DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
Department of Public Information . News and Media Division . New York
7 August 2002
The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Fred Eckhard, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
The Secretary-General’s letter to Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri, which replied to the Foreign Minister’s letter inviting Chief UN Weapons Inspector Hans Blix to Iraq, went out yesterday afternoon; and in addition to the Iraqi Foreign Minister, members of the Security Council also received copies of that letter.
The Secretary-General was asked this morning on entering the Building whether he had received any response from the Iraqis, and he replied, “The letter was sent to the Iraqis only yesterday, and I think we have to give them some time to respond." He added, “I think my letter makes it quite clear how the UN expects them to proceed.”
The Security Council held a private meeting this morning on Angola. The Special Adviser of the Secretary–General on Africa, Ibrahim Gambari, introduced and highlighted key features of the report of the Secretary-General on Angola. The report proposes the establishment of a new mission, which will be better coordinated and more integrated, to succeed the current UN office in Angola.
The Council also heard from the Vice-Minister for External Relations of Angola, Jorge Chicote. The private meeting was followed by consultations, also on Angola.
Mr. Gambari will talk to you afterwards at the stakeout and we will squawk it just before he comes out.
**Statement Attributable to Spokesman of Secretary-General
The following statement is attributable to the Spokesman on the subject of the recent violence in the Niger:
“The Secretary-General is very concerned by the upsurge of violence in the Niger, resulting from a spate of mutinies by segments of the armed forces in different parts of the country in recent days.
“He firmly condemns any attempt to seize power by force, or the use of violence to address grievances.
“The Secretary-General calls for full and unconditional respect for the constitutional order in the Niger. He supports the Government’s determination to pursue dialogue with a view to restoring peace, stability and democratic governance throughout the country.”
The Secretary-General, in a report out on the racks today, notes the actions taken within the UN system and by certain States to deal with crimes against women that have been committed in the name of honour, and he says that elimination of such acts requires greater and concerted efforts.
He writes, “All forms of violence against women and girls committed in the name of honour should be criminalized, and those deliberately participating in, facilitating, encouraging or threatening violence against women and girls in the name of honour should be penalized.” He also calls for special training and resources to be given to law enforcement and other relevant personnel to address the issue effectively.
The United Nations Development Fund for Women, UNIFEM, announced today more than a million dollars in grants for 18 programmes in 22 countries. The grants, ranging from $25,000 to $120,000, will go to programmes on domestic violence, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, rape and honour crimes. The grants come from the Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women, which received about 270 proposals for more than $15.5 million.
At noon today, and it’s a bit delayed, it hasn’t quite happened yet, but the Secretary-General will meet the members of the Real Madrid football team who will play Roma tomorrow in a match that will benefit the United Nations’ Fund against AIDS. He is due to meet the players of the Roma team afterwards at about 12:20.
The Spanish team was introduced to the Secretary-General, or will be shortly, by Ambassador Inocencio Arias, the Permanent Representative of Spain, and the Italian team by Ambassador Pier Benedetto Francese, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy.
There will be a replay of those meetings at about 12:30 on United Nations television, and we will let you know what channels that will appear on.
(The Spokesman’s Office announced after the briefing that the Secretary-General’s encounter with the Real Madrid team would be shown on in-house television Channels 3 and 33).
We have an embargoed press release on the launch of a global review of disaster reduction called “Living with Risk” which will take place on Friday; the release will take place on Friday in Tokyo. And we also have embargoed extracts of that report, if you are interested.
And one press conference to announce for today: Miloon Kothari, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, will be here at 2:30 to brief you on his work.
That’s all I have.
Questions and Answers
Question: Fred, has there been any response at all from the Iraqi Government to the Secretary-General’s letter?
Spokesman: First item. The Secretary-General was asked that by CNN as he came into the Building this morning and I quoted his response.
Question: Yeah, but since then, this morning also nothing?
Spokesman: No. Serge?
Questions: Fred, what will be the nature of the new mission in Angola? What will be different than what we have now?
Spokesman: Right now, you just have an office. And the idea of the mission, which will be headed by a Special Representative, would be to coordinate the humanitarian efforts in Angola with political support for the reconciliation/ demobilization process that’s already under way between the Government and UNITA. So, there is a political element combined with a coordination of humanitarian work.
Question: How many are they?
Spokesman: I don’t have those numbers. If you check ... How many are they now and how many they will be, it’s in the report. I just don’t have those numbers with me. I don’t think I do. Let me just have a quick look. No, I don’t have it. We’ll have to give it to you upstairs. Yes, Serge.
(The Spokesman’s Office announced after the briefing that there were a little over 100 United Nations personnel in Angola at present, including 64 international staff. There were no numbers proposed yet in the Secretary-General’s report for the new mission, although the report recommends increasing the military liaison staff to 11.)
Question: You said to me about two weeks ago there was a team going to visit Chechnya on humanitarian aid. And it was promised to us that you’d have a follow-up. Do you have anything about that?
Spokesman: I don’t have anything with me. I’m happy to look into that and let you know where it stands. Okay, thanks very much.
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