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United Nations Daily Highlights, 03-06-18

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

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

ANNAN TO LEAVE THURSDAY FOR JORDAN, SWITZERLAND, MOZAMBIQUE

Secretary-General Kofi Annan is scheduled to leave tomorrow evening for Amman, Jordan, via Paris.

In Amman, he will attend a meeting of the Quartet on the Middle East on Sunday, involving United States, the European Union and Russia, at the ministerial level.

The World Economic Forum will be taking place in Amman from Saturday through Monday, and the Secretary-General will address the Forum on Monday afternoon. In addition, he will have a full programme of bilateral meetings while in Amman.

On Tuesday, June 24, he will leave for London, where he will have official meetings on Wednesday, including with Prime Minister Tony Blair.

He then leaves for Geneva on Thursday, where he will have meetings with UN officials on Friday.

Then on Monday, June 30 he will address the High-Level Segment of the Economic and Social Council and have other meetings before traveling to Bern. On Tuesday, he will pay an official visit to Switzerland, including with a meeting with the President of the Confederation in Bern.

He will take a break for the balance of that week and then on Monday, July 7 he will leave Switzerland, arriving in Maputo, Mozambique on Tuesday to attend the African Union Summit. He will address the Summit on Thursday July 10, and again will have a full schedule of bilateral meetings through Saturday.

He will leave Maputo on Saturday afternoon and arrive back in New York on Sunday July 13.

It will be an absence of about three weeks, with a break in the middle.

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES LIBERIA CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT

The Secretary-General welcomes the signing on June 17, 2003 of a ceasefire agreement by the Government of Liberia, the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL). He views this development as an important step forward in efforts to bring the conflict in Liberia to a negotiated end.

The Secretary-General commends the Liberian parties for their sense of compromise in the national interest of peace in their country and urges them to scrupulously adhere to the terms of the agreement.

He salutes the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in particular, and other international partners whose untiring support made this important achievement possible. He pledges the renewed commitment of the United Nations to continue to work with the Government and people of Liberia, ECOWAS and the international community as a whole in the quest for sustainable peace and progress to Liberia.

The Secretary-General calls on the parties to the agreement to build on the momentum created by the cessation of hostilities to create propitious security conditions on the ground to permit the immediate delivery of humanitarian assistance to civilians in need throughout the country.

In this connection, he appeals to the international community to respond generously to the request for emergency relief assistance for Liberia.

AHTISAARI NAMED HUMANITARIAN ENVOY FOR HORN OF AFRICA

The Secretary-General, responding to the severe drought that has devastated large parts of Ethiopia and Eritrea, today announced the appointment of former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari as his Special Envoy for the Humanitarian Crisis in the Horn of Africa.

The Secretary-General said that at least 14 million people are threatened with starvation in the Horn of Africa, with some 12.5 people in Ethiopia needing food aid, along with some 2.3 million people in Eritrea, according to the World Food Programme.

SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBERS REPORT ON CENTRAL AFRICA MISSION

The Security Council held an open meeting this morning on the Council mission to Central Africa, with a briefing by the head of that delegation, French Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sablière.

Ambassador de la Sablière said that the main message delivered during the mission, which had focused on supporting the peace processes of Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was that it was up to the countries in the region to play the most important role in order to restore peace and security. Nothing can be achieved without the involvement of the countries themselves and all the parties in the peace process, he said.

The written report of the mission is expected to be issued as a document on Friday.

The Security Council today also has its monthly luncheon with the Secretary-General.

HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS ON THE INCREASE IN BUNIA, DR CONGO

The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo said that the number of cases of human rights violation is increasing in Bunia: the systematic perpetration of arbitrary killings, rape, and kidnapping by the Union of Congolese Patriots increases the tension in town, and induces the most targeted communities to seek shelter again at the camp for Internal Displaced Persons at the UN Mission.

The UN Mission said that during the period from June 8th to 15th, there were kidnappings and killings every night in Bunia. More than 50 people disappeared in that week and so far only five have returned alive.

