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United Nations Daily Highlights, 02-08-02

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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 FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, August 2, 2002

ANNAN RECEIVES LETTER FROM IRAQ ON UN WEAPONS INSPECTIONS

Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday night received a letter from Iraq's Foreign Minister, Naji Sabri, inviting chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix and members of his team to Iraq "at the earliest agreed upon time" for a round of technical talks on remaining disarmament issues.

While he welcomes the letter, which is in line with the agreement to maintain contact, including continuing discussions on technical matters, the procedure proposed is at variance with the one laid down by the Security Council in resolution 1284 of l999.

The Secretary-General promptly shared the letter with members of the Security Council and looks forward to discussing it with them when he meets them over lunch on Monday.

Asked about how the letter varies from resolution 1284, the Spokesman said that paragraph 7 of that resolution describes a procedure for establishing what needs to be done to comply with previous UN resolutions on Iraqi disarmament. Iraq would first re-admit the inspectors, who would conduct inspections and, within 60 days, report back to the Security Council about their program of work, which the Council would then have to approve.

Since the Security Council provided that formula, Eckhard said, the Secretary-General was bringing the letter to its attention to receive the Councils reaction.

Asked how the Iraqi offer differed from the idea of continuing UN-Iraq technical discussions on Iraq, which Annan earlier accepted, the Spokesman said that the previous technical talks, including those in New York and Vienna, had been discussions where high-level experts on both sides described aspects of disarmament. Blix had described how the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) worked, to try to dispel Iraqi concerns.

Asked about UNMOVICs response to the letter, he said that Blix had met with his senior advisers today to discuss the letter, and had also spoken with the Secretary-General.

UN OFFICIALS ATTEND CEREMONY TO DISSOLVE ANGOLA REBELS

The Secretary-Generals Representative for Angola Mussagy Jeichande and UN military observers attended a ceremony in Luanda today during which 30 former generals of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, known as UNITA, were formally incorporated into Angola's Armed Forces (FAA) and National Police.

During the ceremony, a formal declaration of the extinction of UNITA's Armed Forces was read by Paulo Lukamba "Gato", the head of the Management Commission of the former rebel movement. Such a declaration, he added, resulted from the "historic moment" and was "a sign of the times."

The integration of the general officers and slightly more than 5,000 UNITA fighters into Angola's security forces was initially set for June 20, but postponed because of delays in selection and registration.

Starting on Saturday, about 80,000 other rebel fighters are to be demobilized and aided in reintegrating civilian life under the terms of the April 4 cease-fire that revived the 1994 Lusaka Protocol.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) announced today that its Goodwill Ambassador, actress Mia Farrow, will visit Angola for a week, beginning on Monday.

DIRECT TALKS ON CYPRUS TO PAUSE UNTIL AUGUST 27

At the close of today's meeting between the Greek Cypriot leader and the Turkish Cypriot leader, it was agreed to begin a pause in the talks, for evaluation, reflection and rest.

Talks are scheduled to resume on August 27.

UN TRIBUNAL FOR RWANDA WARNS COUNCIL OF COOPERATION PROBLEMS

The President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Judge Navanethem Pillay, wrote a letter to the Security Council President, alerting the Council to complaints by Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte about the lack of cooperation from the Rwandan authorities.

Del Ponte in particular had described to Judge Pillay how the lack of availability of witnesses from Rwanda is likely to hamper the judicial work of the Rwanda Tribunal and hinder the Prosecutors investigations. Pillay told the Security Council that three cases have already been postponed because witnesses living in Rwanda have been unavailable to show up for trials in Arusha, Tanzania.

She warns, In the light of past difficulties, it is uncertain that the trials scheduled to resume in the coming sessions will be able to do so without the intervention of the Security Council. She suggested that the Council use such measures as it thinks are appropriate to ensure that the Tribunal can perform its mandate.

WFP WARNS OF SERIOUS FOOD SHORTAGES IN ETHIOPIA

The World Food Programme (WFP) warned today that serious food shortages are affecting millions of farmers and pastoralists in eastern, northern and southern Ethiopia due to exceptionally dry weather.

A monthly average of two million Ethiopians had already been identified to be in need of food aid for the second half of the year. But the poor performance of rainfall means a further two million people will also need food assistance.

The UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) said preparation and planning for the UNs demining support to the demarcation project is ongoing, with the expectation of a UN Security Council resolution in the near future formally mandating the UN Mission to provide this support.

UNHCR TEMPORARILY HALTS AID TO PANKISI VALLEY IN GEORGIA

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says it has temporarily suspended its aid activities in Georgia's Pankisi Valley, which hosts some 3,800 Chechen refugees, following a request from Georgian authorities.

UNHCR says it is concerned that the situation stabilizes so that the refugees can remain safe and continue to receive protection in the Pankisi Valley.

The current suspension of activities is the most recent in the region, where security concerns and lawlessness have prompted short-term suspensions of aid a number of times in the past. UNHCR says it hopes to resume work soon. Recent distribution of food and other aid items have provided the refugees with sufficient supplies through mid-August.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Secretary-General, in a message on human trafficking, notes estimates that some 700,000 women and children are trafficked every year for sexual exploitation, forced labor, forced marriage or forced adoption, in an industry some sources say is worth several billions of dollars a year.

There are no consultations or meetings of the Security Council scheduled for today.

UNHCR provided an update today on the needs for shelter assistance for the coming winter for the 1.6 million Afghans who have returned home so far this year.

On Saturday, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Kosovo, Michael Steiner, is scheduled to meet in Salzburg, Austria, with the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Paddy Ashdown, and the Special Coordinator for the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, Eberhard Busek, to discuss how to strengthen regional cooperation.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS Monday, August 5 The General Assembly is expected to resume its tenth Emergency Special Session, dealing with the Middle East. The Security Council expects to hold its monthly luncheon with the Secretary-General. The guest at the noon briefing will be the Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict, Olara Otunnu, who will discuss his recent visit to Afghanistan.

There will be an exceptional session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which will last until August 23 and will be used to consider reports from 11 countries.

Tuesday, August 6 The Security Council is expected to hold consultations on its program of work for August. It is expected to discuss the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Wednesday, August 7 The Security Council is planning to hold consultations on Angola.

At 2:30 p.m., Miloon Kothari, the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, will talk to the press.

Thursday, August 8 The Secretary-General expects to attend, and to make brief remarks at, an exhibition football match between the Real Madrid and Roma clubs, the proceeds of which will go in part to the United Nations and to the Global Fund dealing with AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

The Security Council may hold a meeting on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Friday, August 9 The International Day of the Worlds Indigenous People will be observed.

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378 New York, NY 10017 Tel. 212-963-7162 - press/media only Fax. 212-963-7055

All other inquiries to be addressed to (212) 963-4475 or by e-mail to: inquiries@un.org


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