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United Nations Daily Highlights, 02-08-13

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 OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

ENVOY MEETS UN AGENCIES, VISITS CROSSING POINTS

Catherine Bertini, the Secretary-Generals Personal Humanitarian Envoy, today continued her visit to the Middle East.

This morning, she was briefed by a number of the UN agencies on their work in the region, including the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.

Later in the day, she was accompanied by Israeli officials to two of the authorized crossing points between Israel and Gaza: Erez and Karni. There, she was able to observe firsthand the procedures for the transfer of people and commercial goods on the Israeli side of the crossings.

This evening, she will return to Jerusalem to meet with international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the West Bank and Gaza. Afterwards, representatives of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Committee for the Red Cross will also brief her on their work.

On Wednesday, Bertini and her team will travel to the West Bank to meet with senior Palestinian officials, including Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat. They will also have the opportunity to visit humanitarian projects run by international and local NGOs.

SECURITY COUNCIL REVIEWS UN MISSION IN EAST TIMOR

This morning, the Security Council began a private meeting to review the progress to date of the UN Mission in East Timor. Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi provided the briefing.

This afternoon, Council members will hold a second private meeting, with troop contributing countries to the UN Mission in Ethiopia/Eritrea.

UN OFFICE REPORTS FURTHER DROP IN IRAQI OIL EXPORTS

According to the weekly update from the Office of the Iraq Programme, oil exports under the programme plunged further to 4.4 million barrels in the week ending August 9, averaging 629,000 barrels of oil per day.

In earlier phases, Iraq had exported over 2 million barrels of oil per day.

The weeks exports netted an estimated $101 million in revenue, bringing the overall total estimated revenue to just under $1.7 billion.

As a result of a cumulative revenue shortfall, available funds are currently lacking for 1,156 contracts for the supply of humanitarian goods and equipment, valued at over $2.4 billion, which have been approved by the United Nations.

REPORT LAUNCHED FOR JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT

At a press conference this morning, Nitin Desai, Secretary-General of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, launched Johannesburg Summit 2002 report.

In introducing the report, Desai said that the report, which is entitled Global Challenge, Global Opportunity, highlighted the choice faced between two futures. If we do nothing to change our current indiscriminate patterns of development, he said, we will compromise the long-term security of the Earth and its people.

The report examines a number of issues that Secretary-General Kofi Annan has identified as central to the negotiations at the Summit, including water and sanitation, energy, agricultural productivity, biodiversity, and human health.

Desai also announced that more than 100 world leaders would attend the Summit, which would be held from August 26 to September 4. The Summit is set to finalize a new global implementation plan to accelerate sustainable development, and to launch a series of innovative partnerships to promote sustainability.

UNFPA SETS UP EMERGENCY MOBILE HOSPITAL IN AFGHAN CAPITAL

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has set up an emergency mobile hospital in Kabul. The hospital, erected in collaboration with the Government of Denmark, is in response to a request for assistance from the Afghan Ministry of Public Health.

The hospital provides one of the only maternity wards in Kabul, where health facilities are currently stretched to the limit because of large numbers of refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan and Iran.

The mobile hospital will operate 24 hours a day, and it is expected to handle 20-30 births every day, as well as about 2,000 medical inquiries.

UN DISARMAMENT CHIEF TO VISIT CENTRAL ASIA

The Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, Jayantha Dhanapala, will visit five Central Asian countries, starting Wednesday, to discuss a draft treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia. The five countries he will visit are Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, which are negotiating the treaty.

The idea of a nuclear free zone in the region was originally launched by the five countries in 1997, and three resolutions have been adopted by the General Assembly in support of the initiative. The resolutions request the Secretary-General to provide assistance to the five countries in their efforts to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone.

A UN-sponsored expert group has been providing substantive and technical advice to the countries.

UNHCR SAYS FEWER ANGOLANS RETURNING FROM DR-CONGO

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported today that the spontaneous returns of Angolans back to their home country from the Democratic Republic of the Congo have slowed down, amid reports of a lack of food, schools and medical facilities in Angola.

Angolan refugees living in the DRC have told UNHCR that they prefer to wait for a UNHCR-sponsored repatriation to Angola next year, rather than rushing back now.

WFP AFFIRMS IT WILL CONTINUE WORK IN NORTHERN UGANDA

The World Food Programme (WFP) has underscored again today that it will not suspend deliveries of emergency food for thousands of displaced Ugandans and Sudanese refugees living in northern Uganda, even despite demands from the rebel Lords Resistance Army that all humanitarian workers pull out of that region.

WFP has distributed 2,100 tons of food during the last three weeks to internally displaced persons in the camps in northern Uganda, and has warned that the insecurity in the area has ensured that it cannot deliver food without heavy military escorts provided by the Government.

The agency says it is obliged to do all it can to help the people in northern Uganda, as long as the Government guarantees security for its operations.

UNHCR mentions in its briefing notes today the completion on Sunday of the transfer of 20,000 Sudanese refugees from the northern Ugandan town of Lira to a safer location in Kiryondongo, following the August 5 attack by Lords Resistance Army rebels on the refugee camp, near Lira, at Acholi-Pii.

ANNAN SEEKS EXTENSION OF UN OFFICE IN GUINEA-BISSAU

The Secretary-General has written to the President of the Security Council to ask the Council to extend the mandate of the UN Office in Guinea-Bissau until the end of December 2003.

In the letter, the Secretary-General notes that an extension will contribute to the ongoing efforts to help the people of Guinea-Bissau lay the foundations for durable peace and sustainable development.

UNCTAD SAYS 29 CORPORATIONS AMONG 100 TOP ECONOMIC POWERS

A new list prepared by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) that ranks the worlds 100 largest economic entities places 29 transnational corporations alongside the economies of nations, with Exxon ranked above the economies of Chile and Pakistan while Nigeria comes in between DaimlerChrysler and General Electric.

UNCTAD says that the contributions to the world economy by the 100 largest transnational corporations have grown faster than those of countries in recent years, accounting for 4.3 percent of world gross domestic product in 2000 up from 3.5 percent ten years earlier. Exxon is ranked as the worlds 45th largest economic entity, adding 63 billion dollars in value in 2000; General Motors is 47th on the list, just ahead of Peru.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

Asked about any new developments in UN-Iraq discussions, the Spokesman said that the United Nations still has not received a response from Iraq to the letter sent by the Secretary-General to Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri last week.

The UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina today commended the police in the canton of Sarejevo, following their arrest last week of a person identified as the perpetrator in the beating and sexual abuse of a Serb woman who had returned to the Bosnian capital. In a statement, the Mission says, In light of the ever-accelerating return process, it is imperative that the police vigorously investigate all return-related incidents.

In a letter to US Secretary of State Colin Powell, High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson appealed to the US Government to stay the execution, scheduled for Wednesday, of Javier Suarez Medina, a Mexican national who is on death row in Texas.

Robinson wrote that Suarez Medinas right to seek legal assistance from his consulate had not been respected, and said the trial proceedings against him had not complied with international human rights standards.

This afternoon, Pakistan will become the 67th State Party to the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings when it deposits its instrument of accession.

Two Iranian students who have been cycling around the world are visiting UN Headquarters today. Amir Ahmadi and Hassan Alizadeh left Teheran more than 10 months ago on their mission of peace and friendship, a journey has taken them more than 14,000 miles so far. They are videotaping and photographing their trip and keeping journals, and they plan to write a book about their travels.

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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