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United Nations Daily Highlights, 98-07-06

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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


Monday, 6 July, 1998

This daily news round-up is prepared by the Central News Section of the Department of Public Information. The latest update is posted at approximately 6:00 PM New York time.


  • Security Council members call for resumption of face-to-face talks between leaders of two communities in Cyprus.
  • Secretary-General reports that deteriorating situation in Kosovo could spill over, destabilizing entire region.
  • International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia begins its first genocide trial.
  • Secretary-General's panel of eminent persons on Algeria will be briefed at UN Headquarters on Wednesday.
  • Secretary-General calls for international cooperation to spread prosperity in age of globalization.
  • President of Economic and Social Council says global response capacity is needed to address financial crises.
  • Promises and perils of globalization dominate Economic and Social Council's high-level policy dialogue.
  • Secretary-General will visit Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Guatemala and Mexico starting next week.
  • UN pays tribute to staff members who died in plane crash near Abidjan while on peace mission for Angola.

Members of the Security Council on Monday called for the resumption of face- to-face talks between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus as soon as possible.

Speaking on behalf of Council members following a briefing by the Secretary- General's Special Adviser for Cyprus, Council President Ambassador Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation called for the face- to-face talks between Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Rauf Denktash, the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community.

"The members of the Council reaffirmed their full support for the mission of good offices of the Secretary-General and of the efforts of his Special Advisor, Diego Cordovez," Ambassador Lavrov told reporters.

Mr. Cordovez just returned from Cyprus, where he met separately with both Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash to discuss the possible substance of future face-to-face talks. According to Ambassador Lavrov, Mr. Cordovez plans to return to Cyprus later in the summer. "He is hoping there might be some movement by that time," Ambassador Lavrov said.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has reported that the deteriorating situation in Kosovo could potentially destabilize the entire Balkan region.

In a new report to the Security Council, the Secretary-General says that a new outbreak of violence in Kosovo caused some 6,900 refugees to flee to Albania by the end of June. In addition, over 10,000 people have been internally displaced within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, while approximately 45,000 have been displaced within Kosovo. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) does not have access to the internally displaced persons.

"The international community is appalled by the situation in Kosovo," the Secretary-General writes. He calls on the parties concerned to demonstrate restraint and resume negotiations to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. "I am increasingly concerned that, unless hostilities in Kosovo are stopped, tensions could spill across borders and destabilize the entire region."

Currently, the United Nations has no political presence in Kosovo. The Secretary-General notes that a monitoring mission in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia made up of foreign diplomats and accredited organizations is reportedly being set up. He says such a mission would improve the international community's ability to directly asses the situation on the ground.

The first genocide trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia opened on Monday.

Milan Kovacevic is being tried for genocide, complicity to commit genocide, crimes against humanity, violations of the laws or customs of war and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

The accused was the Vice President of the Serbian Democratic Party's Crisis Staff in Prijedor. According to the indictment against him, Mr. Kovacevic allegedly had authority and control over attacks against non- Serb villages and areas; the seizure and detention of Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat populations; the establishment and operation of detention camps; and the deportation or forced transfer of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats out of the area. His crimes were allegedly committed between April and December 1992.

Mr. Kovacevic has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him. He is represented by Dusan Vucicivec and Anthony D'Amato.

The panel of eminent persons on Algeria will come to United Nations Headquarters on 8 July, a United Nations spokesman announced on Monday.

According to Spokesman Fred Eckhard, panel members will be in New York for briefings by the Secretary-General and other United Nations officials. They are then expected to return to their respective countries. On 22 July, they are scheduled to leave as a group from Europe on their way to Algeria.

The Secretary-General established the panel on 2 July at the invitation of the Government of Algeria. The purpose of its mission is to gather information on the situation in Algeria and present a report to him, which he will make public.

The panel will be chaired by Mario Soares, the former President of Portugal. Its other members include I.K. Gujral, former Prime Minister of India; Abdel Karim Kabariti, former Prime Minister of Jordan; Donald McHenry, former United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations; Simone Veil, former Secretary of State of France; and Amos Wako, Attorney-General of Kenya.

Opening the annual session of the Economic and Social Council on Monday, Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed the need for a concerted policy response to maximize the benefits of globalization while minimizing its risks.

Saying that "never before have the responsibilities of this Council been so profound," the Secretary-General said the challenge facing the world community was to bridge the gap between what citizens demanded and what governments could deliver.

Drawing lessons from the recent financial crisis in Asia, the Secretary- General said it demonstrated that the most devastating effects were felt on society's margins. And just as poor and vulnerable individuals suffered first, so, too, did poor and vulnerable nations. "International cooperation must focus first on these nations: on those who do not have effective lobbying groups or whose voices are otherwise not heard," he said.

The Secretary-General deplored the fact that official development assistance had fallen to its lowest point in history at a time when it was needed most. "This is first and foremost a question of solidarity; but it is also a question of avoiding, down the road, the even higher costs of humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping," he observed.

Globalization, the Secretary-General noted, was often viewed as a force of nature "as inevitable as the tides or as capricious as a tornado." But, he pointed out, globalization was the outcome of deliberate policy choices that had established markets and set parameters for trade. "Now is the time to strengthen the frameworks of international cooperation that can spread prosperity in the age of globalization," he said.

The President of the Economic and Social Council, Ambassador Juan Somavia of Chile, on Monday called for the development of a global rapid response capability to confront the challenges of globalization. He said that such a capability should bring together individual countries, international institutions, the private sector, trade unions and civil society organizations to forestall crises and resolve them expeditiously.

Ambassador Somavia's remarks came at the opening of the Economic and Social Council's annual substantive session. He stressed that the Council's primary role lay in developing new ways of thinking and responding to global challenges.

