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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-05-11

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

FROM THE NOON BRIEFING

BY FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, May 11, 2001

SECRETARY-GENERAL PRAISES U.S. CONTRIBUTION TO AIDS FUND

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his second trip to Washington, D.C. this week, met today at the White House with U.S. President George W. Bush and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, in a meeting in which Bush pledged that the United States would contribute $200 million to the global fund proposed by the Secretary-General for the fight against AIDS.

That pledge is the first one made by a Government for the proposed global fund, which is part of an effort, reiterated by the Secretary-General today, to mobilize an additional $7 billion to $10 billion to fight AIDS worldwide.

In remarks made at the White House Rose Garden following President Bush's pledge, the Secretary-General said, "This founding contribution by the United States, with the promise to do more, will encourage and energize others to act."

He thanked Bush for placing the United States at the forefront of the global fight against AIDS, and added that, as Governments prepare to meet for next month's General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS, "I believe today will be remembered as the day we began to turn the tide."

The Secretary-General headed back to New York following the meeting, where he spoke to reporters about AIDS upon entering UN Headquarters. He noted that the U.S. President had pledged $200 million as an initial amount, with the promise of more to come. He added, about the Thursday vote in the U.S. Congress attaching conditions to the payment of $244 million in dues, that he has always maintained that UN dues should be paid in full, on time and without conditions.

After arriving in New York, the Secretary-General held his monthly luncheon with the Security Council.

In response to questions on the U.S. contribution, the Spokesman noted that some members of the U.S. Congress were pressing for even more money to be contributed in the coming years. He called the contribution "a good beginning, but just a beginning," adding that the Secretary-General hoped that the funds going to AIDS activities would be new money, and not diverted from other development assistance funding.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS WEST AFRICA ON MONDAY

There are no Security Council consultations scheduled for today, but on Monday, the Council will hold an open meeting to consider the inter-agency mission that visited West Africa, which was led by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahima Fall. Fall is expected to be one of the speakers at that meeting.

Also on Monday, immediately after the noon briefing, Ambassador Jean-David Levitte of France will talk to reporters about the upcoming Security Council mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which he will lead.

KOSOVO: WEAPONS SEIZED; ALBANIAN ARRIVALS NEAR 9,000

The Kosovo Force, or KFOR, announced today a major seizure of weapons it believes was intended for ethnic Albanian rebels in the Presevo Valley area of southern Serbia.

A KFOR spokesman in Pristina said that a large truck carrying timber and three cars accompanying it were stopped outside Pec in western Kosovo on Thursday evening. Among the weapons seized were 52 rocket launchers, five anti-aircraft surface-to-air missiles and a dozen anti-tank rocket launchers. Seven people were arrested and are being questioned.

Meanwhile, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that the number of ethnic Albanians arriving in Kosovo from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is now nearly 9,000, but daily arrivals have dwindled to between 350 and 400 people a day.

Some of those arriving in Kosovo alleged that FYROM border police were charging money for allowing them to leave the country. UNHCR is discussing the allegations with the FYROM government. There were also reports of villagers being prevented from leaving their homes in mountainous areas by ethnic Albanian separatists, but these reports could not be confirmed independently.

UNHCR RESPONSIBLE FOR ONE OUT OF EVERY 284 PEOPLE ON EARTH

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees ( UNHCR) today released their latest annual global refugee statistics, which show that at the start of this year, the agency was responsible for 21.1 million people, or one out of every 284 persons on Earth. The statistics include refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons.

UNHCR says that the largest refugee population increase over the past year was in Pakistan, where the number of Afghan refugees rose by some 800,000. Afghans constitute the largest single refugee population of concern to UNHCR, with an estimate 3.6 million people, or 30 percent of the global refugee population. Burundi, Iraq, Sudan, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, in that order, are the next largest refugee-producing countries.

UNHCR CHIEF CALLS SENTENCES FOR WEST TIMOR KILLERS AN "AFFRONT"

UN High Commissioner for Refugees ( UNHCR) Ruud Lubbers has sent a letter to Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, expressing his shock and disappointment with the light sentences handed down last week in Jakarta to six men accused of involvement in the killing of three UNHCR staff members last September in West Timor.

Lubbers said in the letter, which went out on May 9, that the sentences amount to a failure of justice and are an affront to the deceased, their families, UNHCR and the UN system. The rulings also create a dangerous environment of impunity for humanitarian workers, he added.

The High Commissioner has been told by Indonesian authorities that an appeal will be made. UNHCR's position is that those responsible for these brutal killings must receive sentences proportionate to the crime.

