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United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-05-15

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 MANOEL DE ALMEIDA E SILVA

DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, May 15, 2001

SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETS RUSSIAN PRESIDENT IN MOSCOW

Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived in Moscow from Brussels this afternoon, and shortly afterward met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for an in-depth discussion of the Balkans, the Middle East, and Iraq.

The meeting was warm and friendly, and ran for almost an hour and a half. The President said that Russia adhered to the founding principles of the United Nations and that he would like to see the world organization strengthened.

The Secretary-General raised the Balkans, and urged a regional approach in the search for stability there. They exchanged detailed views on the future of Kosovo.

They then touched on the current situation in Chechnya.

On the Middle East, they explored efforts to find a basis for the resumption of the peace process.

The Secretary-General briefed the President on his efforts to break the impasse between Iraq and the Security Council.

Finally, he thanked the Russian Federation for its contributions to UN peacekeeping, in particular for the helicopter units serving in Sierra Leone.

This evening, the Secretary-General is scheduled to have a working dinner with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

The Secretary-General's wife, Nane Annan, this afternoon participated in a debate on violence against women. The debate was organized by the Syostry Centre, an independent charity set up in 1994 to assist victims of sexual assault in Russia.

In response to a question on Chechnya, the Spokesman noted that the Secretary-General had brought up the issue of human rights and had urged Russia to allow a UN human rights rapporteur to visit Chechnya.

ANNAN TO ADDRESS WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY ON THURSDAY

In a change in his travel program, the Secretary-General, after leaving Moscow Wednesday evening, will go to Geneva, where on Thursday he will address the World Health Assembly, the annual meeting of the World Health Organization.

The 54th World Health Assembly began yesterday in Geneva. It is attended by Ministers of Health. It will close on May 22.

Last night, while still in Brussels, the Secretary-General had a working dinner with ministers for foreign affairs of the European Union, to discuss UN-EU cooperation.

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR KOSOVO

The Secretary General, in a statement, welcomed the conclusion of the Constitutional Framework for Provisional Self-Government in Kosovo and commended the consultative and inclusive manner in which it was elaborated.

The Secretary-General said that adequate guarantees had been built into the Constitutional Framework to protect the rights and interests of all of Kosovo's communities. He strongly encouraged all communities to participate in the electoral process and the interim institutions that will result from them, and he especially called on the Kosovo Serb community to register and participate in the elections.

The Secretary-General supports the holding of Kosovo-wide elections this year, in the hope that these will help consolidate democracy and show that the future of Kosovo lies in the peaceful pursuit of the political process, not in acts of violence and extremism. The statement added that the Framework is "a major step forward for the people of Kosovo."

In Pristina earlier today, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Kosovo Hans Haekkerup signed the Constitutional Framework on Interim Self-Government. Haekkerup had announced Monday evening that general elections for the Assembly defined in the Constitutional Framework will take place on November 17, 2001.

UNHCR SAYS MORE THAN 1,000 ALBANIANS HAVE FLED PRESEVO AREA

More than 1,000 ethnic Albanians have fled to Kosovo from southern Serbias volatile Presevo area, amid new clashes between ethnic Albanian separatists and Serbian security forces, reports the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees ( UNHCR).

UNHCR says it has urged Yugoslav and Serbian authorities, as well as the area's ethnic Albanian leaders, to show maximum restraint ahead of a planned hand-over by NATO of parts of the Presevo area to Yugoslav forces on May 24. UNHCR previously called for caution on any changes in the status of the Presevo area, and it had insisted that a number of confidence-building measures, including a multi-ethnic police force, be in place before the area is handed over to the Yugoslav army, to avoid possible adverse humanitarian consequences.

SECURITY COUNCIL NOTES END OF SANCTIONS ON ETHIOPIA, ERITREA

The Security Council, in a formal meeting today, adopted a Presidential Statement on Ethiopia and Eritrea, in which it noted that the arms embargo placed on the parties by Resolution 1298 (2000) expires on May 16, and, under the current circumstances, have not been extended by the Council beyond that date.

The Council also stressed in its Statement that the parties must provide free movement access for the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) and its supplies, as required, throughout the territories of the parties, including the Temporary Security Zone.

In consultations held before its formal meeting, the Council heard a briefing by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guehenno. The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Ethiopia and Eritrea, Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, had also briefed the Council last week.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees ( UNHCR) reports that Eritrean refugees are registering for repatriation from Sudan after a first UNHCR convoy took more than 900 refugees home to Eritrea on Saturday. That convoy marked the start of a major repatriation operation organized by UNHCR and the Governments of Sudan and Eritrea for the return of 174,000 refugees to Eritrea from neighboring Sudan.

