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Department of Public Information . News and Media Division . New York

16 July 2003

Following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Associate Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

Good afternoon.


The Secretary-General, upon entering the building today, was asked about whether any progress had been made on Liberia, and said that some progress has been achieved in making all the parties involved –- including the United States and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as the United Nations –- understand what is required.

He said the plan is for ECOWAS to send in a vanguard force of between 1,000 and 1,500 troops. Once they have arrived, President Charles Taylor would leave the country and US and other reinforcements would move into Liberia, before a UN peacekeeping force is established for the longer term.

He added that he had hoped the vanguard force would be deployed at the latest by the end of this month, and said the possibility that it may take place later than that was worrying because “the longer we delay the deployment, the more dangerous the situation gets”. The Secretary-General has asked his military advisers and other officers to be in touch with the US and with the ECOWAS forces to see what can be done to accelerate troop deployment.

Asked what would happen if Taylor does not leave the country, the Secretary-General said he was not sure that was an option given the commitment Taylor has given, not only to his peers but also to the whole world. He added that when he and the Liberian President last spoke, he had the impression that Taylor would accept Nigeria’s invitation to step down.


On the ground in Liberia, as we told you yesterday, a seven-member humanitarian assessment team arrived in Monrovia, and is talking with humanitarian agencies to determine the security situation in preparation for the return of UN international staff to that country. Looting continues to be a problem in the capital, and a lack of security is preventing humanitarian agencies from having access to some 70 per cent of Liberia’s territory.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme, together with its partners, is continuing food distribution to internally displaced persons in and around Monrovia. Also, the UN Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization, in collaboration with Liberia’s Health Ministry, have concluded the first round of polio immunization in Monrovia.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Liberia, Jacques Klein, will be the guest here at tomorrow’s noon briefing.


In addition to his comments on Liberia, the Secretary-General was asked today about UN efforts to free Aung San Suu Kyi. He replied that he is meeting today with his Special Envoy for Myanmar, Razali Ismail, who has seen Aung San Suu Kyi since her arrest, and will be briefed on what the next steps should be. He is also meeting this afternoon with Myanmar’s Deputy Foreign Minister, U Khin Maung Win.

**Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Asked about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s dispute with the United States, the Secretary-General said that he has been in touch with both parties, and he also noted efforts by the Chinese Government and others to help find a way forward that would be acceptable to both parties.

We have the full transcript of his comments upstairs.

**Statement Attributable to the Spokesman

We have a statement attributable to the Spokesman on the situation in Sao Tomé and Principe.

The Secretary-General strongly condemns the coup d’état in Sao Tomé and Principe and calls for the immediate and unconditional restoration of constitutional order. He also calls for the prompt release of government officials detained during the coup.

The Secretary-General reiterates his firm condemnation of any attempts to seize power by force.

Copies of that statement are available upstairs.

**Democratic Republic of the Congo

From the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the United Nations Mission in the DRC, MONUC, today welcomes the arrival of members of the Movement for Liberation of the Congo (MLC) as well as the Congolese Rally for Democracy to Kinshasa. The arrivals of the two Vice-Presidents respectively designated by the MLC as well as the RCD marks a historical step in the DRC peace process, said the Mission.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the DRC, Mr. William Swing, welcomes this positive development. He reiterates to all parties that MONUC will support every effort and initiative in favour of a successful transition.

Copies of the statement are available upstairs.

**Security Council

Turning to the Council and its activities today, Council members are currently meeting in closed consultations. Under Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guéhenno presented the Secretary-General’s latest report on the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

That was followed by a briefing on Somalia, given by Mr. Haille Menkarios, a director in the Department of Political Affairs. He presented the Secretary-General’s latest report on Somalia.

This afternoon at 4:15, the Council will meet again in closed consultations to hear a briefing by the Secretary-General. He will outline for them the discussions he held during the African Union Summit in Maputo.


Turning to Iraq, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to that country, Sergio Vieira de Mello, is on his way to Iran and is scheduled to arrive there shortly. Tomorrow, he will meet with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi.

Earlier today in Damascus, he met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara. He briefed them on the latest developments in Iraq, notably the creation of the Governing Council.

On his way into the building this morning, the Secretary-General mentioned that he would meet with the delegation of the Governing Council, which is coming from Baghdad on the 22nd.

**International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Also, on Iraq, the International Atomic Energy Agency this week submitted a report to the United Nations Security Council on the Agency's completed safeguards inspection of nuclear material at the Tuwaitha site in Baghdad, following reports of looting at the site.

The IAEA found that the site’s Building One, which contains a large variety of uranium compounds and yellow cake, had many containers missing and many others emptied, with a large area of the floor covered by uranium compounds. Overall, at the Location C Nuclear Material Storage Facility at the site, at least 10 kilograms of uranium compounds could have been dispersed.

