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United Nations Daily Highlights, 99-12-13

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

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, December 13, 1999

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO HOLD YEAR-END NEWS CONFERENCE

Secretary-General Kofi Annan will hold his end-of-the-year news conference Tuesday at UN Headquarters at noon. His opening statements will review the events of 1999 and also look forward to the year 2000.

DE SOTO HOLDS ROUND OF CYPRUS TALKS

The Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, had another set of meetings this morning on Cyprus. At 9:30 a.m., he met with His Excellency Glafcos Clerides, and he met at 11:30 with His Excellency Rauf Denktash. It is envisaged that these talks will adjourn Tuesday.

In response to a question on when a second round of talks could take place, the Spokesman noted that the talks were envisaged as open-ended. He said that de Soto will be discussing the next steps with the two parties over the next few days.

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES SAHARA, ANGOLA, IRAQ

The Security Council began the day with informal consultations on the Western Sahara. Members of the Council discussed a resolution to extend the UN Mission there, MINURSO, the mandate of which is set to expire Tuesday. The Council is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to extend MINURSO's mandate until February 29 of next year.

After those consultations, the Council heard a briefing from Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations H&eacute;di Annabi on Angola.

After that ended, the Council held further consultations on the comprehensive resolution on Iraq. It may hold a formal meeting on Iraq Tuesday.

UNICEF RELEASES STATE OF THE WORLD'S CHILDREN REPORT

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today launched its annual year-end report, The State of the World's Children 2000.

UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said that, throughout the developing world, HIV/AIDS, armed conflict and deep poverty are reversing gains made over the past century and endangering the survival, development and protection of millions of children.

"At the same time, a vacuum of leadership has allowed the merciless targeting of children and women in armed conflict, the frightening transformation of AIDS into the number one killer in Africa and a devastating free-fall in development assistance to the poorest nations," Bellamy said.

Bellamy also outlined a three-pronged agenda to tackle the major challenges facing children as they enter the 21st century.

The Secretary-General, in his Forward to the Report, says that "The State of the World's Children 2000 begins and ends with the premise that the wellspring of human progress is found in the realization of children's rights." He urged that measures to implement children's rights be taken, adding that "a child in danger is a child who cannot wait."

RWANDA INQUIRY FINDINGS TO BE MADE PUBLIC THURSDAY

At 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, the three members who have completed an independent inquiry into the actions of the United Nations during the Rwandan genocide -- Chairman Ingvar Carlsson of Sweden, Han Sung-Joo of the Republic of Korea, and Gen. Rufus Kupolati of Nigeria -- are expected to hold a news conference at UN Headquarters to discuss their findings.

The report is expected to be presented to the Secretary-General the day before.

UN REPRESENTATIVE TO EAST TIMOR VISITS JAKARTA

Sergio Vieira de Mello, the head of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), was in Jakarta today for a series of meetings with Indonesian officials, including President Abdurrahman Wahid, Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab, and General Wiranto, the Minister overseeing East Timor.

On behalf of the Secretary-General, de Mello invited President Wahid to visit East Timor, which the President said he would do in the near future. The meetings included discussions of East Timor's future relations with Indonesia, such as commerce and air links, the return of refugees and protection of East Timorese savings accounts in Indonesian banks.

FR&Eacute;CHETTE, KOUCHNER HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE IN KOSOVO

Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fr&eacute;chette, who is currently visiting Kosovo, and Bernard Kouchner, the Secretary-General's Special Representative, represented the United Nations at a news conference today, which marked the first six months of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

Kouchner also gave an overview, noting that criminality was on the rise and announcing several new initiatives on police and the judiciary.

ANNAN OUTLINES ROLE OF UN OFFICE IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

In a letter to the Security Council that was made available today, the Secretary-General outlined the role of a future UN presence in the Central African Republic (CAR). He proposed the creation of a United Nations Peace-building Support Office in the Central African Republic for an initial period of one-year, to be headed by a Special Representative of the Secretary-General.

The primary mission of this presence would be to support the Government's efforts to consolidate peace and national reconciliation, strengthen democratic institutions and mobilize support for national reconstruction and economic recovery.

ICJ RULES ON BOTSWANA-NAMIBIA DISPUTE

Today in The Hague, the International Court of Justice ruled that an island that had been part of a dispute between Botswana and Namibia was in fact part of Botswana's territory.

By a vote of 11 to 4, the ICJ determined the boundary between Namibia and Botswana of the disputed Kasikili/Sedudu island and decided that the island "forms part of the territory of the Republic of Botswana."

The Court also ruled unanimously that nationals and vessels belonging to Namibia and Botswana shall enjoy equal national treatment in the two channels around the island.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

Kamel Morjane arrived in Kinshasa on Saturday to take up his duties as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

On Sunday, the Secretary-General's Special Representative to Sierra Leone, Oluyemi Adeniji, took up his duties in Freetown.

The Secretary-General has sent a letter to the Acting President of Croatia, Vlatko Pavletic, expressing his condolences to the people and Government of Croatia on the passing of President Franjo Tudjman Friday night. There are no flags flying in front of UN Headquarters today, except the UN flag, which is at half-mast.

Sunday evening, the Secretary-General attended a dinner at the American Jewish Committee, where he delivered an address honoring Morris Abram. In his speech, he said that, to many members of his audience and the Jewish community at large, "it has sometimes seemed as if the United Nations serves all the world's people but one: the Jews." He noted the "regrettable impression of bias and one-sidedness" in the relationship between the United Nations and Israel, and promised that one of his priorities as Secretary-General has been "to try to heal these wounds and find our way to mutual understanding and partnership."

Today, two Member States paid off the full balance of their regular budget dues for the current year -- Cote d'Ivoire, which paid $35, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which paid $45. They become the 117th and 118th Member States to have paid their regular budget assessments in full for 1999.

In response to a question, the Spokesman said that the Director of the Mexico City Office of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) would attend the ceremonial handover of the Panama Canal on behalf of the United Nations. When asked about the level of UN representation at the handover, he responded that the representative was "at the appropriate level for this event."

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