ANNAN CALLS MITCHELL COMMITTEE REPORT "FAIR AND BALANCED"

In a statement issued Monday afternoon on the report of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact Finding Committee led by former US Senator George Mitchell, the Secretary-General congratulated Senator Mitchell and the Committee members for having produced a fair and balanced analysis of the causes of the present crisis in the Middle East.

The Secretary-General has also written to US President George Bush to express his appreciation for the Committee's emphasis on the need for a halt to all settlement activity; to support the call for maximum effort to control violence in all its forms; and to stress the economic and social crisis facing the Palestinian people.

The statement concluded, "The Secretary-General believes that full implementation of the report's recommendations could, in conjunction with the Jordanian-Egyptian initiative, help build a bridge back to negotiations towards a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338."

The Secretary-General also wrote to Senator Mitchell, thanking him and the Committee for their work.

UN SAYS IRAQ EXPORTED 14.5 MILLION BARRELS OF OIL LAST WEEK

According to the weekly update from the Office of the Iraq Programme, the volume of Iraqi oil exports under the United Nations "oil-for-food" program remained almost constant in the week of May 5-11, at 14.5 million barrels. At the rate of just over 2 million barrels a day, the weeks total oil exports generated an estimated 377 million euros in revenue at current prices.

There was a sudden jump of almost $200 million in the value of contracts placed on hold by the Security Councils Sanctions Committee on Iraq last week, with the total standing at $3.7 billion. A single contract in the electricity sector valued at $147.5 million was put on hold, attributing to the overall increase.

Asked about when the Secretary-General would next meet the high-level delegation from Iraq, the Spokesman noted that a meeting had been planned for May, but has been delayed, with no new date set.

GOVERNMENT, REBELS DISCUSS DISARMAMENT IN SIERRA LEONE

As a follow up to the May 2 Abuja meeting to review the Sierra Leone cease-fire, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) sent a delegation to Freetown to meet today with the Government under the chairmanship of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone ( UNAMSIL) to discuss a firm timetable for disarmament. That meeting began at 10 a.m.

[Oluyemi Adeniji, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sierra Leone who chaired the meeting, noted that major strides in the peace process had been made since the Abuja ceasefire was signed in November. He appealed to the Government and RUF to keep up the momentum created by the May Abuja II meeting to make even faster progress, because the peoples expectations for peace have been raised.]

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported that the RUF has handed over a total of 116 ex-child combatants to the relief agency Caritas Makeni, UNICEF's implementing partner for child protection in the Northern Province. The RUF had pledged to hand over up to 400 child combatants.

MORE THAN 42 PERCENT OF EAST TIMORESE REGISTERED, SAYS UN MISSION

The UN Mission in East Timor announced today that some 346,000 people -- or more than 42 percent of the estimated population of East Timor -- have been registered by the Mission's Civilian Registration Unit. About 13,000 East Timorese are being registered each day.

Also today, bilateral talks began in Denpasar between UN Mission officials and Indonesian authorities, on issues ranging from the refugee situation in West Timor to maritime relations. The talks will end Wednesday.

UN GATES CLOSE DURING PROTEST OF U.S. NAVAL EXERCISE ON VIEQUES

This morning at 10:15 a.m., just outside the gates to the UN Headquarters' visitors' entrance, a group of people began an unscheduled demonstration concerning the U.S. naval exercises at Vieques, in Puerto Rico. At the same time, eight people demonstrated on the same issue inside the gates, at the plaza area outside the visitors' entrance.

UN Security responded by taking the eight demonstrators outside the gates, and then closing the gates. The New York Police Department then asked the demonstrators to disperse, but they refused to do so. The New York police responded by arresting several of the demonstrators.UN Security reopened the gates at about 11:15 a.m.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

Thousands of Somalia refugees living in Djibouti are receiving training in mine awareness and safety measures in a project implemented by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), so that they can prepared to deal with mines when they return home. Ten Somali refugees will provide training on mine awareness to more than 20,000 refugees living in two camps in southern Djibouti.

To mark the International Day of Families, which is dedicated this year to volunteers, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, "The ideals of reciprocity, service, and solidarity are embodied in the spirit of volunteerism and are at the heart of any healthy family." He went on to say that families and volunteers will continue to be core components of a successful community.

Two more Member States made full payments of regular budget contributions for the year 2001. Lebanon made a payment of more than $124,000 and Spain paid more than $26 million, bringing the number of fully paid-up Member States for this year to 75.

The Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO) today presented a proposal to set up a $98 million fund to help the worlds least developed countries improve the quality and safety of their food supply, at the Third UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Brussels.

Also in Brussels today, the UN Childrens Fund ( UNICEF) issued a report, "Poverty and Children: Lessons of the 90s for Least Developed Countries." The report says the well-being of children in the Least Developed Countries is threatened by poor education, malnutrition and exposure to disease and conflict.

Mauritania has acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The relevant documents were received by the Treaty Section on May 10, when Mauritania became the 169th party to the Convention.

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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