The IAEA says that the quantity and type of uranium compounds that were dispersed are not sensitive, from the point of view of nuclear proliferation, but the Agency will make every effort to recover the missing material.

We have copies of the report upstairs.


In Burundi today, internally displaced persons continue to receive food and other assistance provided by the United Nations with cooperation from local non-governmental organizations.

The United Nations yesterday allowed for the relocation, outside Burundi, of all international staff not directly concerned with emergency or humanitarian relief operations. The decision was taken after careful consideration of the security situation in the country.

The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Burundi, Mr. Sunil Saigal, said that, while the decision reflects the very serious events of last week, an improved security situation would bode well for future revisions.

**Statement Attributable to the Spokesman

I have another statement attributable to the Spokesman.

The Secretary-General was very pleased to receive news about the appointment of Mr. Oluyemi Adeniji as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria. Until his appointment, Mr. Adeniji had served as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sierra Leone since December 1999. The Secretary-General congratulates Mr. Adeniji wholeheartedly on his important new functions and wishes to thank him for the effective leadership he provided to the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).

Under Mr. Adeniji’s stewardship, the Mission recovered from the crisis of May 2000. The Mission supported the massive disarmament exercise as well as national elections in Sierra Leone, and facilitated the restoration of the Government’s authority throughout the territory of Sierra Leone. As Mr. Adeniji departs, UNAMSIL, as well as the whole United Nations family, will continue to assist the people of Sierra Leone to consolidate peace in their country.

Pending the appointment of a successor, the Deputy Special Representative, Mr. Alan Doss, will serve as Officer-in-Charge of the Mission.


Today, the Secretary-General delivered a video message to the International Conference in Support of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria, which is going on in Paris, France. In his message, the Secretary-General welcomed the initiative to mobilize greater support for the Global Fund, which has a crucial role to play in the fight against the devastating diseases. “For the United Nations family, and me personally, turning the tide on AIDS, TB, and malaria is a priority second to none. We will remain a full and committed partner in the collective struggle towards our common goal”, the Secretary-General said in the message.

We have the full text of the message upstairs.

**Global Compact

The Secretary-General appointed today Professor John Ruggie of Harvard University as Special Adviser for the Global Compact, as of 15 July, for a period of one year. Mr. Ruggie, a former Assistant Secretary-General at the United Nations, will advise the Secretary-General on the overall direction of the Global Compact and oversee the preparation of a high-level Leaders Meeting on the Global Compact at UN Headquarters, tentatively scheduled for June 2004. Mr. Ruggie will work closely with Georg Kell of the Global Compact Office.

The Global Compact is convening its fourth Advisory Council meeting today here at UN Headquarters. Major issues under discussion include the preparation for the Leaders Meeting, and a general review of the strategic direction of the initiative.

All relevant developments and reports are available on the Compact's Web site.

**Human Rights

The Special Rapporteur dealing with the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, Rodolfo Stavenhagen, will visit Chile at the invitation of that Government from 18 to 29 July.

We have a press release with more information upstairs.

**Francophone TV

On an in-house matter, the francophone worldwide network TV 5 is now available on the in-house television system, channels 28 or 32, depending on your system. Their programme listings are available on the TV5.org Web site.

That’s it for me. Any questions from you?

**Questions and Answers

Question: On Iraq, what other countries is Sergio Vieira de Mello planning to visit? Number two. There are reports that the United Nations will send an electoral team to Iraq. Do you have anything on that? When? What size? How long?

Associate Spokesman: Sure, on the first question, Mr. Vieira de Mello, as you know, has already visited Saudi Arabia, where he met with the Crown Prince. He went to Syria. He is now on his way to Iran. And it’s part of his overall strategy to consult with Iraq’s neighbours and brief them on developments in the country. And he is now expected in New York on Tuesday. As far as the electoral assistance, we have always said that is one area in which the United Nations could assist the Iraqi people, but we have no hard announcement on when any mission would leave to go to Iraq.

Question: So after Iran, he is coming back to…?

Associate Spokesman: Yes, he returns to Baghdad Thursday, tomorrow morning, tomorrow afternoon, depending on his schedule.

Question: Concerning the United Nations, has there been any progress or involvement in the formation of a national government in Iraq to run day-by-day business?

Associate Spokesman: Well, the Governing Council, which was created on Sunday, is a step towards the establishment of a democratically-elected government in Iraq. And Mr. Vieira de Mello, as he is mandated, has been working very closely with Iraqi civil society, all of Iraqi society, towards that goal.

Question: Do you have any information about whether the National Guard in Iraq or the police force has been formed properly?

Associate Spokesman: What I’ve seen from press reports is that an Iraqi police force has been reactivated in a number of Iraqi cities, and they’ve been active in patrolling.

Question: There was a report that a mayor of one of the cities in Iraq was killed in Baghdad. Do you have any more information?

Associate Spokesman: No, nothing more than what I’ve seen on the wires.

Thank you very much. Have a good day.

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