secretary of State for Defence and had a working lunch with Clare Short, the Secretary-of-State for International Development.

This evening, the Secretary-General will deliver the Commonwealth Lecture on the subject, "Africa--Maintaining the Momentum." In that speech, the text of which is available on an embargoed basis until 2:00 p.m. today New York time, the Secretary-General argues that the overall picture in Africa is not unrelieved gloom, and that African leaders now want to trade their way out of poverty and dependence.

The Secretary-General is scheduled to leave Wednesday morning for Paris.

UN DELEGATION LEAVES FOR TALKS ON KHMER ROUGE TRIALS

As announced by the Secretary-General last week, a delegation will leave headquarters today for Phnom Penh to discuss the issue of Khmer Rouge trials with the Cambodian authorities.

The delegation will arrive in Phnom Penh Thursday. Members of the delegation, which will be headed by Hans Correll, United Nations Legal Counsel, are: Ralph Zacklin, Assistant-Secretary-General, Office of Legal Affairs; Lakhan Mehrotra, Head of UNTAET's Office in Jakarta; Shashi Tharoor, Director, Executive Office of the Secretary-General; John Renninger, Officer-in-Charge, Asia and the Pacific Division, Department of Political Affairs; Daphna Shraga, Senior Legal Officer, Office of Legal Affairs; and Mark Quarterman, Political Affairs Officer, Office of the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs.

UN RECONNAISSANCE TEAM BEGINS SERIES OF MISSIONS IN CONGO

In the wake of Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Bernard Miyet's visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, two aircraft carrying 12 UN personnel travelled to the southern central town of Mbuji Mayi earlier today.

Mbuji Mayi is one of the four bases where the 500 military observers are scheduled to be deployed.

Discussions between Miyet and President Laurent Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo had resulted in an agreement in principle for UN reconnaissance teams to begin a series of missions this week.

Among the places the team in Mbuji Mayi is scheduled to visits this week are Mbandaka and Matadi.

Miyet is continuing his visit to the region to seek support for and to assess if conditions of the deployment of the 5,500 strong military observer force exist. He was in Kigali, Rwanda, today. Click here for the resolution authorizing the force.

AUTOPSIES OF MASSACRE VICTIMS UNDERWAY IN EAST TIMOR

Autopsies were performed in Dili, East Timor, today on the bodies of two men who were shot last September near the town of Los Palos in a massacre that claimed a total of eight victims. Two nuns, three seminarians, one journalist and two other people were killed by members of the Team Alpha militia.

Four bodies have been exhumed from local cemeteries to date and autopsies on these four are expected to be completed by the end of Wednesday. The location of the remaining four bodies is known and permission is being sought from the victims' families to complete exhumations. One of the alleged perpetrators of the massacre is in custody in Dili.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, meanwhile, reports that more than 1,000 East Timorese have moved out of three major refugee encampments in West Timor's Kupang area in the largest movements from these facilities so far since the repatriation program started in October.

More than 150,000 of the estimated 250,000 people from East Timor who came to West Timor in the aftermath of the violence that followed the August 30 vote for independence of East Timor have returned home.

UNHCR hopes that the safe return of this group now at the Kupang transit center will give momentum to the repatriation program, which has slowed since late December.

UN HUMANITARIAN OFFICIAL APPEALS FOR HALT IN SUDAN BOMBINGS

The acting UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Carolyn McCaskie said she is alarmed over reports of recent bombings in Sudan of civilian targets in Nuba, Yirol and Lui. These actions have led to the death and injury of innocent people, and have impeded the delivery of humanitarian assistance. In a statement, McCaskie called on all parties to desist immediately from al measures that endanger the lives of civilian populations.

The statement also said UN humanitarian agencies will be starting a second round of national polio immunizations later this month, as well as a mission to assess the conditions and needs of beneficiaries in previously inaccessible areas in Western Upper Nile. To this end, McCaskie requested the full cooperation of all parties to ensure that humanitarian operations will be carried out under safe and secure conditions.

MOZAMBIQUE: NEW FOOD APPEAL, LANDMINE PLAN UNVEILED

The World Food Programme today launched a new appeal for nearly $34 million to help feed the hundreds of thousands of Mozambicans left homeless by what the agency described as "a flood unmatched in the country's recorded history both for its extent and destruction."

The appeal includes $28.4 million to provide emergency food rations for an estimated 650,000 flood-affected people for the next six months and an additional $5.3 million to support airlift operations and costs for rebuilding the country.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) announced an emergency plan in response to the problem of landmines displaced by the flooding in Mozambique. UNDP said in Moamba in southern Mozambique, de-mining experts are already clearing land where water has receded. There are an estimated 1-2 million landmines planted during a two-decade-long war in Mozambique that ended in 1992, according to UNDP.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

In a statement isseud through his Spokesman on the accident on Saturday in the Barakov mine in Ukraine, which cost the lives of more than 80 workers, the Secretary-General said he wishes to convey his sympathies to the Government and people of Ukraine, and his deepest condolences to the families of the deceased We have the following updates and releases today.

A three-day meeting set to discuss the safety of foods derived from biotechnology is starting today in Chiba, Japan. In a joint press release on the meeting, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) said that delegates will analyze the risks of biotech foods on human and animal health and the environment, including the risks of transferring toxins or allergens from one species to another. This is the first meeting of an inter-governmental task force that was set up last year and given a four-year mandate to develop standards and guideline on biotech foods safety.

UNICEF, in a press release, urged participants at the World Water Forum to provide all children with access to adequate sanitation facilities.

The World Health Organization, in a press release, said that unsafe injection practices throughout the world result in millions of infections. Each year over-use of injections and re-use of dirty syringes and needles combine to cause an estimated 8 to 16 million hepatitis B virus infections, 2.3 to 4.7 million hepatitis C virus infections, and 80,000 to 160,000 infections with HIV/AIDS worldwide.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, in the weekly humanitarian updates, reported that measles is spreading in that country.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that the High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata will begin on Thursday a 13-day long tour of the Balkans, which will include a stop in Mitrovica, Kosovo. For schedule, see today's UNHCR briefing notes.

Nicaragua has become the 71st Member State to be paid in full for this year's regular budget by making a payment of just over $25,000. This accounts for monies owed for both last year's and this year's regular budget assessments.

  • The guest at the noon briefing was Commander Erkki Platan, Planning Officer and Head of the Stand-by Arrangements Unit in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations on the Secretary-General's Progress Report on Stand-By Arrangements, which became available to the public as a Security Council document .

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