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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-11-30

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING

BY FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE

SECRETARY-GENERAL

OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

ANNAN URGES RELEASE OF AUNG SAN SUU KYI, OTHER PRISONERS IN MYANMAR

Secretary-General Kofi Annan reiterated his belief, which is shared by the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the countries of the region, that Daw Aung San Suu Kyis continued detention was not in the interest of the process of national reconciliation and democratization in Myanmar, according to a

statement issued through his spokesman.

The Secretary-General also urged the Myanmar authorities to seize the momentum created by the recent announcements to release some 9,000 prisoners by releasing her, as well as all those detained for expressing their political beliefs, as soon as possible.

SUDAN NEEDS $1.5 BILLION IN URGENT AID NEXT YEAR

The United Nations and its partners in the

Sudan, today

appealed for $1.5 billion for an urgent programme to support humanitarian, protection, recovery and development activities in that country in the year 2005.

The funding needs include over $600 million for life-saving and sustaining activities in the western region of Darfur where there are currently 2.2 million conflict affected persons, including 1.6 million internally displaced persons. A total of 2.5 million vulnerable conflict affected persons is anticipated in 2005.

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk, launched the appeal in Geneva.

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFED ON CENTRAL AFRICAN MISSION;

APPROVES CREATION OF TRUST FUND FOR U.N. SECURITY IN IRAQ

The Security Council held two back-to-back formal meetings this morning.

In the first, the Council heard a briefing on its

recent mission to Central Africa by French Ambassador Jean Marc de la Sabliere, who led it. The written mission report is due out shortly.

Then, the Security Council held a formal meeting to

approve a letter regarding the establishment of a trust fund for security arrangements in

Iraq.

The letter from the Security Council grants the Secretary-General the mandate to set-up a trust fund to accept financial contributions from member states to set up a distinct entity to provide security for the UN operations of Iraq. "

This force, which is commonly referred to as the Middle Ring, would operate under the unified command of the multi-national force.

In a letter from October of this year, the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands, Bernard Bot, writing on behalf of the European Union (EU), said EU Member States were ready to contribute $12 million to the financing of the force.

Today is the last day of the U.S. Presidency of the Security Council. Algeria assumes the presidency for the month of December.

In response to a question, the Spokesman confirmed that the Secretary-General had met on Monday with U.S. Ambassador John Danforth.

U.N. ENVOY APPEARS BEFORE ISRAELI KNESSET

With just a few weeks to go before he leaves his post, Terje Roed-Larsen, the UNs Special Coordinator for the

Middle East Peace Process, became the first UN official to be invited to appear before the Israeli Knessets Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Earlier today, Larsen briefed Committee members on his recent trip to Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, stressing the existence of "potential opportunities" in the region.

In particular, he emphasized President Basahar Al-Assad's willingness to resume negotiations without preconditions and within the framework of relevant Security Council resolutions and the principle of land for peace.

Larsen urged Israel to grab Al-Assad's outstretched hand.

The meeting also focused on the potential for movement on the Israeli-Palestinian track and on relations between Israel and the United Nations.

TOMORROW IS WORLD AIDS DAY

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has

declared that women and girls living with HIV/AIDS must have access to life-saving antiretroviral medicines.

To mark the occasion, the Secretary-General will address representatives and clients of major investment banks tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow evening, there will be a free, public, cultural program held at Saint Johns the Divine Cathedral.

Also tomorrow, Jack Chow, Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization will open the NASDAQ Stock Market.

In related news, today marked the launch of Telling Tales, a collection of short stories published for the benefit of HIV/AIDS victims in southern Africa.

U.N. HEALTH AGENCY REINSTATES TWO INDIAN AIDS MEDICINES

WHO is

reinstating two antiretroviral drugs manufactured by Cipla, an Indian firm, on its list of pre-qualified medicines.

The two medicines which are used in the treatment of AIDS had been de-listed earlier this year due to concerns over non-compliance with international standards during testing.

The two medicines are widely used by patients in developing countries, and WHO has welcomed the reinstatement, calling it another important step forward in progress towards the 3 by 5 target.