EAST TIMOR TO USE US DOLLARS FOR COFFEE PAYMENTS

Coffee producers in East Timor will use US dollars to make payments for coffee next week, as a step forward in the increasing use of the US dollar in East Timor's economy. In February, East Timor's coffee farmers voted overwhelmingly to choose the dollar as their payment currency.

In response to a question on efforts by the UN Mission to bring in dollars, the Spokesman said that it is up to East Timor's people to decide what currency they will ultimately use. In order to finance the planned dollar transactions, the Mission's Central Payment Office has bought significant amounts of cash in US currency.

HEALTH AGENCY NOTES DRUG CAN HALVE SEVERE CASES OF MALARIA

A study supported by the World Health Organization ( WHO) of 701 children in Tanzania shows that intervention with a single dose of an anti-malarial drug can halve the number of cases of severe malaria. WHO noted that the latest issue of the British medical journal, Lancet, carries a report of the study, in which the intervention cut in half cases of severe malaria and associated anemia at an additional cost of just 25 cents per dose.

WHO has held consultation with the UN Childrens Fund ( UNICEF) to discuss the implications of these new findings and they have agreed to proceed rapidly with further work to validate the findings in other malaria-affected areas and confirm the safety of the intervention.

The World Health Assembly starts on Monday in Geneva. The 54th Assembly will discuss a global strategy for infant and young child feeding, strengthening health systems, strategies to combat HIV/AIDS and the health effects of depleted uranium.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Third UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries will begin next Monday in Brussels, and the Secretary-General will be leaving this weekend to address that Conference, before he begins an official visit to Moscow on Tuesday.

This morning, Myanmar and Panama signed the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity, bringing the total number of signatories to 95.

The Committee for the United Nations Population Award has announced that this years award will go to Nafis Sadik, former Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and to the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning.

The two-day ministerial session of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) ended today in Beirut. The session endorsed the Commission's work program and approved resolutions aimed at strengthening coordination and integration in the world economy.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Saturday, May 12

Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Jayantha Dhanapala will deliver the commencement address at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, where he is also to be awarded an honorary degree. He will speak on UN efforts to protect the environment and its role in an increasingly globalized world.

Sunday, May 13

The Secretary-General will arrive in Brussels, Belgium, where he will meet with Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson, President-elect of the Conference on the Least Developed Countries.

Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette will return to New York from her trip to Jordan.

Monday, May 14

The Secretary-General will address the Third UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Brussels, and will chair a special event on poverty eradication for sustainable development. He is also to speak in the evening at the award ceremony for the King Baudouin International Development Prize.

The Security Council will hold an open meeting on West Africa, to hear briefings from the UN Secretariat on political, peacekeeping and humanitarian issues in the region.

Immediately following the noon briefing, Ambassador Jean-David Levitte of France, head of the Security Council mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will brief reporters.

The World Health Assembly will begin its 54th session in Geneva.

The UN Commission on Human Rights' working group on arbitrary detention will meet in Geneva through Friday.

In The Hague, the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will meet through the week. The Conference will deal with the implementation of the Convention and the 2002 budget.

Tuesday, May 15

The Secretary-General is to leave Brussels for Moscow, where he is to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov.

The Security Council has scheduled consultations on Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The Security Council mission led by Ambassador Jean-David Levitte of France will depart for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it intends to meet with Government and faction leaders before returning on May 26.

The Secretary-General will issue a message to mark the International Day for Families.

Wednesday, May 16

In Moscow, the Secretary-General will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and visit HIV/AIDS Infoshare, a public service organization dealing with AIDS, in addition to conducting meetings with Russian officials.

The Security Council has scheduled consultations on the UN Interim Force in Lebanon and on its working group on cooperation between the Council and troop contributing countries.

Thursday, May 17

Unless the Security Council decides otherwise, the sanctions imposed by the Council on Ethiopia and Eritrea, on the sale of arms and related materiel and on technical assistance to use those arms, will expire.

The Secretary-General is expected to return to New York from Moscow.

The Security Council expects to hold an open meeting on cooperation between the Council and troop contributing countries.

Today is World Telecommunications Day, and the Secretary-General will issue a message to mark the occasion. The International Telecommunications Union will hold events around the world in observance of the Day.

Friday, May 18

The Security Council has scheduled an open meeting on East Timor.

Towards the end of the week, the Security Council expects reports on the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights and on the evaluation by a panel of experts on sanctions against the Taliban.

  • The guest at today's briefing was Yvette Stevens, Special Coordinator for Africa and the Least Developed Countries for the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, who discussed the upcoming Third UN Conference for the Least Developed Countries.

    Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

    United Nations, S-378

    New York, NY 10017

    Tel. 212-963-7162

    Fax. 212-963-7055


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