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United Nations Daily Highlights, 02-08-19

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

Monday, August 19, 2002

IRAQ RESPONDS TO LATEST LETTER FROM SECRETARY-GENERAL

Secretary-General Kofi Annan received a letter from Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri Thursday evening, in response to his letter to the Foreign Minister of August 6, in which he said he looked forward to a formal Iraqi invitation to UN inspectors to return to Baghdad.

Once translated, the six-page letter with a three-page annex was distributed to members of the Security Council on Saturday. [After the noon briefing, the Spokesman said that the President of the Security Council informed him that it did not intend to meet to discuss the letter.]

The text was sent to the Secretary-General over the weekend; he is in Ghana. The Secretary-General's team is studying the long text and has no comment on it at this time.

Asked if the Secretary-General will seek guidance from the Security Council, the Spokesman said the Secretary-General did not expect to the Council to wait for him since he will not return to New York until early September. Despite his absence, the Secretary-General will be in touch with Security Council members, either by telephone or through a senior member of his staff.

UN BEGINS TALKS WITH KUWAIT ON RETURN OF ARCHIVES FROM IRAQ

Richard Foran, who is leading the UN team dealing with the return of Kuwaiti archives from Iraq, arrived in Kuwait over the weekend.

Today he met with senior Kuwaiti officials, including Foreign Minister Sheik Mohamed al-Sabah.

Foran is scheduled to remain in the region for the next few days.

HUMANITARIAN ENVOY WRAPS UP VISIT TO MIDDLE EAST

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

On Saturday, Bertini and her team traveled to Nablus in the northern West Bank to visit additional Palestinian humanitarian projects.

Sunday was spent with senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Defence Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer. During those three separate meetings, she discussed with them the humanitarian situation facing the Palestinians and practical steps that could be taken to alleviate that situation.

Today is her last day in the region. She spent part of it in Bethlehem, where she met shopkeepers whose business has been affected by the closures. Bertini also visited stores involved in a pilot project run by the International Committee for the Red Cross which provides monthly vouchers for some 30,000 needy Palestinian families.

The vouchers, valued at $90 each, can be redeemed for essential food and non-food items.

COUNCIL TO TAKE UP MISSING KUWAITIS ON WEDNESDAY

There are no meetings of the Security Council scheduled today.

The next item on the schedule are closed consultations on Wednesday on the Secretary-Generals latest report on the repatriation or return of all Kuwaiti and third-country nationals from Iraq.

That report is expected to be published Tuesday. font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-font-family:"MS Mincho";mso-ansi-language: The High-level Coordinator for Iraq, Yuli Volontsov, is expected to provide the briefing.

On Wednesday, the Council will also take up the situation in Burundi.

AFGHAN AUTHORITIES TO INCREASE SECURITY AT UN OFFICES IN GHAZNI

Following the armed robbery last week of an Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the Afghan town of Ghazni, members of the UN Mission in Afghanistan, as well as UN agencies, have met with the governor of that province, Haji Hassadullah Khalid, and the regional government has agreed to place armed security outside UN offices there.

The Governor also established a department of foreign relations for the province, which will coordinate relationships between international organizations and the regional government on political, security and humanitarian issues.

The UN Mission also mentioned that the level of Afghans returning back to their country has leveled off this month at 50,000 returns a week, down from nearly 80,000 people returning home on the second week of July.

Asked about an article in Newsweek citing a leaked UN document on a forensic investigation in Mazar-i-Sharif, the Spokesman said he had no information on the document referred to in the article. The UN Spokesman in Kabul was unaware of such a document but would look into the matter, the Spokesman added.

UN NOTES SIERRA LEONE GOVERNMENT RETURN TO FORMER REBEL STRONGHOLD

The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Sierra Leone, Behrooz Sadry, and the Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Sidique Brima, on Saturday officiated at the handover of the offices and residence of the Senior District Officer (SDO) the highest district government official in Makeni, Sierra Leone.