Also on the DRC, the World Food Programme today launched an emergency appeal for $38 million to feed nearly half a million war-affected people in the eastern part of the country. It is estimated that at least 64 per cent of the population there suffer from food shortages.

SECURITY COUNCIL RENEWS SUPPORT TO CURB ILLICIT AFGHAN DRUG TRADE

Following a daylong open meeting yesterday, the Security Council reaffirmed its strong commitment to Afghanistan, with a particular emphasis on curbing the illicit drug trade emanating from the country.

In a statement read out by the Councils president, Ambassador Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation, the Council expressed its concern over the increased number of attacks against international and local humanitarian personnel, Coalition forces, peacekeepers and Afghan administration targets by the Taliban and other rebel elements.

Focusing specifically on the drug trade, the statement said the Council recognized the links between illicit drug trafficking and terrorism, as well as other forms of crimes, and stressed that security would be enhanced by continued coordinated efforts to combat the production of illicit drugs in Afghanistan.

The statement expressed support for the commitment by the Afghan Transitional Administration to eliminate drug production by the year 2013 and urged the international community to provide assistance to that end.

UN IRAQ ENVOY TO VISIT ERBIL

Tomorrow, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, will travel to Erbil where he will meet Massoud Barzani, head of the Kurdish Democratic Party, as well as a group of Iraqi Kurdish personalities.

De Mello will also visit a number of UN projects in the area, before he returns to Baghdad.

ANNAN CALLS ON HIGH TECH COMPANIES TO HELP BRIDGE DIGITAL DIVIDE

In a message to a conference hosted today by the Business Council for the United Nations on bridging the global digital divide, the Secretary-General says that too many of the worlds people remain untouched by the information revolution, and he urges the US information technology community to bring more of its innovation to the developing world.

He also says the upcoming World Summit on the Information Society, to take place on December 10-12, will offer a unique opportunity to shape the future of the information society, so that all people can enjoy these benefits.

A separate message was delivered in Russia today to the Seventh St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

UNFPA LAUNCHES GLOBAL ANTI-FISTULA CAMPAIGN

Earlier today, Thoraya Obeid, the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), launched a report by the Fund and EngenderHealth on obstetric fistula, a pregnancy-related condition caused by prolonged obstructed labor.

The report says that current estimates that some two million women live with fistula are too low, with findings indicating that, in Nigeria alone, as many as one million women could be living with fistula. UNFPA today launched a global campaign to prevent and treat fistula and has issued a press release, along with the report, with more details.

Nane Annan will present this year's UN Populations Awards today at 4:30 p.m. The annual inter-governmental award recognizes outstanding contributions from individuals and organizations in the field of population and development. Mrs. Annan will pay tribute to this year's winners -- Werner Fornos, President of the Population Institute, and the Family Planning Association of Kenya.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS:

BANGLADESH: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) warns that up to a million garment workers in Bangladesh, most of them women, could lose their jobs if the European Union and the United States end their duty-free and tariff-free market access for apparel in 2005. UNDPs representative for Bangladesh, Jorgen Lissner, says that Bangladesh will need such access if it is to protect recent gains in human development and poverty reduction.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Noting that four out of five people in the world lack basic social security coverage, the International Labour Organization (ILO) announced today that it would spearhead a campaign to encourage countries to extend social security to more of their citizens. The "Global Campaign on Social Security and Coverage for All", is to be launched today during the 91st International Labour Conference currently taking place in Geneva.

BUDGET: Tanzania today made a payment of more than $117,000 to the UN regular budget, becoming the 88th Member State so far this year to pay its regular budget dues in full.

  • The guest at the Noon Briefing was the Executive Director of the Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, who briefed journalists on latest survey by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime on opium cultivation in Laos and Myanmar which shows that poppy cultivation is declining in both countries, dropping by 15 percent this year in Laos and by 24 percent in Myanmar, compared to levels in 2002.

    style="font-size:12.0pt;mso-bidi-font-weight: 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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