DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
Department of Public Information . News and Media Division . New York
10 July 2002
The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Hua Jiang, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
It’s going to be a fairly short one, I’m afraid.
**Secretary-General in Sudan
The Secretary-General today arrived in the Sudan, departing from Durban, South Africa, where he had witnessed the birth of the African Union.
Shortly after he arrived in Khartoum, the Secretary-General spoke to the press and said his visit comes at a time when the peace process in the Sudan is being re-energized. He said he hoped to hold talks about the humanitarian efforts, so that more assistance could be provided to those in need, and so that humanitarian activities would run more smoothly.
He took several questions from reporters, and we hope to have a transcript for you later today.
The Secretary-General then met with UN staff and the UN country team in the Sudan, and is now meeting with the International Committee of the Red Cross and with non-governmental organization representatives in the country, including CARE, Oxfam, the Sudanese Red Crescent, and Save the Children UK, who all deal with emergency relief, human rights promotion and community peace efforts.
Tonight, he will meet with First Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, who will also host a dinner in the Secretary-General’s honour afterward.
The Security Council is holding –- as we speak -– an open meeting on Bosnia and Herzegovina with speakers also addressing the issue of the International Criminal Court.
This open meeting is being held at the request of Canada.
In a letter to the President of the Security Council, Canada’s Permanent Representative, Ambassador Paul Heinbecker, said what is at issue is not only the extension of the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also “a potentially irreversible decision negatively affecting the integrity of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court” and, more generally, the integrity of treaty negotiations.
There are about 20 speakers left on the list.
This afternoon, Council members will hold a private meeting with troop- contributing countries to the UN Mission in Prevlaka.
**Democratic Republic of Congo
The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced that two commercial barges will leave Kinshasa next week for towns in the northern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These are first commercial vessels to navigate the Congo River since the start of the war in 1998.
The barges will be escorted by riverine units from UN forces in the country.
For more details, please pick up the notes of the Kinshasa briefing.
A new report released today finds the global orphan crisis is set to get worse due to the AIDS epidemic. “Children on the Brink”, a joint report of UNAIDS, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has the broadest and most comprehensive statistics on children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. It finds that more than 13 million children have already lost one or both parents to the disease in the regions studied. The number is expected to grow to 25 million by the year 2010.
The report calls for action to assist children, families and communities affected by HIV/AIDS and discusses five strategies to assist children.
We have a press release with more information and the report is available on the USAID Web site (www.usaid.gov).
In another press release, UNAIDS says countries should not use criminal law to deal with conduct that carries a risk of transmitting HIV. A new report also released today says public health laws accompanied by appropriate safeguards for human and civil rights should be used instead. The report says criminalization could have a negative impact on HIV/AIDS interventions, and HIV-positive persons could be perceived as potential criminals and a threat to the general public.
We will also have a UNDP press release about the financing of the response to AIDS.
**Deputy Secretary-General Speech at ECOSOC
This morning, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) began a discussion on how to strengthen ECOSOC and follow up to recent UN conferences, and Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette said at that segment that a strong and effective ECOSOC was essential.
She noted that Council’s efforts to strengthen itself, including the start of a regular dialogue with the Bretton Wood institutions and new links with civil society and the private sector. One particular question it may want to address, she added, is to define the respective roles of the Council and the General Assembly in following up the economic and social agendas following the Millennium Declaration.
She said, “In recent years, ECOSOC has taken on new life, and is being rediscovered for the potential it offers as a catalyst for enlightened policy and
creative partnership.” She hoped for a productive session in improving ECOSOC’s work.
We have copies of her statement upstairs.
The UN Mission in Kosovo is a step closer towards creating a multi-ethnic judiciary, after judicial officials in Serbia agreed to encourage Kosovo’s Serb judicial experts to apply for posts in the judiciary there.
So far, only three Kosovo Serb judges and one Serb prosecutor are working in the judicial system of Kosovo, out of 320 judges and prosecutors in that system as a whole. The UN Mission has tried to encourage Serb participation, encouraging resolution of property claims by Serb judicial candidates and helping to place their family members in vacant civil service posts for which they are qualified.
We have a press release from Kosovo with more details.
Earlier today, a former member of a Serb elite paramilitary unit, Radovan Stankovic, was transferred to The Hague, where he is to appear before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on Friday. Stankovic is accused of being in charge of a site in Bosnia where Muslim women were detained and raped.
The Tribunal has more details in a press release.
This morning, Tunisia became the thirty-fourth country to sign the Protocol on Firearms Supplementing the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime.
I said we would have a short one. So, that’s all I’ve got for you. Any questions? Yes.
**Questions and Answers
Question: Yesterday we had a press statement by the Security Council issued on Cyprus. Did Mr. de Soto, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, give to the Council any kind of indication if they’re trying to give any further pressure to the Turkish Cypriot side to cooperate constructively in the talks?
Deputy Spokesperson: I wasn’t at the Council myself. But I knew that the last round, the fourth round of talks have just finished and the fifth round will start once Mr. de Soto has gone back to Cyprus. But further than that, I don’t have any other details, I am afraid. All right. Thank you.
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