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United Nations Daily Highlights, 00-04-10

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

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY DAVID WIMHURST

ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESMAN

FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, April 10, 2000

SECRETARY-GENERAL EN ROUTE TO HAVANA

Secretary-General Kofi Annan is in transit today from Rome to Havana, Cuba, where he will be arriving this evening.

Tuesday, the Secretary-General is expected to conduct meetings with Government officials in Cuba on the first full day of his visit to Havana, where he will be attending the Summit of the Group of 77 countries.

In comments made to reporters at a stopover in Madrid, Spain, while en route to Havana, the Secretary-General said he looked forward to very constructive and useful discussions with Cuba among the Heads of State of the South.

UN INVESTIGATING SHOOTING INCIDENT IN SIERRA LEONE

On Saturday night, during two hours, unknown attackers fired at the headquarters of the Ghanaian troops based at Kenema in eastern Sierra Leone. UN troops fired back at the attackers, but there were no casualties reported on either side.

One platoon of the Quick Reaction Company was immediately dispatched to the scene. The attackers fled in the dark at around midnight, and no arrests were made. The UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) is investigating the incident. It was the first time that peacekeepers have come under fire in Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile, a Jordanian advance party of 110 troops arrived on Saturday. The complete Jordanian battalion is due to arrive next month and scheduled to deploy soon after.

UN MISSION REPORTS RISING VIOLENCE IN KOSOVO

UN Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) police reported a surge in violence over the past several days with five murders since last Thursday. The victims have predominantly come from minority groups, UN police say.

The Kosovo Force (KFOR), meanwhile, said it was able to prevent a confrontation between Serbs and Albanians on Sunday in Mitrovica.

Bernard Kouchner, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Kosovo, is scheduled to visit Gracanica this evening to discuss the participation of Serb National Council representatives to the Interim Administrative Council beginning Tuesday.

BOSNIA ELECTIONS TOOK PLACE UNDER SAFE CONDITIONS, OFFICIAL SAYS

Asked about the local elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Spokesman noted that Jacques Klein, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, said that "the municipal elections took place in a safe and secure environment, with only a few reports of isolated security incidents. The local police in both entities showed efficiency and responsibility in ensuring freedom of movement and providing security for the polling stations."

In response to questions on the activities of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the Spokesman said he could not confirm reports that Tribunal Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte had asked the French Government to arrest two Bosnian Serb suspects. However, he noted, the Prosecutor had expressed pleasure at the cooperation she has received from the Stabilization Force and particularly the French in her work. He added that the United Nations had no information on the present whereabouts of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.

CRIME CONGRESS OPENS IN VIENNA

The 10th United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders opened this morning in Vienna. According to the Office from Drug Control and Crime Prevention, "organized crime has profoundly expanded its activities, taking full advantage of the globalization of the world economy and the profound technological advances in transportation and telecommunications." Organized crime will be high on the agenda of the one-week Congress.

Commenting on the globalization of crime, Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fr&eacute;chette said in her opening address that those representing what the Secretary-General called "the uncivil society" have jumped on the bandwagon of globalization to create transnational criminal networks and to boost profits from a wide range of illegal activities.

CONFERENCE ON ENDANGERED SPECIES UNDERWAY IN NAIROBI

The 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) opened Sunday evening at the headquarters of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi.

In opening remarks, UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said that while media attention prior to the meeting has focused on elephants, turtles, whales and sharks, attention should not be diverted from the other species on which there are over 60 proposals.

"The meeting must send the signal that it is also an early-warning system for the whole ecosystem," he said.

Last Thursday, to commemorate the session of the Conference, the UN Postal Administration issued a set of 12 stamps depicting endangered species.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

Asked about the announcement of a Summit between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Spokesman said that the Secretary-General hoped to comment on that "positive development" when he arrives in Havana.

There was no Security Council meeting today. The next scheduled meeting of the Council will be Wednesday, when it is expected to hold closed consultations on Angola.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Parmalat, Italy's largest producer of dairy products, have signed a cooperative agreement to work together in the fight against world hunger, FAO announced today in a press release. Under the terms of the agreement, Parmalat will provide about $1.5 million over three years to sponsor FAO activities aimed at reducing world hunger.

Equatorial Guinea has become the 77th Member State to pay in full its regular budget for this year by paying nearly $10,500.

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