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United Nations Daily Highlights, 99-11-23

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

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, November 23, 1999

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPEALS FOR HUMANITARIAN AID

Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived in Geneva from Ankara, Turkey today, to launch the UN Consolidated Inter-agency Appeal for the Year 2000.

First, he had a private meeting with Sadako Ogata, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, who reported to him on her recent visit to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, which she visited as his Special Envoy. They then met with UN agency representatives in Geneva to discuss coordination of humanitarian relief for the northern Caucasus.

In a statement issued in Geneva, the Secretary-General called on the international community to provide $2.4 billion for humanitarian assistance. Generous and timely response to these appeals will enable UN humanitarian agencies and partners to address the needs of 34 million less fortunate persons in 14 complex emergencies around the world, he said.

Saying that the Consolidated Appeals are the last to be launched in the 20th century, the Secretary-General noted, "It is a century that has seen the very best and worst of human behaviour. It has seen humanitarian principles take form and take hold, and it has seen them egregiously violated and ignored. Its history will be written in blood as much as in the ink of our United Nations Charter."

The Secretary-General later held a news conference in Geneva with Carolyn McAskie, the Officer-in-Charge of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and Ogata. When asked if he was hopeful that he would get all the money he was looking for, the Secretary-General said, "We need it desperately."

Summaries of all the humanitarian appeals are available on the OCHA website --- www.reliefweb.int.

UN ISSUES $16.2 MILLION APPEAL FOR NORTHERN CAUCASUS

In addition to the consolidated appeals, a flash appeal for the Northern Caucasus, amounting to $16.2 million for three months, was also launched today.

According to UNHCR, the Ingushetian authorities now put the number of people displaced from Chechnya at more than 222,000 with about 1,000 people crossing into Ingushetia every day.

Another UNHCR convoy of relief items has arrived in Nazran this morning, bringing 120 winterized tents, 200 firewood stoves and 136 metric tonn of food. UNHCR reported that it has spent $832,000 since the start of the relief operation on October 1.

IRAQ AMBASSADOR MEETS HEAD OF UN IRAQ PROGRAMME

Iraq's Ambassador to the United Nations, Saeed Hassan, met late Monday with Benon Sevan, the Director of the Office of the Iraq Programme. Hassan said Iraq wished the United Nations to continue normal operations to implement the "oil-for-food" programme. Sevan's office said that work is continuing, both in New York and in Iraq.

There has been a slight delay in the loading of the shipments of oil currently being carried out by Iraq, the Spokesman said. The loading of two ships at the Iraqi port of Mina al-Bakr is expected to finish by tonight, he said.

KOSOVO: KOUCHNER COMMENTS ON MEETING WITH CLINTON

Following his meeting with US President Bill Clinton today, Bernard Kouchner, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Kosovo, told journalists that he and Clinton had discussed what the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) has achieved.

"Step by step, UNMIK has helped rebuild local power plants, schools and rebuild homes," Kouchner said. "In five months, we have achieved more than in five years in Bosnia."

Clinton was very supportive of the UNMIK and Kosovo Force (KFOR) missions, Kouchenr said, and was "very tough on the topic of American money." Clinton, Kouchner said, was particularly interested in UNMIK's work to reorganize Kosovo, build the administration, organize local elections and protect minorities.

Kouchner added that UNMIK was "encouraged" by Clinton's visit, and also assured the people of Kosovo that "things are getting betterElectric cuts will end. We have the fuel. We have the money."

EAST TIMOR MISSION BRIEFS US AMBASSADOR

The UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) today played host to visiting US Ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke, who was briefed on the mission by senior staff.

Holbrooke gave a news conference this afternoon at which he praised the agreement reached yesterday between the UN-authorized International Force in East Timor (INTERFET) and the Indonesian military concerning the speedy return of refugees from West to East Timor.

UNHCR, meanwhile, reported that militia activity on the western side of the border continues to hamper refugee crossings. UNHCR has been conducting a mass information campaign in West Timor to reassure refugees that they can return safely to East Timor if they wish.

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS UNTAET DEPUTY

The Secretary-General today appointed Jean-Christian Cady (France) as the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Governance and Public Administration of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). Cady is an expert in financial administration. He is expected to arrive in East Timor in early December.

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON KOSOVO, EAST TIMOR

The Security Council began its informal consultations today with a briefing from Bernard Miyet, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, on the situation in Kosovo.

Following the discussion on Kosovo, Miyet briefed the Council on the peacekeeping situation in East Timor.

Also, the Council is expected to circulate draft resolutions on the extension of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights and on the continuation of the UN Civilian Police Mission in Haiti (MIPONUH). The mandates for both Missions expire next Tuesday. The Council will hold informal consultations on both topics tomorrow.

TOP UN OFFICIAL IN SIERRA LEONE CONDEMNS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES

Francis Okelo, the outgoing Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Sierra Leone, Tuesday condemned human rights abuses committed against civilians by former rebels, mostly in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone.

A United Nations human rights assessment mission went to Port Loko last week and received reports of daily killings, rapes, abductions and house-burning by former rebels.

Okelo called on all the parties to the Lom&eacute; agreement to order the immediate release of all detainees, and to ensure that their followers abide by commitments to respect the fundamental rights of all Sierra Leoneans.

Today a United Nations human rights officer went to Kabala, also in the North, where a high incidence of abduction, looting, rape and physical attacks against civilians has been reported this month.

This morning, Okelo welcomed the registration as a political party of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), one of the former rebel groups. Okelo said that with this registration, the Government of Sierra Leone has now completed all the necessary steps envisaged by the Lom&eacute; Peace Accord to enable the RUF to participate fully and lawfully in the political life of Sierra Leone.

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER ARRIVES IN MEXICO

Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, arrived in Mexico today for a five-day visit that will take her to Tijuana, on the United States border, and to Chiapas, as well as to the capital.

Wednesday, she will sign a memorandum of intent with the Mexican Government on technical cooperation in human rights. Mrs Robinson arrived from San Jos&eacute;, Costa Rica, and will travel to Quito, Ecuador, following her visit to Mexico.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

AIDS has become more global, and is affecting the young, the poor and women more than ever, said Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). n a statement made available today, Piot argued "In spreading, AIDS has changed. No longer just a health crisis, it has become a full development crisis." A record 2.6 million people have died from AIDS-related causes this year, he notes, and the spread of HIV is increasing in places like the former Soviet Union and the Caribbean. Piot's comments were released in anticipation of World AIDS Day, which will fall on next Wednesday.

The latest report on the status of contributions, as of September 30 was made available at UN Headquarters. The report shows that, by the end of September, contributions outstanding for the 1999 regular budget totaled more than $284 million, while total arrears to the regular budget exceeded $643 million.

In a press release issued today on the current Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, which is meeting for two weeks in Recife, Brazil, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Klaus Toepfer emphasized the close links between poverty and the environmental problems facing dryland regions, which now total some 1,900 million hectares worldwide.

  • The guest at today's noon briefing was Oluyemi Adeniji, the departing Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the Central African Republic.
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