In his address, Sadry said the inauguration marked the attainment of a definitive benchmark in the restoration of civil authority in the northern province, especially as Makeni was once the headquarters of the former Revolutionary United Front (RUF).

The restoration of civil authority, which started with the deployment of the Sierra Leone Police and the return of paramount chiefs, culminated in the return of key provincial and district officials throughout the country.

UN EXPERT ON INTERNALLY DISPLACED VISITS MEXICO

Francis Deng, the Representative of the Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons, yesterday began a ten-day visit to Mexico to obtain a better understanding of the situation of internal displacement in the country.

During his stay, he is expected to meet with government officials and representatives of human rights groups and is also expected to visit several communities of internally displaced people in the State of Chiapas.

His findings and recommendations will be presented to the 59th session of the Commission on Human Rights and to the Secretary-General.

UNESCO CHIEF CALLS FOR ASSISTANCE AFTER FLOODS IN EUROPE

In a statement released late Friday, the Director-General of the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Koichiro Matsuura, called on the international community to mobilize in the rehabilitation of the cultural heritage sites in several European towns damaged by the recent floods.

Koichiro Matsuura says that UNESCO will do everything in its power to help preserve the regions damaged treasures, which are vital to the memory of humanity and to the identity of the numerous communities rooted in the region.

SECRETARY-GENERAL RECEIVES HONORARY TITLE FROM THE ASHANTI PEOPLE

font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-ansi-language:EN-GB;mso-bidi-font-weight: Kofi Annan, whose father is Ashanti, was given the title of Busumuru by the Ashanti people during a ceremony held Friday in Ghana.

The Secretary-General became the first person to receive that title, in recognition of his service to world peace. A Busumuru is a very senior adviser to the Ashanti.

This isnt the first traditional title he has received in an African country. Last year, while visiting Sierra Leone, he also received a traditional title, equivalent to a great warrior, also in recognition of his work.

KENYA DAM INITIATIVE DEALS WITH WATER POLLUTION

In advance of the World Summit on Sustainable Development begins next Monday in Johannesburg, the Spokesmans Noon Briefing will highlight projects from all over the world that illustrate what the United Nations is doing in the five areas the Secretary-General has highlighted as key areas of focus of the Summit. They are water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity, known by the acronym WEHAB.

The first project highlighted is the Nairobi Dam Initiative in Kenya. This project brings together local Non-Governmental Organizations and community organizations, international organizations and governments to solve the problems caused by pollution being carried into the Indian Ocean by the second largest river in Kenya, the Athi River.

The story begins upstream at the Nairobi Dam, whose lake is fed by wastes from a nearby slum where 800,000 people now live. Rich organic and sewage waste feeds a fast-growing water weed called the Water Hyacinth, which has choked the dam and killed fish and other fresh water animals. Below the dam, the Ngong River picks up chemical and other pollutants from Nairobi's industrial district as it flows out to the Indian Ocean, destroying the mangrove ecosystem at the coast.

People from different social sectors, from the Yacht Club to the Kibera slums, decided to do something about it. The two-year Nairobi Dam Initiative was launched to repair the environment, improve people's health and earn some money in the process. It involves building a wetland at the site of the dam to clean and recycle wastewater from the slum. Less pollution means eventual control over growth of the Water Hyacinth. Factory owners downstream are being educated on how to control industrial waste.

An expert from the Far East has gone to the area to show how the Water Hyacinth can be harvested and used to make rattan-type furniture. The result is environmentally friendly and sustainable.

PALESTINIAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE TO HOST MEETING WITH CIVIL SOCIETY

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People is convening an international conference on Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People in late September at UN Headquarters. The theme of this meeting, which will take place on September 23-24, is End the Occupation!

The conference will aim to provide civil society organizations from all regions of the world with an opportunity to exchange views on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and renew efforts to coordinate their activities and develop action-oriented proposals in support of the Palestinian people.

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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