"We find ourselves here at a particularly significant moment in the evolution of our multilateral institutions and cooperation amongst them," the Council President said. There was a need to channel the forces of globalization and the imperatives of economic growth with those of social equity, workers' rights, gender equality and environmental protection. The Council could help develop generate a common framework for action to promote broad-based and high-quality growth that enhanced economic, social, environmental and political sustainability, he said.

"The recent developments in Asia and elsewhere have brought home to us the risks as well as the promises of our increasingly globalized world."

With these words, Michel Camdessus, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), began the Economic and Social Council's high-level policy dialogue on important developments in the world economy and international economic cooperation.

Mr. Camdessus recalled that East Asian countries seemed to have achieved an economic miracle in terms of high growth and poverty reduction. "But there was another side to this miracle," he said, noting that a few macroeconomic virtues were not enough to maintain stability.

In order to make the world less prone to financial crises, the Fund's surveillance must be more effective and the transparency of international finance must be enhanced, he said. The IMF could play a central role in crisis prevention by encouraging its member States to strengthen their macroeconomic policies and financial sectors, he added.

"The issues that we found in South-East Asia are issues that affect every one of us in different ways," said the President of the World Bank, James Wolfensohn. He said the Bank was working to address the structural and social aspect of the crisis.

The World Bank President noted that basic social programmes were essential to providing hope to people adversely affected by financial turmoil. "All of us in this room recognize that if you do not have social and financial hope, there is very little chance for peace; there is very little chance for stability."

Rubens Ricupero, the Secretary-General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), said the Asian crisis had hit the poor particularly hard. The crisis had also forced the international community to come closer together in coping with heightened danger. "The international community must now build consensus regarding the causes of the disease which risked pushing development back by several decades, but above all on agreeing upon cures," he said. "In pursuing this course over the coming weeks and months, we should be guided by reason and objectivity, but also by solidarity."

Developing countries should not be pushed into premature financial liberalization, as that would deny them the option of protecting their economies from international financial instability and volatile and speculative capital flows, Mr. Ricupero stressed. "Until appropriate global checks and balances are in place, we should assist and guide the developing countries in recognizing the need for reforms, but these should be introduced thoughtfully and progressively."

Secretary-General Kofi Annan will travel to Latin America on 13 July, a spokesman announced on Monday.

The Secretary-General will begin his five-nation tour in Brasilia, Brazil and will go on to visit Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Guatemala and Mexico.

In Brasilia, the Secretary-General will meet with President Fernando Henrique Cardozo. He will also visit the Brazilian Parliament and deliver an address to the Diplomatic Academy of Brazil at the country's Ministry for Foreign Affairs. In San Paolo, in addition to meeting with the Governor of the State, the Secretary-General will visit the headquarters of the Latin American Parliament, where he will deliver a lecture before representatives of civil society on the subject of their increasingly important role.

While in Montevideo, the Secretary-General will meet with Uruguay's President, Julio Maria Sanguinetti. He will address both chambers of the Uruguayan Parliament on the subject of the contributions made by small States to the United Nations.

The Secretary-General will then travel to Buenos Aires, where he will meet with Argentinian President Carlos Saul Menem, as well as congressional representatives and representatives of civil society. The Secretary-General will deliver a speech before the Argentinian Centre for International Relations. He is also scheduled to receive an honourary degree from the Faculty of Law of the University of Buenos Aires.

While in Guatemala City, the Secretary-General will meet with President Alvaro Arzu Irigoyen. The two will then participate in a ceremony marking the presentation of a report on education reform in the presence of government and indigenous organizations. In addition, the Secretary-General will meet with staff of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala and those working closely with them, including representatives of civil society, the Government, and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG).

The final stop of his Latin American trip will be in Mexico City, where the Secretary-General will meet with President Ernesto Zedillo. The Secretary- General will also participate in a working luncheon hosted by leaders of civil society, the business community and academicians. After a meeting with the Foreign Minister at the Mexican Foreign Ministry, the Secretary- General will deliver a lecture on the topic of multilateralism.

Throughout his trip, as is the custom, the Secretary-General will meet with the staff of various United Nations offices in each country he visits.

A memorial service was held on Monday to pay tribute to the United Nations staff members who lost their lives in a plane crash while on a mission of peace for Angola.

On 25 June, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Angola, Alioune Blondin Beye, and seven members of his team -- Koffi Adjoyi from Togo, Beandegar Dessande from Chad, Amadou Moctar Gueye from Senegal, Ibikunle Williams from Nigeria, Alvaro Costa from Portugal, and their pilots Jason Hunter and Andrew McCurrach from South Africa -- died in a plane crash outside of Abidjan.

Addressing the memorial service at United Nations Headquarters in New York, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, "we must carry on that work -- in Angola as anywhere else, we can make a difference -- no matter how great the risk, no matter how absent the immediate reward."

The Secretary-General said, "For the sake of MaŚtre Beye, his team, and all those who have perished in this conflict, and for the sake of the future generations of Angolans, I have one prayer above all: that this yet to be united nation will one day reap the fruits of peace."

The Vice President of the General Assembly, Ambassador Herbert Young of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, said, "It is tragically symbolic that they lost their lives while on a mission to make a long-sought peace a reality."

Speaking on behalf of the members of the Security Council, its President, Ambassador Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation, said they consider the tragedy an irreparable loss for the international community as a whole and United Nations diplomacy in particular. He paid tribute to the substantial progress in the Angolan peace process which was achieved thanks to the efforts of MaŚtre Beye. "MaŚtre Beye was a devoted fighter for peace and his energetic efforts were decisive in bringing this conflict to a concluding stage." He urged the Angolans to show utmost responsibility and make the peace process irreversible.

For information purposes only - - not an official record

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

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