The 3 by 5 is the global aim of getting three million people living with HIV/AIDS in developing and middle income countries on antiretroviral treatment by the end of 2005.

SECRETARY-GENERAL IS FOCUSED ON U.N. REFORM

In response to repeated questions, the Spokesman reiterated that the fact that Kojo Annan, the Secretary-Generals son, had worked for Cotecna as a junior trainee had no bearing on the contract that Cotecna was awarded under the oil-for-food program.

He noted that the contract was awarded at about the time that Kojo Annan had left the company.

After a media report suggested the appearance of a conflict of interest, Eckhard said, the Secretary-General asked his then-Under-Secretary-General for Management, Joseph Connor, to look into the matter, and Connor asked the people who were involved in awarding the contract. None were aware that Kojo Annan was employed by Cotecna.

We looked into it, Eckhard said of the Cotecna award process. We found nothing. He said the United Nations felt comfortable that there was no conflict of interest.

Now, the Spokesman added, the matter was in the hands of the

Independent Inquiry Committee headed by Paul Volcker. He said he would not judge the case before Volcker does. Volcker, he said, would take as much time as he needs to come to a conclusion.

Asked whether Kojo Annan could testify before a U.S. Congressional committee, the Spokesman said that would be a matter between Kojo Annan and the Congress.

Asked whether this is a low point for the Secretary-General after six years in this job, the Spokesman said that, after those six years, the Secretary-Generals efforts to overhaul the United Nations are reaching a climax with the release of the report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. He will also keep the Organization focused on its concrete objectives at next years General Assembly, which reviews progress in the five years since the Millennium Assembly.

Asked about UN rules governing nepotism, the Spokesman noted that those rules do not apply to Kojo Annan, who is not a UN employee. He said later that the UN Secretariats rules prohibited the hiring of a direct relative of a UN Secretariat employee.

He added, in response to a question, that Chief of Staff Iqbal Rizas son, Imran, is an employee of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees who was seconded to the UN office in Lebanon. He said it is perfectly legitimate to be seconded, and is consistent with UN staff rules and policies.

Asked when senior UN officials would meet with the UN staff union, the Spokesman said he had no dates to announce. He added that dates are being discussed for two meetings: one in which UN officials and the Staff Council would discuss the staff unions recent complaints and another in which the Secretary-General would meet with them.

U.N. PEACEKEEPERS PATROL RWANDA-D.R. CONGO BORDER AREA

Asked about reports of Rwandan infiltration in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Spokesman said that, since last weekend, the

UN Mission in the DRC continued to patrol the area.

He said that the Kivus the alleged area of operations are four times bigger than Rwanda, while the UN Missions Kivu Brigade is made up of roughly 3,000 soldiers, to patrol a heavily forested area.

We cannot say with certainty that there has been no infiltration, Eckhard said, adding that it could be a possibility.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

COUNTRIES PRESENT MINE CLEARANCE PLANS AT LANDMINE SUMMIT: Today, at the

Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World, 20 delegations presented their national mine clearance plans for 2005-2009. Those plans are of particular interest to donors since they clarify the challenges ahead. Delegates are expected to later adopt an action plan to help usher in a world free of landmines.

URGENT CAMPAIGN NEEDED TO CONTROL LOCUSTS: The period between now and the end of February 2005 is

crucial for a well-coordinated desert locust control campaign to protect crops in the Maghreb and to reduce the risk of swarms reinvading the Sahelian countries next summer, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. Representatives of locust affected countries and donors are meeting in Rome this week to review the lessons learnt from this year's locust campaign and to discuss future control activities.

U.N. MISSION APPLAUDS LIBERIAN POLICE DEPLOYMENT: More than 230 police officers, including 95 Commanders, from the Liberian National Police (LNP) were today deployed to all the 15 Counties of Liberia, signifying rapid improvement in the rule of law in the country. During a ceremony marking the occasion, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Liberia, Jacques Paul Klein, told the police, You are a vital link in the re-establishment of police primacy throughout Liberia and the creation of a safe and secure environment.

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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