United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-02-21
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NOON BRIEFINGBY FRED ECKHARD
SPOKESMAN OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS
Wednesday, February 21, 2001
ANNAN URGES FORCES TO WITHDRAW FROM CONGO, PARTIES TO START TALKS
Secretary-General Kofi Annan opened a meeting of the Security Council with the Political Committee on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and outlined the outcomes expected from the two-day meeting.
The parties should be given a clear message today, the Secretary-General said in a statement. Let the disengagement of forces and the inter-Congolese dialogue begin. Draw up plans to bring all foreign forces home from DRC territory. Work with your neighbors and with us to find innovative and creative ways to resolve the problems of armed groups and border security.
The meeting of the Security Council and signatories of the Lusaka Cease-Fire Agreement began with an open meeting featuring statements by the President of the Security Council, Ambassador Said ben Mustapha of Tunisia, the Secretary-General and the Chairman of the Political Committee, Zimbabwe Foreign Minister Stanislaus Mudenge.
A private meeting with the same participants on the same subject followed and was expected to last the rest of the day.
The Security Council-Political Committee meeting will continue Thursday, when a draft resolution endorsing the Secretary-Generals new concept of operations will be considered.
ANNAN REPORTS NO PROGRESS IN NEW REPORT ON WESTERN SAHARA
The Secretary-General's latest report on Western Sahara has been given to the Security Council and it is expected to be out as an official document today.
In the report, the Secretary-General noted the deterioration in the relations between the two parties in recent months
"Regrettably, the Secretary-General said, I cannot report any progress towards overcoming the obstacles to the implementation of the settlement plan, or towards determining whether the Government of Morocco, as administrative Power in Western Sahara, is prepared to offer or support some devolution of authority for all inhabitants and former inhabitants of the Territory that is genuine, substantial and in keeping with international norms."
The Secretary-General recommended that the Council extend the mandate of the UN Mission by two months, until April 30, and the Council is likely to discuss his report and recommendations in its consultations on Friday.
UN ENVOY AND U.S. OFFICIALS MEET ON PALESTINIAN ECONOMY
Terje-Roed Larsen, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO), is wrapping up the second day of talks in Washington, D.C., with meetings with officials from the U.S. State Department.
In speaking to reporters afterwards, Larsen said that he and the U.S. officials saw eye to eye on the dire economic and fiscal situation of the Palestinian Authority.
The U.S. officials, however, told him that they could not directly release funds for the Palestinian authority. Such funds, they say, would have to come through international organizations like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, of which the United States is a contributing member.
ASIAN RACISM CONFERENCE CONCLUDES IN IRAN
The Asian Regional Meeting for the World Conference Against Racism wrapped up its three-day meeting in Tehran today by adopting a declaration and a program of action.
The declaration and Plan of Action adopted by the Asia regional preparatory meeting in Tehran expressed solidarity with the peoples of Africa in their struggle against racism. In the context of globalization, the meeting also drew attention to the growing plight of migrants, particularly women, and trafficking in persons.
During the course of the meeting Mary Robinson, the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), while appreciating the efficient arrangements of the Tehran meeting and the decision to facilitate World View Internationals participation, expressed her dismay at the procedural and technical difficulties that prevented the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Bahai International Community from attending the regional meeting.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center was granted an entry visa only in the last hours before the meeting and the application by the Bahai International Community was not considered.
The High Commissioner reiterated her full and unequivocal support for the participation of all accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the preparatory process and in the World Conference itself.
UN LEGAL EXPERT EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, DatoParam Cumaraswamy, reiterated today his concern over the further deterioration of the situation in Zimbabwe in a letter sent to the Government.
Harassment, intimidation, attacks and threats against an independent judiciary and its judges, the Special Rapporteur wrote, will in fact be seen as a direct assault on the rule of law.
He goes on to say: "If these further threats and intimidation are true, then the earlier assertion of the Government on 12 February 2001 that the 'judiciary is alive and thriving in Zimbabwe' cannot possibly be sustained."
In the Trusteeship Council Chamber, the Secretary-General opened this year's session of the so-called Committee of 24, which deals with the granting of independence to colonies. He noted the accomplishments of the Committee over the past year -- including its discussions involving American Samoa and Pitcairn. The Committee agreed unanimously on the election of its officers, selecting Ambassador Julian Robert Hunte of Saint Lucia as its new chairman.
An open debate of the Security Council will now be held on Thursday at 3 p.m., in the Security Council Chamber, in connection with the item entitled "The situation in Angola." The debate is on the monitoring mechanism on Angola sanctions.
Today and Thursday the College of Commissioners of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) will be meeting in Vienna. The Commissions Executive Chairman, Dr. Hans Blix, will discuss with the 16 commissioners his fourth report on UNMOVICs activities, which is due to the Security Council on March 1.
The Office of the Iraq Programme (OIP) in its weekly update, covering the period February 10 to 16, noted that Iraqi oil exports were up considerably. It reported that 10.8 million barrels of oil were lifted through six loadings raising an estimated 254 million (euros) in revenue. In current phase IX, running from December 6, 2000 to June 3, 2001, Iraq so far has exported 66.1 million barrels of oil, earning over 1.47 billion (euros) at current prices.
The World Food Programme (WFP) said it will launch a $168 million relief operation for Angola that will benefit about one million people for a 15-month period, beginning on April 1.
Carla Del Ponte, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), has decided not to seek the deferral of the case in Croatia of former Croatian Gen. Mirko Norac to the Tribunal. Instead, she says, the relevant judicial authorities in Croatia can take responsibility for trying Norac over crimes committed in Gospic, Croatia, in 1991.
Honduras paid more than $41,000 becoming the 51st Member State to have paid its regular budget dues in full for 2001.
In response to a question on a possible trip by the Secretary-General to Washington D.C., to meet with President George W. Bush, the Spokesman said no date had yet been set by the White House for the meeting.
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